Royal palaces in the Bavarian Alps
Cultural vacation in Bavaria
In the Altstadthotel "Zum Hechten" you will experience an unforgettable cultural vacation in Bavaria. Located in the center of the old town, the hotel is an ideal starting point for excursions around Fussen. Historical museums, fortresses and castles in the Bavarian Alps will give you an insight into the life of the Wittelsbacher. With impressive stories and pompous interiors, the sights will excite every single visitor.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau Castle and Linderhof Castle are only three of the popular excursion destinations in the Bavarian Alps. Come with us and explore the traces of King Ludwig II. and experience a fairy-tale journey!
Neuschwanstein Castle - one of the world’s best-known buildings
There are many people who believe that the original castle actually is at Disneyland! For once and for all: that’s not true! The real Neuschwanstein Castle is less than 3 miles from Fussen!
It was not the illusionists from Disneyland or Las Vegas, but rather the Bavarian King Ludwig II, who, in 1868, created a fairytale castle in the style of old German knights' castles: Neuschwanstein Castle. The impressive building sits enthroned on a rock 200 metres above the valley and shows from far away what the visitors can expect: an excursion to a fairy-tale dream world.
King Ludwig II - Bavaria's fairy-tale king
There are many myths and rumours which surround this king, even when he was still alive. "I want to be an eternal puzzle to myself and others," wrote Ludwig to his governess, and this puzzle still fascinates people today. His castles, which were never to be entered by strangers, have greeted more than 50 million visitors since Ludwig II’s death. They are stone witnesses to the alternative world that the king built to escape the present. Ludwig II never accomplished his attempt at individual historic, poetic and idealistic fulfilment. He chose death over a return to reality.
Neuschwanstein Castle, one of Europe’s most visited castles
Seven weeks after King Ludwig II’s death in 1886, the Neuschwanstein Castle was first opened to the public. The secluded king had built the castle to withdraw from the public - and now his refuge had become a tourist attraction.
Today, Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular castles in Europe. Due to its fairy-tale architecture, embedded in the picturesque village of Schwangau, the building is an absolute must for tourists. In the inner rooms, visitors can admire the lavish furniture, inspired by medieval legends and works by Richard Wagner. 1.3 million visitors make the journey to the "Fairytale King’s" castle each year. In summer, an average of more than 6000 visitors stream through the castle’s rooms, originally built for only one single occupant. The Altstadthotel Zum Hechten in Fussen is perfectly situated for a trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle. Tickets are available at the ticket center Hohenschwangau. Information on the prices and opening hours can be found in our visitors' guide.
If you would like to know more about the fairytale king after a visit to his pompous castle you can also head right to Hohenschwangau Castle. In the former Schwanstein Castle you will learn interesting background information about Ludwig II’s childhood. From 1832 - 1836, Crown Prince Maximilian of Bavaria had the dilapidated Schwanstein Castle rebuilt in neo-Gothic style. So it became the childhood residence for the future kings Ludwig II and Otto.
The Hohenschwangau Castle was designed and decorated by Maximilian’s art teacher, architect and stage designer Domenico Quaglio, as a romantic residential castle. Beautiful large murals decorate the ballroom, Queen Marie’s oriental room, the Hohenstaufen room, the Tasso room (used by King Maximilian and Ludwig II as a bedroom) and Marie’s writing room.
The murals in Marie’s room, also called the "Berchtazimmer", tell the story of Charlemagne’s birth at the rice mill in Gauting, in the Ammersee region.
Visiting the Hohenschwangau Castle
The Hohenschwangau Castle, which today belongs to the "Wittelsbacher Ausgleichfonds" fund, can only be visited as part of a 35-minute-long tour. Luckily, the Hotel Zum Hechten in Fussen is the perfect home base for a visit to this and the Neuschwanstein Castle.
About 28 miles from Fussen is Ludwig II’s smallest palace. Surrounded by picturesque parks with trick fountains, the "Venus Grotto" and the Moorish Kiosk.
In addition to revisiting childhood memories in Schwangau, Ludwig often returned to the Graswang Valley on his excursions from the Hohenschwangau Castle.
His father, King Maximilian II, had a hunting lodge in the grounds of the Linderhof. The palace, finished in 1878, was the only palace that Ludwig II successfully completed and used as a residence. This was where the spirit of the rococo period was reborn.
The most important sights of these beautiful gardens include the royal lodge, the old royal lime tree and its deerstand where the king took his breakfast, the Moorish Kiosk with its Peacock Throne, the Moroccan House as well as the Hunding’s Hut.
A rock with an "open sesame" secret door leads to a man-made grotto with waterfall and lake. The grotto can be heated and illuminated and waves can be made on the lake. Modern technology made the king’s wildest dreams come true!
Tel.: 08822 92030
The museum of the Bavarian kings
In the beautiful area just underneath the royal castles is the former Grandhotel Alpenrose, home today to the Museum of the Bavarian Kings. This exhibition highlights the history of the House of Wittelsbach from their start in the 12th Century until today. It mainly focuses on the life and works of King Maximilian II and his son, Ludwig II.
Visitors can experience the exhibition with an audioguide, available in eight languages. Find current event and guided tour offers by visiting the museum’s homepage:
Museum of the Bavarian kings