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Bavaria’s Fairytale Castles - The extravagant legacy of King Ludwig II

An enthralling tale of profligacy, patronage, heartache and Realpolitik, illustrated with some of the 19th century’s most theatrical architecture and opulent interiors.

A chance to explore Bavaria’s history and culture as an independent state, before it was absorbed into Greater Germany.

A rich mix of locations, from the vibrant streets of Munich to the breathtaking peaks of the Bavarian Alps. In all, we visit six palaces and castles.

Ludwig’s intense friendship with Richard Wagner is a notable sub-plot.

Flights are not included.

  • Hohenschwangau Castle ©canadastock/shutterstock
    Hohenschwangau Castle ©canadastock/shutterstock
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Fantasist or madman? Murder victim or suicide? Ludwig II’s deposition and untimely death may be the subject of long-standing controversy, but there is little dispute about his legacy. Yes, this free-spending aesthete brought his family to the brink of ruin, but in the process he endowed Bavaria with three of Europe’s most extraordinary palaces, and cemented its status as one of the Continent’s artistic hubs. Our glittering five-day trip takes in some of Germany’s most breathtaking landscapes – as we celebrate his achievements and explore his struggle against 19th-century morality, and his responsibilities as a constitutional monarch.

Day 1

Leave Munich Airport at 2pm for the Residenz in Munich – the seat of government for Bavaria’s dukes, electors and kings for over 400 years. Its Rococo ancestral gallery and royal treasury are among the many highlights. Dinner at our hotel.


Day 2

After a morning lecture, we visit Nymphenburg Palace, which has some of the most exquisite Rococo interiors of 18th-century Europe. The main summer palace of the Wittelsbachs, it was the birthplace of Ludwig II in 1845, and an inspiration for his own creations. Free afternoon.


Day 3

We drive to Lake Chiemsee, and cross by ferry to Herrenchiemsee – Ludwig II’s magnificent island homage to Versailles, where he resided for precisely one night. In the afternoon, we continue to the hotel in Füssen. A second lecture here.


Day 4

By coach to Hohenschwangau Castle on the edge of the Alps, where Ludwig II spent much of his adolescence. We also visit the lakeside Museum of the Bavarian Kings. Thence to the exquisite Linderhof – the only one of Ludwig’s palaces that was fully realised according to his plans.


Day 5

After a second night in Füssen, we return to Hohenschwangau for Neuschwanstein Castle, Ludwig’s fairy-tale, mountain-top retreat. We stop for a cruise on Lake Starnberg – where Ludwig died – on our way to Munich Airport, arriving by 4.30pm.


£1,190 per person sharing in a double room

£1,350 for one person in a double room

Flights are not included.


Accommodation and meals

The hotels: Prinz Myshkin Parkhotel, Munich (4 star); Best Western Plus Hotel Füssen (4 star). Included meals: daily breakfasts and two dinners (with wine).


Getting around

This is a wide-ranging and quite strenuous trip, which involves several coach journeys as well as many visits and tours on foot.


Guaranteed departure

There is no minimum number of clients required for this trip to run.


Maximum group size

27 participants.


Joining and leaving the trip

Flights are not included, you make your own way to and from the starting and finishing point of the trip. British Airways and Lufthansa fly to Munich from London Heathrow, and EasyJet from London Gatwick. Please note CTC does not arrange international or domestic travel.


Travel advice

Please check before you book to make sure you are happy with the advice for the places you are visiting.