Monday, April 13, 2020

Neuschwanstein Castle Guide



Neuschwanstein Castle was commenced by the Bavarian King Ludwig II in 1869 and never completed. He saw it as a monument to medieval culture and kingship, which he revered and wanted to imitate. Built and furnished in medieval styles but equipped with what at the time was the latest technology, it is the most famous work of historicism and the embodiment of German idealism. On a ridge in a magnificent setting high above the Pollät Gorge with the mountains as a backdrop he built his ‘New Castle’ over the remains of two small medieval castles.  It is one of the best known and most frequently visited and photographed buildings in the world, rightfully so. The setting of Neuschwanstein could not be more idyllic. However, movement in the foundation area has to be continuously monitored, and the sheer rock walls must be repeatedly secured. The harsh climate also has a detrimental effect on the limestone façades, which will have to be renovated section by section over the next few years. In terms of European castles, this one is newer being it was begun building in 1868.

In Neuschwanstein, the Middle Ages were only an illusion: behind the medieval appearance of the castle the latest technology was in operation and every comfort was ensured.

The rooms of the Palace, the royal residence, were fitted with hot air central heating. Running water was available on every floor and the kitchen had both hot and cold water. The toilets had an automatic flushing system. The king used an electric bell system to summon his servants and adjutants. On the third and fourth floors there were even telephones. Meals did not have to be laboriously carried upstairs: for this purpose there was a lift.

The latest technology was also used for the construction process itself. The cranes were driven by steam engines, and the Throne Room was incorporated by means of a steel construction. One of the special features of Neuschwanstein is the large window panes. Windows of this size were still unusual even in Ludwig II's day. 

The apartments and state rooms of the king are on the third and fourth floors. The rooms on the second floor were never finished and today house a shop, a cafeteria and a multimedia room.


The paintings of Neuschwanstein were inspired by the operas of Richard Wagner. The pictures were modeled on the medieval legends that the composer had also taken as the basis for his works. Ludwig II, King of Bavaria since 1864, addressed the following lines to the man he so greatly admired, Richard Wagner:

«It is my intention to rebuild the old castle ruin of Hohenschwangau near the Pöllat Gorge in the authentic style of the old German knights' castles, and I must confess to you that I am looking forward very much to living there one day (in 3 years); there will be several cozy, habitable guest rooms with a splendid view of the noble Säuling, the mountains of Tyrol and far across the plain; you know the revered guest I would like to accommodate there; the location is one of the most beautiful to be found, holy and unapproachable, a worthy temple for the divine friend who has brought salvation and true blessing to the world. It will also remind you of "Tannhäuser" (Singers' Hall with a view of the castle in the background), "Lohengrin'" (castle courtyard, open corridor, path to the chapel); this castle will be in every way more beautiful and habitable than Hohenschwangau further down, which is desecrated every year by the prose of my mother; they will take revenge, the desecrated gods, and come to live with Us on the lofty heights, breathing the air of heaven.

Almost all the aspects of Ludwig's Neuschwanstein are mentioned here. What is not mentioned, however, is the political reason for building: in 1866 Bavaria, allied with Austria, had lost a war against the expanding Prussia. Bavaria was forced to accept a "defensive and offensive alliance", which removed the king's right to dispose over his army in case of war. From 1866, therefore, Ludwig II was no longer a sovereign ruler. This limitation was the biggest misfortune of his life. In 1867 he began planning his own kingdom, in the form of his castles and palaces, where he could be a real king.




His Father had already had paths and lookout points constructed in the area around Hohenschwangau in order to be able to enjoy the scenery. In the 1840s, as a birthday present for his mountain-climbing mother, Marie, his Father had the bridge, the "Marienbrücke", built high above the Pöllat Gorge.

From the narrow mountain ridge known as the "Jugend" to the left of the Pöllat, there was a magnificent view of the mountains and lakes. Crown Prince Ludwig was often on the "Jugend".


