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Inside Neuschwanstein Castle | Journey through Bavarian history

Neuschwanstein Castle | Exploring Bavaria’s fairytale fortress

The Neuschwanstein Castle, nestled in the Bavarian Alps, stands as a testament to the romantic ideals of the 19th century. Built by King Ludwig II, this fairytale-like fortress is renowned for its towering turrets, picturesque spires, and panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Completed in 1886, the castle boasts opulent interiors adorned with intricate woodwork, vibrant frescoes, and majestic furnishings. Its Throne Room, Singer's Hall, and King's Bedroom showcase the king's passion for art, music, and literature, offering glimpses into a bygone era of royal extravagance.

A glimpse into King Ludwig II’s dream

The construction of Neuschwanstein Castle began in 1869 under the direction of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. The castle was built atop a rugged hill overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau, near the town of Fussen. It is believed that architects Eduard Riedel and later Georg von Dollmann were tasked with bringing the king's vision to life, resulting in a magnificent fusion of Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival architectural styles.

Neuschwanstein Castle construction process
Neuschwanstein Castle's inspiration
Neuschwanstein Castle unfinished

Unfinished project

Despite the relentless construction, Neuschwanstein was never truly completed. By 1884, sections like the Palas (main building) were habitable, allowing Ludwig to move in. However, financial strains played a significant role. The king funded the project primarily through his fortune and loans, and the ever-escalating costs became a burden. Additionally, Ludwig's mental health deteriorated, and in 1886, he was declared mentally incompetent and died shortly after.

A legacy in stone

The original plans for Neuschwanstein were far more ambitious than what was ultimately realized, with only a fraction of the intended rooms and halls completed by the time of the king's death. Though unfinished, Neuschwanstein opened to the public just weeks after Ludwig's death. It quickly became a popular tourist destination, generating revenue that helped offset the construction debts. Today, Neuschwanstein is one of the most visited castles in the world, a testament to King Ludwig's unique vision and the enduring allure of fairytales.

Neuschwanstein Castle’s grand entrance

Neuschwanstein Castle’s grand entrance
Neuschwanstein Castle’s grand entrance

Beyond the threshold

The grand entrance leads to the inner courtyard. As you look upwards in this space, enclosed by the castle buildings, you realize the enormity of the palace. From here, a bridge leads to the main building (the Palas) where the castle's most fascinating rooms reside. Choose guided tours for a comprehensive tour of the palace interiors and its grounds. Look out for the Throne Room, a two-story marvel inspired by Byzantine churches, or the Singers' Hall, a Wagnerian opera brought to life, not to mention an artificial cave inside the Neuschwanstein Castle.

Majestic spaces inside Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle Inside

The Throne Room

The Throne Room is a 2-story space with a magnificent domed ceiling adorned with intricately painted scenes. As you step inside, you are greeted by a kaleidoscope of lights across the room. The streaming sunlight is scattered through stained glass windows. A massive chandelier hangs from the center, sparkling with crystals. Even its floor is extraordinary, crafted from colorful mosaics in geometric patterns.

Neuschwanstein Castle Inside

Singers’ Hall

The Singers' Hall is a feast for the eyes and a testament to King Ludwig II's deep admiration for the composer Richard Wagner. The most striking feature of this hall is the richly colored mosaic ceiling, featuring scenes from Wagner's famous operas, Tannhuuser and Lohengrin. Admire the characters, dramatic landscapes, and mythical creatures that populate these epic stories. The walls are adorned with tapestries and paintings that echo the operatic themes.

Neuschwanstein Castle Inside

Minstrels’ Hall

Inspired by the traditions of minstrelsy, this hall serves as a testament to King Ludwig II's fascination with Germanic legends. The Minstrels’ Hall is adorned with vibrant frescoes that depict scenes of troubadours, minnesangers, and courtly gatherings. These murals capture the spirit of chivalric romance, portraying knights, damsels, and scenes of heroic deeds. The ceiling is supported by carved wooden beams and arches.

Whimsical retreats inside Neuschwanstein Castle

Whimsical retreats inside Neuschwanstein Castle

Grottos

The Neuschwanstein Castle isn’t just about grand halls and opulent chambers. Unlike a natural cave, the castle’s grotto is a marvel of human ingenuity. The ceiling is adorned with a network of artificial stalactites, crafted from lightweight materials and painted to resemble natural rock formations. 

The grotto was originally designed to be an interactive experience.  A complex system of pumps and mechanisms created a small waterfall that cascaded into the pool. Neuschwanstein’s grotto was likely inspired by the Venus Grotto at Linderhof Palace, another of his castles. The castle’s grotto was probably built to mirror the grotto on the island of Capri in Italy, a location referenced in Wagner's opera Tannhauser.

Royal quarters of Neuschwanstein Castle

The Neuschwanstein Castle was not designed as a war fortress. It was meant to serve as a private retreat for King Ludwig II and was built to indulge his extravagant fantasies. The designated living quarters are quite a sight to behold.

King’s bedroom

Fit for a fairytale monarch, the Neuschwanstein Castle’s King's bedroom is a dreamlike space. The room has large windows offering stunning views of the surrounding Bavarian Alps, a constant reminder of the beauty that surrounded King Ludwig II. The hand-painted ceiling is a true masterpiece, depicting scenes from the epic Wagnerian romance, Tristan und Isolde. Rich tapestries and luxurious furniture complete the picture, creating a space that is both comfortable and reflects the king's artistic sensibilities.

Queen’s bedroom

Neuschwanstein was never intended to house a queen. The castle’s owner, King Ludwig II remained unmarried throughout his life. While there is no intended queen, some sources refer to a ‘Lady’s Apartment’ on the third floor to be the ‘Queen’s bedroom’. The room is decorated extravagantly with colorful frescoes and lavish furniture. However, it is said that the room was never occupied.

