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Hohenschwangau Castle Germany







Best Places to Visit on the Romantic Road Germany

Schloss Hohenschwangau

Hohenschwangau Castle was Ludwig's summer home as a boy and King

The “other” castle in the town of Hohenschwangau is a modest affair compared to Neuschwanstein.  Sited on a hill across from Neuschwanstein and above the Alpsee (Alp lake), Schloss Hohenschwangau was the summer  home of Ludwig II for most of his life. 

The hilltop occupied by the Schloss was once a castle of the Knights (Lords) of Schwangau (12th century), but the building fell into disuse over the next few centuries and was damaged during the recurring wars in the area during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. 

Maximillian II (Ludwig II’s father) bought the property in the 1832 and had it remodeled, expanded  and rebuilt in the neo-gothic style.  The design was by the famous architect and artist Domenico Quaglio, who added character to the walls of the old castle, as well as new features fundamental to the look of this remarkable edifice.

View from the path up to Hohenschwangau Castle.


Schloss Hohenschwangau is a twenty-minute walk up a paved path that starts just north of the Ticket Center in Hohenschwangau.    As noted previously, you must  buy your ticket for the castle tour from the Ticket Center.  The slight, uphill walk to the castle includes beautiful views of the countryside, especially of the dark blue waters of the Alpsee, and is quite pleasant in warm weather. If you prefer, you can take a buggy to the top of the hill for a modest price, although rides in the uphill direction are more expensive than those going downhill.

After your tour, you can rent a boat and paddle around the Alpsee, observing its  flock of wild swans while soaking in the beautiful mountain scenery that is the hallmark of the Bavarian Alps.


The castle as seen from the path up the hill

The Schloss Hohenschwangau consists of four sections. On the way up the paved walkway is a small chapel, followed by an outbuilding, which was  the servants quarters and now serves as a gift shop. The main castle building is a towering four-story affair  reserved for the king and his consort.  Slightly below the castle, overlooking the lake, is a garden featuring  gorgeous views of the surrounding area, as well as panoramic views of the main castle.

This building was the servant and children's quarters.
The entrance to the castle tour is in a courtyard behind the building that once served as the servant’s quarters and where the royal children were schooled and raised.  By the way, Hohenschwangau castle is privately owned by members of the Wittelsbach family who ruled Bavaria for over 700 years.  Maximillian II and Ludwig II were part of this dynasty.


The interior of Schloss Hohenschwangau is attractive and its design may give you additional insights into the mindset of Ludwig II. Ludwig was raised here and ruled the castle after his father’s death.  It is clear from a visit to Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein that Ludwig would have preferred to live in the alternate universe of knights, epic tales and chivalry.  Since Ludwig had the money to make his dreams come true (at least for a time), it might not be fair to call him Mad Kind Ludwig, but that is how he remembered by his countrymen.

View of Hohenschwangau Castle from the distance on a misty morning.All rooms in the castle are decorated with magnificent frescos based on medieval stories or decorated with themes based on royal trips taken by Maximillian.  The Oriental Room, once the Queen’s bedroom, is decorated with artistic rendering of the King’s visit to Turkey early in his reign and the room's artwork has the exotic "feel" of the Ottoman Empire.

The Tasso Room was the bedroom of both kings. Ludwig had it transformed into a magical experience. The ceiling above his sleeping chamber, which was painted dark blue to resemble the night sky, features small lenses of glass that were drilled through to the attic.  At night, the staff place lighted candles in the attic that would reflect “starlight” though his ceiling.  In addition, a section of the ceiling is a portrait of the moon equipped with a movable shade allowing the extent of the visible moon to be altered to reflect the transition of the moon through its phases during the  month.  In addition, Ludwig's room had a compact, but beautiful chapel, as well as a small telescope used for viewing the construction progress of the Neuschwanstein, which was built on hill just  across the valley from the Hohenschwangau Castle.


Perhaps the most outstanding room of the Hohenschwangau Castle is the large Helden - oder Rittersaal (Heroes or Knights Room), which is adorned with neo-gothic ornaments and a center table with gilded trays and platters.  While all other rooms in the castle are smaller, each is lavishly decorated and worthy of your attention.  As you guide whisks you through the castle, take some time to peek at the spectacular views of the lake, as it is visible from the upper floors.

View of the lovely countryside surrounding Hohenschwangau CastleOnce the thirty-minute tour is over, be sure to take some time to visit the gift shop and to enjoy the views of the surrounding countryside.  If you nave not yet visited the garden make sure to see it before you leave.  The shortest way down is the route described for entering the castle.  There is a second path that is longer, but takes you closer to the Lake.  Also, the Neuschwanstein Castle is visible from Castle Hohenschwangau and you might want to take a photo of from this perspective before departing.  

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Public toilets in Hohenschwangau are located near the parking lot in the building housing the Hohenschwangau Information Center.  




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