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The Perfect Christmas Holiday – 10 Reasons to Choose Schwangau – The Neuschwanstein Castle
If you are looking for a romantic and luxurious Christmas, I have a very good secret: go to Schwangau and visit the castle village of Neuschwanstein on the border of Germany and Austria.
Having lived in Dubai in its boom years and seen new buildings mushrooming, I can’t believe how dilapidated the grounds of Neuschwanstein Castle are. Neuschwanstein is visited by more than 1 million tourists each year (and 3 castles within a 3-mile radius), but there are no tall buildings or ugly modern buildings (a tribute to the local government, which values tradition over financial gain). Instead, you’ll feel as though time has stood still: old farmhouses and mountain chalet-style houses abound, and the sight of farmers on bicycles leading their livestock through the pastures is a wonderful sight to warm the soul of a first-world country. So here are the top 10 reasons to spend your winter and Christmas holidays in Schwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle.
1. The Magic Castle of Neuschwanstein and the History of King Ludwig
Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous and arguably the most beautiful castles in the world. It attracts over 1 million visitors annually from all over the world and even inspired Walt Disney to create the Magic Kingdom/Cinderella Castle. However, Hollywood’s Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle in the Bavarian Alps may be more popular than the original. Neuschwanstein Castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. His mysterious death in a nearby lake remains the subject of rumors to this day.
2. Great opportunities for skiing and winter sports (downhill, nordic, ice skating)
Within 5-30 minutes by car, you have at least 5 ski resorts and 140 km of slopes for downhill skiing / snowboarding / ski touring. Almost all resorts offer ski schools and ski/snowboard rentals. Almost all resorts offer snow guarantees and provide extra powder in case of inclement weather. With mountain huts all over the Alps, you’ll find plenty of reasons to stop to sunbathe on a terrace, enjoy a hot drink, or enjoy a delicious mountain hut meal like “Kässpatzen” (small local noodles tossed in mountain cheese). or “Kaiserschmarrn” (torn pancakes with raisins and almonds topped with apple or cherry sauce). You can go night skiing under Neuschwanstein Castle. Schwangau has 30 km of ski runs, 2 km of which are illuminated at night. Finally, there are many mountain huts, sledding slopes from most ski resorts, and ice skating on one of the 6 nearby neighborhood lakes.
3. Romantic German Christmas Markets
German Christmas markets (“Weihnachstmarkt”) are famous for their cozy and romantic Christmas atmosphere. You won’t want to miss them. Schwangau hosts a Christmas food market in November, while the medieval cobbled town of Füssen, 3 miles away, hosts a magical Christmas market for most of December. Imagine strolling through a maze of woodcarved figures, “nutcrackers,” miniature pottery, and all manner of Christmas decorations while the aroma of mulled wine and freshly baked waffles wafts through the air.
4. Health opportunities for relaxation and self-treatment
A variety of health services are available, including massages, saunas, and light therapy. A special attraction is the thermal pool of the Royal Spa (“Königliche Kristalltherme”). The connected indoor and outdoor pools allow you to enjoy the steaming warm water while your head is up in the ice-cold air – imagine the snowflakes falling around you instantly melting as you plunge into the warm water. Across the field, you can see Neuschwanstein Castle looming across the mountain as Nordic skiers slide past. An experience not to be missed!
5. Take a breath-taking Horse Sleigh ride through a winter wonderland and see wild deer being fed
You can rent your own horse-drawn sleigh or join regular excursions to castles, mountain huts or deer feeding grounds in the forest. Wrap yourself in a warm blanket and enjoy the fresh air, snow-capped mountains and stunning views of the white valley. One of my personal favorites is having wild deer so close to you that you can barely touch them. Not to rush them away, you dare not breathe while trying to keep quiet at the sight of a majestic male deer slowly approaching the rest of the herd: a magical encounter with the wild!
6. Amazing New Year’s fireworks everywhere you look
In Germany, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with fireworks everywhere. Everyone in this country can buy and start their own and most families. Why not try it yourself while you’re here? Imagine seeing fireworks above one of the castles to hug your loved ones and make your New Year’s wishes come true. It creates an unforgettable moment. After midnight, many families hold a tradition called “Bleigießen” (lead casting) to predict everyone’s New Year’s happiness. A small piece of lead is melted in a small pot over a candle flame. As soon as the lead is liquid, you pour it into a bowl of cold water, and it forms immediately. Then everyone interprets the meaning of this shape and has fun predicting the fortune of the coming year. You can buy “lead casting” kits in supermarkets in Germany. Good luck J!
7. Delicious local food specialties
The local food is delicious and you can choose from many restaurants. Pork dishes such as “Schweinshaxe” (pork knuckle) are common, but game and fish are local specialties such as the famous “Apfelstrudel” with vanilla sauce or ice cream. A local specialty is “Brozeit”, a large plate of cold cuts of meat and cheese, served with fresh German bread, freshly baked “Brezen” (large soft pretzels) and bread rolls. Finally, there is a wide variety of local beers, and why not visit a local brewery or cheese maker for a guided tour of how these delicacies are made?
8. Luxury and Rustic hotels and resorts
There are many comfortable holiday apartments and luxury hotel rooms to choose from. Recently, more and more luxury vacation homes are meeting the demand for truly relaxing and luxurious vacations. Most of the architecture is preserved in the typical “Allgaeu” style, which uses a lot of wood on the facades and has wooden balconies on several sides of the house. There are many farms that offer accommodation combined with an authentic farm life experience. As a first world country and Royal Castle Village, Schwangau has an impressive dairy farm. So get ready to hear the gentle sound of cowbells wherever you are 🙂
9. Friendly and welcoming people who celebrate their traditions
From the moment we arrived in the area, the people were unusually friendly and welcoming. They are helpful, genuine and genuine. Everyone is proud of their traditions and heritage, and throughout the year there are festivals featuring local dance, music, clothing (“Lederhosen”, “Dirndl”) and of course beer. Most people in Schwangau speak enough English to hold a conversation, and many speak it with remarkable fluency. In addition, the region has a growing international community and, of course, tourists from all over the world. This makes Schwangau a true “international village”. Email me when you arrive and I’ll give you the inside scoop on your dream location.
10. Great story
Natural beauty, high mountains, and clear mountain lakes are all in one small area, so it’s no wonder that bishops and German kings built their castles here. Even the Romans and Celts decided to settle here. In fact, one of the major Roman trade routes, the Via Claudia Augusta, joined the German state via Schwangau and led through Austria to Rome. You can discover Roman columns and visit an entire Roman villa on your magical journey to this special place.
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