With Backpack

One World in One Lifetime

The Mad King’s Last Castle

Posted by Heliocentrism on May 25, 2018

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

In June when Mark and I were in Bali, I spent an afternoon with the Karma Group. Karma is a hotel time-share company, but they do not like the term “time share”. I forget what term they do like, but do not call them a time-share company to their face.

They didn’t get us to sign up back in June, but in the end I still won 7 days of accommodations at a Karma hotel somewhere in the world. We kept having to pick different dates or different hotels, but then finally in late September we had confirmation that we could spend 7 nights in their Bavarian hotel.

Schliersee Lake, after which the town is named

The hotel was in the town of Schliersee which is an hour south of Munich. The place is beautiful and the hotel was very nice. The staff was very friendly and no one pressured us to join the Karma Group. We were supposed to sit through a one hour presentation, but it was cancelled. Instead, we attended Karma functions like, Trivia Night, where I won a bottle of champagne, and Bingo Night, where I won a €50 gift certificate to the hotel restaurant. Overall it was a very enjoyable stay and it didn’t cost us anything.

The niceness and free-ness of the hotel, plus the fact that I kept winning stuff, did make up for the fact that it was so hard to get anywhere in Bavaria from Schliersee. No matter where we wanted to go, it always started with a 1 hour train ride into Munich… even when we ultimately wanted to go south… like to Neuschwanstein Castle.

To get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Schliersee one could drive west southwest for about 2 hours or take a 1 hour train to Munich then a 2 hour train to Füssen. There might be an hour wait in Munich for the Füssen train, if you haven’t caught the 8:35 train to Munich. So, it could take from 3 to 4 hours of train travel to get there.

We got the combo ticket to see both the castle that Ludwig II grew up in, Hohenschwangau Castle,  and the last castle he built, Neuschwanstein Castle. We got there early enough that we could see both before closing time. Since it was so much trouble to get here, we tried to get as much as we could out of it.

After seeing the first castle, Hohenschwangau, I was very disappointed. There were so many rules. We were not allowed to take photos inside. We could not explore the castle on our own. We had to stay with a tour guide. Because of all this, I was expecting to see something extraordinary.

The tour group was too big for the rooms of the castle. Sometimes it was hard to hear the guide. At times he talked about something on the other side of the room that I could not see. There were too many people standing in the room and they could not move out of the way, though many tried.

The whole tour lasted 30 minutes and it felt rushed. I didn’t get to see everything since we spent so little time in each room and the tour was so big. It was frustrating. And overall, the castle was nice, but not worth the 7 hours of train riding I would end up having to live through that day.

I walked up the hill to Neuschwanstein Castle thinking I would get more of the same. Again, we had to stay with a guide and we were not allowed to take photos. We had come all this way and had already paid for everything, so there was no backing out. We waited for our tour number to be called and once again there was a huge crowd. This time it was even bigger.

We could take photos from inside looking out.

This tour was a little different. Instead of straining our ears to hear one tour guide speak, we were all given audio guides. Now everyone could clearly hear the information in their preferred language. We still couldn’t always see the items being talked about, but more time was given to explore the crowded rooms.

The biggest difference is that Ludwig’s castle was way better than his father’s. It is such a shame that no photos are allowed. That place is SPECTACULAR. Ludwig may have been mad, but he was a castle building genius! The walls are amazing. The ceilings are fantastic. My favorite was his throne room. The guide had to plead with many on the tour to move on from this room, it was so wonderful.

As we were walking through the castle I saw a lady vacuuming the carpet in one of the rooms. I was, and still am, so jealous of that woman. She gets to spend so much time in Ludwig’s castle everyday. I told Mark that if I had her job, I would show up to work early and just look at the rooms alone. Then I was slowly vacuum each room as I inspected every square inch of the place. That woman and her coworkers are the luckiest custodians in the world.


