Cinderella Stories at Germany’s Fairytale Castles

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Before I begin my account of the Germany fairytale castles, I’m going to get this photo out of the way.

Yes, I wore a Cinderella Castle dress, conveniently found in a Madrid thrift shop for five Euros, to this Bavarian castle in the middle of winter. And yes, I hiked up a trail closed due to ice and waited in the woods for a good thirty minutes for another fairytale-crazed hiker to come snap my photo.

Germany Fairytale Castles

Properly known as Schloss Neuschwanstein, this enchanting castle is aptly nicknamed Cinderella castle by romantics and dreamers.

germany fairytale castles

Fellow Disney-addicts listen up –Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland was modeled after this stunning piece of architecture and former home to King Ludwig II.

A two-hour train journey from Munich takes you to the village of Hohenschwangau, at the base of not one but two dream-like castles, including the lesser-known Schloss Hohenschwangau.

germany fairytale castles

Entry tickets to both castles must be purchased in the village and are not sold at the castle gates. Upon arriving to Hohenschwangau I was faced with the longest line for any tourist attraction I’ve seen in Europe apart from the Eiffel Tower in the heat of a Paris summer, so I decided to forgo a castle tour and spend my time instead hiking the region in search of the best view points.

I’m a big fan of listening to the proper music to get you in the setting, so put on the Cinderella soundtrack and walk with me as we make our way up the winding path to the castle gates.

germany fairytale castles

The trail is long and steep and, after the 20-plus minutes it will take to reach the base, you’ll be left huffing, puffing and wishing your fairy godmother had appeared with a horse and carriage for the journey.

Fittingly horse and carriages are available to take you up the hill, but what budget traveler has money for that?

If you do want to enter the castle make sure you buy tickets in the valley below- you won’t want to make the trek twice.

As we ascend the hillside, the castle towers come into view, charmingly peaking out behind a storybook forest of trees.

germany fairytale castles

The base of the castle is sure to be swarming with tourists. If you didn’t buy a ticket to enter you can still peak your head in and admire the castle courtyard.

germany fairytale castles

The real beauty of the castle is seen from above, so continue your hike by following the trail to the castle’s left further into the mountains.

germany fairytale castles

In winter months this trail is often closed due to icy road conditions, but many visitors will ignore the closure signs and hike anyway. You should do so too, as the view from the bridge along this trail is straight out of the pages of a fairytale, or at least that opening snow globe sequence from the classic Hilary Duff movie A Cinderella Story.

germany fairytale castles

Most visitors will turn back at the bridge but its well worth it to continue hiking a little distance further as there will be more unblocked views for great photographs and with the solitude of the woods it is easy to slip into fairytale daydreams of your own.

Where to Stay Near Schloss Neuschwanstein

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