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The Tailor-Made Guide to The Romantic Road, Bavaria - Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles

Updated: Nov 2


Guide to Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road

Author: Barry Pickard

The Romantic Road is a beautiful and charming road in Germany that takes travellers on a journey through some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country. The road spans from Würzburg to Füssen, taking you through charming small towns and beautiful countryside. Two of the highlights of the Romantic Road is the visit to both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles. These two stunning castles, set amidst the breathtaking Bavarian Alps, are not only historical treasures, but also architectural masterpieces.


Join me as I discover two of the most beautiful castles in the world and the other delights of the quaint village of Hohenschwangau.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Neuschwanstein Castle

Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting these castles appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating these castles and the Romantic Road, or indeed, a general tour of Bavaria itself.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road

Neuschwanstein Castle


Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century historicist palace on a rugged hill of the foothills of the Alps in the very south of Germany, just north of Austria. Neuschwanstein Castle as a dream come true. It is the perfect embodiment of the fairytale castle that we all imagine as children. The castle's stunning beauty and its enchanting atmosphere are sure to capture the hearts of visitors of all ages. It is truly a magical place.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria and construction began in 1869. Ludwig was a very eccentric man, and he was known for his lavish spending on his castles. He was also a big fan of the operas of Richard Wagner, and he wanted to build a castle that would be a fitting stage for Wagner's music.



Construction continued until Ludwig’s death in 1886. However, the castle was never fully completed. Ludwig's extravagant spending on his castles led to him being declared mentally incompetent and deposed by the Bavarian government. He was eventually found drowned in Lake Starnberg, under mysterious circumstances.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Neuschwanstein Castle

Despite its unfinished state, Neuschwanstein Castle was opened to the public in 1886, just seven weeks after Ludwig's death. The castle quickly became one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. Today, over 1.4 million people visit Neuschwanstein Castle each year.



Neuschwanstein Castle is a masterpiece of 19th-century architecture and design. The castle's exterior is dominated by its white limestone façade, soaring towers, and ornamental turrets. It is easy to see why it is said that it was the inspiration for the castle in Disney's Sleeping Beauty.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Neuschwanstein Castle

One of the exterior highlights of the castle is the Gateway Building. This was the first building in the castle to be completed and the upper floor were made into temporary accommodation for when the king visited the construction site.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Neuschwanstein Castle

The interior of the castle is just as impressive, with its richly decorated rooms, elaborate murals, and stunning views of the surrounding Alps. Interestingly, the castle was built with the latest technology of the time, including central heating and running water.

Unfortunately, no photography or filming is allowed inside the castle, so you will have to settle for my description of its most impressive chamber, the Throne Room. This magnificent room was designed to be the centrepiece of the castle, but it was never finished before Ludwig's death. The room is dominated by a massive golden throne, which sits beneath a canopy of blue and white velvet. The walls of the room are decorated with murals depicting scenes from Wagner's operas.


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Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Courtyard

Guide to Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle


Tickets for Neuschwanstein Castle can be purchased online or at the ticket centre in Hohenschwangau. These are timed tickets, so to avoid disappointment, I’d advise booking online as far in advance as possible due to how popular the castle is. Tickets to Hohenschwangau Castle and the Museum of Bavarian Kings can be booked at the same time. The visit to the castle is by guided tour and these are available in English and other languages. Again, check the booking site for when non-German tours are being conducted. I would advise planning to spend a full day in the area and make sure that you leave time between visits to the castles so that you can enjoy the trails and landscape around these strongholds.



The castle is located on a hilltop, so be prepared for a steep walk to get to the entrance which will take fifteen to twenty minutes. Shuttle buses are in operation and there are also horse drawn carriages available.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: Also note that the best time to visit Neuschwanstein Castle is during the shoulder season (April-May and September-October), when the crowds are smaller. I visited in October and found this to be a good choice and not too busy (and thankfully it was a dry day!)


If you are interested in journeying along the rest of the Romantic Road, check out our previous blog post: The Tailor-Made Guide to The Romantic Road, Dinkelsbühl to Füssen


Pöllat Gorge


There are a number of paths that visitors can take to explore the area around Neuschwanstein Castle. One of the most popular trails is the Pöllat Gorge Path. This path takes visitors through the Pöllat Gorge, which is a narrow ravine that is located below Neuschwanstein Castle. The path is about 1.5 miles long and offers beautiful views of the castle and the gorge.


