King Ludwig II built his fairytale castle Neuschwanstein as a retreat from public life. However, the castle was first opened to the public in 1886, a mere seven weeks after his death.
These days, around 1.4 million people from across the globe visit the castle in the Allgäu region to enjoy the splendour of the reclusive monarch’s dream world.
Ludwig, who was a big fan of Richard Wagner’s musical, mythical world, had Neuschwanstein built in the style of an old knight’s castle. His aim was to create a habitable theatrical scene, with fairytale murals providing the backdrop for him to bring his romantic interpretation of the Middle Ages to life.
However, the castle’s ancient appearance is just an illusion: The king was eager to use the latest technology and had the castle fitted with a hot air central heating system, a lift, an electronic call system for the serving staff and automatic toilet flushes.
Furthermore, running water was available on every single storey. The third and fourth storey even had telephone lines. Ludwig II never had the chance to see the castle completed during his lifetime, though he did spend a year living in an apartment on the top floor of the gate house.
Visit Schloss Neuschwanstein from Munich easily on a guided tour, by car via the A96 and the B17 or by train and bus using the inexpensive Bayern-ticket.
Tip: Some of the best photos of the castle can be taken from the Marienbrücke (bridge), which is around a 15-minute walk from Schloss Neuschwanstein and leads over the Pöllatschlucht.