February 17, 2018

Bavaria + King Ludwig = Castles

If you asked people for a word that makes them think of Bavaria, I bet castles would be a popular response.

The castles of Bavaria draw millions of people to them each year. Three of these castles were the creation of one person – Ludwig II King of Bavaria.  In fact, one of them is the most visited spot in all of Germany!

Swan King, Fairy Tale King, Mad King Ludwig and Crazy King Ludwig are all nicknames for Ludwig II.  Flamboyant, eccentric and extravagant are words used to describe him.  Whatever you call him or think about him, he built 3 amazing castles that are still attracting visitors to his beloved Bavaria today.

King Ludwig II of Bavaria Germany

King Ludwig II

Ludwig II was born into aristocracy and rebelled against it from an early age.  He disliked large public functions preferring visiting and talking with townspeople in the countryside of Bavaria.  He was passionate about the arts and it would be easy to say that Richard Wagner was his favorite.  Whether he actually was crazy is much disputed but his gift to art and architecture is not.

Ludwig’s castles are a sight to behold and are examples of Romanesque, Rococo, Gothic and Baroque architectural styles.

Neuschwanstein Castle Bavaria Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle by Taxiarchos228

Neuschwanstein is a dramatic castle sitting high up on a hill.  Even if you don’t know the name, you have seen pictures of this awe inspiring castle.  The Romanesque beauty was the first castle Ludwig II commissioned.  The towers, turrets and spires give homage to medieval times.  Ludwig’s affection for theater, led him to have the castle modeled by a set designer and not an architect.  In fact, many of the walls are painted with characters of Wagner’s operas.  This much visited castle was never finished and remains so today.  As evidence, the Byzantine throne room has no throne because the king died before ordering one.

Neuschwanstein Throne Room Bavaria Germany

Throne room at Neuschwanstein by LoKiLeCh

The setting of Neuschwanstein could not be more idyllic!  Every way you look is a feast for the eyes.  It truly is a beautiful building and it is easy to see why you may feel as you are living in a fairy tale while visiting.

Linderhof Castle Bavaria Germany

Linderhof Castle by Softeis

The smallest of King Ludwig’s castles is Linderhof, just a short distance from Neuschwanstein, and is also the only one to be finished.  The king fancied himself as King Louis XIV of France and designed this castle in his inspiration.  The ornate Rococo style castle is truly an over-the-top example of extravagance.  This glistening dream world has colorful walls, painting, gilded decorations and amazing furniture of the period.  The Hall of Mirrors is the most extravagant room in the castle.  The white and gold paneling coupled with the mirrors offers an illusion of largess.  But this castle also offered innovative engineering with its dining table that rose to and from the kitchen!  The garden areas of the castle are just as eccentric and ornate as the inside.  The over-the-top theme keeps going with the cascading waterfall, Moorish kiosk and the Venus Grotto!

Linderhof grotto Bavaria Germany

Linderhof Grotto by by Softeis

Linderhof Castle is a true contrast of styles: exaggerated on the outside and extravagant on the inside but you will love it!

Herrenchiemsee Hall of Mirrors Bavaria Germany

Herrenchiemsee Hall of Mirrors by digital cat , on Flickr

The third and final castle built by King Ludwig II is surrounded by beautiful mountains acting as a stunning setting for Herrenchiemsee sitting on an island in the middle of lake Chiemsee near the Austrian border.  This never completed grandiose castle is quite impressive and was modeled after Versailles.  From Prien, you will take a boat to the island where you may take a horse drawn carriage to the castle.   It is said, the most spectacular room is the Hall of Mirrors but the Grand Staircase is equally impressive.  The rooms of Herrenchiemsee offer some of the best examples of 19th century interior decoration still in existence today.  The collection of porcelain is exquisite.   In this castle you will find many brilliantly painted ornate rooms, a bathroom with a small pool for a tub, another table that rises to and from the kitchen and the same type of formal gardens you come to expect from Ludwig II.  The gardens at Herrenchiemsee offer a park like atmosphere complete with pools and fountains!

Herrenchiemsee Garden Fountain Bavaria Germany

Herrenchiemsee by Sir Gawain

While visiting Ludwig’s castles, we can still dream, wonder and be in awe of his vision while enjoying some of the most amazing countryside Bavaria has to offer!


Have you been to any of Ludwig’s castles?

Which one is your favorite?

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  1. what?
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  2. Good post however , I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit
    more. Bless you!
    animation software japanese recently posted..animation software japanese

  3. Man, I wish I had a cape like King Ludwig II. 😉 And the Neuschwanstein Castle looks positively stunning – I want to visit!
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..4×4 Adventures in the Off-Roading Capital of the World

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Neuschwanstein is very impressive sitting on its perch! I love just sitting in the village soaking in the ambiance of the area and looking up to see this stunning castle.

    • Sue says:

      I went through Neuschwanstein, what an amazing castle, would love to go back again sometime.

  4. Gotta respect a man that’s not afraid to rock white tights and a pair of thigh-high leather boots. Just saying….
    The Travel Chica recently posted..My Little Wine Experiment- Can You Tell the Difference

  5. Adrian B. says:

    The throne room at Neuschwanstein looks spectacular. Are those arches covered with gold?
    Adrian B. recently posted..Palacio Real de Aranjuez- Photo Essay

  6. i also think a popular response would be beer!
    i had heard of neuschwanstein, but never been there (unfortunately). it looks incredible, love the pics. as for the other two, i didnt know ludwig had built more castles! rich madmen, gotta love em.
    jamie – cloud people adventures recently posted..How the Clouds Roll

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Yup beer is also a popular draw to Bavaria! Just glad we get to enjoy the fruits of his madness 🙂

  7. robin says:

    Quite mad, wasn’t he?
    robin recently posted..You Might Have Mentioned The Camels

  8. I’ve been to Neuschwenstein and loved it! I think it’s one of the best castles on the planet.

  9. Laurel says:

    I’ve been to Neuschwanstein, but plan to visit the other two in the next few months. Ludwig’s style was certainly distinctive.
    Laurel recently posted..Mercure Winchester Wessex Hotel

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Linderhof is my favorite but I haven’t been to Herrenchiemsee yet! I know you enjoy them. Yes his style was unique but I love it 🙂

  10. Renee says:

    Wow….the interior of the castle looks like an artist’s rendering on canvas. It’s exceptional!
    Renee recently posted..A review of the Best Western Arroyo Roble Hotel &amp Creekside Villas in Sedona- AZ

  11. We met some Bavarians a while back while traveling and they talked a lot about castles. I can see why now! These are amazing
    Jozef @ Where Now recently posted..The Inca Jungle Trail – Part 2


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