We are going from Vienna and working our way west towards Italy. Is the castle worth our time or should we do Salzburg instead? (pure personal opinion I know but thought I would see what people think). Thanks!
Which castle? Ludwig loved building 'em, and built at least three:Schloss NeuschwansteinHerrenchiemseeLinderhof
Are you thinking of Schloss Neuschwanstein? Also known as the Disney castle?
It's a beautiful castle in a wonderful natural setting. Worth a stop to admire the views. However, you don't need to tour it. Ludwig never lived there. There are many more much more interesting castle interiors all over Europe. For such a stop you don't need more than an hour or two.
Salzburg is an entire city with lots of interesting history. Definitely worth an entire day or more.
Both places are interesting and definitely worth a visit, but for different reasons.
Neuschwanstein provides an interesting look at the life of royalty during that period. The size and opulence of the Throne room and some of the other rooms in the Castle were incredible (unfortunately, they wouldn't allow any photos or I could post a link). The circumstances of Lugwig's demise add a bit of "mystery" to the story of Neuschwanstein. It's interesting that the Castle was opened to tours only six weeks after Lugwig's death. While in that area, you could also have a look at Hohenschwangau, which I believe was his home.
Salzburg is a wonderful city with lots to see, especially if you're interested in Mozart or the Sound of Music. The Hohensalzburg Fortress above town is very interesting and the view of the city from there is fantastic! I spent many hours exploring the different parts of the Fortress on my last trip there. Visiting Salzburg also provides the opportunity for day trips to Berchtesgaden, Hallstatt or other places in the Salzkammergut.
Is there any way you could manage a few more days and see both places?
If it's a choice between Neuschwanstein castle and Salzburg I would vote for Salzburg. The 'Disney' castle isn't even really a castle; Ludwig built it in the mid 1800's as a sort of 'play ground' for himself (he was fascinated with medieval things, knights, castles, etc...). It took 20 years to build and he only lived there 2 weeks before he and his doctor mysteriously drowned in the lake behind the castle. Interesting story but you only get to see a very small portion of the huge castle when you do the tour.
Salzburg, on the other hand, is a wonderful city with many things to do. Famous for Mozart and the 'Sound of Music', you can do tours for both. There's also the fortress, the salt mines, the Salzburg Cathedral, and the famous 'Getreidegasse' pedestrian zoned street. I know I'm leaving out other things....
"he and his doctor mysteriously drowned in the lake behind the castle." (post immediately above).
Actually, it did not happen in the lake behind Neuschwanstein, but rather at Lake Starnberg (Starnberger See), a larger lake closer to Munich.
Thanks for the input folks. For some reason when I see it I think Magic Kingdom as well. I am sure it is really cool but my vote is for Salzburg. It looks like a nice train ride from Vienna. Steve
"For some reason when I see it I think Magic Kingdom as well."
And the reason is: Neuschwanstein is exactly where the Magic Kingdom folks got the idea for the design of the Disney castle(s), in particular the original one in Anaheim. (Now wait, maybe it's the other way around? Did the King get the idea from Walt, or did Walt get the idea from the King?)
"Neuschwanstein provides an interesting look at the life of royalty during that period."
Ludwig II. earned his nickname "Mad King" by building pseudo-romanesque Disney-like fantasy palaces in the 1880s.
So his buildings aren't really that representative for the lives of pre-WW1 royalty...
And I know it's pedantic, but Neuschwanstein is a "palace" i.e. a luxurious dwelling without any military function.
A "castle" is a pre to early gunpowder era fortification with at best austere living quarters.
And whether Ludwig was "mad" is a matter of debate. There is a body of thought that contends that the "powers to be" in Bavaria used this as an excuse to declare him incompetent in order to stop him from spending money on all of his building projects.
I have read again and again that Ludwig almost bankrupted Bavaria. But, I read in another account that he paid for his castles with family money, not state money. Obviously, I am not an expert. But it is interesting, nevertheless.
But, I read in another account that he paid for his castles with family money, not state money.
The Kingdom of Bavaria didn't made the distinction between "property of the Kingdom" and "property of the House of Wittelsbach".
A fact that lead to intense negotiations between the state and the house in the early 1920s when Bavaria turned into a republic after the first world war.
I think it is a stretch to say that Neuschwanstein is a "luxurious dwelling without any military function". Although it was built in an era well past the time of defensive castles, I have to say I've seen a number of "pre to early gunpowder era fortifications" (Burghausen, Harburg, Sigmaringen, the Marksburg) in Germany, and I would say that Neuschwanstein, with its Keep and Knights' quarters, more closely resembles one of them than a palace, like Herrenchiemsee, Linderhof, the Residenz, or Nymphenburg. In that era it was a fad, not just by Ludwig, to reconstruct old castles (all of the castles on the Rhein, Reichsburg, Burg Hohenzollern) in midieval style.
That, and the story that he was also in love with his cousin Elisabeth of Austria, make for very interesting reading.
Are there any American movies regarding Ludwig's life? I watched a German movie from the 50's about Ludwig and 'Sissi', as she was called, but I've never come across one in the US. It's a fascinating story.
I consider Neuschwanstein iconic. It's certainly worth one visit. Like Pisa, I've been there and won't plan for a return visit.
Salzburg, for me, is a place to visit whenever I'm in the area. There is a ton to see and it's one of the most beautiful cities anywhere (and I don't even do all the Sound of Music stuff).
Have been to both twice and would recommend either one. Both have their advantages. Fussen is a charming smallish town near Ludwig's most frequented castle and offers a slower pace. Salzburg offers more variety and of course has it's own castle overlooking the city. Self guided tours in Salzburg are easy including the castle where you can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner at a reasonable price. I guess I'd go with Salzburg if I had to choose.
Is a good plan 3 days Vienna and 2 days in Salzburg?Thx
I've been to the castles in Fuessen three times (Neusch. 2x, Hohenschwangau 1x) and through it one other time. I've been to Salzburg twice and through it once. On my own, I wouldn't go back to either. However, if I were taking a friend to see Bavaria/Austria, I would definitely take them to Neuschwanstein first.