Neuschwanstein Castle is the Inspiration for Walt Disney’s Castle:
Schloss Neuschwanstein is one of the most recognizable castles in Europe and we are glad that our autumn visit we had time to take a tour of the interior of the castle. On a previous trip in winter, we were only able to admire Neuschwanstein Castle from the village in Hohenschwangau. On that particular trip, our tour stop at Hohenschwangau did not include a castle visit and we didn’t have a lot of time to explore on our own and neither did we come prepared with information on how to get to the castle.
Guided Tours of Neuschwanstein
Visits to the interior of Neuschwanstein Castle can only be done as part of a guided tour. Tours are conducted in German and English by Schloss Neuschwanstein guides and for visitors who do not speak these two languages, audio-guides are available in various languages.
The castle tour takes half an hour and visitors are shown through the rooms on the third and fourth floors. King Ludwig commenced building his castle in 1869, but it was never completed.
King Ludwig’s Fairytale Castle
After King Ludwig II was defeated by the Prussians and was forced to accept domination of his country by Prussia, he decided to retreat to an alternative world of fantasy. Ludwig II had a very romantic view of life in the Middle Ages and thought he could live like a king of the Middle Ages and so the castle that he wanted to build was to be “in the authentic style of the old German knights’ castles”.
The Wagner Influence
Ludwig was also very much influenced by the works of Richard Wagner and the main rooms of Neuschwanstein Castle are decorated with murals of scenes from the Germanic and Nordic sagas on which Wagner had based his works.
On the tour of the castle rooms visitors get to see Ludwig’s monuments to the medieval German knights’ and legends as well as references to Tannhäuser, Parzival and Lohengrin, all of whom the king had identified with since he was young. Particularly impressive were the King’s bedroom, the Throne Hall, the Festival Hall and the Singers’ Hall. The Singers’ Hall was one of Ludwig’s favourite projects and is the most important room in the Castle. (Note: Image to the right is from a print.)
The guide we had was excellent and our only disappointment was that photography is not allowed in the castle. Also, you do have to move quite quickly through the rooms as with the many visitors coming through, there’s no time to hang around and enjoy the features of this fairytale castle.
The tour ends on the 2nd floor where there is a shop, cafeteria and multimedia room.
View Towards Hohenschwangau
Just past the cafeteria is a balcony from which you can get great views towards Hohenschwangau Castle, the village and the surrounding area. The kitchen on the ground floor can be viewed on your own before you exit the Castle.
If you are visiting Neuschwanstein Castle on your own, note that entrance tickets must be bought at the ticket office in Hohenschwangau village before you come up to Castle. The ticket office will advise you of the possible entrance times. You will not be able to buy tickets at the Castle itself. In spite of the inclement weather during our visit, it was very busy so allow time for standing in the queue. During the summer months, the Castle receives about 6,000 visitors each day. Also, allow time for getting up to the castle and back to the village.
Although only a 30-minute tour, a visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle rooms is certainly worthwhile doing. A great view of the castle is from Marienbrücke.