Hi friends, welcome to my Germany and Austria series 🙂 On our third day in Germany, we left early and headed to the Tegelberg mountain gondola located about an hour drive from our hotel. The drive over was so beautiful and idyllic. I loved passing by all the little villages dispersed throughout the rolling hills, it was exactly how I pictured this part of Germany would be. Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to go up the cable car, but we appreciated that the employee told us there wasn’t a view before we bought our tickets. I feel like some places would just try to take your money.
The Tegelberg cable car was about half a mile from Neuschwanstein Castle so we headed over to the parking lot and grabbed some coffee. We didn’t realize the German iced coffee “Eisakaffee” is essentially an affogato, so at 10am we had our iced coffee with a big scoop of ice cream. I don’t usually have ice cream for breakfast, but this worked out because it gave us plenty of energy for the steep trek up to the castle. I’d say from the parking lot it took about twenty minutes to reach the castle entrance, but we were booking it. Jon set a fast pace up and we had plenty of time for pictures and the restroom before our tour. I’d definitely recommend leaving yourself at least thirty minutes for the trek because they are very strict about people joining the right tour, and the only way to see inside the castle is with a tour. You can also pay to take a bus up part of the way to Mary’s Bridge, and then walk about ten minutes downhill to the castle, or take a horse carriage.
We enjoyed the views of the town from the landing just below Neuschwanstein Castle. We even saw some paragliders enjoying the beautiful day.
The creator of this castle, Mad King Louis (Ludwig II) who I’ve mentioned in previous posts, came to rule Bavaria at the age of 18. Growing up in Hohenschwangau Castle (next post) he loved to read fairy tales and always envisioned creating a storybook castle himself. When he became the king, he finally had the funds to start building Neuschwanstein Castle in 1869. He lived in the castle for only 172 days before being declared mentally unfit to rule at the age of 40, and evicted from his beloved home. Two days later he was tragically found dead in Lake Starnberg and nobody knows if he was murdered or committed suicide. Construction stopped in 1886 after his mysterious death and only about one third of the interior was finished. The castle opened to the public seven weeks later and remains an incredibly popular travel destination to this day.
You’ve probably seen this castle before because it was Walt Disney’s inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. This castle also served as a storage area for the Nazis in WWII hiding 49 railcars worth of artwork! Nowadays it amazes an estimated 1.4 million travelers a year.
The tour lasted about thirty minutes and was a nice overview of Ludwig II and the rooms we saw. No pictures are allowed during the tour except for the bottom floor, but we saw about fifteen rooms with original furniture and fixtures. I’d highly recommend getting your castle tickets as early as you can because it does sell out online, and you’re not guaranteed a ticket onsite.
The views from the castle balcony overlooking Alpsee were unbeatable, I can easily see why King Ludwig II would want to build his castle here. The yellow castle in the pictures below is Hohenschwangau Castle where he grew up.
After touring Neuschweinstein we headed to Mary’s Bridge for the iconic photo spot. This bridge gets very crowded, but we were lucky to get a picture! It’s hard to believe this castle just exists seemingly in the middle of the Bavarian Alps!
You can hike down through Pollat Gorge for a more scenic view, but it was closed when we went, so we took another trail down. Stay tuned for Hohenschwangau Castle and our walk around Alpsee coming up next 🙂
Posts in my Germany & Austria series: