I heard from someone that Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyland was patterned after Schloss Neuschwanstein. So, instead of heading to the replica, better go and see the original.
Locally known as "mad" King Ludwig II's castle, Neuschwanstein is nestled in the mountain. Whew! I could just imagine Ludwig surveying his surroundings and his constituents.
My favorite room in the castle is Ludwig's own bathroom. The guide told us that, while soaking in the tub, Ludwig likes to gaze at the stars. But, glass roof is yet to be invented then, so he simulated the black sky and the bright stars through lighted candles enveloped in black curtains.
Well, maybe, Ludwig is not a "mad" King, but a King with a vision, a man ahead of his time.
This is the main reason why anyone comes to Fussen. At least the first time. This is the castle that Disney used as a model for the one at DW. There are tours in English and German at least of the 16 completed rooms here. I dont believe they allowes pics during the tour but could be wrong.
Neuschwanstein Castle is easy to get to from Fussen. The public bus departs from across the street from the train station at least every hour and drops you off at the tourism office in the town of Hohenschwangau which is where the castle is.
A round trip ticket cost 3.40euros per person. There is also a walking trail just off the main road which is about 3km long.
You can only visit the inside of the castle on a guided tour. You purchase tickets for the tour just up the street from where the bus drops you off (it opens at 8am).
Once you have your ticket, you have to get up the hill to the castle. You can walk, take the bus or a horse drawn carriage. You have to wait inside the courtyard until the time on your ticket is displayed, then you can go through the turnstile and up the stairs to the first floor where your tour will start.
The first tour of the day is at 9am, and I highly recommend arriving as early as possible to avoid the large groups who like to sleep late. Our tour was at 915am and there were only 6 people on it!
After the castle tour (about 35min) you can go onto the Marienbrucken (Mary's Bridge) which offers a nice view of the castle. You can also visit the waterfall below by going downstairs. If you cross the Mary's Bridge, you can follow that winding path up the hill to the look off. There are no railings, so you must be extremely careful! There is even a marker for a person who fell off the cliff as reminder of the danger. The trail branches part way up, but goes nowhere in particular. It stops at a log across the path, but is a nice hike if you like hikes.
A bathroom tip: bathrooms in and around the castle are clean and free. In Hohenschwangau, they are crowded and cost about 40cents. Go when you can!
Schloss Hohenschwangau is the older of the 2 castles. One could say it is the ancestral castle, since King Ludwig's parents lived there. It is known for the figure of a dove on top of one of its towers.
Going up, we took the fastest (but "steepest") path in our excitement and haste to see the inside of the castle. Midway, there is a couple of benches where you can rest and marvel in the beauty below you. Going down, we took the path designed for a more leisurely pace which was a wise decision as it led us toward the lake.
I visited here with a tour group out of Munich. Along with this castle, we also visited Linderhof and Hohenschwangau Castle. Obviously, Neuschwanstein was the most impressive architecturally, but the other two were also nice in their own rights. What I enjoyed most about the tour was the ballroom and the grotto. I love the fact that the king had paintings of Tristan and Isolde in his bedroom and then a little grotto right off of it. He really was the "fairytale king." I was sorry that Wagner never got to see the room that was built for him to perform in. You actually don't see a lot of the castle on the tour. Maybe only about 1/3 of it, but with over 100 rooms a full tour would take forever. Since the castle was never really finished some of it wouldn't make sense to see anyway. The tour was in English and they offered other languages as well. It's a long walk up and if you don't walk well you might want to consider the horse and cart.
On a side note, before going on the tour I had lunch in a restaurant at the foot of the mountain. We were sitting in a window but the fog was so thick that we couldn't see a thing. The waiter came over and said, "It's too bad the weather isn't good for you. Usually this is the best seat in the house because you have a panorama of the castle." Well, right before we got up the fog parted for about 10 seconds and the castle came into view like a ghost. Then it very slowly disappeared again.
All photos are from the official site.
Mad King Ludwig II's castle is a must-visit site. It's so much like a fairytale it's no wonder it was used as the basis for the Disneyworld castle.
The castle was built from 1869 to 1886, but building ceased upon Ludwig's mysterious death - with only 1/3 of the castle complete. The rooms shown on the tour are just unbelievable. And the day we visited they were going to have a concert in the concert hall that evening. Of course the concert had been sold out forever.
If you go during high tourist season, it's recommended that you either visit as part of a tour group or get reservations a minimum of 24 hours in advance. We visited the castle towards the end of September, in the afternoon, without reservations, and were fine. There were 2 people in line a head of us, and our tickets were for a tour that started in 45 minutes. That gave us plenty of time for the 10 minute bus ride up the hill, a short hike to Mary's bridge to take photos, and another short, downhill hike to the castle for our tour.
