A Day of Bavarian Castles

As promised last week in my 2-day Munich recap, today is all about the beautiful castles of Bavaria (southeastern Germany)! A must-see for anyone visiting the area!

The famous Neuschwanstein Castle (where Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was filmed and Walt Disney found inspiration for Sleeping Beauty) has been on my list to visit for as long as I can remember. So as soon as I knew we were heading to Munich, I added a stop at the castles to the itinerary.

neuschwanstein

What I didn’t realize until I started researching a little more, was that the castles were a good 2 hours from Munich, and there was no easy way to get there via public transportation (at least if we wanted to see more than one castle). During the winter months, the day trip tours out to the castles are a bit more limited, but fortunately, we were able to snag a deal from Viator ($57 base + 22 EUR the day of for admission fees each) for a Day Trip via coach bus to Neuschwanstein and Linderhof castles, plus a stop in the quaint town, Oberammergau.

Our day started pretty early, as we had to be at the bus station around 8 a.m. to ensure we got there on time (and with a little cushion time). The BMW bus (I had no idea such a thing existed, but hey, Germany is the home of BMW) was completely packed once we boarded, along with several others gearing up for the same destination.

The drive time to our first destination, Oberammergau, was about 2 hours, so our tour guide shared some interesting facts about Munich with us and collected the castle admission fees from everyone, and within an hour, everyone was conked out for some shut-eye before the castle adventures officially began.

I didn’t know what to expect in Oberammergau. To be honest, I’d never heard of the town, but it was the cutest! Some of the buildings had fairytale murals painted, they had a dog hotel, and everything just seemed so perfect in the quaint town.

Oberammergau

Since it was a Sunday, most of the shops in the town were closed. But there was one main shop open that we were able to pick up some authentic German goodies to bring home from, which I was excited about. I fell in love with the beautiful countryside, so removed from the big city, and would absolutely love to plan a trip back to wander through some more of it, and spend a weekend (or even a night) in Oberammergau!

clocks in Oberammergau

Our ~50 minute stop in Oberammergau went too quickly, and before we knew it, we were off to Linderhof, the one-time “summer home” to King Ludwig II. The area surrounding the palace was just incredible. So peaceful, so gorgeous.

linderhof scenery swans at linderhofrachel selfie at linderhof Unfortunately, no photos are allowed inside (one person tried to sneak some and got yelled at in German), but I was able to snap a couple photos of the incredibly detailed front. Can you imagine living in this place?!

The most fascinating part of the King’s digs, was his dining table. King Ludwig II wasn’t a very social person, and didn’t like to interact with others if it wasn’t necessary. Why have such a huge palace if nobody’s going to come over and enjoy it, beats me, but I guess a king gets what he wants. Buttttt, I digress. The King’s dining table was a table made for one, and was able to be lowered and lifted via rope from the kitchen. So the staff would send his table up and bring it down, without interacting with him at all. Crazy, right?!

linderhof palacelinderhof

Last but not least, our stop in Schwangau, another adorable small, German town featuring 2 castles! Neuschwanstein almost seemed unrecognizable and tiny as we drove up the winding roads with the anticipation building, but once we made it to the town and saw a better glimpse, we couldn’t wait to run off the bus to get a closer look!

neuschwanstein from fussen

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to tour Hohenschwangau Castle, the childhood home of King Ludwig II, but we were able to get a pretty good look at it from the outside!

Hohenschwangau

Since our Neuschwanstein tour was at a scheduled time, we had about an hour and a half to kill, so we stepped into a couple stores, and grabbed a quick bite to eat at one of the local restaurants. Post-meal, we opted to skip the long horse-drawn carriage and bus lines and went with the free option of walking up to the castle ourselves. Despite our guide’s warning that it was a 40-minute uphill walk, we thought nothing of it… until a few minutes in when we needed a break. And another, and another. SO not used to hiking at that elevation! At least it was a pretty scenic route up, and we found the most delicious donuts along the way!

waterfall neuschwansteindonuts neuschwansteinfussen

Stunning, I tell you! It looked like a fairytale and felt so surreal standing next to. I was disappointed that the Marienbrücke (bridge with the best views of the castle) was closed while we were there (and will be for a good chunk of this year due to construction), but was still happy to get as close as I was.

Again, no photos are allowed inside, but this castle seemed 100x bigger than Linderhof, and I’d love to time travel to see what life was like living in this beauty! Also note that while it looks like it’s been there for centuries, it wasn’t built until the late 1800s.

neuschwanstein with momneuschwanstein castle tourneuschwanstein natureneuschwanstein at duskneuschwanstein wall

It’s hard to believe, but Neuschwanstein was actually never completed. King Ludwig II died while it was still under construction, and since he spent all of his money and then some on castle building (what an expensive hobby!), his family decided to open the castle to the public instead of finishing it due to the cost and nobody else wanting to live there (UM, WHAT?!).

