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Visit Hohenschwangau Castle | Explore King Ludwig II’s legacy

Neuschwanstein CastleHohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle, Bavaria's fairytale escape

Nestled amidst the Bavarian Alps, Hohenschwangau Castle isn't just another historic site. It's a glimpse into the life of a real-life fairytale king, Ludwig II. Built by his father, Maximilian II, as a summer retreat, the 19th-century castle boasts stunning Gothic architecture and a rich interior adorned with frescoes. Beyond its beauty, Hohenschwangau holds historical weight. It was Ludwig's childhood playground, sparking his lifelong fascination with medieval knights and Arthurian legends—a fantasy reflected in his more famous creation, Neuschwanstein Castle. A visit to Hohenschwangau offers a captivating look at the roots of a king who continues to inspire.

Why visit the Hohenschwangau Castle?

Why visit the Hohenschwangau Castle?

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Hohenschwangau Castle

Who built the Hohenschwangau Castle?

Crown Prince Maximilian, later King Maximilian II of Bavaria, discovered the ruins of a medieval castle called Schwanstein while on a hike in 1819. Enchanted by the location, he purchased the ruins and embarked on an ambitious project to rebuild them in the Romantic architectural style. Construction lasted from 1833 to 1837. Maximilian envisioned Hohenschwangau not just as a residence but as a homage to medieval German history and legends. The resulting castle reflected his passion for knighthood and sagas, becoming a retreat for him and his family, including his son, the future King Ludwig II.

History of the Hohenschwangau Castle

  • Origins (1819): Crown Prince Maximilian, later King Maximilian II of Bavaria, discovered the ruins of a medieval castle called Schwanstein while on a hike. He was enchanted by the location and decided to buy the ruins.
  • Transformation (1833-1837):  Maximilian II envisioned Hohenschangau not just as a residence but as a homage to medieval German history and legends. He embarked on an ambitious project to rebuild the castle in the Romantic architectural style. The resulting castle reflected his passion for knighthood and sagas, becoming a retreat for him and his family, including his son, the future King Ludwig II.
  • Royal inspiration (Mid-19th Century): King Ludwig II spent much of his childhood at Hohenschwangau Castle. The castle's beauty and its connection to medieval legends would leave a lasting impression on him.
  • A new dream (1868): After he acceded to the throne, Ludwig II set out to build a “New Hohenschwangau Castle"—what we know today as Neuschwanstein Castle. He envisioned Neuschwanstein to be an even more impressive recreation of a medieval-style castle, a fairy-tale vision of monarchy.
  • Shifting plans (1868-1886): The construction of Neuschwanstein was a complex and ever-evolving project. Ludwig II was known for his meticulous attention to detail and his desire to incorporate modern features into the castle. This, along with the challenging mountaintop building site, caused delays. As the project progressed, Ludwig II also made changes to the plans, such as replacing guest rooms with a grand Throne Room.
  • Legacy (1886-Present): Neuschwanstein was never fully completed. Ludwig II died in 1886, and the castle was opened to the public as a museum shortly thereafter. Today, both Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles are popular tourist destinations, attracting millions of visitors each year.

Hohenschwangau Castle highlights

Hohenschwangau Castle

A window into royal history

Hohenschwangau served as a summer retreat for King Ludwig II's father, King Maximilian II. Exploring the castle provides a glimpse into the lives of Bavarian royalty and the inspiration behind the nearby Neuschwanstein. Here, young Ludwig spent his childhood immersed in medieval legends and Arthurian tales, sparking a lifelong fascination that would be central to the design and themes of Neuschwanstein.

Hohenschwangau Castle

Architectural gem of the Gothic Revival

Hohenschangau stands as a testament to the 19th-century Gothic Revival architectural style. Precise stonework with pointed arches, ribbed vaulted ceilings, and ornate tracery captivates visitors. The castle's colorful frescoes depicting scenes from myths and legends further enhance its grandeur, while its dramatic mountaintop setting overlooking the Alpsee Lake creates a truly awe-inspiring atmosphere.

Hohenschwangau Castle

Twin to Neuschwanstein Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle is located just a short walk or carriage ride from the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle. Visitors can easily combine a visit to Hohenschwangau with a tour of Neuschwanstein, making it a perfect two-castle day trip. Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular castles in Europe and a major draw for tourists.

Hohenschwangau Castle

Breathtaking alpine vistas

Nestled amidst the majestic Bavarian Alps, Hohenschangau boasts breathtaking panoramic views. Gaze out over the crystal-clear emerald waters of the Alpsee lake, a mirror reflecting the snow-capped peaks that rise majestically in the distance, creating a picture-perfect Alpine panorama.

Hohenschwangau Castle

Fairytale ambiance

The castle's colorful frescoes depicting scenes from myths and legends, ornate furniture fit for a king, and dramatic setting perched high above the Alpsee Lake all contribute to a fairytale ambiance. This makes it a very attractive destination, especially for families with children.

Hohenschwangau Castle

Less crowded

While both castles are popular, Hohenschangau generally experiences shorter lines and smaller crowds compared to Neuschwanstein. This can make for a more relaxed and enjoyable touring experience.




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From Munich: Neuschwanstein & Linderhof Castle Grounds Full Day Guided Tour
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Guided Tour of Neuschwanstein Castle Grounds with Bus/Train Transfers from Munich
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10 hr. 30 min.
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From Munich: Linderhof and Neuschwanstein Castle Day trip
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Frequently asked questions about Hohenschwangau Castle

Why is the Hohenschwangau Castle famous?

Hohenschwangau Castle is a gem, offering stunning architecture, a rich history, and a glimpse into the inspiration behind Neuschwanstein Castle. It's a picture-perfect Alpine panorama that will leave you speechless.

Can I see Neuschwanstein from Hohenschwangau Castle?

Yes!  Hohenschwangau Castle offers stunning views of the nearby Neuschwanstein Castle.

Do I need separate tickets to visit Hohenschwangau Castle?

Yes, you will need a separate ticket to visit Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle. However, combination tickets for both castles can be purchased.

How far is Hohenschwangau Castle from Neuschwanstein?

Hohenschwangau Castle is just a short walk or carriage ride from Neuschwanstein Castle. It's a very manageable distance to visit both in one day.

Who built the Hohenschwangau Castle?

King Maximilian II of Bavaria commissioned the construction of Hohenschwangau Castle.

Why was the Hohenschwangau Castle built?

King Maximilian II built Hohenschwangau Castle as a summer retreat and homage to medieval German history and legends.

When does the Hohenschwangau Castle open?

The opening hours of Hohenschwangau Castle vary depending on the season. During the summer season, which runs from March 23rd to October 15th, the castle is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. In the winter season, from October 16th to March 22nd, the hours are a bit shorter, with the castle open daily from 10 am to 4 pm.

Where is the Hohenschwangau Castle located?

Hohenschwangau Castle is located in Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany.

How can I reach the Hohenschwangau Castle on public transport?

To get to Hohenschwangau Castle from Memmingen Airport, you can take the FlixBus 163 to Füssen (Kemptener Straße). From there, walk to Bahnhof, Füssen, and take either bus number 9651 or 73 to the Hohenschwangau Gymnasium bus stop, which is the closest stop to the castle. If you are driving from Memmingen Airport, take the A96 and merge into the A7 at Kempten. From there, take the B310 to reach Hohenschwangau, Schwangau.

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