location: Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany
Can you guess which fairytale castle Walt Disney was inspired to create from this German castle? If you guessed ‘Sleeping Beauty’ then you are correct! Schloss Neuschwanstein was the inspiration behind Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle!
Because our main draw was to Neuschwanstein, we decided to spend more time exploring it and skipped the other. Hohenschwangau is still visible from the village of Schwangau and there are amazing views of it from Neuschwanstein. If time permits, I would recommend checking it out too.
There are a few different ways to reach Neuschwanstein. We chose the horse drawn carriage, which I believed added to the romance. All options are listed in greater detail in my blog here.
The ONLY way to see inside the castle is with a guided tour. Reservations are recommended for the tour, but the time slot is flexible. (Read about my minor panic attack here.) Photography is prohibited inside castle. The best view points are from outside the castle, and are FREE! Once at the castle, keep walking up away from the castle. Don’t forget to look back; there are some amazing views that keep changing. Soon, the path will change to dirt and will curve back around. Here is the path to Marienbrücke, or Mary’s Bridge, the pedestrian bridge. CAUTION. Walk out at your own risk. You can feel the bridge moving and creaking beneath your feet. The amount of people on had to be way over capacity. It was terrifying. We went on just to see the view (and get photos of course), and I couldn’t wait to get off! Trust me, I wasn’t the only one. Some people waited on land while their friends and family members ventured out, and I didn’t blame them! Also, the bridge can be closed in the winter, so be sure to check out the conditions before your visit. You can find out more about the bridge here.
Ludwig II was also known as the Swan King. There are swans located all throughout the castle because Ludwig loved swans so much. One room alone had over 100 swans! Including this gorgeous, giant swan sculpture that was used to display flowers. I loved it so much that I had to get a much smaller re-creation of it.
King Ludwig II grew up in the close by castle of Hohenschwangau, admiring the spot he dreamed of building Neuschwanstein. When he finally was able to move in, he ended up only sleeping there for 11 nights! Ludwig drowned days later in a lake near Munich, and the circumstances still remain a mystery. Find out more about Ludwig, the history, and his castles here.