Germany

How to get there:

Phone:

  • 112 – emergency, ambulance, and fire
  • 110 – police

Downloads:

Website:

Data:

Videos:

Books: 

Notes:

  • Be careful when riding the train outside the city.
    • Sometimes the train splits, meaning you are on the right train, but the wrong car.
    • At some point in time the train will split up and each car will go to a different destination.
  • Don’t walk in the bike lane.
    • There is usually a bike lane and it will be where you end up walking if you’re not constantly vigilant.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  • 13€
  • Neuschwanstein Castle & Hohenschwangau Castle combo – 25€

Hours:

  • April-15 October: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • 16 Oct.-March: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Closed on:
    • 1 January
    • 24, 25 and 31 December.

Video:

  • Rick says that the castles are a 15 minute hike away from each other. It is not!
  • It takes about 40~45 minutes if you are walking.

Books:

Notes:

  • You are not allowed to take photo inside the castle.
    • It’s still very much worth it to visit!
    • You go through the castle with a tour group while listening to an audio guide in your language.
      • Bring earbuds.
  • Try to get there as early as you can.
    • Everything is closed by 16:30. So if you are on a tour that starts after 15:00, don’t expect to relax in the cafe after the tour.
  • If you are going to visit both this castle and Hohenschwangau Castle, visit this one last, because it’s so much better than the other castle.
  • You should reserve your tickets online.
    • Before you go to the castle, you will need to pay for and pick up your tickets.
    • You can change the time of your tickets to a later time, if there are tickets available. But, you cannot change to an earlier time.
  • I hear this place in insanely crowded in the summer. I went in November and it was still crowded, but not so much that tickets were sold out.
  • Getting to the Castle:
    1. Go to the Füssen train station.
    2. Take bus #73 or #78 (Everyone from your train will get on the bus with you.) 2.20€
    3. Follow the crowd up the hill to the ticket office.
    4. Now you have 3 options to get to the castle.
      • Walk the whole way up the hill.
        • It’s a 40-minute walk up hill, but it’s not too bad unless you are not used to any type of walking at all.
      • Take the shuttle bus. (Uphill: € 1,80 Downhill: € 1,00 Round trip: € 2,60)
        • The bus only takes you up 3/4 the way. You will still have to walk for about 15 minutes up hill.
        • The bus is very, very crowded.
        • But, the bus drops you off near the Marienbrücke bridge.
      • Take a horse and carriage. (Uphill: €6   Downhill: €3)
        • You will still have to walk for about 15 minutes up hill.
        • The bus and the horse take 2 different paths up the hill. If you walk up, you will take the same path as the horses.

Hohenschwangau Castle

Basic Information

Website

Cost:

  •  € 13

Hours:

  • 16 October 2017 to 23 March 2018 – every day from 9:00 to 15:00

  • 24th March to 15th October 2018 – every day from 8am to 5pm

Video:

  • Rick says that the castles are a 15 minute hike away from each other. It is not!
  • It takes about 40~45 minutes.

Notes:

  • You are not allowed to take photo inside the castle.
    • You go through the castle with a tour group while listening to an audio guide in your language.
      • Bring earbuds.
      • Unless you speak English. In that case you will get an English speaking tour guide.
  • Try to get there as early as you can.
    • Everything is closed by 16:30. So if you are on a tour that starts after 14:30, don’t expect to relax in the cafe after the tour.
  • If you are going to visit both castles, visit this one first, because it’s not as good as Neuschwanstein castle.
  • You should reserve your tickets online.
    • Before you go to the castle, you will need to pay for and pick up your tickets.
    • You can change the time of your tickets to a later time, if there are tickets available. But, you cannot change to an earlier time.
  • I hear this place in insanely crowded in the summer. I went in November and it was still crowded, but not so much that tickets were sold out.
  • Getting to the Castle:
    1. Go to the Füssen train station.
    2. Take bus #73 or #78 (Everyone from your train will get on the bus with you.) 2.20€
    3. Follow the crowd up the hill to the ticket office.
    4. Walk a little further up the hill and then up the stairs.

Don’t Miss:

  • Marienbrücke Bridge
    • Basic Information
    • This is a great place to take photos of Neuschwanstein Castle.
    • You will pass this bridge if you are taking the hiking trail to the castle. Otherwise, go to where the bus drops off tourists to the castle and follow the signs.

Map:

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