Here's Hohenschwangau castle with the little village of Hohenschwangau spread out below. "Mad King" Ludwig spent his childhood here, dreaming of building his own romantic castle nearby - Neuschwanstein, of course.
Hohenschwangau is where you get tickets to visit Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Many visitors stay in nearby Fussen, then bus in and visit the castles in a hurried couple of hours. But really, Bavarian Kings wanted to spend their whole lives in this beautiful and romantic environment! There are several reasons to unpack and stay a while.
Hohenschwangau Castle and the Romantic Alpsee
The castle looks out over the Alpsee and has a boat dock, where you can rent boats for the day or half-day. You can also walk around the lake, and the entire area is covered in hiking trails, 120km of them according to the tourist office.
Really, the touists pretty much leave these romantic environs alone. You'll find lots of space to spread out, some even out of the way of nosy photographers.
It's true that there's not a whole lot to do at night in Hohenschwangau. You're pretty much limited to moonlight walks and romantic dinners. But isn't the whole point of a romantic and relaxing vacation to do nothing but spend time together in a beautiful environment?
Hotel Muller Hohenschwangau - A Great Place to Stay
The Hotel Muller in Hohenschwangau is a great place to stay. Their rooms come in three versions: Standard, Superior, and Deluxe Suite. If you can't afford the Suite, save up for the Superior room, because you get a great, spacious room with a patio that has a view of Neuschwanstein Castle. The restaurant also features fine views and quite good food: two can eat for about 50 Euros, including wine.
Compare prices on other Hohenschwangau Hotels on Hipmunk.
Hohenschwangau Castle - Lion Fountain Picture
The grounds outside Hohenschwangau Castle are chock full of interesting fountains, rose gardens, and fabulous views.
Inside, you'll see where Crown Prince Maximilian lived and worked. Ludwig spent his childhood here. A visit to the interior is recommended, since the castle was used until quite recently, and includes lots of artifacts, artwork, and gifts, as well as a very interesting reading chair. There was once even an elevator added.
Hohenschwangau Castle is a short walk up from the village of Hohenschwangau. It's not nearly as strenuous a walk as to Neuschwanstein or Mary's Bridge.
Hohenschwangau Castle - Swan Fountain Picture
Swans, of course, are celebrated here. There's a huge one atop Hohenschwangau Castle. And, as we will see, there are still lots of swans in the Alpsee. The Alpsee is the very place Mad King Ludwig, also known as the "Swan King" died under some pretty peculiar circumstances.
Of course, what's depicted in the strong arms of the man above could be a couple of geese. I mean, why would a peasant carry swans around? I always thought were pretty useless, except for romantics to gawk at. But it turns out that swans were used for food for centuries. Hard to find a recipe though, unless the swan is made of chocolate or is an ice carving. Here's a medieval recipe for swan, just in case you happen to have one in your larder.
Alpsee Swans and Their Young
Here are the promised swans. Now, what can be more romantic than stretching out on a picnic blanket before a castle overlooking an alpine lake full of frolicking swans while staring your love in the eye and munching on a pig's trotter or two?
Don't rush into your Neuschwanstein experience. Get a feel for the landscape that beguiled a King called Ludwig and made people think he was mad. Stay a while. Let it all sink in.