fairytale castle Hohenschwangau – family traveller guide
Site: Hohenschwangau Castle
Location: Hohenschwangau Village
Fairytale Castle Hohenschwangau is located in the village of the same name in the lower Bavaria region of Germany. This Bavarian castles setting is uniquely magical, mountains, forests and an amazing alpine lake. Hohenschwangau Castle is overshadowed by its more famous neighbour Neuschwanstein which is located within eyesight.It does not get much better than standing in the middle of the small village looking at Hohenschwangau castle to your left and Neuschwanstein castle to your right. Images of a fairytale castle from your childhood bounce around your mind. Hohenschwangau Castle is the childhood home of the most famous Bavarian King, King Ludwig. We have been to 5 Palaces, Castles associated with King Ludwig in Bavaria All Ludwig’s Bavarian castles are a family travel must.
History of Castle Hohenschwangau
Castle HohenschwangauH was first mentioned in the 12th century as fortress Schwangau. A family of medieval knights was responsible for the construction of the Fortress. The fortress served as the local seat of Government for the region of Schwangau. By the 15th century, the castle was becoming run down and the walls deemed too thin for adequate protection. By the 16th century, the castle had been abandoned by the knights and ownership changed hands many times over the next 300 years until it was finally in ruins. The story goes in 1823 Crown Prince Maximillian ( who would later become the King of Bavaria) was out walking in the forest when he came across the ruins of this once mighty fortress. The prince was struck by the beauty of the surrounding region and purchased the remains of the castle that was known as Schwanstein at this time. In February of 1833 construction began on the castle we see today lasting till 1837. Hohenschwangau became the official summer residence of King Maximillian his wife Marie of Prussia and their two sons Ludwig and Otto. The boys both later became kings of Bavaria. Marie of Prussia was the last of the family to live in the castle. She passed away at Hohenschwangau in 1889 having outlived her Husband and oldest son Ludwig.
Fairytale castle Highlights:
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 Ludwigs Bedroom. King Ludwig moved into his father bedroom upon his death. This room is beautiful hand painted and inspired by a poem called “Jerusalem Delivered”. The room still contains the furniture that was used by these two kings. The view that they would wake up to every morning was amazing. As you peer out the windows over the lake and mountains. It is a truly amazing setting.
The Kings’ bedroom, Maximillian, and Ludwigs are a pretty interesting room. King Ludwig know for being eccentric had installed scenes of the night sky into the ceiling. Ludwig at night could lay in bed and enjoy the stars and the moon is illuminated. Ludwig had crystals set into the roof to give the illusion of twinkling stars.
The Arbeitszimmer room represents the life of a medieval knight. The room is painted in scenes that feature riding lessons, jousting, falconry, first love and departures to the crusades, The outstanding piece in this room is “The shield of Honour”. It’s a warrior’s shield with swords attached to it. The shield displays the coat of arms of 155 nobility families. the shield was presented to Maximilian on his wedding day.
You will also tour through the billiard room, The knight’s hall with its armour, The Queens living room and dressing room just to name a few.
Pros for family travel Kids:
Our kids loved the courtyard with fountains and statues. The tour guide was very helpful answering questions from the kids. I would go as far as saying she was the best and most family-friendly guide we had encountered in Europe The tour only lasted around 30 minutes. The walk down the hill was 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.
Cons for family travel Kids:
Waiting around for your tour to begin. The most direct access to the castle is via steps that lead up the hill. Once inside the castle when you are on the tour there are stairs that are required to be climbed approximately 90 steps. This would not be suitable for younger children in Prams.
Facilities at Ludwig Castle Hohenschwangau
The castle has the usual amenities such as toilets and a gift shop that sells drinks and souvenirs. The Village itself has numerous shops selling food, drinks and souvenirs. We had lunch at the tavern “Schlossbräustüberl in the centre of town. This establishment had a limited menu in the beer garden of bavarian foods. Chicken, Bratwurst, and salads were available along with the usual Bavarian Beers. It’s an amazing location for lunch with both Castle Hohenschwangau and castle Neuschwanstein a view from your outdoor table ( we visited in Summer so not sure how sitting outside would go in winter).
Directions/Access to Hohenschwangau Village
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 or
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 from Munich to Fussen
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.
Places to stay are limited in the village of Hohenschwangau.The places that are available are high-end accommodation. A better option is to found in the nearby town of Fussen. Check accommodation options for Hohenschwangau here and for Fussen here
Neuschwanstein is located on the opposite hill to Hohenschwangau Castle. Tickets for Neuschwanstein can be bought from the ticket Centre along with your ticket to Hohenschwangau. A combined ticket can be bought to tour both castle’s. Also located in the village by the picturesque Alpine lake is the Museum of the Bavarian Kings. This museum takes you through the lives and History of all the former Royals of Bavaria. The town of Fussen is very picturesque and well worth some time to explore.
Tips for visiting Hohenschwangau:
Ticket for Castle entry can be bought online at the visitors centre. This highly recommended if bringing your kids as the lines can be perilously long. There is a surcharge of 1.80 Euro at ticket to book online. Personally, I would be more than happy to pay this than stand in line with my kids for 30 plus minutes awaiting tickets. Alternatively arrive early for the opening of the booking office. Ticket prices for adults are 12 Euro with kids under 18 free of charge. You can buy a combined Hohenschwangau/Neuschwanstein ticket for 23 Euro. The tour last for 35 minutes.
Hohenschwangau really is a fairytale castle complete with its tales and lives of a royal family. It was a hit with all us. Our girls were brought up with Disney Princesses really thought it could have been a true fairytale castle.Visiting castle is a great family travel day out