Visiting Neuschwanstein has always been on my bucket list.
In 2014 Phil and I decided to head back over to Europe in July. Neither of us had yet cycled in Germany or seen much of the country other than Berlin, so we decided to fly in to Munich & head across the south to Salzburg. The two things I knew I wanted to do in Germany was eat schnitzel...and visit Neuschwanstein. Not because I like saying Neuschwanstein. But because it is the most incredible castle out there….and i’m a bit of a castle addict. C’mon….look at the picture, it’s amazing!
Image credit: www.globusnis.rs
Actually...it looked more like this when we were there.
We had one day of rain the entire trip & it was on Neuschwanstein day. So sad.
It’s been a dream of mine since I was a youngster to visit this Bavarian castle built by King Ludwig II. It is one of those places like the Colosseum and the Eiffel Tower that inspire a feeling of giddy excitement. Maybe it is because Walt Disney modelled his iconic castle on it’s shape, or it could be that there is simply a mystery about the way it’s structure looms out of the trees, loftily gazing over the German countryside. Whatever it is, I had it it firmly in my sights when we booked our 2014 European holiday.
Our plan was to spend a night in nearby Fussen, spend the day checking out the castle then head towards Salzburg where we were meeting some friends. We weren’t really intending on cycling much until the following week, however we woke to a glorious morning before the rain hit and decided that it was too lovely not to get out on the bikes.
With no real plan in mind, we decided to simply explore the area. We planned on a 30-ish kilometre loop north of the town. To our pleasant surprise we found that there are a series of bike paths (or at least small roads) that crisscross the countryside in the area. There is a path that follows a nearby lake that is lovely. It is sealed and suitable for road bikes (which we were on).
The path we took was pretty much dead flat - great for the non climbers (like me), or those who have had a few too many beers the night before (also like me). The surroundings are simply magnificent with the Alpine foothills of Austria rising dramatically from the south.
When you spot Neuschwanstein poking out from the trees, it feels like you have been transported back in time to a fairy tale land. I thought about breaking out in song to see if birds would flutter about me and do my bidding....but then felt it might be rude to subject Phil to the horror of my voice when it was so peaceful outside.
We hardly saw a soul on the road. At one stage we were completely surrounded by a herd of cows (my singing did not bring this on). I must admit that freaked me out a bit as I thought there were going to trample me. Phil was yelling at me to just keep riding through them so they would get out of the way, but seriously, it’s really hard to make yourself ride at a giant cow.
We made it past the cows unscathed and continued on through the countryside to the edge of the small lake. We followed the lake for the rest of the ride, only leaving it when we got close to Fussen again.
There was one small section of main road at the top end of the lake, however if you go early you shouldn’t have much of a problem with traffic.
The whole ride took us around 90 minutes at tootle pace, with photo stops. We ended a great ride with a coffee and pastry at the local patisserie in Fussen.
I'd recommend staying a night in the area. Fussen is a lovely little town with plenty to see and do, and more riding opportunities than that path we took.