King Ludwig's Castles vs. Bratislava

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Jun 15th, 2016, 11:00 AM
  #1
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King Ludwig's Castles vs. Bratislava

Hi! In September I hope to travel to Germany/Austria/Czech Republic for about 2 and a half weeks. I am a 32 year old male from Texas, travelling solo, with interests in history, architecture, photography, sports, and hiking (and of course good food).

My rough itinerary is to land in Munich, then travel to Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Vienna, Prague, Nuremberg, and Wurzburg, and then fly out of Frankfurt. I have been considering making a day trip to Ludwig's castles while in Munich (Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, and Linderhof), but am beginning to wonder if maybe a day would be better spent visiting Bratislava instead?

I'm a bit torn. Bratislava appeals to me because it has a lot of history. It has Hrad Devin and Hrad Bratislava, two castles that that seem a lot more rich in history than King Ludwig's castles. Also, Bratislava seems to have many other interesting sights such as St. Martin's Cathedral and St. Elisabeth's Blue Church. And of course it would be interesting to experience Slovakia in contrast to mostly Germany, Austria, and Prague.

However, King Ludwig's castles are very visually impressive and look like they might offer amazing photo ops. And on top of that the countryside looks very beautiful. It does kind of bother me that the castles are not as historical, being built more in the late 19th century and being more palaces than castles. But they do still look like magnificent structures that I would like to visit. But unfortunately I can't visit everything!

Any advice is appreciated! I'm just wondering if anyone can offer me any tips on my dilemma. Thanks!
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Jun 15th, 2016, 11:27 AM
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gosh - it's a bit like comparing apples and pears!

I can't answer for King Ludwig and his castles, but we spent a very interesting afternoon and evening in Bratislava once ℅ Ryanair's odd idea that that's where their Vienna airport is! not only was there quite a lot to see [quite enough for a day and evening] it had a nice atmosphere and lots of good-looking restaurants [including lots of sushi bars if that's what floats your boat].

it seems a shame that it's an either/or - you could go there are a day trip [they run hydrofoils between Vienna and Bratislava or there are buses and trains] or use it as a stepping off point between Vienna and Prague. one night should do it, but as you're interested, it would be a shame to miss it.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 12:40 PM
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I did Bratislava as a day trip from Vienna- it's a compact city just an hour or so by train from Vienna - it was enough for me but with your interests maybe not for you.

You cannot do all three Ludwig extravagances in one day - I'd take a train to Fussen and spend the day there - castle tour and the wonderful hikes in the Bavarian Alps - like near the castle hiking up to the Marienbrucke for an unforgettable view of Neuschwanstein far below with a large lake in the distance - this is the place Mad King Ludwig often hiked up to himself to ponder his Ersatz fantasy castle being built - read up on the history of Ludwig and it may enthrall you to visit the castles

Ludwig was on the way to bankrupting the Bavarian Treasury with his prolifigate castle building - officials decided to pull the plug after Neuschwanstein - actually before it was finished - poor Ludwig only slept in it a few days before being kidnapped by mysterious folks and later found drowned in a lake near Munich.

Herrenchiemsee,Ludwig's Versailles, lovingly set on an island in a placid Alpine lake, to me is more impressive than Linderhof -kind of a hunting lodge or Hohenschwangau (where Ludwig grew up I think - an old castle he revamped completely I think.

You could do Linderhof by bus after Neuschwanstein but then you'd just get a fleeting look at Neuschwanstein.

Herrenchiemsee is near Prien, on the rail line between Munich and Salzburg and thus could be fit in if going between the two cities.

If going by train the Bavarian Lander Ticket gives unlimited rides on regional trains all day for about 30 euros for one person - and to Fussen you only have regional trains - also good I think on the bus to Linderhof (from there continue by bus to Oberammergau for trains back to Munich) and also good on city metros, S-Bahns, trams, buses, etc - buy it at any German train station.

Regional trains also serve Prien and Salzburg those IC trains also do that a bit quicker and are off-limits to Bavarian Lander Ticket holders.

For lots of good info on German trains and those in central Europe check www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com - great advice on discounted tickets you can get on long-distance trains and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 02:24 PM
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Two days could be spent doing both and that may be better than an extra day somewhere else for you. You do not say how many days you are staying in say Wurzburg or Nurnberg but those towns are easily seen in a day.

Go for both as you desire them so so much.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 05:21 PM
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I would do Bratislava - since it's real. The trouble with Ludwig's castles is that almost all of them are fake - built many centuries after the castles or palaces they are modeled on. The only one we liked was Herrenchiemsee - also fake but much more attractive and with a lot to see.

Every time I see Neuschwanstein all I think of is Disney princesses.
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Jun 15th, 2016, 10:30 PM
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Yours is a difficult choice, trying to decide between two different periods of history. While you can not see all of Ludwig's castles in one day, they are a large part of Bavaria's history and Ludwig's architectural legacy, "fake" or not.

A day in Bratislava to see Hrad Bratislavsky (which is a complete rebuild from the early 1950's, so in a sense it is "fake" as well) and Devin Castle will certainly keep you busy; it is worth mentioning that St. Elisabeth's is rarely open to the public, and since it is about a 15 minute walk from the Stare Mesto, I would recommend checking the hours beforehand. The communist and socialist history of Bratislava is indeed a start contrast to Vienna; though we explore Bratislava quite a bit when we visit, only this spring did we take a "Communist Tour" of the city and saw so many things we would not have discovered on our own day trips.

Good Luck!
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Jun 16th, 2016, 03:52 AM
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A thumbs-up for Neuschwanstein and the many moods of nature its exposed to,is what makes it special.A photographers delight.I was there in winter and the setting was dramatic.Though it was 'mad' Ludwig's creation,I think it was the megalomaniac in him which made the 'reckless extravagant' create the various castles.

King Ludwig II was dethroned in 1886 after a team of experts led by psychiatrist Bernhard von Gudden declared him unfit to rule.The decree was "Suffering from such a disorder, freedom of action can no longer be allowed and Your Majesty is declared incapable of ruling".

Guess we will leave the psychiatric analysis to the historians
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Jun 16th, 2016, 04:01 AM
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Of the two, Bratislava is the least traveled of the two and based on that and your interests, I'd go there.
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Jun 16th, 2016, 05:16 AM
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As said before, you can easily squeeze in Herrenchiemsee when going from Munich to Salzburg.

When going from Vienna to Prague (or v.v.), Brno is also an easy en-route stopover. And over-looked by most tourists. Just in case you run out of time to visit Bratislava as a day trip from Vienna.
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Jun 16th, 2016, 11:03 AM
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King Ludwig II was dethroned in 1886 after a team of experts led by psychiatrist Bernhard von Gudden declared him unfit to rule.The decree was "Suffering from such a disorder, freedom of action can no longer be allowed and Your Majesty is declared incapable of ruling".>

The drowning was also I think declared a suicide but many don't buy that. anyway the hystery and history make Mad Ludwig's castles all the more intriguing to me.
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Jun 22nd, 2016, 06:28 PM
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Thanks for all the responses everyone! I still am finding it hard to decide, both aspects appeal to me...but I have been able to add a day to my trip so I may be able to fit both in (hopefully)!
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