Ludwig II was an extravagant man who had a private and complicated life. After leaving his fiance, the night king escaped reality by building fairy tale castles of yesteryear as he withdrew from traditional duties of his kingdom living in a world of fantasy. Instead he focused on lavishly entertaining his eccentricities and had a fondness for the famed musician Richard Wagner. Castle building eventually put Ludwig into financial ruin.
Having spent his childhood below in the yellow Hohenschwangau castle, looking up toward the ruins of the ancient castle, he desired to build Neuschwanstein castle on its ancient foundations. He envisioned a grand structure of times past. You must remember that the castle was built in nearly modern times but resembles a castle from hundreds of years earlier. Before the construction was finished, Ludwig II was found dead in the lake below, under mysterious circumstances. In 1887, 7 weeks after King Ludwig II died, Neuschwanstein Castle was opened to the public.
Hiking up to the top of the castle from the village below is no joke! 30-40 minute uphill hikes are avoided with top dollar carriage rides and shuttles. Beware of long lines, I recommend just enjoying the hike up and taking your time getting some real exercise! There is even a restaurant with a view over half way to the top and several trails if you want to explore along your way down. You need to walk up from the parking lot below to take this picture!
Make sure you allow at least 30 minutes to hike behind the castle and onto the footbridge in order to get the best pictures and see the secret waterfalls behind the mountains!