In 1886, as the massively expensive castle neared completion, the State Commissioner pronounced Ludwig insane and arrested him soon after. The day after he was arrested, Ludwig requested the Commissioner go on a walk in the woods with him. The commissioner agreed and told his guards to stay behind. Both were found mysteriously dead in a lake later that evening. Ludwig was never able to see the finalized castle—and it didn’t receive its name until after his death—but his taste for elegant, and extravagant, design resonates throughout the interior of the Romanesque-style castle. After his death, the castle was opened for the public to help pay off the expenses.
During World War II, the castle was appropriated and used by German forces as a depot to store all of the plundered art from France and other Nazi-occupied countries in Europe. At the close of the war, the Nazis contemplated blowing the castle up with explosives to prevent the encroaching allied forces from discovering the scale of their art looting.
However, fortunately, the plan was never implemented. Today, the castle is one of the biggest attractions in Bavaria and manages to draw well over a million people a year.
Of particular delight is the Grotto Room, an artificial cave complete with stalactites and a waterfall; it was intended to represent a cave from Wagner’s opera “Tannhauser.” Ironically, Wagner never stepped foot in the castle.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||San Francisco International Airport|
|DEPARTURE TIME||Please arrive at least 2 hours before the flight.|
Enjoy this 4.2-mile out-and-back trail near Schwangau, Bavaria. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 28 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and walking, so you’ll likely encounter other people while exploring.