Petit Futé's opinion on SCHLOSS NEUSCHWANSTEIN
The enchanting castle of King Louis II: an enchanting setting that has fed the imagination of romantics for nearly 150 years.
You can already see it from afar: white, like the swan and the surrounding mountain, with its turrets and its completely innovative style, simply splendid! Neuschwanstein Castle was built between 1869 and 1886. When Ludwig II started building it, he decided to make all his wildest dreams come true. He wanted it to be a sacred, inaccessible and protective place, a kind of earthly refuge. He also wanted this place to belong to him and him alone. Thus he ordered that upon his death, the castle be destroyed so that it would not be exposed to the profane gaze. Ludwig II's greatest regret was that Richard Wagner was never able to bring his music to life in the palace. The work on the castle was never completed. In 1886, the year of Ludwig II's death, only one third of the rooms were finished. The Munich architects Dollmann and Riedel were commissioned to realize this crazy dream. The plans for Neuschwanstein were inspired by medieval fortresses, with a gateway, keep, royal dwelling, etc. Today, the castle is one of the most visited sites in Germany, attracting more than 1.5 million tourists per year.
Once inside, the delight begins. What a contrast to the sober, white exterior! Indeed, everything is colourful, harmonious and ornate. Only thethird andfourth floors can be visited. On the third floor, the trapezoidal entrance hall with its overhanging vault. The floor is covered with a superb mosaic made up of more than 2 million pieces representing the animal and plant kingdoms. Entirely dedicated to Wagner's work, the castle is full of allusions to the work of the great composer Richard Wagner. The frescoes in the dining room and the study depict the legend of Tannhäuser, the paintings in the king's bedroom are a tribute to Tristan and Isolde, while the great salon immortalizes the epic of Lohengrin, the swan knight. Wagner is omnipresent in all this gilded splendour. The highlight of the visit is the throne room, a tribute to Parsifal with its trompe-l'oeil painting of a forest behind the vaults. The room is made of marble, the floor is made of mosaic and the atmosphere is Byzantine with palm trees painted on the walls. Do not look for a throne in the throne room, it was never built. The boudoir with its artificial grotto and stalactites makes a real opera set, a bit kitschy but pleasant. On the upper floor is the Singers' Hall, whose style is borrowed from the Wartburg in Eisenach, a fortress that fascinated Ludwig II, who was a lover of medieval architecture. The visit ends with the kitchens, which is also where the construction work was completed. Before leaving, you can access a balcony with a phenomenal view of the Alpsee lake and the Hohenschwangau castle below.
If your budget does not allow you to visit both castles, you can without any remorse prefer Neuschwanstein, whose interior decoration is even richer than that of Hohenschwangau... The rooms of Neuschwanstein castle are currently being renovated, but remain open to the public. It should also be noted that it is not possible to take pictures inside and that the visit is a bit short.
Information on SCHLOSS NEUSCHWANSTEIN
Guided tour only. Castle open every day from 9am to 6pm from mid-March to mid-October, from 10am to 4pm from mid-October to mid-March. Full price: 13 €, reduced : 12 €, free for under 18s. It takes 30 minutes to walk from the Ticket Center. If you don't want to queue for several hours in front of the ticket office, you can book online (extra charge of €2.50). The rooms of the castle will be renovated, but remain open to the public.
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