"Füssen, Hohenschwangau, and Neuschwanstein" Schloss Neuschwanstein by flyingscot4
Schloss Neuschwanstein Travel Guide: 226 reviews and 759 photos
First, Füssen is more than just the nearest town to the most well-known palaces built by King Ludwig II ("Mad Ludwig" or "Ludwig, the mentally doubtful"). The two towns of Füssen and Bad Faullenberg have a combined population of 13,000, and both lie just West of the resort area of the palaces of Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. The area is famous for it's spa with mud baths and massages as well as for its year 'round sports on the Forggensee. The Hohe Schloss was built between the 13th and 16th centuries and is presently the town gallery and art museum housing late Gothic works by Stephen Mair and Jörg Lederer among many others.
Füssen is also the end of the Romantic Road which originates in Würzburg. It is the oldest "Road Tour" in Germany with daily departures from both cities and and some of the most splendid scenery and old cities in Germany. The bus allows for guided tours or forgetting off the bus one day, and getting back on the next. The website www.romantischestrasse.de has more information.
The Baroque monastery of St Mang is built on the site of an original chapel from the 8th century and later a 12th century Romanesque church was set over the tomb of St Magnus. The Abby buildings host a local museum today.
Both towns are often (usually) overlooked by the tourist groups who come to visit the castle of Neuschwanstein. Personally, my plan would be to spend an entire day between the two towns and the castles and I offer the following suggestion for solo travelers.
I try not to travel when I am really tired. I see far too many incidents of tired travelers taking out their frustrations on innocent service personnel. I try to organize my travels so that any move to a new base starts in the mid-afternoon which allows me to reach my destination in early evening. I choose base cities by travel time between bases, rather than by distance. I try to select base cities or towns that are within a maximum of two to two-and-one-half hours on a train or bus. Then I can check into my lodgings and still have enough time in the town or city for a leisurely evening meal, an evening walk in the old city, and, followed by a good nights sleep, I can get an early start in the morning. In the case of visiting these two castles, it works out perfectly for me and any travel companions. In the case of long moves, I try to move on "night trains."
This palace has a long history. First built as Schloss Schwanstein in the 12th century, it became the property of the Dukes of Bavaria in 1567 and after being severely damaged in the Napoleon Wars, it was sold in 1820. It repurchased by Crown Prince (soon to be King) Maximilian II in 1832 and who, in five years, returned it to its former splendor and named it Hohenschwangau. Ludwig II, son of King Maximilian, grew up in this palace and it was here that he told Richard Wagner of his plans to to build Schloss Neuschwanstein
While being overshadowed by Neuschwanstein, there is more to be seen at Hohenschwangau. In the splendid Hall of Heroes, there is a huge gilded bronze of the Nibelungen Saga. (As is true at Schloss Neuschwanstein, photographs of the interiors at Schloss Hohenschwangau are not allowed.)
Both castles involve a slightly stressful walk and quite a few steps inside the castles. Disabled persons need concrete information from their tour companies. Walk time from the ticket office is about 20 minutes.
About photographs inside both castles. I first thought that the prohibition of photographs was a bit unfair. I can understand that flash photography is prohibited, but all photography? So I asked. I was told that it has nothing to do with trying to force people to buy pictures of the interiors. It has to do with efficiency. Two groups of 35 people each leave every 5 minutes. That means that each day, over 7,000 people have to be guided through. If visitors stopped to take pictures along the way... Well, you get the picture (small pun). Not liking long lines myself, I agree (but I did sneak two pictures one time when I was there).
The bulk of this album is devoted to Schloss Neuschwanstein. First, there is more information to impart, and second, are personal opinions.
The tour buses or municipal buses from the Hauptbahnhof drop guests off in a parking lot a few minutes walk from the ticket office. Guests purchasing a ticket will be given a group number and a time that the group will be called. Lost tickets are not replaced. If you miss your group, you are out of luck. From there, guests walk to the castles or, take a horse-drawn wagon to a drop-off point about half-way to Schloss Neuschwanstein. From there, it is a twenty minute walk uphill to the castle entrance. Once through the arch guests will see the electric signs that show the groups in the order they are scheduled. Guests then just go through the stiles when their group is called (there are about 35 people to a group) and are greeted by their guide. The tour lasts 35 minutes and they are usually on time (although I have been there when they were one hour behind). Guests may not touch anything or make any indoor photographs with or without flash (more about that later). The guides use a prepared text that takes into consideration a limited number of questions. Unanswered questions can be answered by the purchase of a book in the retail shop at the entrance. Following the tour, visitors walk back down the trail to the halfway point where the wagons will carry them to the bottom, or the guests can walk. At that point one can think about lunch or go to Schloss Hohenschwangau, which is quite worthwhile.
Next, some information. Both castles are worth the wait and the price of admission. Both involve a slightly stressful walk and quite a few steps inside the castles. Disabled persons need concrete information from their tour companies. Walk time from the Lisl Hotel is about 40 minutes. If visiting during the summer months, get there early or late, but after 9:30AM, expect long, long lines and delays (especially for Schloss Neuschwanstein). I have found that getting there at about 8:30AM is best. Purchasing a King's Ticket (includes both castles and time for each) early in the morning eliminates waiting in ticket lines twice).
Marien Brücke (Mary's Bridge) is free and wonderful on nice days. In the winter when there is ice, it is closed. There is a shuttle bus that goes to the bridge and then one walks back down (steep and rocky) to Schloss Neuschwanstein. This is where visitors can take photographs of the famous side view of the castle. The view of the castle, on a decent day, is spectacular. A word of warning. This is the place to watch people holding their cameras out so that they can take a picture of themselves with the castle as a background. (I wonder how many cameras are at the bottom Pöllat Gorge. I saw one tourist lose his and I'm sure that he's not the only one.)
Personal opinions. It is worth a day visiting the two castles, Marien Brücke, and the two towns. All of the gasthauses and restaurants on the castle grounds are quite good and not terribly overpriced. Souvenirs are always overpriced. Fussen has a lovely old city and lots of great pastry shops for an afternoon break. If staying in Fussen for the night, it is very lovely at night. I have heard people complain that the tours from Munich are not worth the money. If you are adventurous, going alone might be the thing to do. It will certainly be less expensive if two or more are going and you use the Bavarian Länder Ticket which gives up to five people traveling together unlimited train transportation. There are restrictions.
- Pros:Wonderful palaces, but don't forget the towns.
- Cons:long waiting lines in summer.
- In a nutshell:There is not bad time to visit the palaces
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