Europe is known for having huge churches and extravagant castles, and Germany is no different. August 12th we took a trip to Schwangau, which is just near the southern border right above Austria. It was a little over a three hour drive to get there, and the weather was not what we expected in August. Rainy, wet, and gloomy.

View of the mountains and Lake Alpsee surrounding the Hohenschwangau castle.

Once we arrived, we learned we definitely should have left the house at four in the morning. It was summer time and even though the weather said otherwise, everyone and their mom decided to make a day trip to the castles. We spent over an hour waiting in line just for the tickets! Ticket tip: if you want to save a few bucks, use the student discount! They didn’t ask for any school ID or any proof. And that leaves a little extra for you to spend on souvenirs or lunch.

After that grueling hour, we finally had our tickets and the first castle on our list was Hohenschwangau! It was a short walk from the ticket counter, and after a few stairs we made it!

Hohenschwangau castle walls.

Hohenschwangau castle walls.

We still had about forty-five minutes to kill before our tour started, so we just meandered around the outside of the castle. We stumbled upon a little courtyard in the back of the castle. It was beautiful! There were tons of lush plants and flowers, a couple incredible fountains, amazing views of the countryside, and a small gift shop; because your trip isn’t complete without buying your OWN crown!

Goose fountain on a terrace in Hohenschwangau castle.

Lion fountain on a terrace in Hohenschwangau castle.

The tours are anti-camera, so we weren’t able to get any photos of the inside. But believe me, the inside is just as breathtaking as the outside. Hohenschwangau was used as a summer home for the royal family of Bavaria. It was originally constructed around the twelfth century and was owned by the knights of Schwangau until the sixteenth century. In 1832, King Maximilian II gained ownership of the castle, which had been partially destroyed in the previous three hundred years. He had it rebuilt to the original design and then the royal family would spend several weeks there each summer.

View of Lake Alpsee through the trees.

After the tour, we exited the castle from the opposite side we entered and followed a trail toward the restaurants. About halfway down, the trees opened up and I saw the most beautiful lake called Alpsee. I seriously thought this was something out of a painting. The water was the most amazing color, almost an aqua and teal. I, of course, made Tyler stop and take a picture with me. I’m that wife lol. They even had a little boat house that you could rent paddle boats to go out on the water with. We didn’t do that this time around, but there’s always the next trip!

Tyler and I with a view of Lake Alpsee in the background.

We made it to the bottom of the hill and decided to grab lunch before the next castle. There was a cute restaurant right on the water, called Alpenrose am See, that we chose to eat at. The food was a bit pricey, but very delicious. And the view was amazing. We all ordered beer, and while I’m sure Tyler and his mom ordered tasty dishes, I can only remember my plate. I ordered salmon and it was divine. I came on top of some type of potato mash and a bed of tiny roasted mushrooms, and all of that was covered in a hollandaise sauce. We even splurged for dessert after: apple strudel with vanilla ice cream and vanilla sauce!

Lunch of salmon and beer with Lake Alpsee in the background.

Apple strudel for dessert.

After we paid for lunch, we were left with just enough time to make it up the mountain and head into our tour of castle number two! Click here to read about our tour of Neuschwanstein!

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One of Germany's famous castles!