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Disney Inspiration: Neuschwanstein Castle


Did you know that the Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle? Nestled in the hills of Bavaria, this is one spot you don’t want to miss!

Having visited Cinderella’s Castle when I was very young, I couldn’t imagine anything comparable to the enchantment and fantasy that it possessed. That was until I visited Neuschwanstein last winter and had a first-hand experience with the famous muse.

Story of Neuschwanstein Castle

The isolated location of the castle, between the Alpine foothills in the south and a hilly landscape in the north, was intended not as a defense strategy. Rather it was built to provide a private, quiet place for the reclusive Ludwig II of Bavaria. He had spent his childhood in the family summer residence in the area. When Ludwig became king in 1864, he commissioned the palace named “New Hohenschwangau Castle”. It was to be built over the ruins of two previous family residences, the two Hohenschwangau Castles. It was renamed to Neuschwanstein after his death.

Upon visiting the castle today, you can see that the Hohenschwangau Castle (built over another castle’s ruins) is also still standing within the vicinity of Neuschwanstein. (A bit confusing, I know!).

View from the hike up to Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau Castle is in the distance.
View from the hike up to Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau Castle is in the distance.

How To Get There

Getting to the castle can be done by private car or public transport including the train or a bus. To determine the best route for you, check here. Once you have arrived at the town of the castle, there is a still some “obstacles” that remain before you can go inside. For example, it’s located at an altitude of approximately 940 meters.

During our trip, we went up by foot, which took about 30-40 minutes. It was during wintertime and there was a lot of ice and snow. This made the scenery really beautiful, but I wouldn’t recommend going by foot in these conditions as we almost slipped a few times on the ice and it was a long way down! Other options are to arrive by shuttle or even by horse-drawn carriage.

The entrance ticket to the castle must be bought in the city itself as the ticket office. There were many tourists here, even in winter, and it was obvious where to purchase. We didn’t end up going inside (as we are poor students) but I would definitely choose to if given the choice again! I would absolutely recommend going in the summer months, when the foliage is in full bloom as the area around the castle itself is really beautiful and refreshing. Also not to be missed is the Marienbrücke, or bridge that overlooks the castle.

View from the Marienbrücke

By going on foot, you also could take some breaks along the way. As well, there was plenty of time to stop and admire the breathtaking views that stretched as far as the eye could see, equipped with lakes and little Bavarian villages. Pack a snack and plenty of water though. It’s a long way up and once you reach the castle there are food and drinks options. But, as expected, they were pretty expensive.