The Neuschwanstein Castle sits atop the hill above Hoehenschwangau village, a two hour train ride from the German city of Munich.
It is well knows as the castle that inspired the design of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella castles.
Despite its dreamy setting and design, this fairytale castle has a dark and sad past.
The castle, built by Bavarian King Ludwig II overlooks the beautiful lakes, hills, farmlands and forests in the Bavarian countryside.
However, in a sad twist of fate, King Ludwig II never got to fully enjoy the palace he built.
He was declared insane and died in 1886 under suspicious circumstances before completion of the castle.
Shortly after his death, Neuschwanstein was opened to the paying public to recoup debts incurred for its construction.
Till today, the castle still hosts visitors from every corner of the globe who are privy to parts of the castle, the amazing views surrounding it, and the stories behind its opulent interior and sad past.
Bookings to visit the castle are best made days in advance and only small groups are allowed in at allocated times. So if you are planning to visit this castle, do check out this site to make the necessary preparation: http://www.neuschwanstein.de/deutsch/tourist/index.htm
Without prior booking, we narrowly made it into the last group for the day – this too entailed a four to five hour wait from the time we braved the long queues to purchase tickets from the counter.
This was in the middle of winter, so one can only imagine how long the lines will be during summer and peak holiday seasons.
No photography is allowed in the castle.
From Munich, we boarded the train to Fussen, and then a bus to Hoehenschwangau. This journey took about two hours.
Hoehenschwangau is a small village and the ticket counter, visitor information centre, restaurants, toilets, and buses and horse-carts to the castle on the hill are all easily accessible and within walking distance.
The less popular and often bypassed 12th century Hoehenschwangau Castle sits on a hill above the Alpsee Lake, just across Neuschwanstein.