Have you been on a royal day trip?
Do You know King Ludwig II of Bavaria
You would know his castle Neuschwanstein !
King Ludwig II is the most famous royal of Bavaria, maybe even of all of Germany, for that matter. Ludwig II succeeded to the throne at the young age of 18 and he ruled Bavaria from 1864 to 1886. Ludwig had no real powers as King of Bavaria. Early in his reign Bavaria had become part of the larger Prussian state. Ludwig withdrew from many state affairs and the day to day running of Bavaria. By all accounts, Ludwig was a rather eccentric character. He was obsessed with castle’s, the arts and music by Richard Wagner. Ludwig spent all his royal coins and much more that he borrowed on building castles. In the end, this also lead to Ludwig”s downfall when his Government ministers had him declared insane. Ludwig died in 1886 in mysterious circumstances. King Ludwig was reported to have drowned in waist-deep water even though he was regarded as a good swimmer. Many theories abound as to Ludwig”s death. Ludwig”s extravagance today leaves a legacy which includes many of Bavaria’s most popular tourist attractions. Ludwig is a giant figure in Bavarian culture and you will see his image everywhere whether it be Munich or on royal day trips
Today Ludwig”s extravagance leaves us Royal Castle’s that can be explored on royal day trips from Munich. We are going to look at 3 royal day trips to Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. You might be thinking I said 3 yes I did. Luckily Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are separated by only a road in the same village.
3 Royal day trips from Munich: Neuschwanstein Castle / Hohenschwangau Castle
Many consider Neuschwanstein to be Ludwig”s masterpiece. It is certainly the most famous castle he created, if not the most famous castle in the world. Neuschwanstein sits on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in south-west, Bavaria, Germany. Neuschwanstein was never finished as Ludwig had run out of money to complete it before his death. Ludwig had built Neuschwanstein as a person refuge for himself. The castle was opened to the public straight after his death in 1886. Today over 1.4 million people visit the castle each year and in excess of 70 million have visited since its opening. Walt Disney was inspired enough by Neuschwanstein to design the Snow White castle after Ludwig”s masterpiece. Neuschwanstein looms large as you approach filling your eye line as you get closer. Neuschwanstein can only be visited on a guided tour.
Hohenschwangau was Ludwig”s childhood home where he lived with his parents and brother. Hohenschwangau Castle was first mentioned in the 12th century as fortress Schwangau. A family of medieval knights was responsible for the construction of the Fortress. The castle can only be viewed on a guided tour. The exterior reminds me of some of the castle’s you would see in Spain and Portugal with its yellow whitewash colouring. The tour of Hohenschwangau takes you through some of the most lavish rooms in the castle. Included you will see King Maximillian and King Ludwig’s Bedroom. King Ludwig moved into his father bedroom upon his death. After the tour has ended you can take you time and walk down the hill between the two castles. I was really interesting as it had pictures of the Royals who had lived in the castle on information boards. We were able to stop and read about the royals and explain some of their life and histories to the girls. Hohenschwangau may be the lesser known castle but in no way should sit in the shadow of Neuschwanstein.
It is the setting of these two castle’s that brings the magic as much as the castle’s themselves. The hills they sit on, the small valley you look up to them from, the tree’s the forest the small little village you climb to them from. Fairytale castle’s these two are for sure.
Car: Take the A7 motorway (direction Ulm-Kempten-Füssen) until the end. From Füssen first follow the road B17 to Schwangau, then the signs to Hohenschwangau for the fairytale castle
take the A7 motorway until the exit Kempten and then the road B12 to Marktoberdorf. Follow the road B16 to Roßhaupten – OAL I to Buching – and then take the road B17 to Schwangau and Hohenschwangau.
Train: The nearby Town of Fussen is where you will arrive by train. There are buses running many times every hour from the train station to the Village of Hohenschwangau and the Royal Castle. For our family travel day, we caught a train from Munich when we visited. The train required 2 hours to get to Fussen then 10 minutes onto the castle area.Trains leave every hour from Munich Hauptbahnhof during the day. The scenery along the way is quite stunning as you head into the alps. Entry tickets can be bought onsite or online before you attend
Family Travel Tip: Both Neuschwanstein Castle and Herrenchiemsee Palace offer horse and cart rides to to their entrance. We strongly recommend this at Neuschwanstein as the walk to the is up a steep pathed hill that will definitely cause your child to complain!
3 Royal day trips from Munich: Herrenchiemsee Palace
King Ludwig was a huge admirer of The Louis XlV of France. Herrenchiemsee Palace was loosely based on The Palace of Versailles near Paris. Herrenchiemsee even has its own hall of Mirrors. In 1873, King Ludwig II of Bavaria acquired the Herreninsel as the location for his Royal Palace of Herrenchiemsee (New Palace).
