Neuschwanstein Castle is easily one of the most famous castles in the world. It has been a constant source of romantic castle inspiration in art and Hollywood ever since it was built. The setting could hardly be more idyllic perched as it is upon a rugged hill in southwestern Bavaria in Germany. It was commission by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a personal retreat for the shy and withdrawn king.
It is actually a historicist palace and not a castle with any defensive value. It has influenced film (particularly Disney) profoundly and there are 10 things to know before visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle.
The Backstory of the Castle
Construction began in 1869 with King Ludwig paying for the palace out of his personal fortune. It was meant to be the private residence for the king, but after his death in 1886, it was opened to the public just seven weeks later. He was a shy king who had built the castle to withdraw from public life.
One reason that King Ludwig built the castle is that his kingdom had basically been taken over by the growing power of Prussia. He had sided with the losing side in a war against Prussia and as part of the peace, he was able to continue to be King of Bavaria, but not have control of his armies like a real king. He built romantic castles like Neuschwanstein where he could fancy himself to still be a real king. He sought to retreat from public life in the capital Munich and live out his romantic idealism of the Middle Ages in the mountains.
- Built: Construction Began in 1869
- Visitors: Over 61 Million People Have Visited The Castle (1.3 Million Annually)
Today Neuschwanstein is easily one of the most popular castles or palaces in all of Europe. It is something of a fairy-tale castle of a fair-tale king. The king said of the castle,
"It is my intention to rebuild the old castle... in the authentic style of the old German knights' castles... the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend..."
The castle is the embodiment of 19th-century castle romanticism as well as King Ludwig II's enthusiasm for the operas of Richard Wagner.
When he died the palace was still far from complete. This was an incredibly expensive undertaking and some of the structures were finished in a simplified form - and without planned figures of female saints. Other intended parts of the palace like a 90 meter or 300 foot keep were never realized. Nor were plans realized for a castle garden and with terraces and a fountain.
Visiting The Castle
The setting of Neuschwanstein is the definition of idyllic, but the harsh alpine climate means that renovations and enforcement need to continuously be undertaken. Visit their website for up-to-date information on pandemic entry restrictions, renovation closures, and more. Visiting this castle is simply a must for anyone visiting the German state of Bavaria.
- Guided Tour: The Admission Ticket Is Valid For A guided Tour Of The Castle
- Tickets: Tickets can Be Purchased Here
Opening Hours For Ticket Sales:
- April to 15 October: 8 am-4 pm | 16 October to March: 9 am-3 pm
Opening hours of Neuschwanstein Castle:
- April to 15 October: 9 am-6 pm | 16 October to March: 10 am-4 pm
- Closed: New Years Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Years Eve
- Cost of Admission: 12 Euro ($14) (From 1 January 2022 15 Euro ($17)
- Children: Under 18 Years Of Age Are Free
- Note: Neuschwanstein Castle Can Only Be Visited With A Guided Tour
- Language: Guided Tours are Offered In German and English (Audio Guides In Many More Languages)
- Duration: Approx. 30 Minutes
Dining In The Castle And Film
On the second floor of the Neuschwanstein Castle is the "Cafe & Bistro". While one's guided tour may only last 30 minutes, that's no reason to leave just yet. Relax with a coffee in the romantic halls of the palace castle and slowly take in the architecture and grandeur of the castle after the whirlwind tour. Afterward, enjoy their multi-vision show on the strange King Ludwig II and his other famous castles.
This is truly a stunning castle and one that has become a global symbol for the era of Romanticism. It has appeared in many movies, but perhaps even more influential it has served as the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle has had such a profound influence on the popular ideas of what a romantic castle should look like. if one would like to see a real living castle, visit the Warwick Castle in England - one can even stay overnight and visit the dungeons.