Along with the Disney-esque Neuschwanstein Castle, the 19th-century Hohenschwangau Castle (aka Schloss Hohenschwangau) is one of the principal attractions on the Romantic Road in Bavaria, famed for its distinctive yellow facade and romantic turrets. Originally built for King Maximilian II of Bavaria, this castle just outside Fussen is where the 'Fairytale King' Ludwig II - Maximilian's son - spent much of his childhood. In later years, Ludwig went on to build Neuschwanstein Castle, a higher, larger and altogether more spectacular palace just metres away looking over Lake Alpsee. If you're visiting Bavaria, plan to tour both castles to see the exceptional decor within, from muralled walls to intricately carved ceilings and brightly coloured halls.
Top tip: Purchase a combined ticket to see both castles at a slightly reduced price.
From the 12th to the 16th century, before Maximilian transformed Hohenschwangau into what it is today, the castle was owned by the knights of Schwangau. Over the centuries, the castle went into disrepair, and by 1832, when the then-Crown Prince Maximilian acquired it, it was all but in ruins. It took 5 years for him to rebuild it in the neo-Gothic architectural style, converting it into a summer residence and hunting ground for his royal family.
The young Ludwig and his brother Otto spent many years here as children, and when Maximilian died in 1864, Ludwig succeeded to the throne, thereby inheriting Schloss Hohenschwangau. Ludwig continued to live here for a time while supervising the construction of his own castle nearby, ultimately moving into Neuschwanstein permanently.
The castle remained in the family for nearly 30 years following the death of Ludwig II. In 1913, it was opened as a museum, and currently Hohenschwangau Castle welcomes about 300,000 visitors every year.
Many of the designs commissioned by Maximilian and later Ludwig can still be seen to this day, including the interior walls and ceilings that were painted with scenes from German folklore and medieval legends. Some of the highlights include:
The Oriental Room - This colourful room is where Maximilian's wife, Queen Mary, resided. Some of the exotic furnishings were brought back by the King after he went on a trip to Turkey and Greece.
The Hohenstauden room - Step back in time to the kings' dressing room, featuring a piano that composer Richard Wagner most likely used to play when he visited the castle.
The Tasso room - The kings' bedroom is decorated with incredibly detailed murals inspired by folklore. Don't forget to look up at the ceiling to see how it was lit up by a stars-and-moon design.
The Hall of Heroes - This ornate banquet room is illuminated by a silver chandelier and decorated with paintings depicting various tales and sagas.
April 1st to October 15th
October 16th to March 31st
Entry to Hohenschwangau Castle