When you travel far and wide you sometimes forget that the most beautiful places can be very close to home. Thanks to King Ludwig II. there are numerous stunning castles in Bavaria. The best-known, Neuschwanstein, is a mere 90-minute drive away from Munich, yet it was only thanks to the visit of a friend that I finally made my way there.
We drove from Munich towards Füssen, following the southern stretch of the Romantic Road into Hohenschwangau where we navigated around the crowds of tourists until we found a parking spot underneath the older castle of Hohenschwangau. From there you can either hike up to Neuschwanstein or take a horse carriage. We chose the third option, the shuttle bus, which brought us close to the Marienbrücke, where you have a great view of the castle. From there, a short walk brought us to the entrance of the castle. We had decided not to go inside and merely enjoyed the architecture and the view from outside. Due to the onrush of visitors access to the castle is strictly regulated. If you want to see the inside you have to get a timed entrance ticket, which you can either buy online beforehand or at the visitor center in Hohenschwangau on the day of your visit. Though if you do that I would strongly suggest to be there early.
After our visit to Neuschwanstein we decided to see another castle, Linderhof, which is a 45-minute drive from Hohenschwangau. The shortest way between the two castles leads through Austria and very conveniently past a gas station. You have to know that gas is a lot cheaper in Austria due to lower taxes. Of course we had planned our trip accordingly and arrived in Reutte with a nearly empty tank, which we filled up happily. From there the road lead us on a very scenic route past lake Plansee, where we stopped for a few pictures.
When we arrived at Linderhof in the evening the castle was already closed. Like Neuschwanstein, to see the inside of the castle you need to get a timed ticket. But it’s definitely worth a visit, even if you decide to only view the outside. We walked through the park, past some swans swimming in a lake and around the castle. The park is truly beautiful and the architecture of the castle is very interesting with lots of detail. From Linderhof it was another hour’s drive back to Munich. If you plan your day well you can easily visit both castles and see the inside of at least one of them, maybe both if you start earlier in the morning than we did.