I love swans. I’m just drawn to them although I’m not sure why. I think they are some of the most graceful creatures on the planet. And the lake beside Schloss Hohenschwangaue has swans in it. After all, swans are a big part of both castles!
The swans are beautiful as they gracefully glide over the water of the Alpsee. Enjoy them from a distance. On my last visit to the castles, I was really disheartened to see a tour group make their way down to the water’s edge to get photos with these wondrous creatures. I was shocked at how unthoughtful these tourists were by invading the home of these birds just to get a photo. As they posed for the many photos they were trying to get, being loud and obnoxious in the process, the birds became agitated and began to peck at them. And that only made the tourists laugh and try to get closer. Not only were they rude, but they were not that smart either.
Do me a favor, please? Enjoy these creatures from a distance and appreciate their beauty and gracefulness from the pathways.
While there are bathrooms around Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, they are not well advertised and when you do find them they are usually crowded – although some more than others. Here are the ones that I’ve found in my visits to the area:
1. Near the main parking area below the ticket office (see my tip on parking for an explanation of the parking areas); there is a bathroom under the shop next to P1. It costs 50 cents to use, payable at the turnstile.
2. The only one I can find (not in a restaurant or museum) near the ticket office and P4 is in a large building across from the parking lot above the ticket office (sitting directly below Hohenschwangau Castle). This is typically the bathroom with the longest lines – mostly because it is not big enough to accommodate the numbers of visitors it gets on a daily basis and also because it costs only 30 cents BUT you must pay using three 10 cent pieces. You can see people scrambling for the correct change to work the turnstiles. I would avoid this one if at all possible.
3. If you are in the area of the above bathroom (my #2) and have a little bit of time – walk up the hill to Hohenschwangau Castle using the steps or the road (it will take you 10-15 minutes). In the courtyard of the castle is a free bathroom that doesn’t usually have the crowds of the one I just mentioned.
4. There are bathrooms at the end of the tour of Neuschwanstein, inside the castle near the café. These are free (well, you paid for a ticket to get inside so they should be free!).
There are other bathrooms inside restaurants and museums, but oftentimes these are only for patrons of that establishment.
As with many public bathrooms around Europe, there may or may not be supplies on hand. My advice is to always carry tissues and hand sanitizer along with you as you travel (as well as coins in various amounts).
A leitmotif of the castle’s interiors is the swan. The swan was the heraldic animal of the Counts of Schwangau, whose successor the king considered himself to be. It is also the Christian symbol of the "purity" for which Ludwig strived.
Hohenschwangau was decorated with scenes from medieval legends and poetry, including the legend of the swan knight Lohengrin. Ludwig identified himself when still a boy with Lohengrin, to whom Richard Wagner dedicated a romantic opera in 1850.