From 1875 on he lived at night and slept during the day. The latest technology was also used for the highly elaborate coaches and sleighs in which the king traveled at night, sometimes in historic costume.



From 1885 on foreign banks threatened to seize his property. The king's refusal to react rationally led the government to declare him insane and depose him in 1886 – a procedure not provided for in the Bavarian constitution. Ludwig II was interned in Berg Palace. The next day he died in mysterious circumstances in Lake Starnberg, together with the psychiatrist who had certified him as insane.





Visits are only possible within a guided tour. The guided tour takes about 30 minutes.

Guided tours are offered daily from:
10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. (Winter opening times) and
9.00 a.m.  - 6.00 p.m. (Summer opening times)

Neuschwanstein can be reached by shuttle-bus, by horse-drawn carriage or on foot.
Bus stop castle: "Marienbrücke" Mary's Bridge (above Neuschwanstein Castle)





Price per person:
Uphill: € 2,50     Downhill: € 1,50
Roundtrip: € 3,00

Children price:
0 - 6 years: free of charge
7 - 12 years:
Uphill € 1,00     Downhill € 0,50
Roundtrip € 1,50

You pay at the cashier at the bus station or directly to the bus driver (no credit cards).
You can use the transport facilities even without an entrance ticket for the castles.

In the summer season:
First departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Mary's Bridge: at 8.00 am
Last departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Mary's Bridge: at 5.30 pm
Last transfer downhill from Neuschwanstein Castle/ Mary's Bridge: at 6.45 pm

In the winter season (in suitable weather conditions - no ice and no snow):
First departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Mary's Bridge: at 9.00 am
Last departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Mary's Bridge: at 3.30 pm
Last transfer downhill from Neuschwanstein Castle/ Mary's Bridge: at 5.00 pm

Important note: The bus does not go directly to Neuschwanstein castle. There is a steep 15 minutes walking from the bus-stop-castle to the entrance of Neuschwanstein castle. "Mary's" bridge is 5 minutes walking from the bus-stop-castle. Pets are not allowed in the bus-shuttle. The shuttle bus only operates in suitable weather conditions (no snow or ice).

Horse carriages to Neuschwanstein castle:

Carriage-stop valley: in front of Hotel Müller

Carriage-stop castle: below the Neuschwanstein castle

Price:
Uphill: € 7,00   Downhill: € 3,50

You pay directly to the horse carriage driver.

Duration of the ride: approx. 20 minutes. 

Important note: The horse carriages do not drive directly to the main entrance of the Neuschwanstein castle. You need to walk approx. 15 minutes uphill from the carriage-stop to the entrance of the castle. The horse carriages run the whole year around.


Just outside the gates of Neuschwanstein Castle you will find the perfect Hotel and restaurant:


This hotel was a popular destination for excursions even when the castle was being built around 1869. At that time, visitors and curious people who wanted to experience the progress of the magnificent building up close were drawn to the former artisan canteen . Nowhere else can you dine and spend a night closer and more beautiful than in the Neuschwanstein Castle Restaurant. You can reach the fairytale castle in just two minutes on foot! Stay in this historic, impressive and romantic place between the fairytale castle Neuschwanstein and the Hohenschwangau castle.



Not-to-miss activities: the Tegelberg mountain next to castle Neuschwanstein. There is an alpine slide perfect for all ages over 3. It is a very popular area. There are a lot of hiking trails from or to the top. At the mountain station you can enjoy a beautiful panorama view over the alps and the Bavarian landscape with its many lakes, while having refreshments or a typical Bavarian lunch at the Mountain Top Restaurant.

The easiest way to reach the top is by using the cable car.
Directly at the foot of Tegelberg mountain is the summer toboggan run and a huge children's adventure playground. Parents can easily monitor their children from the beer garden.





The Royal Crystal Thermal pool in Schwangau: Enjoy unique pools and spa area in the face of the Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau.  Let all your senses experience the elements of fire, water, earth, crystals and gemstones.

