The history of Neuschwanstein Castle is quite interesting. Built for King Ludwig II, this fairy-tale castle in southern Germany was intended to be a place where the eccentric ruler could escape from the world. Unfortunately for King Ludwig II, he did not live to see the completion of this spectacular Bavarian abode. He passed away under mysterious circumstances in 1886 at the rather young age of 41.
King Ludwig II certainly left his mark on Germany. The rather popular ruler is largely credited with saving the career of the famous composer, Richard Wagner, for example, and his Schloss Neuschwanstein is one of the country’s most iconic structures. The foundation stone for this glorious castle was laid in 1869, and while the romantic retreat had yet to be finished by 1884, this was when King Ludwig II effectively started moving in. The ruler lived in the castle on an on and off basis, and if you add it all up, he only spent around six months of his life there.
One of the most interesting things about the history of Neuschwanstein is the fact that the castle was intended to be both a place of refuge for King Ludwig II and a structure to honor Richard Wagner. A good friend of Ludwig, Wagner passed away in 1883 and never actually set foot in the castle. Also of considerable interest when it comes to the history of Neuschwanstein is the castle’s beginnings as a tourist attraction. Just six weeks after King Ludwig II died, it was opened to the paying public. Since then, it has grown to become one of the most popular attractions in all of Europe. These days, more than a million people visit Neuschwanstein. Guided tours last approximately 35 minutes, and during the peak June to August tourist season, it can be an especially good idea to get your Neuschwanstein tickets in advance.
As a side note, the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle also deserves a look while in the Bavaria region. It was where King Ludwig II spent a considerable amount of time during his youth and is often paired with Neuschwanstein on many a Bavaria travel itinerary.