The Real Castle That Inspired Walt Disney's 'Cinderella Castle'

Neuschwanstein is straight from the pages of a storybook. One of the most recognizable castles in the world, it's a bucket list destination for many travelers. The castle's picturesque charm was so alluring that Walt Disney himself couldn't resist using it as a model for Cinderella's Castle.

While you might've heard this travel tidbit before, there are plenty of other fantastic truths and legends about Neuschwanstein to note before you head to Schwangau, Germany.

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What's In A Name?

Contrary to popular myth, the castle wasn't named after the swans that grace the castle grounds. It was named after Richard Wagner's "Lohengrin," a romantic opera about the Knight of the Swan who guards one of mankind's most treasured relics.

King Ludwig II, the castle's architect, adored Wagner and named many of the rooms within the castle after the composer's operas. However, Wagner never had the chance to visit the castle. He died before the exterior was completed.

A sound night's sleep for his highness? Not exactly. King Ludwig II only slept in the castle for 11 nights. That's shorter than our Quintet Tour!

The reason for King Ludwig II's short stay is because Neuschwanstein was never finished. To this day, it remains an empty shell with only a handful of finished rooms for visitors to enjoy.

A Palace Of Perfection?

King Ludwig II wanted every room and every detail to be absolutely perfect. His perfectionism hindered the castle's completion and led to skyrocketing expenses. An example of his peculiarity can be seen in his bedroom, where 14 carpenters labored for four years to get everything just right.

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Does It Have A Throne Room?

It absolutely does, and it's modeled after the Grail Hall of Parsifal from "Lohengrin." However, the throne room doesn't actually contain a throne because the king died prior to the castle's completion.

That said, there are plenty of completed bathrooms, and each floor of the castle had running hot water and heat — both significant luxuries for the time.

A Fortress To Be Fought For?

Neuschwanstein was never intended to be anything more than a show castle. However, during the waning days of WWII, the Nazis used the castle to protect artwork looted throughout Europe. They gambled that the American army would not bomb a world-famous symbol.

The gamble paid off, and today, countless artworks in the Louvre, British Museum, Pergamon, and many other galleries owe their survival to the "monuments men" who stormed the gates of Neuschwanstein to retrieve the art.

A Pretty Penny To Build?

King Ludwig II spent nearly 6.1 million gold marks on building the castle. That's about enough to bankrupt a country...and it almost did.

Want to see Neuschwanstein yourself? Take a tour of the fairytale castle during the Wanderlist Tour through Bavaria! Check out our amazing itinerary for our Quinet Tour!