9 AM to 3:30 PM
Apr-Oct (April 1 to October 15)
8 AM to 5 PM
Even in real life, Neuschwanstein Castle looks out of place in the real world. Its towers look like white pencils stuck onto a main building much too thin and tall to remotely resemble a comfortable habitat. The castle looks like it belongs on top of a wedding cake, not on an Alpine foothill 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Munich. Or maybe in Disneyland, where its design became a model for the amusement park’s Sleeping Beauty castle in Anaheim, Ca. The mad genius behind Neuschwanstein was King Ludwig II. He had Neuschwanstein built to ever changing specifications between 1869 and 1886, a time in history when castles were well beyond passé. Not to be put off, Ludwig built two other castles before drowning under mysterious circumstances. These castles were in addition to the Hohenschwangau family castle almost next door, which also can be visited. These are some of the reasons his Bavarian subjects skipped the genius and called him Mad King Ludwig. The castle is every bit as other worldly on the inside as its outer appearance. The only way to get inside is with a 35-minute guided tour, and you are likely to have company. Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular castles in Europe, visited by more than 1.3 million people annually. Be prepared to walk uphill and climb stairs.