Renting a car to be able to visit the three Castles of King Ludwig in Bavaria Germany at our leisure turned out to be a good way to beat the crowds.
Getting to the castles as soon as they open keeps you ahead of the masses. Our plan was to visit Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle on the first day and then Schloss Linderhof Castle on the next day. Getting an early start on our first day, we were able to park in P1 and paid 6£ to park our car.
Making our way to the ticket office, there were just a few people in line. Even though it was early, the first available entrance to Neuschwanstein Castle was at 12:45. We were able to get tickets to visit Hohenschwangau Castle for 9:20am. It was 8:45 and the lady told us it takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach the castle if we take the back stairs. It was a lot of steps to climb, but the view was worth it.
This castle is a much older medieval castle that King Ludwig’s father Maximillian renovated as his hunting lodge after being crowned King of Bavaria. It takes about 30 minutes to tour the interior. No photography is allowed inside of the castle. The castle setting is near a lake, which overlooks the valley. The views were spectacular.
The picture below is taken from Neuschwanstein Castle, which gave us a better view of the town, the lake and valley below.
From Hohenschwangau Castle we followed the road back down to the town.
We still had a couple of hours before our actual tour. So we walked around the grounds, going in and out of the gift shops before grabbing a bite to eat. Walking by the ticket office, the lines were really long. We were glad we got there early.
If you don’t want to walk up to the castle, you can stand in line to take the horse drawn wagon up the hill. There was already a long line when we went by. Keep in mind that the carriage does not drop you off at the entrance of the castle, there is still a steep incline to walk to get to the entrance.
There was also a bus service to take you up to the castle. This drops you off at a different location, which would be easier to walk to the castle. Again the queues were long for the bus, so allow plenty of time whichever way you decide to get up to the castle.
It was a good forty five minute walk before we reached the top, but the view of the castle was breathtaking.
The entrance is in the back of the castle where we waited for our time to appear on the board. Your ticket is only valid for about five minutes to get through the kiosk. If you miss you allotted time, your tickets becomes invalid. Everyone gathers in this area, waiting for the clock to show their time in order to enter.
This castles size is impressive, it has an incredibly ornate interior, and the location is stunning. Ludwig inherited the throne at 19 and wanted a dream castle even grander than Hohenschwangau Castle where he grew up. Sadly, he died before the castle was completed. The tour of the castle only goes through a couple of rooms and last thirty minutes. No pictures are allowed inside of the castle.
If you don’t want to be bothered with the hordes of people and the costs to tour the castles, you can drive a couple of minutes down the road from the paid parking lots and take pictures of the castle from the pasture. There are a number of hiking trails in and around the castle which are free to use. You can even walk right up to the castle and courtyard for free if you want to just take pictures.
Touring these two castles took the majority of the day. We tried to buy our tickets a week before we left, but never received a confirmation. I was afraid to book them again, as I did not want my credit card charged twice.
If you don’t arrive early enough, you might not get into Neuschwanstein Castle. We arrived around 8:30, but by the time we parked and made it to the ticket office, there was a small line and the first available slot that day was 12:45. I don’t know if it is really worth waiting around all day for a 30 minutes tour of an unfinished castle.
TIP: Wear comfortable walking shoes to tour the castles as we walked over 18,242 steps.
Schloss Linderhof Castle
After spending all day yesterday at the other castles, J really did not want to tour another castle, but I talked him into it. We got an early start and arrived shortly after the place opened. We paid to park and went to buy our tickets. From the ticket office it’s another ten minutes to the castle. When we arrived at the queue, we saw the sign saying “No backpacks”. So he turned around and took it back to the car. He barely had enough time to go down and back before our tour. I got some great pictures waiting for him to return.
Linderhof Palace is the smallest of three castles commissioned by King Ludwig II and the only one that was completed prior to his untimely demise.
The gardens at Ludwig’s palace were beautifully landscaped.
Even though this was the smallest castle we toured, they spared no expense. The opulence inside the palace is over the top, especially considering he was the only one living there. The tour takes about thirty minutes and no pictures are allowed inside. The rooms are decorated with Meissen porcelain, stunning chandeliers, mirrors, portraits and gold everywhere.
The grounds are expansive with gardens, fountains, sculptures, Venus Grotto and Moorish Kiosk. A lot of walking is required if you want to explore the estate. It is worth spending time wondering the grounds as you will see in the following pictures.
Walking around the grounds of King Ludwig’s Castle
We were really glad we visited this castle as it turned out to be our favorite out of the three we visited. It is quite incredible to see what royalty could afford back then.