One of the major highlights for me during this trip was seeing Neuschwanstein in Munich; a real life fairytale castle built by the last Bavarian King, King Ludwig II. Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle was inspired by this castle!
King Ludwig II also known as the “Fairytale King” and the “Swan King,” enjoyed building castles and built 3 during his short lifetime. He was described as a loner and a bit eccentric, having been crowned King very young he lost his youth and was often in his own world of Wagner plays and fantasies. He disliked crowds and spent most of his time in the countryside busying himself with creative pursuits instead of ruling the country. He built 3 castles but only one, Linderhof castle, a mini replica of the Versailles palace was finished in his lifetime.
Unfortunately he died at the young age of 40 under mysterious circumstances. His body was found in a lake and it was thought to be suicide however others believe it was murder.
His favourite animal was the swan and favourite flowers were lillies hence you can see their motifs in his buildings. He had a real eye for beauty…
Linderhof, inspired by the palace in Versailles, the only castle to be finished in King Ludwig II’s lifetime. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos inside but believe me, it was beautiful! Furniture dorned in silk and gold, walls decorated with delicate vases and ivory candleholders and glass and porceline chandeliers hung from the ceiling!
Perched on a hill top close to Neuschwanstein is the Hohenschwangau Castle, King Ludwig’s childhood home, built by his father.
Here it is, Neuschwanstein. I was standing on a bridge when I took this photo… the best view of the castle! I was worried after seeing so many photos of it on the internet I would be underwhelmed, however I loved it. I could’ve really stayed there and stared at it all day. It was truly a fairytale castle! As a little girl this is what I imagined a castle to be… and here it is :)
Surprisingly inside it is much darker with a Medieval feel. Only 16 rooms were completed out of the 60 rooms. It’s a real pity because I’m sure if it was finished it would’ve been just magical! Very modern for its time as well, there was “central heating” and his bedroom had running water – which came out of a silver swan’s beak and a toilet with running water! Really it was one step away from having an elevator, hehe.
Truly if you ever plan to drop by Munich, see Neuschwanstein- it will not disappoint! It is much cheaper if you can get there by train however I wanted to be safe so I joined a tour which allowed me to see 2 castles and get a little history lesson. It is best to book tickets beforehand because when you arrive at the castles there are huge lines of tourists and you can only see inside the castle with a tour guide.
Apparently before his death he was already planning to build another castle, one larger and more magical than Neuschwanstein! Can you imagine what other amazing castles he would’ve built if he lived just another 40 years?!!