The royal castles and other locations are within easy distance from Munich.
Schloss Neuschwanstein is probably the most symbolic sight not only of Bavaria, but of Germany as a whole. Set amidst magnificent mountain scenery above Schwansee, the fairy-tale castle was built in the second half of the 19th century as a pet project of the eccentric Bavarian King Ludwig II.
The views of the castle and of the surrounding area are fantastic from a number of vantage points, but especially from Marianbrücke ♥♥♥. Hiking on mountain paths around the castle is free of charge.
But when you get closer and closer to Neuschwanstein, the feeling of this castle being a Disney-like decoration gets progressively stronger. It is still a sight to behold, but it clearly lacks the aura of being an ages-old residence of mighty rulers.
Entrance to the palace is on timed guided tours. In-season, it may conceivably be impossible to buy a ticket with anything less than several hours of wait. We were advised that the interior, while opulent, is rather kitschy, and contended ourselves with checking out the courtyards and spending time seeking different perspectives of the castle from mountain paths.
Not far from here is another majestic royal residence, Schloss Hohenschwangau, which we only looked at from the distance.
Schloss Linderhof impresses differently than the better-known Neuschwanstein. The main palace is considerably smaller and by far not as dramatically positioned; however, the surrounding delightful garden, with fountains and romantic gazebos and little buildings, enhances the feeling of a majestic retreat.
The timed guided tour ♥ of the palace interior is quite short and may not be worth the long wait, should that be a condition for getting in. The rooms are all sumptuously decorated and wonderfully appointed, but if you toured other European palaces before, the brevity of this tour may be the deciding factor against going for it.
I’m quite positive that you can walk around the gardens for free, but if you want to look inside a couple of other attractions, you’ll need to get an entry ticket. The two most interesting points are the pleasingly decorated Marokkanisches Haus ♥ and the Venusgrotte ♥♥, whimsically equipped to function as an opera house.
After a day of touring royal castles, we decided to look for a restaurant in one of the nearby towns. Garmisch-Partenkirchen had a recommended eatery listed in our guidebook, and that is how we ended up in this town. We saw a fairly pleasant town center largely from inside the car. As one of the best-known resorts in the Bavarian Alps, the town surely has a number of attractions to offer, among them Alte Pfarrkirche St Martin and the Werdenfelser Museum, but we weren’t looking for sightseeing at the end of a busy day.
Places to Eat
Restaurant Reindl’s Partenkirchner Hof ♥, on Bahnhofstr., did not bowl us over with the food, but the desserts were excellent – a crème brûlée with fruits and a rare in Germany large selection of cheeses. The service was of a rather upscale nature, although not without mishaps, but that only barely translated into a higher cost of the meal. Our damage: €60, including two glasses of wine.