If you are enjoying this post, remember and subscribe to my mailing list to receive my latest blog posts.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Pöllat Gorge

The Marienbrücke, also known as Queen Mary's Bridge, is a suspension bridge over the Pöllat Gorge that offers stunning views of Neuschwanstein Castle and the surrounding Alps. The bridge is located about a 10-minute walk from the castle. The bridge was built in 1845 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria as a gift to his wife, Queen Mary of Prussia. The bridge was originally made of wood, but it was replaced with a steel bridge in 1866.


Read on to find out about the Hohenschwangau Castle.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Marienbrücke
Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
View from Marienbrücke

Tailor-Made Top Tip: The Marienbrücke is a popular tourist destination, but it is important to note that the bridge can be very crowded, especially during the summer months. Visitors should also be aware that the bridge is quite high up, so it is not suitable for people who are afraid of heights.


Read on to find out about the other amazing places to visit in Hohenschwangau.



Hohenschwangau Castle


Hohenschwangau Castle is a 19th-century palace almost a stone’s throw away from it’s more famous neighbour, Neuschwanstein Castle. It was the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria and was built by his father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Hohenschwangau Castle

The castle's history dates back to the 12th century, when it was a stronghold of the knights of Schwangau. The castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the centuries, and it was eventually acquired by King Maximilian II of Bavaria in 1832.


Maximilian II was a great admirer of medieval German culture, and he wanted to rebuild Hohenschwangau Castle in the Gothic Revival style. He commissioned the architect Domenico Quaglio to design the new castle, and construction began in 1833. The castle was completed in 1837, and Maximilian II and his family moved in.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle became the summer residence of the Bavarian royal family, and it was here that King Ludwig II spent his childhood. Ludwig was fascinated by the castle's medieval architecture and its romantic atmosphere, and it is easy to see why he dreamed of building his fairytale masterpiece just across the valley.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
View from Hohenschwangau Castle

Again, photography is not allowed within the castle itself, but trust me, the Throne Room is magnificent, as are the Queen’s Apartments, which the private residence of Queen Marie of Prussia, the wife of King Maximilian II. The apartments are decorated with furniture and artwork from the 19th century. Similarly, the Swan Knight's Room is a must see. This room is named after the Swan Knight, a legendary figure in German mythology, and the room is decorated with murals depicting scenes from the Swan Knight's story.


Tailor-Made Top Tip: As with Neuschwanstein Castle, the interiors can only be visited by booking the guided tour.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle is a truly magical place. It is a masterpiece of Gothic Revival architecture and design. The castle's stunning architecture, its lavishly decorated rooms, and its enchanting atmosphere are sure to capture the hearts of visitors of all ages.


If you are enjoying this post, remember and subscribe to my mailing list to receive my latest blog posts.



The Museum of the Bavarian Kings


The Museum of the Bavarian Kings can be found at the foot of Hohenschwangau Castle, on the shores of the Alpsee.It is a fascinating museum that tells the story of the Wittelsbach dynasty, which ruled Bavaria for over 700 years. The museum is housed in the former Grand Hotel Alpenrose, which was built in the late 19th century and was once a popular destination for royalty and other wealthy travellers.



The museum's exhibits are divided into two main parts. The first part tells the story of the Wittelsbach dynasty from its founding in the 12th century to its end in 1918. It includes a variety of artifacts, such as weapons, armour, clothing, and jewellery. There are also interactive displays that allow visitors to learn more about the Wittelsbach dynasty's history and culture.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
The Museum of the Bavarian Kings

The second part focuses on the lives and reigns of King Maximilian II and his son, King Ludwig II, two of the most important Wittelsbach rulers. King Maximilian II was a popular and respected ruler who oversaw a period of economic and cultural prosperity in Bavaria. While Ludwig II, as noted earlier, was known more for his extravagant spending on castles and other buildings, as well as his love of music and theatre.


