I’m not a huge Disney fan, but when the opportunity arises to go to the castle that has inspired the Sleeping Beauty Castle, I just had to go! Even though it looks medieval, it is actually quite new. Having been built in the 1800s, and finished in 1873, it served as the home of Kind Ludwig the Second of Bavaria.
Now the castle serves as a testament, and has achieved the title of most photographed building in Germany, and one of the most photographed in the world!
Lucky for us, Neuschwanstein was only four hours away. In Europe, four hours is actually pretty far, and there are a handful of countries you can get to in that time frame. But for this trip, the four hours just took us across Germany.
I didn’t mind, driving in Germany is amazing, from the Autobahn to the crazy green countryside.
For this trip, it was my turn to drive. By my turn, I mean the first time since we’ve lived in Germany. My friend was typically the one that drove on all of these trips, but he didn’t want to this time.
One of our friends was only in town for the week, so we only made a day-trip out of it. We left around 9:30 in the morning, which put us at getting there right around 2-2:30 in the afternoon.
Well, we did just that, and arrived at 2:30 just to find out that the castle was closed for the day.
After a good long drive to the castle, we got out, stretched our legs, and read the sign that said the castle was closed for the day. For the moment, we were pretty upset. I mean, after five hours total of sitting in the car, we find out that we’ll probably just turn back and go home?
We explored a bit and discovered that the castle tours were closed, we could still hike up there and get visit the outside of the castle. Hey, it was better than nothing!
Before all that though, we needed a good meal. There wasn’t many options, but we decided on the Schloss Biergarten Braustuberl. It was a nice, quick meal on a super windy day in March. Surprisingly though, it was relatively warm. I didn’t even wear a jacket for most of the day and was fine in just a t-shirt. This is surprising considering Germany is typically freezing in March.
Now, walking out of the restaurant, we looked up on the hill and saw a castle. It was pretty small, and not at all what we were expecting it to look like. Turns out, we were looking at Schloss Hohenschwangau.
This castle was the childhood home of King Ludwig the Second; the man who would go on to build Neuschwanstein. The view from the road at the bottom of the hill was as close as we got to this castle.
Without further ado, we embarked on the long hike up to the Neuschwanstein Castle. One thing to note, is that you must buy your tickets for the guided tour in advance. I believe we got the sign saying they were closed due to the fact that it was straight up sold out.
So if you are planning a trip, buy your tickets at least two days in advance, then just pick them up at the ticket center when you get there.
We did not do this, but we are able to still able to hike up there. It wasn’t too terrible of a hike, it took us around 20 minutes to get up there, and that includes stopping to take pictures along the way.
It was a beautiful hike though, let me tell ‘ya. You get an awesome view looking out over Germany.
We finally made it up to the castle, and got in a load of pictures. Following our little photoshoot, we walked across the bridge to that we could touch the castle. I don’t know why, but I wanted to say I touched it.
We circled back around and randomly stumbled upon Mary’s Bridge. This bridge is famous for its views of the castle, and let me tell ‘ya, it definitely earned the right to be famous.
Even through all the wind that was blowing everywhere, the views made it feel like time was standing still. It was like living in a picture for a moment.
After an unfortunate turn of events, and not actually being able to tour the castle, we made our way back home. I wouldn’t consider the day a failure though, being able to still see and experience that beautiful building was very much worth the eight or nine hours of driving!
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