Herrenchiemsee Palace like Neuschwanstein was never fully finished before Ludwig’s death. Ludwig died leaving 50 of 70 rooms unfinished. Herrenchiemsee, if finished, would have been a masterpiece and rightly taken its spot as King Ludwig’s finest castle.The highlights of the interior include the large State Rooms, the State Staircase, the State Bedroom and the Great Hall of Mirrors. The Hall of Mirrors was amazing and worth a visit to Herrenchiemsee just to view this room alone. The King’s own rooms were in the intimate Small Apartment. Herrenchiemsee was designed in the French rococo style built in the classic shape of a palace. It is set on a small island where a short walk or a horse cart ride through the forest brings in views of the Herrenchiemsee facade. The showcase gardens are filled with fountains, many are copies or in the direct style of the Fountains at Versailles in Paris.
I found Herrenchiemsee to probably be my favourite of all of Ludwig’s Castles/Palaces in Bavaria . I loved the setting with the Palace sitting on an island surrounded by the Alps. The garden and fountains outside the Palace are amazing and very reminiscent of Versailles. It’s regal, very regal this Palace. A lack of crowds was also welcome when compared to the masses that descend on Neuschwanstein. Tours are available of the palace.
How to get there by car or coach / boat / train
Take the train (www.bahn.com) to Prien am Chiemsee (around an hour’s ride from Munich). From Prien station, there is a special Chiemsee train to the Prien/Stock boat pier which runs during the summer season. The pier is otherwise about a 30-minute walk from the station.
Take the A8 motorway (Salzburg-Munich), leaving at the Bernau exit to continue to Prien am Chiemsee. At the roundabout outside Prien follow the signs to Chiemsee or Königsschloss.
Route planners you can find on http://auto.abacho.de/routenplaner/
From Prien/Stock, there are regular boats to the Herreninsel. Timetables of the Chiemsee train and the Chiemsee boats can be found on www.chiemsee-schifffahrt.de.
3 Royal day trips from Munich: Linderhof Palace
Linderhof Palace was built by Ludwig on land owned by his father. His father had a small building already on the property called the foresters house (hunting lodge). Ludwig decided to build his new Palace Linderhof to replace the old forester’s house. The foresters house was used for Royal hunting trips. Linderhof was the only one of Ludwig’s building that was completed during his lifetime. Ludwig had an emotional attachment to the old hunting lodge. He had the lodge dismantled so he could build the Palace on its site and moved the lodge 200 metres away. The inside of the palace is adorned with painting and sculptures fit for a king. The lavish artwork is a feature of all 3 of these sights on the royal day trips.
The gardens that were designed at Linderhof Palace are considered to be one of the most beautiful creations of historical garden design. The park combines elements of Italian Renaissance gardens with landscaped area’s that borrow inspiration from English gardens. It makes an amazing eclectic mix.
Ludwig Trivia: Ludwig history says he was fascinated by trees. The story goes for this reason a tall, 300-year-old linden tree was allowed to remain in the formal gardens of Linderhof. Even though the tree does not sit with asthetics of the new garden. Historical pictures of King Ludwig exsit of him taking his breakfast, on a seat that is carved into the linden tree.
Linderhof is the smallest of this Bavarian King’s royal buildings. For me, I remember Linderhof for its gold, gold color everywhere outside in the gardens and on the inside of the Palace itself. I remember the amazing gardens and the waterfall that cascaded down the hill from the hunting lodge to the Palace. Tours are available of the palace.
How to get there by car or coach
Linderhof Palace is situated in the Graswang Valley, near the village of Ettal.
Road conditions in winter
As wintry road conditions are to be expected in the Linderhof area from October to April recommend winter equipment (snow tires, possibly snow chains) for your journey to Linderhof by car.
Take the A95 motorway and the road B2 to Oberau. Follow the signs in Oberau to the road B23 (Ettaler Straße). Outside Ettal turn left to the road St2060. In Linderhof turn right to reach the palace.
There are parking facilities for 550 cars and 20 coaches available (with costs).
How to get there by public transport
Take the train (www.bahn.com) to Oberammergau: from Oberammergau, there is a bus connection to Linderhof.
There are many other sites associated with the King. You can see his tomb in Munich and the Schloss Nymphenburg where Ludwigs family spent time when in the Bavarian capital of Munich. The royal day trips are well worth it for these amazing building to be seen. There would not be a traveler out there where Neuschwanstein wouldn’t be on their bucket list.
Thank you, Ludwig, for all your eccentricity and the amazing legacy you have left in Bavaria for castle hunters like ourselves. We have made the royal road trips to see your amazing architecture and extravagance only a king could have.
A full-time worker in Disability support and part time traveller when time, money and kids schooling allow.
Next up for Wyld Family Travel is 10 weeks in Europe from November 2016 till January 2017. We will be visiting Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France, Poland, Iceland, Denmark, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia
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