The Romantic Road makes for a terrific holiday vacation. There are several stops along the way that are full of fairy tale like scenery, vibrant Christmas markets, medieval castles and other sites and activities that will make your season bright.
Schwangau, Neuschwangstein and Hohenschwangau are three nearby towns that offer their share of historic and scenic views. This article will review some things you can see and do when you decide to explore these regions.
Schwangau is a municipality in the district of Ostallgau, Bavaria. It is a great place to stop as it is conveniently located between other major towns like Fussen, Hohenschwangau, Neuschwagen and other Alpine regions.
The castrum (fortress) Swangowe was attested in 1090 and sits on the site of Neuschwanstein Castle. It was owned by the Elder House of Welf. After the death of Welf VI, in 1190, it fell to the Staufer dynasty. Then, in 1268, it fell to the empire.
The coat of arms is shown in the Codex Maness as belonging to HIltibol of Schwangau and features gules, a swan argent.
Neuschwangstein is a district located in the municipality of Schwangau. It is best known for its Neuschwangstein Castle, a 19th century historic building located on a hill about the village of Hohenschwangau.
The castle was built in 1869 as a private residence for King Ludwig but it was opened up to the public after his death. Over a million visitors come to tour the castle each year with up to 6,000 guests on summer days. Lucky for you, you’re coming during the winter!
The castle is built of stone and other types of rock. Its white limescale façade rises from a nearby quarry.
Its interior includes a throne room that features Gothic, and Byzantine art. Most notable are the figures of Patrona Bavariae and St. George which offer insight on the Allgau region. Other works reflect the theater culture of its time.
The Hall of Singers is another completed room you will want to check out. This is where the royal performances took place.
Besides the ancient artwork, the castle features modern technology including a battery powered bell system and telephone lines. It has warm water, flushing toilets and a rotisserie style oven in the kitchen.
There are 200 rooms in the castle, but only 20 were completed before King Ludwig II died. After he died, his son opened the building to the public. Castle tours will take guests through all the rooms, complete and half built.
After entering the castle, you can walk straight through to the courtyard which offers breathtaking views of the surroundings. It is a two-level area, and the top level features a decorative Rectangular Tower.
The end of the Courtyard is where the Palais is located. This contains the king’s and servant’s rooms. It’s a massive five story structure that is decorated with turrets, chimneys and colorful frescos.
Queens Mary Bridge
Queens Mary Bridge is located about a 15-minute walk from the castle. It was named after Queen Marie of Bavaria, mother of Ludwig II. It’s a great spot for photos of the castle and the other surroundings.
The Gorge is located directly below the castle. Its streams provide a soothing effect making it a great place to relax or hike along the rocky trail. It is its own enchanted world.
Hohenschwangau is another district of Schwangau. It’s a popular tourist destination due to its proximity to other towns on the romantic mile. It is full of car parks, guesthouses, hotels and souvenir shops.
Museum of Bavarian Kings
Hohenschwangau may be best known as the site of the museum of Bavarian Kings. The museum was established in 2011 in an ancient building that once served as the Grand Hotel Alpenrose. The hotel had been unused until it was converted into a museum and restaurant.
A visit to the museum provides insight into the town’s history and the history of the territories that surround it. Exhibits include a family tree that takes you through the Wittelsbach family including its many dukes and kings. You can tour through the Hall of Kings, view royal art, check out technical achievements that occurred throughout the years and learn about the fascinating myths of Ludwig II.
The exhibits will take you through war time history up to the present day.
The museum also features lovely ancient architecture and views of the surrounding city. You can stop at the panoramic windows to take in the sights around you.
If you are looking to get out of the country this Christmas, Schwangau, Neuschwangstein and Hohenschwangau make terrific destinations. The medieval castles and cultural sights provide a great background for the ideal holiday. Which of these are you most excited to check out?
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