Inside Hohenschwangau Castle – The Mad Kings Childhood Home
Shadowed by the fame of Neuschwanstein Castle, many tourists skip a visit inside 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.
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, 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.
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.
You also can visit the chapel via the gardens, which is a short walk down the side of the castle walls.
Then there are the views of Lake Alpsee, which is worth the visit alone.
Map of Hohenschwangau Castle
How to Get Up to Hohenschwangau Castle
Getting up 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.
The castle served as the king’s residence during the summer and hunting seasons. Maximilian, Marie of Prussia, Ludwig II of Bavaria, and Otto I of Bavaria lived at Hohenschwangau Palace during their summer and hunting seasons.
Is Hohenschwangau Castle the same as Neuschwanstein Castle?
No, they are two separate castles. Hohenschwangau Castle is very closely situated to its slightly more famous cousin, Neuschwanstein Castle – you can visit and tour both castles on the same day.
Does anyone live in Hohenschwangau Castle?
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.
Is Hohenschwangau Castle worth visiting?
This castle is worth your time, and inside is much better than Neuschwanstein Castle.
Tours To Hohenschwangau Castle
What You Need to Know
Prepare for rain; it’s expected.
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 you should expect heavy traffic.
You can not take photographs or videos inside.
If you are visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Southern Germany, make a point to include Hohenschwangau Castle. If you choose to 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 on display, 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 away or two miles away. You will enter into a circle maze of cobbled streets that hold an endless array of things to do behind this town’s castle walls.
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Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job without breaking the bank. Nikki is always in search of off-the-beaten-track experiences and unique stays. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles per year and has visited 54 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com or follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.