Bavaria highlights: 6 fairytale attractions you must visit

Experience the magic of Germany's largest state thanks to the efforts of the Fairytale King, Ludwig II of Bavaria...

3 mins

1. King’s House at Schachen

King’s House at Schachen (Shutterstock)

King’s House at Schachen (Shutterstock)

A sturdy hike (around three hours from the nearest departure point by Schloss Elmau) means that Ludwig’s villa in the mountains gets comparatively few visitors. Located at an altitude of 1,866 metres, King Ludwig chose this location to build King's House due to its spectacular views of the Bavarian Alps. The exterior of the building is inspired by Swiss chalets, which were popular holiday spots among the wealthy in the 19th century.  

2. Linderhof Palace

A pocket battleship of a rococo palace, lavished with water features, Linderhof was the smallest palace built by King Ludwig II, but the only one he saw completed before his death. Located near the village of Ettal, access is via timed-entry guided tours. 

3. Ettal

Ettal Abbey (Shutterstock)

Ettal Abbey (Shutterstock)

Nestled within the Ammergau Alps is the small village of Ettal. What draws in most visitors is the the impressive domed monastery, Ettal Abbey, and all the businesses that its monks run. You can also find here a cheese factory and one of Germany's best breweries that makes Benediktiner beer. Of course, Linderhof Palace is another star attraction.  

4. Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau

Neuschwanstein, with Hohenschwangau in the distance (Shutterstock)

Neuschwanstein, with Hohenschwangau in the distance (Shutterstock)

These castle-palaces, just outside Füssen, habitually attract over a million visitors a year, and it's easy to see why. Neuschwanstein was arguably one of King Ludwig's best-known castles built in the 19th century, a time when castles were no longer necessary as strongholds. It is often thought that Disney's castles were inspired by this fairytale structure.

Nearby Hohenschwangau was the childhood home of Lugwig and built by his father. Access to either castle is by timed-entry guided tour.

5. Lake Starnberg

Rose Island in Lake Starnberg (Shutterstock)

Rose Island in Lake Starnberg (Shutterstock)

The handsome lake has long been a place of elegant recreation. Lake Starnberg is Bavaria's second largest lake, attracting hikers, cyclists and swimmers (it's also known as 'Munich's summer swimming pool'). Besides the trail leading to Ludwig’s death site, you can also take a ferry out to Rose Island in season.

6. Herrenchiemsee

Herrenchiemsee (Shutterstock)

Herrenchiemsee (Shutterstock)

Sitting on Herren Island on Lake Chiemsee, half way between Munich and Salzburg, is Ludwig’s most lavish effort. Inspired by the Palace of Versailles and the Sun King Louis XIV, Herrenchiemsee also hosts a museum that tells the story of Ludwig's life. Visits by timed-entry guided tour.

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