Wanderlust: Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle

By: Katie Armour

Grap a pencil and your bucket list! Perched atop a rugged mountain in southwest Bavaria, Germany the majestic Neuschwanstein Castle is what fairy tales are made of. The 19th-century palace was commissioned by King Ludwig II as an homage to German composer Richard Wagner (many of the rooms are painted with murals of characters from his operas). Though it initially served as a private retreat for the rather antisocial king, he only lived in it for six months before his death in 1886. Lucky for us, the castle has been open to the public since.

A great lover of the theater, Ludwig II had the palace designed by a set designer rather than a traditional architect. Dramatic, theatrical flourishes are visible throughout the Romanesque Revival structure and today visitors can even take horse drawn carriages up to the site and attend classical concerts in September. Thinking it looks familiar? The palace was Walt Disney's inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty and later for the structure at Disneyland. Today Neuschwanstein receives more than a million visitors each year and we are vying to be among them. Fairy tale field trip, anyone?

Have you ever visited Neuschwanstein Castle? Tell us what you thought!

(photos via)