Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty’s Castle (in Disneyland), was commissioned by King Ludwig II as his retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig was a bit of a recluse and never intended the castle to be open to the public but as soon as he passed away (suddenly and suspiciously) the government opened it up to the public.
Only 1/3 of the palace is actually completed inside – essentially the Throne Room, Ludwig’s suite, the Singers’ Hall, and the Grotto. The interior and especially the throne room has strong Byzantine inspiration. Throughout, the design pays homage to the German legends of Lohengrin, the Swan Knight, and Ludwig’s favorite animal, the Swan. The Grotto is literally a hallway made to look like a deep underground cave with stalactites hanging from the ceiling.
The Palace has stunning views and oversees his parent’s summer home, Hohenschwangau Castle, which you can also tour. The whole area just feels regal and magical, a clear source of inspiration for any fairytale! Annoyingly, you cannot take any photos in the castle (because they don’t trust people to not use their flash and also probably because they don’t want people to slow the tour down). The only thing I was able to take a photo of was the model of the castle and the kitchens full of copper pots. This is definitely a place you should visit on any trip to Germany if you are given the opportunity.
After touring the inside of the castle, you can walk to a close-by bridge. If you keep going, you will find a small hike for some fantastic views of the castle or even a great place to have a picnic!
A picnic actually isn’t the worst idea either if you aren’t a fan of German food. Most of the restaurants in the little village have almost identical menus and they are all heavily German. If you haven’t experienced a good German meal or at least haven’t tired of it, you’ll be in good company as the restaurants are good, just don’t expect a fairytale meal to fit the rest of your day!
The castle is still all original and incredibly impressive, they do a wonderful job of maintaining it. I hope you make it there some day!