The inspiration for Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland, Neuschwanstein was built by King Ludwig II in the 19th century. Capture the grandeur of this architecture and picturesque mountain scenery on a visit to these extraordinary castles, the legacy of Bavaria's fairytale King.
Hidden in the seclusion of the Bavarian mountains, King Ludwig II built two of his dream castles, Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.
Elegant Linderhof, King Ludwig's favorite and the smallest of three royal castles, is built in French Rococo style with a fantastic grotto and Moorish pavilion.
On approaching Castle Neuschwanstein, it quickly becomes clear why this magnificent neo-Romanesque style castle is the most famous in the world. The shimmering white towers of the castle among the clouds are instantly recognizable, evoking memories of magical fairytale lands.
The city of Munich offers travelers plenty of ways to capitalize on sunshine with numerous cultural, historical and sightseeing options.
While city walking tours are always an option, travelers who are tight on time can explore the streets of Munich by bike or Segway. These two-wheel alternatives to foot exploration mean it’s possible to see more in less time. And once visitors have worked up a thirst (and an appetite), they can opt for a Bavarian beer and food tour or behind-the-scenes look at the famous Paulaner Brewery.
Munich is also home to some top World War II landmarks, making it an ideal place for history lovers. Visitors can join a tour that highlights Hitler’s impact and includes a look at sites associated with the Third Reich.
For travelers who want to venture further afield, Munich’s proximity to other destinations makes it an ideal starting point for day trips to Salzburg, the royal castles of Neuschwanstein and the Dachau Concentration Camp.
Day 1: Sport, spires and shopping in Munich
Orientate yourself by riding the hop on hop off bus, pedaling around on a bicycle, or walking on foot. Walking is recommended to appreciate the amazing architecture. Find the Nationaltheater in Max-Joseph-Platz, check out the gargoyles and climb to the top of neo-Gothic Neues Rathaus or St. Peterskirche towers for a bird's eye view of the city.
Day 2: Munich Museums and Bavarian Beer!
Go behind the scenes at the BMW museum, and see the factory’s assembly line in action. The Deutsches Museum is a wonderful place to get lost with models of atoms, miniature gas refineries, and electricity-generating bikes.
Day 3: Castles, Lakes and Mountains
The shimmering white towers of Castle Neuschwanstein are instantly recognizable, as Bavaria's fairytale King Ludwig II built his dream castles in the mountains.
From its roots as a medieval salt-trading center, through the rule of the mid-19th century ‘Mad King’ King Ludwig II, to the devastation of the World Wars, Munich has a long and colorful history and there are plenty of historic sights to see.
While traces of Bavaria’s earlier history are kept alive in the region’s many magnificent castles, it’s the city’s WWII history that’s under the spotlight on a historic tour of Munich. As the birthplace of the Nazi Party and home to its headquarters, Munich became the backdrop for many of the most notorious atrocities of Nazi rule. Following in the footsteps of the Nazi party offers a unique journey through history, from the early party meetings held in the city’s beer halls, through Hitler’s rise to power, to the post-war reconstruction and preservation efforts.
Salzburg from Munich
The birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg is where the gifted composer wrote and premiered many of his masterpieces. In homage to the maestro, there are reminders all over the city from the cathedral where he was baptized, to his childhood home.
Recognised as the UNESCO World Heritage-listed old town, Salzburg is also known for its appearance in the famous 1965 film The Sound of Music. Interestingly the real-life von Trapp family really did hail from Salzburg but many Austrians do not know the film. Nonetheless you can see numerous locations, including the gardens of the Mirabell Palace and the forbidding fortress.
Salzburg’s main museum displays most of the city’s fascinating history, while the Residenzgalerie holds many of its great art treasures. Away from the town centre, Schloss Hellbrunn is a testament to refined aristocratic taste.
Oktoberfest is by far the largest beer festival in the world, attracting around six million visitors to Munich to enjoy the liquid gold. Every year the Wiesn ("the meadow") is turned into a sparkling temporary city of vast tents, fairground attractions, music, Gemütlichkeit, and millions of liters of specially brewed beer, served in 1litre Masskrüge.
The Bavarian Purity Requirements of the 16th century guarantee the highest quality Bavarian beer. Only the major “Big Six” Munich breweries (Augustiner, Löwenbräu, Paulaner, Spaten, Hofbräu and Hacker-Pschorr) may serve beer at Oktoberfest, and each has its own tent.
From hiking in the Black Forest to driving the Romantic Road, here are some of the best day tours from Füssen.
There’s no better place to get a view of the Alps than Germany’s highest peak, Zugspitze, which towers 2,962 meters above sea level and straddles the Austrian-German border. Thankfully, you don’t have to climb to the summit – a cable car runs from the mountain town of Ehrwald to the top.
From whimsical hilltop castles to medieval villages that appear suspended in time, Germany’s Romantic Road serves up a slideshow of scenery worthy of its name. The country’s most popular tourist theme route starts out at Füssen and while a multi-day trip is needed to take in the whole 261-mile road.
Füssen is on the doorstep of two of the ‘Mad King’ King Ludwig’s most famous castles, Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, both of which are hugely popular attractions.