I loved spending the day exploring the fairytale castles built by “Mad” King Ludwig II. While he certainly sounds like a quirky guy from all of the stories we heard, I so appreciate him for being the “Fairytale King” and creating these castles (and a third we weren’t able to stop at).

Have you ever visited a castle?

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  • Visiting these castles is definitely on my bucket list! The one you didn’t get to tour reminds me of the beauty and the beast castle!

    • I hope you’re able to get there soon, Kate! From the inside, Neuschwanstein actually reminded me a lot of Beauty & the Beast! Esp since the king didn’t like visitors and had this beautiful castle to himself!

  • The castles were my favorite part of Germany! I kept telling everyone that I was getting future home decor inspiration from our visits. There was one pink and gold room (I forget which castle it was in sadly) but I was particularly fond of that one!

    • SAME! Too bad they don’t open them up as hotels where you can overnight in the big, beautiful castles. That would be the ultimate dream waking up with those views!

  • When I visited Germany 10 years ago I was able to go to one castle (I do not remember the name of it). It was beautiful though. I wish that I would have been able to visit more castles during my time. I’m not sure why anyone would not want to live in a castle but I guess not everyone had the love for them. I was so glad that I got to visit germany for a whole month visiting my family and it was such a great experience. I hope to go back and visit soon. These castles are now added to my list to see if I go back!

    • A month in Germany sounds magnificent! I wish we had more time, but was happy with all we were able to squeeze in while we were there. I hope you’re able to get back there soon too!

  • So gorgeous…they look like they should be in a fairy tale! Magnificent.

    • Totally agree! It’s hard to imagine someone actually lived there – and in a time before cars and the technology we have today! So surreal.

  • It sounds like you had the perfect day trip from Munich to visit all of the castles! That’s so disappointing that you couldn’t take pictures inside but at least you go some gorgeous ones of the outside. I can’t wait until we visit in September!

    • We did, Ashley! It was definitely a highlight of the Europe trip overall! I’m so excited for you to visit. Where all will you be going in September?

      • We’re starting off in Italy, where our friends are currently stationed, and then we’re headed to Salzburg, Prague, and then ending in Munich. I seriously can’t wait!

  • Sounds like you had an amazing time!! You’re making me want to visit Munich to go check them out myself.
    xo, Laura

    • We so did, Laura! A trip to Munich should definitely be on the bucket list, even if it’s just to visit the castles alone!

  • omgosh! My husband and I travelled there last year! (I have posts about it on my blog too!) Weren’t the mountains around Neuschwanstein just TOO beautiful to capture with a camera?! I’m obsessed. Did you make it to Salzburg as well?

    • We kept saying over and over again how much the pictures didn’t do it justice. It was totally breathtaking, I’m ready to plan a trip back lol. We did stop in Salzburg! Didn’t have as much time as we’d hoped but it was still wonderful. Posts on Salzburg will be coming soon :) Did you stop there?

  • Artsnark

    Great pics! Sounds like quite a trip (& a good deal on the tour tix too)

    • Thank you! It was so amazing, and the organized tour was definitely worth it!

  • WOW! Y’all had one busy day! We went to Bavaria as a part of our Germany road trip in October, and we did both of these (plus Hohenschwangau, which I actually liked better than Neuschwanstein). We spread the three castles out over two days, but they’re all close enough together than you could do them back-to-back like this. I hear you on that hike to Neuschwanstein–we’re super cheap, so we thought about skipping the bus and/or pony ride up there, but went about 12 feet before we turned around. We were with my toddler, and there’s no way her little legs would’ve made it up there, nor would we have been able to hike it holding her 30-pound self! Gorgeous pics–I’m glad you enjoyed yourself!

    • Sounds like I’ll have to go back to visit the other castle :) It was certainly a rough hike that we weren’t expecting though! Fortunately it was cool out and not the middle of summer trying to hike up there. There’s nothing quite like those Bavarian castles!

  • Karmalynn Walters

    Thanks for sharing. This is a must on my list of places to visit. Hopefully within the next 5 years. hahaha. Your photos are gorgeous!!

    • It’s totally achievable. If you do the 52-week money challenge (the most you’d put into it is $52 one week), you’d have about $1300 saved at the end of the year! I hope you have an incredible trip when the time comes :)

  • sara

    What beautiful photos. I just. Love these castles.

  • kenza dwn

    Beautiful article !

    Hope it was as good as it looks

    I’d like to visit the bavarian castles once in my life as well :)

    Kenza from http://travelwithkenza.blogspot.fr/

  • CDG

    My version of that day . . . I’ll sleep in and then meet you at a bar in munich when you got back. I’ll look at pictures and that will be as good as seeing it in person. Luv your blog!

    • You could just hang at a bar at the bottom of the castle hill that way you could still see it from afar! It was too pretty of a town not to!