This Fairytale Castle Is Closer Than You Think

Photo: Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images.
What the…?
Pretty impressive huh? Neuschwanstein is a 19th century fairy tale castle in Bavaria; an elaborate homage to the German composer, Richard Wagner. Wait, haven’t I seen that in a Disney movie?
So Neuschwanstein featured prominently in a handful of films including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape, but the reason it looks so familiar is that it was the key inspiration for the Royal Castle in Sleeping Beauty, and in turn, the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris we all know and love. Where?
Neuschwanstein is set up on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau, near Füssen, in southwest Bavaria, Germany — an area of pretty epic castles it seems – check out Hohenschwangau Castle too! Who lives there?
Okay, so no one lives there anymore but it was, back in the day, the quiet retreat of King Ludwig II of Bavaria — aka Fairytale King. He commissioned the build for his personal merriment (but also as a homage to the composer Richard Wagner, whom he much admired.) Seven weeks after King Ludwig II died in 1886, Neuschwanstein was opened to the public.
Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images.
It’s the prettiest castle we ever saw…
Neuschwanstein was built in 19th century Bavaria at a time when castles weren’t required for defence purposes, so it is solely decorative. Ludwig was somewhat transfixed with the fantasy world, hence built this crazy spectacle atop a hill… What’s it like inside?
If it had been completed, Neuschwanstein would have had more than 200 rooms, but sadly, King Ludwig II died before completion so only 15 rooms and halls were finished. Those ones though are incredibly majestic, with strong Byzantium influences and characters from Wagner’s operas I need to see it…
You definitely can! It’s the most visited castle in Germany, welcoming over 1.3million people a year. Hohenschwangau is a 90-minute drive from Innsbruck airport, and Neuschwanstein is just a 30-minute (steep!) walk from the village. Enjoy!

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