Neuschwanstein is near the village of Schwangau starting point for the pathway up to the castle. Last parking is the village of Hohenschwangau below the castle. The walk to Neuschwanstein takes about 40 minutes and provides a pleasant stroll through forested grounds and exciting views of both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. A gentle ride in a horse and carriage will also take you up to the castle.
King Maximilian II, King Ludwig’s father had good intentions to re-build the old castle of “Vorderhohenschwangau” where Neuschwanstein now stands. However the re-build didn’t happen in his lifetime. His son, King Ludwig II, took up the idea and had preliminary plans drawn up for a romantic castle in 1868.The foundation stone for Neuschwanstein Castle was laid on 5th September 1869.
Despite being considered very eccentric during his lifetime, King Ludwig’s castle provided full-time employment for over 200 people for many, many years, this was at a time when employment was very scarce in the region. Up to 300 people employed at times working day and night to keep up with the schedule. King Ludwig II oversaw most of the plans and details of the interior himself and obviously had a wonderful flair for color,art and design.
Interior Neuschwanstein – no photos allowed
The resulting interior decoration and attention to detail of Neuschwanstein Castle is amazing. Awesome! No photos allowed of the interior, which is always disappointing and frustrating. However a very inexpensive booklet “Guide book Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau” available at the palace has 33 original and very beautiful color photographs, so, so worth having.
King Ludwig was an avid fan and admirer of composer and musician Richard Wagner and named the Castle after the Swan Knight in Wagner’s Opera. The admiration he felt for Wagner transpired into hallways and rooms being decorated with wonderful paintings that depict scenes from Wagner’s operas.
Built in white limestone, with a front facade surrounding the main entrance in striking red bricks, the court fronts with yellow limestone, tall white turrets and towers spiraling skywards, high white walls set against a background of dark green forest, lakes and the Alps, truly a fairy tale castle. Schloss Neuschwanstein considered the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Fairy tale castle we are all so familiar with. The interior of Neuschwanstein is even more fairy-tale than the outside appearance.
Following a walk along the red aisle and ascending a magnificent marble staircase we entered a vestibule in the 3rd storey. I found the vestibule quite stunning, a Romanesque traverse vault decorated with colorful painting of the Nordic Sigurd saga.The elegant downward arches end in capitals with embossed knights and animals. Matching the timber along the bottom edge of the walls, beautiful golden benches carved from rich brown oak, covered in impressed hog-skin for seating. The unusual shape of the vestibule aligned with the natural contour of the rocks serving as the foundation of the castle.
There is so much to see inside Neuschwanstein, the throne hall with pillars of rich blue Lapislazuli, tessellated floor with more than two million stones symbolizing the life of animals and plants. The balcony of the throne hall has a wonderful view of the mountains and the bright blue of the two lakes,’Alpsee’ and ‘Swanstein’ lakes, each separated by dark green forests. Moving on, in the dining room beautiful timber and paintings depicting the life at Wartburg castle at the time of the legendary singers’ contest, a subject of one of Richard Wagner’s most beautiful operas.
King Ludwig II had a most gorgeous, lavish bedroom built in neo-Gothic style with wonderful oak-wood carvings. Wall paintings show detail of the saga “Tristan and Isolde” another subject of an opera by Richard Wagner. The Kings favorite color is Bavarian Blue used for curtains and covering in the room, the fabric embroidered with the Bavarian coat-of-arms, the swan and the Witelsbach lion.
The Balcony window of the bedroom has a view of the Poellat gorge, waterfall and Queens Mary’s Bridge (The Marienbrucke) named after Ludwig’s mother, Queen Mary, a Princess of Prussia. This bridge completed before Neuschwanstein, considered a technological masterpiece of the time.
It was one beautifully decorated room after another. Even the smaller areas such as the Chapel and Dressing room are all decorated with painting and beautiful carvings in rich oak timber. Another surprise is a small grotto between the salon and study. The Singers Hall is even more amazing and so tastefully elegant, with the same incredible attention to detail seen throughout Neuschwanstein. The Singers hall was never used in Ludwig’s lifetime. In 1933 concerts were held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s death.
Cooking in Neuschwanstein
I loved the Kitchen too, it has a vaulted ceiling supported by columns of polished stucco-granite. The design layout is very modern looking, such an enormous cooking range and everything you could want in a kitchen. I was ready to move in and start cooking.
No cooking allowed, but I did enjoy a fresh cup of coffee at the tea room with its beautiful wall decorations.
The whole castle supplied with running water captured from a source some 660 feet above the castle, which gives sufficient natural pressure to supply even the highest rooms of Neuschwanstein with running water.
The Gateway building of the castle was completed first and Ludwig II lived here for a several years. King Ludwig died in 1886 before the completion of Neuschwanstein. He drowned on the June 13th 1886 in the Starnberg lake at castle Berg under suspicious circumstance. This followed a commission sent from Munich on 11th June declaring him unfit to rule. How very sad this is, for a King who created so much beauty in Schloss Neuschwanstein and left a magical fairy tale castle; a wonderful legacy for the world to see and enjoy. Neuschwanstein opened to the paying public seven weeks after his death. More than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle since his death, a testament to the beauty of the castle and its surroundings.
Next Hohenschwangau views….
- Abbey of St Mang’s Fussen Bavarian Alps
- Beautiful rococo Wieskirche beautiful Bavarian alps
- Augsburg Fuggerei village settlement
- Dinkelsbuhl medieval fortifications-medieval city wall
- Rothenburg – a beautiful medieval town
- Romantic Road attractions Germany
- Romantic Road Frankfurt Germany
- Bavaria Germany Wurzburg – along the Romantic Road