Schloss Neuschwanstein, Germany
Appearing on a peak above the picturesque village of Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria, stands the enchanting Schloss Neuschwanstein, which formed the inspiration behind the Disney Sleeping Beauty castle.
The rather extravagant King Ludwig II planned this statuesque fairytale home himself, albeit with the help of a stage designer rather than an architect. King Ludwig dreamt of this castle as being not only a grand stately home for himself and his myriad of possessions, but as a giant stage on which to recreate the world of Germanic mythology, inspired by the operatic works of his close friend Richard Wagner. The most fantastical room of all is the Sängersaal, bedecked with grand gilded chandeliers and ornate frescoes on the walls depicting scenes from the opera Tannhäuser.
If you visit Schloss Neuschwanstein during the winter months it is even more strikingly beautiful as the surrounding forest is dusted in snow. We suggest hiring a car so you can also visit the nearby medieval town of Hohenschwangau which is also home to a castle, King Ludwig II’s family home to be precise, so you too can follow in the footsteps of this flamboyant gentleman. Then tuck into a traditional Kaiserschmarnn (a scrambled pancake served with sweet apple puree) and a steaming cup of hot chocolate.