Combine a trip to Munich with visits to some of Germany's most beautiful castles.
If you're heading to the Bavarian capital, make sure to rent a car in Munich and follow in the footsteps of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. A real one-of-a-kind, the legendary monarch was a dreamer more concerned with building new homes than exercising power. His legacy? A series of amazing castles which are part of a long list of the region's Baroque and medieval marvels. Enjoy a tour of Bavaria's castles with Expedia, and make sure to check out our Oktoberfest deals!
The most beautiful castles in Bavaria:
Neuschwanstein, from Wagner to Walt Disney
This is undoubtedly the most famous castle in Bavaria! Walt Disney was inspired by this castle, its dungeons and turrets when creating the castle in Sleeping Beauty. Built on a rugged hill surrounded by lush green countryside with the Ammergau Alps in the background, it's the epitome of a fairytale castle! Designed by Ludwig II himself in the 19th century, Neuschwanstein Castle has plenty of references to the German composer Richard Wagner; the King was a great admirer of him and even became his patron.
Hohenschwangau, where it all began
A visit to Neuschwanstein is a great opportunity to visit the castle of Hohenschwangau, just a few hundred yards away. It was built by Ludwig II's father, who was strongly influenced by the medieval gothic style. The King was brought up within these walls, decorated with legendary scenes depicting Lohengrin, the Knight of the Swan.
Linderhof, the 'little Versailles'
Ludwig II transformed the family hunting lodge into a small palace with a Baroque influence, based on the plans for the Petit Trianon in the grounds of Versailles. The interior decoration is superbly elegant, while the stunning gardens feature waterfalls, terraces and ponds. There's even an artificial cave, inspired by one of Wagner's operas, in which the king loved to sail alone on his boat.
Herrenchiemsee and its Hall of Mirrors
Having been particularly impressed when visiting the Palace of Versailles, Ludwig II decided to have a replica built on an island in Chiemsee in south-eastern Bavaria. His early death and the disastrous state of his finances led to work being abandoned, but a visit to Herrenchiemsee is one of the must-sees in Bavaria. Its version of the Hall of Mirrors is even bigger than the original!
Some forty miles away, on the Austrian border, lies the biggest fortress in Germany. Designed to protect the country from the Turkish invasion, this imposing medieval structure spans over 1000 metres, looking down on the Salzach river!
The Würzburg Residence, the ultimate Bavarian castle
Continue your holiday in Bavaria by visiting Würzburg in Franconia. In the heart of the city, this splendid residence is one of the most beautiful European Baroque buildings of the 18th century and is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Don't miss its subtle, elegant gardens, its majestically large stairway and its painted ceiling.
The Imperial Castle of Nuremburg
Time to change cities... and eras! Sixty miles southeast of Munich, the city of Nuremberg is dominated by the impressive medieval castle and fortress. Visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of the old town from the castle's main tower, set on a rocky sandstone peak. But the Imperial Castle of Nuremburg is most famous for its astonishing double chapel, with one built on top of the other!
The Bavarian royal residence in the heart of the capital
Back to the capital! Book a hotel in the centre of Munich and visit the Bavarian royal residence on foot. With 10 courtyards and 130 rooms in three main buildings, it's an architectural gem in the heart of the city. Rococo, Baroque and Renaissance styles meet in this cultural hub in Munich, which plays host to a number of concerts and exhibitions every year.
Nymphenburg, a must-see on a trip to Munich
The Bavarian prince-electors took up residence during the summer in this palace and its beautiful gardens, designed around a large, imposing pond. In the halls of the main palace, admire the works of art of the porcelain manufactory and the Gallery of Beauties, a series of portraits of women from Munich's high society in the 19th century.
Schleissheim, three Baroque palaces
The Bavarian prince-electors also spent their summers in Schleissheim, not far from Munich. It was a natural choice of location for three Renaissance-inspired castles between the 17th and 18th centuries. The incredible gardens, designed by one of Lenôtre's pupils, are one of the few examples of Baroque gardens in Germany.
Have you been to Bavaria? What else would you recommend? If you're heading to Bavaria soon, make sure to check out all the best Oktoberfest travel deals!