Study room

King Ludwig II’s study room reflects his love for the arts and literature. The room is adorned with paintings, sculptures, and artifacts inspired by mythology. The room has a large desk, which is where the king likely spent the majority of his time, working on correspondence and indulging his intellectual pursuits. You will also see bookshelves lined on the wall, filled with volumes on art, music, philosophy, and history.

Dining room

The dining room, as the name suggests, was meant to host formal gatherings and diplomatic meetings. Intricate wood paneling and colorful murals on the walls set the scene, making for a grand banquet room. Such extravaganza is complemented by elaborate chandeliers hanging from the vaulted ceiling. The king likely had a smaller private dining area within his quarters, perhaps adjoining his bedroom or a sitting room.

Spiritual sanctuaries inside Neuschwanstein Castle

Spiritual sanctuaries inside Neuschwanstein Castle

Interestingly, Neuschwanstein Castle, despite being a vision of grandeur and artistic expression, doesn't have a designated chapel. King Ludwig II, the castle's architect, was a deeply religious man, but his faith was expressed more through artistic interpretations than through a dedicated worship space.

  • The Throne Room draws inspiration from Byzantine churches with its central dome and rich mosaics.  Similarly, paintings throughout the castle depict religious scenes and figures. 
  • King Ludwig's deep admiration for Richard Wagner's operas also played a role.  Wagner himself was heavily influenced by religious themes and mythology, and these influences are echoed in the castle's walls.



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From Munich: Neuschwanstein & Linderhof Castle Grounds Full Day Guided Tour
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Tips to note when visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle

  • Wear comfortable footwear: When exploring Neuschwanstein, make sure to wear comfortable, closed shoes to protect your feet. The castle is spread across a large area and has several rooms and vast grounds. Moreover, you have to walk uphill for around 20 minutes to enter the castle.
  • Respect photography policies: You cannot click pictures inside the castle. However, bring along a camera, go over to the nearby Marienbrucke, or stop at Oberamerrgau for wonderful views of the castle and the Bavarian Alps.
  • Explore nearby attractions: The Linderhof and Hohenschwangau Castle are situated quite close to Neuschwanstein and were both commissioned by King Ludwig II. Pair your visit to Neuschwanstein with these 2 castles for a comprehensive understanding of Bavaria’s ‘Mad King’ and his artistic aspirations. 
  • Avoid suitcases: Do not bring large backpacks or suitcases with you when traveling to Neuschwanstein. You have to drop them off at the cloakroom. 
  • Choose guided tours: Book Neuschwanstein Castle guided tours and take advantage of their inclusive, comfortable, air-conditioned transfers from Munich. You will also get a professional, English-speaking tour guide and can access multilingual audio guides. 

Frequently asked questions about Neuschwanstein Castle’s interiors

What’s inside Neuschwanstein Castle?

The Neuschwanstein Castle has several opulent rooms, reflecting the lavish tastes of King Ludwig II. The Throne Room and Singers’ Hall are 2 of the most extravagant rooms, highlighting the king’s Romantic and medieval aspirations. Wagner’s operas have influenced major frescoes and collections inside the palace. The castle also has elaborate, manicured gardens with scenic pathways.

How big is Neuschwanstein Castle?

The Neuschwanstein Castle is roughly 65,000 square feet. While the castle was originally supposed to have 200 rooms, only a fraction were ever finished. Despite its incompleteness, Neuschwanstein's grand scale and artistic details make it an impressive structure.

Do I need to book separate tickets to explore the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle?

Yes, you can either choose guided tours of Neuschwanstein Castle which focuses on its acquainting you with its interiors, or book tours of the castle grounds. Ideally, if you have a full day on hand, explore the castle’s vibrant interiors as well as keep aside time to roam around its gardens. Explore the nearby Linderhof Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle. 

Can I book Neuschwanstein Castle tickets online?

Yes, we recommend booking Neuschwanstein Castle tickets online to avoid standing in long lines on the day of your visit. Pre-booking tickets also helps you save time and money. You can browse from a range of options and choose the one that best suits your needs.

What are Neuschwanstein Castle’s opening hours?

The Neuschwanstein Castle is open from 9 am to 6 pm from 23rd March to 15th October and from 10 am to 4 pm between 16th October and 22nd March. The castle is closed on 1st January, 25th, 26th, and 31st December.

How to reach the Neuschwanstein Castle?

The Neuschwanstein Castle is situated near the towns of Fussen and Hohenschwangau. Either you can choose guided tours which include transfers from Munich to take you to the castle, or you can take bus number 73 or 78 to reach Fussen and take RB74, RB77, or RB6 to reach Hohenschwangau. You have to walk uphill to the castle entrance. 

Is there wheelchair access inside Neuschwanstein Castle?

While visitors on wheelchairs can make use of the ramps and elevators inside to access all floors of the Neuschwanstein Castle, the pathway to the castle entrance is uphill and uneven. It is best to travel with a caregiver to navigate around the castle better.

Are there restrooms inside Neuschwanstein?

Yes, you can make use of restroom facilities in the lower courtyard of the Neuschwanstein Castle.

Can I take food and drinks inside Neuschwanstein Castle?

No, outside food and drinks are not allowed inside the castle. You cannot have picnics in the castle grottos and grounds. If you want to grab a bite, consider visiting any of the restaurants in the Hohenschwangau village.

Are pets allowed inside Neuschwanstein Castle?

No, pet animals are not allowed inside Neuschwanstein Castle. However, if you have documents proving that you require the assistance of service animals, you can take them inside the castle.