Hohenschwangau Castle
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Inside Hohenschwangau Castle – The Mad Kings Childhood Home

Shadowed by the fame of Neuschwanstein Castle, many tourists skip visiting Hohenschwangau Castle. For the life of me, I can’t understand why. If you like castles, why would you not go inside both? Fortunately, people have stated that Hohenschwangau Castle is more beautiful than the famous neighbor in recent years.

Here are a few reasons why you should not skip Hohenschwangau Castle and why it rivals its neighbor in beauty. First, Hohenschwangau Castle is where King Ludwig II grew up – aka “The Mad King”; second, it is complete; third, it is packed with historical artifacts; fourth, the inside design is beautiful; lastly, it has lovely gardens.

Visually from the outside, the yellow walls and traditional design are pale compared to Neuschwanstein Castle, but the inside outshines Neuschwanstein by far.

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Hohenschwangau Castle

King Maximilian II of Bavaria

Maximilian II reigned as King of Bavaria between 1848 and 1864. He was a famous king due to his political commitment rather than overspending, luxury, and excess. Traits that many rulers of this era adopted as norms.

He is beloved for his effort to restore stability to the Bavarian region and his commitment to maintaining Bavarian independence during Germany’s wars.

The king battled constant health issues, one of the main reasons he spent so much time in the countryside.

He married Marie Friederike Franziska Hedwig and had one daughter and two sons. One of those sons, King Ludwig II of Bavaria (The Mad King), succeeded him following his death in 1864.

The History of Hohenschwangau Castle

When still a prince, the young King Maximillian II discovered a castle ruin atop the hill that Hohenschwangau Castle sits on. The ruin dating back to the 12th century was known as Fortress Schwanstein. The ruin and location captured his attention.

The Hohenschwangau Castle began in 1832 and took approximately ten years to complete.

Maximilian began to embrace the new architectural style of the times – Gothic Revival, which he combined with modern building technology—additionally incorporating the square building trend for castles of the time.

Inside Hohenschwangau Castle

Like Neuschwanstein Castle, you must take a guided tour. You can’t wander inside at your leisure. And tours are timed. The tours are busy, and you overlap with other guests as you move from one room to another, but it is not rushed. Our guide thoroughly explained the architectural significance of features, furniture, and paintings.

The walls of this castle are a story of their own. Many of the walls were painted by Domenico Quaglio, an Italian painter and architect. Some notable rooms are the Drinking Hall of the castle, which turned into a chapel.

Almost all the interior walls and ceilings are painted with scenes depicting German folklore or medieval legends. Many pay homage to swans, the heraldic animal featured on the king’s coat of arms. There is even a room titled “Hall of the Swan Knight.”

The castle is 10 763 square feet. All the rooms are finished, and the family spent many summers here. The largest room is the Hall of Heroes and Knights, which covers the castle’s width.

The tour only takes approximately thirty-five minutes, and you will only see a few rooms displayed to the public.

Note: You cannot take any photographs inside Hohenschwangau Castle

The Gardens of Hohenschwangau Castle

Not sprawling due to sitting on top of a hill, the gardens of Hohenschwangau are impressive. Also created by Domenico Quaglio, they have the same charm and style. Perhaps even a little more stunning.

The garden’s highlight is the swan fountain encased in the multi-layered circular bush.

Hohenschwangau Castle Garden

You will see the most divine inside-outside sunken marble jacuzzi man ever created in the gardens. It is an incredible piece of marble decadence art with function.  I can imagine how relaxing a bath here would have been. You can’t enter it, but you can view it outside.

Hohenschwangau Castle

You can also visit the chapel via the gardens, a short walk down the side of the castle walls.

Then there are the views of Lake Alpsee, which is worth the visit alone.

Hohenschwangau Castle Lake View

Map of Hohenschwangau Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle Map

How to Get Up to Hohenschwangau Castle

Getting to Hohenschwangau Castle is an easy twenty-minute walk from the ticket center.  We walked both up and down to Hohenschwangau. You can take the carriage up if you do not want to walk.

Getting Tickets to go inside Hohenschwangau Castle

As of 2020, both castles receive more than 1.4 million visitors annually. Most are heading inside Neuschwanstein.  Approximately 300,000 visitors get tickets to go inside Hohenschwangau.

You can buy a ticket on the same day.  However, I strongly recommend that you purchase tickets in advance. There are a few reasons for this:

  • You must take a guided tour.
  • All tours run at specific times; you will get a time slot based on availability.
  • Tours often sell out way in advance.
  • The lines to buy tickets are ridiculously long, even on a rainy day.
  • If you are late for your time, there is a high chance you will not get in.
  • You can only buy tickets up to two days in advance.

