thumbnail An Alpine fairy-tale castle
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An Alpine fairy-tale castle © Mespilia/Shutterstock
During a walking tour in the spring of 1829, Crown Prince (and future King) Maximilian II of Bavaria fell in love with these forested mountains and Alpine lakes, so three years later he bought the dilapidated remains of a 12th-century castle overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau. The yellow neo-Gothic castle that Maximilian built to replace the earlier ruins became the summer home and hunting retreat for the king, his wife, Marie of Prussia, and their two sons, Ludwig and Otto. Hohenschwangau Castle became a kind of fantasy palace, particularly for the two young princes, who spent their time traipsing through the forest, reciting poetry, and staging scenes from the Romantic operas of Richard Wagner.