Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and it’s origin came from draft drawing by stage designer Christian Jank who’s work captured the interest of Ludwig II, who commissioned him to create concepts for his architectural projects inspired by Wagner. Building started in 1869 and of the 200 plus planned rooms only 14 were finished. Much of the castle still remains incomplete to this day and the second-floor rooms are inaccessible to the public because they are just bare brick. Partially because of the vast debts incurred in building by King Ludwig II his family his family opened the castle to tourists just weeks after his suspicious death in 1886. Building-work to complete the remainder of the exterior continued as these first tourists flocked in, and since that time Neuschwanstein has grown on the world stage as a major tourist attraction.
We signed up with Mikes Bike Tours for a guided tour and bike ride departing Munich. The trip consisted of a bus ride through some scenic Bavarian country side where the Alps provided a glorious back drop to lush green country side. The guide’s treated us to interesting stories about King Ludwig II and in addition to the castle. The bike ride was relaxing around an alpine lake with views to the castle. The lake was home to several swans which also is a strong theme of the castle as heraldic animal in Neuschwanstein swan knight Lohengrin. As an unexpected bonus over lunch our guide Brad Davnes (a part time magician) treated us to some magic tricks.
After lunch we jumped on a bus which took us to the small village at the bottom of the mountain which the Castle stood. The walk up elevated my heart rate but added to the excitement of the day. We were arranged into a groups and a Castle Guide showed us the interiors of the castle along with a commentary of the rooms. The workmanship was unbelievable but unfortunately there was no photography allowed to showcase this.
I highly recommend making a day trip of Neuschwanstein Castle and adding an activity such as a bike ride in the surrounding area.
Garmin Mapping of the bike ride.