Sun bathe with the castle in the background



Romantic Road: Germany's oldest and most popular holiday route; 29 towns, 460 km for over 70 years.
The name Romantic Road expresses what many guests from home and abroad feel on seeing medieval towns or the fairy-tale castle at Neuschwanstein: fascination and the sense of being transported back in time. From Würzburg to Füssen, the Romantic Road opens up a wealth of European history, art and culture to travelers. On the way from north to south, the landscape changes from river valleys, fertile agricultural land, forests and meadows to dramatic mountain scenery: from Würzburg and wine, the Tauber Valley and Rothenburg, via the Ries, Lechfeld and Pfaffenwinkel districts to the castles of King Ludwig.
However, a journey along the Romantic Road offers much more than beautiful countryside and culinary delights. The Romantic Road thrives on the harmony of culture and hospitality, on the unending series of new vistas in polymorphic landscapes, on towns with impressive buildings that have preserved their original appearance over the centuries. Balthasar Neumann designed the Residence in Würzburg. Tilman Riemenschneider is present throughout the Tauber Valley. Carl Spitzweg was fascinated by Rothenburg and Dinkelsbühl. In the Ries district, you can see the history of the earth for yourself. Augsburg bears witness to the Romans and, with the ’Fuggerei‘, is distinguished by the first social housing, which dates back to the 16th century. The ’Wieskirche‘, one of the most famous Rococo works of art, is to be found in the Pfaffenwinkel district. Hohenschwangau and, above all, Neuschwanstein, the world-famous castle of Bavarian King Ludwig II, are dreams in stone of bygone times and mark the end of the Romantic Road at the foot of the Bavarian Alps.

If you are travelling by car, mobile home or motorcycle, simply follow the brown signs that link the individual towns along the Romantic Road. Cyclists can follow the green signs of the Romantic Road Long Distance Cycle Trail about 500 km from Würzburg to Füssen. Under the number D9, this route is also part of the German Bicycle Club (ADFC) network of cycle routes. The blue signs mark the long-distance walking trail, a genuine pleasure route of almost 315 miles that passes through beautiful countryside  and romantic towns and villages. Take time to explore the landscape, art and culinary delights that await you along the Romantic Road. On the way from the River Main to the Alps, you can be sure of discovering a host of extraordinary, inspiring and amazing sights well off the beaten path of mass tourism.
From Würzburg to Füssen, the Romantic Road opens up a wealth of European history, art and culture to travelers.

On the way from north to south, the landscape changes from river valleys, fertile agricultural land, forests and meadows to dramatic mountain scenery: from Würzburg and wine, the Tauber Valley and Rothenburg, via the Ries, Lechfeld and Pfaffenwinkel districts to the castles of King Ludwig.

However, a journey along the Romantic Road offers much more than beautiful countryside and culinary delights. The Romantic Road thrives on the harmony of culture and hospitality, on the unending series of new vistas in polymorphic landscapes, on towns with impressive buildings that have preserved their original appearance over the centuries.

From April to October, the Romantic Road buses will connect the Romantic Road, Germany’s most famous and popular holiday route, with the international gateways of Frankfurt am Main and Munich. As there are no direct rail links, and only a few towns and villages can be reached by train, the bus with its ‘hop on – hop off’ concept, which is tried and tested across the world, offers the ideal way of organizing one's own individual voyage of discovery along the Romantic Road.



Activities to get children excited for your upcoming Neuschwanstein visit:


Make your own king's crown
Would you like to feel like a king? No problem – here is a crown for you to make based on an original model. Although we've had to make it a bit smaller than the original so that you can print out all the parts at home. Let your parents give you a hand, as parts of the crown are a bit tricky to make.

The crown kit is made up of the following sections:


 All you have to do is print out the individual sections and follow the instructions.


And now, your Royal Highnesses, get busy with the scissors and glue!


Here is a Memory Cards game you can also print and cut out.


You can find coloring sheets HERE.






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