Schloss Neuschwanstein: One Of King Ludwig II’s Many Lavish Palaces

Perfect if you’re addicted to blowing money, then make a trip out to see Schloss Neuschwanstein.

Schloss Neuschwanstein
PHOTO LOUIS ALCORN

The train journey provided for miles upon miles of endless green scenery and extremely blue mineral lakes before I arrived in the small town below the castle.

While Ludwig II served as King of Germany, he suffered from stress, which eventually led to clinically diagnosed insanity. Instead of turning to alcohol or drugs, Ludwig decided to build castles. In order to do this, he had to extinguish eight hundred years of family fortune and then take out countless loans that he never intended to pay back. During his time, Ludwig built three castles, with plans for a fourth. The fourth would have been built near the peak of the mountain next to Neuschwanstein. Imagine hauling the stone up to that site on a dangerous mountain trail!

Schloss Neuschwanstein
PHOTO LOUIS ALCORN

His other castles included a one to one scale replica of Versailles, situated on an island (simply because he took a certain fancy to the Hall of Mirrors there), a smaller palace, and of course, the Schloss Neuschwanstein.

Ludwig only lived in this castle for a total of one hundred and twenty-three days (and only seven days at his Versailles palace) before he died a mysterious death. Only a few rooms out of the original fifty are finished in the Neuschwanstein castle, but those that have been completed are absolutely astonishing. The ornate woodcarvings on Ludwig’s bedframe took fourteen expert woodcarvers seven years to complete! Between his dressing room and his office, there sits a cave – a plaster rendition of a cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites – to replicate a play set of his favorite play. On the upper floor of the mansion sits the concert hall, where Ludwig planned to hold musical and theatrical performances. But the hall was completed only a few days before his death.

Today some six thousand people per day walk though Ludwig’s castle despite his last will and testament. He wanted all of his castles to be destroyed so that no one else could enjoy them. Yes, first he extinguished his family’s fortune, and then he bankrupted the Bavarian government though his loans, and then he wanted it all to be demolished once he could no longer enjoy it.

Schloss Neuschwanstein
PHOTO LOUIS ALCORN

Descending from the castle, the scenic hike next to the waterfall and river were reminiscent of Yosemite. Perhaps the most fantastic facet of Schloss Neuschwanstein remains its location in nature. The castle sits atop a rock outcropping at the foot of the mountains, looking up to a hundred-foot waterfall and overlooking a panorama of lakes and agricultural villages in Southern Bavaria. In fact, Walt Disney’s initial conception of the castle in Sleeping Beauty stems from his visit to Ludwig’s palace. Neuschwanstein represents one of the most impressive feats of architectural ingenuity ever to be constructed. One must note that the castle’s construction came far before the luxuries of cranes and other forms of mechanized construction vehicles. Laborers and slaves manually assembled the castle piece by piece, hauling materials up the mountain one by one.

Schloss Neuschwanstein stands as one of the most sublime architectural relics still standing today. The product of King Ludwig II’s efforts stand as creations that can be appreciated by people coming from all walks of life.

Schloss Neuschwanstein
PHOTO LOUIS ALCORN

Louis Alcorn

As a San Diego native, Louis lives by his ultimate travel tip: take a minute in each place you visit to collect your thoughts and write them down. They tend to be invaluable when you look back in the future.

Jetset Times in your inbox

Sign-up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy.