Don’t believe in fairy tales? Germany’s stunning Bavarian Alps region might just make you believe otherwise. This breathtaking area defined by its majestic mountains, green meadows, romantic castles, and staggering opulence is within easy reach of Munich and makes for an excellent day trip. The biggest draws of the area are the story-book castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof, created by the eccentric and downright cray cray King Ludwig II. While his mental stability was often in question, there are several things that we do know for sure: he had a hell of an eye for architecture and a propensity for luxury (a.k.a he had a serious passion for spending money that left him deeply in debt). But oh aren’t we glad that he did?! The citizens of the world have been reaping the benefits of his extravagant spending habits ever since!
Below are the highlights of this breathtaking region:
Linderhof, Ludwig’s rococo-style hunting lodge and last home, is the smallest of his three palaces (I know. So ridiculous.) and the only one he lived to see completed. Influenced by French architecture, the estate and grounds are as immaculate as they are exquisite and the abundance of ornamentation is present in every last detail. The magnificent building is of course impressive, but the grounds and setting are really the showstoppers here. Highly recommend spending at least an hour or two touring the palace’s interior, as well as the meticulously manicured gardens.
Bavaria’s most famous and recognizable attraction, and one of the world’s grandest castles, Neuschwanstein is the magical fairytale castle that inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. This incredible neo-Romanesque style estate is as stunning and lavish as you think. The fact that it’s perched upon a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangu amid picturesque scenery only elevates its awe-inspiring beauty. Plan on spending several hours touring this striking residence and pretty-as-a-postcard grounds.
The views from atop the hill of Neuschwanstein are nothing short of spectacular.
Do you see that bridge? Doesn’t it look frightening? It was. Was it worth traversing for the unforgettable views and photo ops? Absolutely.
Hohenschwangau Castle: King Ludwig’s childhood home
Nestled in the Bavarian Alps, the quaint town of Oberammergau is known most around the world for its famous Passion Play, a once-a-decade performance that honors a pledge made nearly four hundred years ago by its residents. When the town was spared from a plague that devastated much of Europe, its townspeople vowed to perform the reenactment of the life of Christ every ten yen years, for forever. Forever ever? Yep, forever ever. The next performance will occur in 2020 and apparently you should’ve began making your plans about five years ago. Yes, it’s that famous.
But this famous play isn’t the only enticing aspect of this peaceful village. Live demonstrations by woodcarvers and artists and homes adorned with charming frescoes make for an aesthetically-pleasing magical little town. We felt an hour here sufficed–while it’s an enchanting place, it is small and can be explored in a rather short amount of time.
So while King Ludwig II certainly was quite mad and seemed to literally live in his very own fairy tale, the world should be thankful that he did, for he is the one who brought these architectural masterpieces into the already extraordinary landscapes of the Bavarian Alps. Thanks, Ludwig. Long live the king!
Hail to the Ludwig: T paying his respects at the Munich Residenz (stay tuned for a future Munich post!)
We used the tour company Viator for this day trip and definitely recommend it. We’ve used this trusted tour company for a number of excursions around the world including: touring the royal palaces of London, visiting Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle, biking through Amsterdam, dune buggying in Dominican Republic, and exploring Delhi and the Taj Mahal as part of a tour throughout India’s Golden Triangle. Like I said, we use Viator a lot. We consistently find it to be reliable, exceptional quality, and reasonably priced.
To read more about some of our favorite Western European adventures: