Schloss, or Castle Neuschwanstein is possibly as close to a real ‘fairy tale’ castle as you can find. Tucked away in south west Bavaria in the foothills of the German Alps, the castle sits on a lump of rock beside a beautiful river gorge and waterfall near the historic town of Füssen. It has, understandably become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe with 1.3 million visitors per year.
The castle occupies the site of a middle aged castle, with another; Hohenschwangau Castle nestled on a hilltop below the site. By 1868, the old ruins were demolished and the foundation stone was laid in September 1869. Castles were no longer necessary for defensive purposes by this time but the Bavarian King Ludwig II, also known as the ‘fairytale King’ wanted the castle constructed regardless, and strived for perfection. Much of the castle is inspired by his fascination with Wagner, even the name, ‘New Swan Castle’ references one of his characters.
King Ludwig II spent so much of his time and money on the castle, yet the amazing structure was not even complete upon his death in 1886. The castle was promptly opened up to visitors and has featured in many films and is also the inspiration behind Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.