Mary's Bridge (Marienbrucke) is where Ludwig marveled at his castle, and you can do the same. After getting off the bus (or buggy, or hiking up the hill), follow the signs on the paths and take the short hike to Mary's bridge & start snapping photos with the other travellers. If you cross the bridge, the trail (now dirt) continues, is described as a bit dangerous, but has another spectacular view of the castle. We didn't have time to do this.
Another added bonus was the watching the paragliders next to the mountain.
If you´ve arrived in Fussen then you must not leave without taking the horse and carriage ride up to the famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
Up to 12 people can sit in these lovely old Bavarian carriages with blankets over the knees and check out the views as it winds its way up the steep hill to the castle.
Pulled by 2 horses with a cheerful master holding the reins this was a thoroughly enjoyable 40 minute ride....even if it was snowing!
This ride only costs 5 euros and is worth every cent.
Kind Ludwig had this castle built and only stayed about 6 months total here before he died ( in the nearby lake with his psychiatrist. still remains a mystery because he drowned but was known to be an excellent swimmer( ludwig) and no one can explain why psychiatrist was there with him). Anyway, there are many unfinished rooms and many are finished. One area that was interesting is a cave Ludwig had built for himself.. you walk to this little room past a beautiful view and its a man made cave that he liked..
The place is huge and so many rooms. You cannot take photos though. You book tour ahead of time by buying tickets for a certain time. Then meet inside castle area for your tour number. You cant go yourself and tour, you become part of a group assigned to that tour number and time.
I think the tour is way too expensive ...you cant take pictures. The english speaking tour guide was so hard to understand, her English was pretty bad.
Ticketcenter Hohenschwangau is where you bu tickets and you must buy your ticket before you go up to the castle.
9 euros regular
Children and young people under 18 are free.
"King's ticket" for both Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle on the same day: 17 euros
King Ludwig's childhood castle.....its across the way, down the hill from Neuchwanstein. If you were to walk, i would allow at least 45 minutes by the time you walk down the big hill from Neuchwanstein and up the big hill to this castle. You see this castle same was as you saw Neuchwanstein and that is with the ticket you purchased from ticket center. There is a guided tour and its pretty good. The guide was much better here than at Neuchwanstein ( English speaking guide). You can also decide which castle to see first....i picked Neuchwanstein first because it was more convenient because i was closer by staying at the schlossrestaurant neuchwanstein so made sense to go there first, then walk over to this castle
If you have come to Fussen its probably to visit the amazingly beautiful castles. The most famous, Neuschwanstein Castle was built by King Ludwig or The Mad King Ludwig in 1869 overlooking the Pollat Gorge in homage to Wagner the composer and when he died in 1886 the castle was unfinished. It remains so to this day with only 32 rooms out of some 300, completed.
One of Germanys famous landmarks is visited by over 6000 tourists a day during the summer months and at only 9 euros entrance fee this really is worth a visit.
Walt Disney copied this amazing architecture to use as his Sleeping Beautys´ Castle and is the famous sight in all the Disneylands and Worlds, and the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang used several areas in the grounds for filming.
The only setback are the 165 steps up to the Castle and the 181 down, so its not recommended for those who have difficulty with stairs.
Fussen is probably most notable as the location of King Ludwig II's most famous castle Neuschanstein--the castle after which Cinderella's Castle at Disney's Magic Kingdom is modeled.
You can walk (20-40 min), take a short bus trip (2,60 euro RT), or horse and carriage ride (5,00 euro up/2,50 down) to the top of the hill where the castle is located.
Parking: 4,00 euros
Tickets: cost 9,00 euros for adults to take the 30min tour via handset
tickets - 0900-1500
tours - 1000-1600
tickets - 0800-1700
tours - 0900-1800
Closed - Dec 24, 25, 31, Jan 1 and Fasching Tue
Handicap tours are avaiable Wednesdays at 1600 if you call in advance (08362-939880).
The bridge behind Neuschwanstein offers a fantastic view of the castle. If you are at the castle, it is about a 15 minute hike up a path. It is also seemed some of the tour buses dropped off above the bridge and then people walked down. If heights make you nervous, this is not the bridge for you.
This palace is one of the highlights of the Romantic road journey, and is the most well known aspect of Fussen. Built for King Ludwig the palace was never lived in as it did not meet his standards, suprisingly! Well worth a visit. But make sure you arrive early as you can only visit the palace with a guide and they run guides in three or 4 different languages every 1/2 hour. We arrived at about 10:30 and were able to book in for the 4:30 english tour. I am sure many people missed out on the day as the lines were huge when we left.
Of course the castles are here, but this is a really cute area to explore! i would recommend walking around or driving, just seeing the sights. On my drive here from Munich, i have to say it was a beautiful drive! it would be fun just to spend maybe half day or a day exploring surrounding area.