The ticket counter is located at:


Alpseestraße 12, D-87645 Hohenschwangau

Telephone +49 8362 93083-0

Ticket Prices

Hohenschwangau Castle costs € 13,00 for adults plus a €2,50 service fee. Children under 18 are free.

The following combination tickets are available:

  • Kings-Ticket (Hohenschwangau castle / Neuschwanstein castle)
  • Wittelsbach-Ticket (Hohenschwangau castle / Museum of the Bavarian Kings)
  • Swan-Ticket (Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castle/ Museum of the Bavarian Kings)

Remember that all tours follow a strict schedule. When you book tickets, allow yourself enough time to get from one castle to another.

Essentials You Will Need To Enjoy Hohenschwangau Castle

Where To Stay Near Hohenschwangau Castle


FAQs About Hohenschwangau Castle

The castle served as the king’s residence during the summer and hunting seasons. During their summer and hunting seasons, Maximilian, Marie of Prussia, Ludwig II of Bavaria, and Otto I of Bavaria lived at Hohenschwangau Palace. 

No, they are two separate castles. Hohenschwangau Castle is close to its slightly more famous cousin, Neuschwanstein Castle – you can visit and tour both castles on the same day.

The castle was the summer residence of Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria and his family from 1933 to 1939 and is still a favorite of his successors, his grandson Franz. However, no one lives in the castle today.

This castle is worth your time, and the inside is much better than Neuschwanstein Castle.

Tours To Hohenschwangau Castle

Unusual facts about Hohenschwangau Castle

  • Hohenschwangau Castle sits in the village of Schwangau in Bavaria, Germany, and was built in the 19th century.
  • The castle was a fortress to protect the nearby town of Füssen.
  • The castle was destroyed in the 16th century during the German Peasants’ War. A ruin until the 19th century when it was rebuilt by King Maximilian II of Bavaria.
  • It was King Maximilian’s summer residence, later passed down to his son, King Ludwig II.
  • King Ludwig II spent much of his childhood at Hohenschwangau Castle and was inspired by its architecture and design.
  • The castle’s interior has elaborate frescoes depicting scenes from German mythology and history.
  • The castle has a unique heating system, where hot air is blown through pipes in the walls to heat the rooms.
  • Hohenschwangau Castle has a chapel with stained glass windows depicting scenes from the life of King Ludwig II.

What You Need to Know

  • Prepare for rain; it is common.
  • There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the village of Hohenschwangau.
  • There is parking on-site. You must pay a nominal fee to the park and expect heavy traffic.
  • You can not take photographs or videos inside.

Closing Thoughts

If you are visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Germany, make a point to include Hohenschwangau Castle. If you go inside only one castle, I recommend Hohenschwangau Castle vs. Neuschwanstein.

We did both, and Hohenschwangau was the best.

The tour felt longer even though it took about the same time as Neuschwanstein. More rooms are displayed, and the house is tastefully decorated yet reflective of the period.

Many people skip going inside Hohenschwangau Castle, and this is a mistake.

Lastly, a fairytale-like town called Fussen is only a six-minute drive or two miles away. You will enter a circular maze of cobbled streets with endless things to do behind this town’s castle walls.

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    1. Hi Virginia,
      I think most people do and I am the outlier:) I do agree if you see both you get the full story – you are absolutely correct on that. Nikki

  1. We have been to both castles a few times. They are both beautiful and interesting, but Neuschwanstein is my favorite. I love the staircase that curves around what is shaped like a palm tree, all the wooden carvings on King Ludwigs bed canopy representing the church steeples in Bavaria, the huge and beautiful animal mosaics in the floor of the throne room, the fact that he had sinks with running water and swan shaped faucets, the stunning views from many of the windows, the colorful and artistic ceilings, the wall paintings with scenes from Wagner’s works, magnificent chandeliers, and fanciful architecture. Hohenschwangau is more like a home, but Neuschwanstein is a dream come true.

    1. Hi Patricia,
      I’m so happy to read that you have been to both – most people only do Neuschwanstein. I agree the staircase is marvelous! I like the comparison of home vs. dream come true. From the outside, I think Neuschwanstein is all things fairy tale and the sheer size is impressive. I also agree the detail of the finishings is extravagant. I still preferred Hohenschwangau overall :) Nikki

  2. I must admit that I hadn’t heard of this castle but it looks just as interesting as Neuschwanstein. The marble jacuzzi looks absolutely amazing!

    1. Hi Suze, you are not the only one! It gets shadowed by Neuschwanstein which is a shame:) If you get a chance go check it out. Nikki

      1. Beautiful it’s a small word to describe this castle
        Yes, I been in that Castle
        Out of this world
        Love it and love it

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