I hope you are reading this post coddled in warm blankets, enjoying steaming mugs of tea and basking in the glow of Christmas lights from your tree. (Or whatever ritual you may have for your holiday season!)
I was reflecting on the array of fantastic places weâ€™ve discovered this year. So I was struggling to think about what would be one of my favourite places â€“ something really special. After all, everyone who knows me knows how much I adored living in Amsterdam, or what about the blue ocean views in the Cinque Terre. But if I had one place I could wake up on Christmas morning and find beneath my tree, it would be the breathtaking and mesmerising views at a castle in southern Germany: Neuschwanstein
Thanks to joiseyshowaa
Building on the site where Neuschwanstein sits today started in 1868. The walls of the castle are actually brick but a faÃ§ade limestone is used to give the building its characteristic, cloud-like colour. King Ludwig II, the man who commissioned the castle in order to give him a place to hide away from the public, moved into the partially-completed structure in 1873, but the castle was not officially completed until 1880, even though interior fittings and other details were not finished. Unfortunately, the King only had a few years to enjoy his hideaway, as he died due to â€˜mysterious circumstancesâ€™ in 1886.
The reason of death is fitting as King Ludwig II was dogged by controversy. Being labelled a â€˜recluseâ€™, he slept during the day and lived at night. He travelled in elaborate costumes and in intricately-decorated sleights. He ordered plays and operas to be formed for him only. A year before his death, the government declared him insane and tried to depose him.
Ludwigâ€™s zany tastes translate today into a castle that is nearly unbelievable. From the sweeping views of the hillside location, nothing is left to chance. From the seat of the kingâ€™s throne, a nearby waterfall cascades directly in view through an adjacent window. Every surface on the interior is covered in jewels, gold, and silver. The hike alongside the paths above the castle offer even more stunning views of the castle, waterfall, and neighbouring lands.
The castle is accessible via FÃ¼ssen, a typical Bavarian town accessible via bus or train from nearby Munich. Donâ€™t forget to explore FÃ¼ssen during your visit as it is a charming place, not just a transport depot.
Learn more about the castle on the official website.
What great place or view would you like to find underneath your Christmas tree on Christmas morning?