If you are interested in visiting the other palaces and residences of the Wittelsbach rulers, check out our previous blog post: The Tailor-Made Top 25 Attractions to Visit in Munich, Part 2


Alpsee


Step out of the museum and you can’t miss the Alpsee. It is a beautiful lake, framed perfectly by the Bavarian Alps and a great spot to relax after your castle explorations. The lake is about 2.2 kilometres long and 0.6 kilometres wide, being relatively shallow, with an average depth of about 20 meters. The Alpsee is a glacial lake that was formed during the last ice age and is fed by several streams and rivers, and its water is crystal clear.


Read on to find out which towns and cities are on The Romantic Road.


Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road
Alpsee

Schloss Bräustüberl Hohenschwangau


There are a few options for eating in the village and we chose Schloss Bräustüberl Hohenschwangau and weren't disappointed. Serving wholesome German favourites, this restaurant was the perfect pitstop to refuel during a day of castles and trails.



Which Towns are on The Romantic Road?


There are actually 29 locations along the 285 miles of The Romantic Road, making this an action packed route for lovers of history, art and culture. The recommended route starts at Würzburg and ends in Füssen, with the climax being Neuschwanstein Castle. But, to be honest, I don't feel that it matters in which direction you go.

Würzburg

Wertheim

Tauberbischofsheim

Lauda-Koenigshofen

Bad Mergentheim

Weikersheim

Rottingen

Creglingen

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Schillingsfürst

Feuchtwangen

Dinkelsbühl

Wallerstein

Nordlingen

Harburg

Donauwörth

Rain

Augsburg

Friedberg

Landsberg am Lech

Hohenfurch

Schongau

Peiting

Rottenbuch

Wildsteig

Steingaden

Halblech

Schwangau

Füssen


How to Travel The Romantic Road and Where to Stay


I found that hiring a car and driving The Romantic Road was a very easy way of seeing all the sights on this amazing journey. The route from Würzburg to Füssen uses very good B-grade roads, which are in perfect condition and are double or sometimes single lane. If you do not fancy driving, the towns on the route are connected by public bus and by the Romantic Road Buses, which operate the route betweeen April and October. The bigger towns are also connected by the Deutsche Bahn. To get to the route in the first place, there are nearby aiports at Munich, Nuremberg, and Stuttgart


As for accommodation, there are options all along the route, with the main centres to stay being Würzburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Dinkelsbühl, Nördlingen, Augsburg, Landsberg am Lech and Füssen.



Related Blog Posts


If you would like more information on Bavaria and how to visit these locations, please view the Tailor-Made Itineraries posts below:


The Tailor-Made Guide to The Romantic Road, Dinkelsbühl to Füssen

The Tailor-Made Top 21 Attractions to Visit in Munich, Part 1

The Tailor-Made Top 25 Attractions to Visit in Munich, Part 2

The Tailor-Made Guide to 6 Museums You Should Visit in Ingolstadt, Bavaria

The Tailor-Made Guide to 5 Attractions You Should Visit in Bamberg, Bavaria

The Tailor-Made Top 11 Attractions to Visit in Nuremberg

The Tailor-Made Guide to Nazis V-2 Rockets and Where to Find Them

The Tailor-Made Guide to Visiting the Eagle's Nest and Berchtesgaden



Conclusion


The Romantic Road is a must-visit destination for travellers who want to experience the true beauty of Germany. The journey is not only about visiting Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles, but it's also about immersing oneself in the country's history and culture. Whether you're a history buff, an architecture lover, or simply someone who loves scenic drives, the Romantic Road is sure to leave a lasting impression. So, pack your bags and start your journey today!



Comment below and let us know what your favourite attraction on the Romantic Road was.


Don’t forget that Tailor-Made Itineraries delights in creating bespoke self-guided tours. So, if visiting these castles appeals to you, reach out to me by email. I would be more than happy to design a self-guided tour around your requirements incorporating these castles and the Romantic Road, or indeed, a general tour of Bavaria itself.



Join me next time on my adventures when I visit the Eagle's Nest and Berchtesgaden. Tailor-Made Itineraries posts every two weeks, and you can subscribe to the latest blog and newsletter here. Until then, happy reading and safe travels.

Barry

Contact Me: tailoritineraries@gmail.com

Tailor-Made Itineraries creates one-of-a-kind bespoke self-guided travel itineraries for adventurous and curious travellers.

These self-guided tours deliver a personalised and exciting holiday experience that takes the effort out of trip planning.

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Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Roaduschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road

Guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Roaduschwanstein Castle and the Romantic Road

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