A couple of years ago, I was browsing articles online and stumbled onto an article about a castle in Germany called Neuschwanstein. I was immediately struck by this castle, or “Schloss” in German, because this was one of the inspirations for Walt Disney when designing the iconic Cinderella castle.
Germany was never on my radar back then, but I added it to my list of “must see places” because I love me anything Disney.
Fast forward to my current life in Germany, and not only do I live close to Neuschwanstein, but the hotel I work for has organized tours multiple times a week. The tour is an all day adventure, and for guests the tour costs $50. For employees, if we’re lucky enough to snag a spot on the bus (when the tour isn’t full) we can go on the tour for $17.
It took me over six months to finally snag a spot on the bus, but the day I went was absolutely perfect. The weather was ideal, and I was happy I waited. The tour starts at 8:30 sharp, and the morning of the tour I made my way down to the hotel lobby to see if there were any spots. Sure enough, I was able to jump on board and I spent the next nine hours exploring parts of Germany I hadn’t seen yet.
Before we made it to the castle we stopped at the above church, called Weiskirche. Here we were able to look around the church, and stop for an espresso and locally made donuts at Gasthof Schweiger. I didn’t partake in the donuts, though they looked amazing. Instead I fed my soul with the nearby rolling hills and beautiful houses.
Another place we stopped before the castle, was a local woodcarving shop. Woodcarving is a big thing in Germany, and the small mom and pop like shop we stopped at was adorable. Even better than the woodcarvings however, was the view. I will never get over the green rolling hills of Bavaria.
Pit stops complete, we made it to the parking area of Neuschwanstein around 11. We had a formal tour at noon, and were given three options for getting to the castle: walk up the hill/trail area, take a bus, or take a horse and carriage. I’ll let you guess what I chose.
I chose to walk, and first made my way to Marienbrücke, the bridge providing the above view of the castle. After admiring the view for a bit, it was time for the tour. The tour was mediocre, lasting all of 15 minutes, but it was worth it just to see the inside of this castle.
The castle was only 1/3 finished, as its creator King Ludwig II mysteriously died before it was complete.
King Ludwig was busy building two other castles as well, only one of which was completed. He was spending funds he didn’t have, using money from the city to build his lavish homes. He was deemed clinically insane after refusing to react rationally when foreign banks threatened to seize his property. Rumor has it he and his psychiatrist drowned in Lake Starnberg after Ludwig checked into a mental hospital.
Whatever actually happened, there is no denying the extravagant vision Ludwig had with Neuschwanstein, I’ve never seen an interior of a castle quite like it. I suppose when one plans to spend most of their time alone and inside (Ludwig was a severe introvert), an extravagant home is necessary.
The above view from the castle wasn’t too shabby either.
After the castle tour, we made our way to a nearby brewery for dinner. I sat with a few women that were staying at the hotel while their significant others were attending a conference. They were lovely women, and we had a fun time chatting about all things Germany.
I would love to return in either the fall or the winter to see what the surrounding areas look like. I can only imagine what the trees look like when the leaves change color. I didn’t manage to get any photos from the front of the castle, but I found the below photo online. You can see the beautiful similarities to the classic Disney castle.
I was stoked to be able to check Neuschwanstein off my list, and for $17 I’d say it was a steal of a deal.
Q: Did you know Neuschwanstein was an inspiration for Cinderella’s castle?