More than Neuschwanstein, part one – the other castles in Füssen and Hohenschwangau
Füssen and the neighbouring village of Hohenschwangau are globally associated with Germany’s most famous tourist attraction: King Ludwig’s glorious Neuschwanstein Castle, shimmering on its lofty perch far above Lake Alpsee and the nearby Forggensee. What is less well known is that Neuschwanstein is only one of a number of stunning castles in the area.
Just below Neuschwanstein, and easily visible from the Ticket Center, lies Hohenschwangau. Hohenschwangau Castle was Ludwig’s childhood home. Hohenschwangau was originally built in the 12th century and was used as a fortress by the Knights of Schwangau. It was rebuilt and refurbished in the 19th century in the neo-Gothic style. As King Ludwig II spent most of his childhood here, it inpired his lifelong love of all things medieval and romantic.
The village of Schwangau is a popular tourist destination, with its restaurants, activities, hiking opportunites, and wonderful views of the Bavarian Alps. The castle is surrounded by beautiful forests and hills, and is also known for its stunning views of the Bavarian countryside.
The interior of Hohenschwangau castle is decorated with beautiful artwork and furnishings from the 19th century. Visitors can explore the king’s chambers, the throne room, and the chapel. The castle also houses a museum that displays historical artifacts related to the castle’s history. And just a few minutes walk away is the Museum of Bavarian Kings.
Not far away is the larger town of Füssen, famous for its beautiful historic city center and the imposing medieval Füssen castle. This great fortress dates back to the 14th century and is a perfect example of Bavarian Gothic architecture. It was used as a residence for the Prince Bishops of Augsburg and later became a prison and army barracks.
Located on a hill overlooking the town of Füssen and the surrounding countryside, this impressive landmark is certainly worth a visit. Visitors can explore the castle’s towers, walls and courtyards, which offer stunning views both within and without. It has undergone several renovations over the centuries, but its original medieval feel has been preserved.
Both Füssen and Hohenschwangau castles are important historical landmarks in Bavaria and Germany. They are a testament to the region’s rich history and cultural heritage. They attract thousands of visitors each year, and in their own way are every bit as impressive as the more renowned Neuschwanstein. They are also much, much older, and, especially in the case of Füssen, more authentically medieval.
Hohenschwangau Castle may have inspired the young Ludwig, but it was Füssen that probably most inspired his architects. In particular, the interior of Neuschwanstein, such as the majestic Throne hall, is inpired by the real medieval example of Füssen. Hohenschwangau Castle is a bridge between the two. To visit all three is to get an education in Bavaria’s rich medieval history, and also to see how that heritage inspired future generations.
Hohenschwangau and its surrounding area is one of the great seats of Bavaria’s medieval and royal history, and it is therefore no accident that it acts as the gateway to Germany’s famous Romantic Road tourist trail.