First Day in Bavaria: Neuschwanstein Castle!

After our adventures in Bosnia & Herzegovina, my mom and I took an overnight train into Munich (and by overnight train, I mean a painstakingly long journey from Sarajevo at 11am to Munich at 6am the next morning). It wasn’t all bad. We made a friend on the first leg, read several chapters in our books, and eventually got some sleep leaning against our backpacks. When we arrived in Munich, everything was unsurprisingly closed, being so early. So we set out, backpacks on, to explore a little part of the city. We were actually wandering around looking for a hostel, but ended up finding the central square, The Marienplatz, by accident! We had fun aimlessly walking around, looking at the lederhosen inside the shop windows. And then it started snowing, out of the blue! And coming from Southern California, where it hardly ever snows, it was a lovely treat.

marienplatz
Marienplatz, Munich

When we eventually got internet access, we found that the hostel we wanted was all the way on the other side of the city. Since we wanted to catch a train to Neuschwanstein Castle that morning, we figured we didn’t have enough time to get to the hostel and catch the train, so we just headed back to the station.

Just over an hour later, we were on a bus heading towards the famous castles of King Ludwig II. Words cannot describe how excited I was to finally getting to witness the fairytale that is Neuschwanstein. I had seen pictures in travel books and on Pinterest, we had learned about it in my German class, and now I was going to see it with my own eyes!! Stepping out of the bus, you could see it right there, perched up on the hill, surrounded by snow. It was beautiful.

Our view from the train- what a beautiful countryside!
Our view from the train- what a beautiful countryside!

We purchased our tickets and had some time before our tour, so we explored the lesser-known Hohenschwangau castle. It was a lot less impressive compared to its neighbor, and we didn’t care to go inside, but we wandered the grounds nonetheless and admired its beauty from outside.

Schloss Hohenschwangau
Schloss Hohenschwangau

Finally heading towards Neuschwanstein, we started climbing the hill. Although the guide says it takes 45 minutes to reach the top, it’s really not a hard walk if you pace yourself. If walking isn’t your thing, then they offer horse-and-carriage rides as an alternative.

At the top, we were in awe, and we were snapping pictures like crazy! Unfortunately, photographing the interior is prohibited, so I have no pictures to show you from inside this beautiful castle. To me, though, the inside doesn’t even compare to the exterior. The castle itself isn’t very old, so even though King Ludwig II wanted it specifically decorated with the Romantic style and it looks old, it’s really not. And although I like that he wanted to keep it classic, I really wasn’t impressed. Besides, the King mysteriously died halfway through construction, so only a few rooms were actually completed, meaning the tour is very short (about 30 minutes).

Schloss Neuschwanstein
Schloss Neuschwanstein

I’m not sure if I would recommend the tour or not. On one hand, I think yes, because since you’re there you might as well, right? But on the other, most people only go to see the exterior (like myself) and you can do that for free. I guess if your budget is tight, don’t do the tour, but still go see the castle. If you have some wiggle room, then go for it! Otherwise you’ll keep wondering what it looks like inside.

Also, the best view of the castle is from a bridge on the mountain called the Marienbrucke. Since there was a lot of treacherous ice and snow, the trail was technically closed, although many people braved it anyways. I went, slipping and sliding all over the place, but I got a wonderful view and some great pictures!

castles!

Side note! If you’re wondering about the pronunciation of these castle names, never fear! Here’s how you say them:

Neuschwanstein= Noy-shvahn-stine

Hohenschwangau= Ho-wen-shvahn-gow

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