“I’m not a castle person,” is what I thought to myself when I first heard about Neuschwanstein Castle from a new friend I met when I spent a weekend in Rome. Not a castle person…what does that even mean?!
I’ve seen a few castles before and I thought that once you’ve seen one, you’ve probably seen them all. So when I decided to start my European Christmas vacation in Munich, I didn’t plan to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, which is about 1.5 hours south of the city. If I didn’t go, I surely would have regretted it.
I visited the castle with two friends who happened to be in Munich at the same time and were renting a car for the duration of their stay. Driving through the Bavarian countryside to the castle from Munich was an exciting experience and the views were nothing short of stunning.
The scenery was too beautiful to only enjoy from the confines of the car; we had to pull over and take some photos. Stepping out of the car on the side of the road, a refreshing rush of cool air hit me straight in the face. The day was perfect; not too cold to be outside of the city, and the skyline was so picturesque and surreal.
Bavaria is what I had always imagined when thinking of Germany. The stark color contrast between the blue sky, green grass, and white clouds were reminiscent of the old Windows PC default desktop background. My eyes wide open, I absorbed as much of this vision as I could, hoping it would never fade from my memory.
I didn’t realize how much I loved the mountains until I visited Darjeeling, India. Since that trip, I long for snowy mountaintops that kiss the faraway clouds.
Neuschwanstein Castle is located in near the Austrian border in Hohenschwangau, Germany. The history is interesting; the castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, who used all of his money to build the castle, visited it only a handful of times, and died under “mysterious circumstances” before it was completed. Now the unfinished castle is one of the biggest tourist attractions for visitors of Munich, and was even the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle!
The best view of the castle can be found from Marienbrücke, a tiny bridge behind the castle. I’m not sure how stable the bridge was, but my knees wobbled as the wooden planks moved with my every step. The sheer number of tourists on the seemingly unstable bridge made me nervous. “What’s everyone doing on the left side of the bridge? We need to distribute our weight!” was the ridiculous thought that was running through my head. But hey, I had to get that money shot of the castle!
The inside of the castle (where no photos were allowed), wasn’t much in comparison to the grandeur of its outer architecture. Neuschwanstein Castle is nestled in the hills, surrounded by trees, and overlooks the beautiful countryside. It’s really straight out of a fairytale! I’ve never seen anything like it.
What started out as a day trip I was hesitant about turned into one of the highlights of my entire two-week holiday. From the drive through Bavaria to the views of Neuschwanstein Castle and its surrounding countryside, the natural beauty simply blew me away.
I’m planning to to do the same trip from Munich. Can you please tell us which rental’s car did you take & what were the approximate costs? Any other precautions or tips while driving there? Was the traffic in Munich bearable?
Also, which places should we visit in between the trip.
Hi Joshi, I was actually just a passenger in my friend’s car. I’m not sure which rental company they used or the costs incurred, so I can’t vouch for any specific company. We didn’t drive within Munich, only into the countryside to Neuschwanstein and to Dachau, so there were no problems with traffic. I’m not sure if you need an international driver’s license for Germany, but you might want to look into that. My friend had an international driver’s license so there were no problems with being able to rent the car in a foreign country. I definitely recommend visiting Neuschwanstein and Dachau near Munich. Also Salzburg, Austria if you have the time!