the longest castle in the world

Yes, really, this is one castle up on the hill in the small Bavarian town of Burghausen, which lies on the Salzach River on the German-Austrian border.

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A picture of the entire castle obviously required the panorama setting on my camera. This is a view of the castle with the town below it taken from the Austrian side of the Salzach.

My brother and I drove on a cold winter’s day about a year ago from Munich 1.5 hours east to Burghausen. We parked up at the castle. The day was gray and windy – especially up on the hill. After a tour of the castle, we walked down through the town, across the bridge, and the sun came out for a bit.

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Looking down on the Old Town of Burghausen from the castle

Like all real castles, Burg zu Burghausen has a long history, which you can see in the pieced-together look of the castle itself. The first mention of the castle was in the year 1025. The main part of the castle was built in the 14th-15th centuries, in the time period that the Bavarian kings took up residence there, but the oldest fragments of the castle still in existence go back to 1090. Throughout the centuries, the castle was expanded… it had a military defense function in the 16th-18th centuries. Towards the end of the 19th century, the citizens of Burghausen were able to prevent demolition of the castle. The first renovations took place around the turn of the 20th century, and since the 1960s, historical renovations have continually taken place to return some the original character of the castle. Burg zu Burghausen belongs to the Bavarian state and parts of the castle serve as museums and event rooms, while other parts are rented as homes! That’s where I’d want to live if I lived in Burghausen!

 

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Passing through a courtyard to head to the museum area.

There is one main castle and six courtyards strung along the ridge. We walked through the courtyards and toured one part of the main castle, which housed rooms that were set up with furniture along with art galleries.

 

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

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Inside the main courtyard.

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Photo from the roof of the main castle.

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One more view of the main castle from the river bank.

This was a great half-day-trip destination from Munich. On a warmer, sunny day, we would have surely liked to stay longer up at the castle complex and enjoy the views from the courtyards. As it was, though, we had the castle to ourselves!

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a day at glentleiten

Drive just an hour south of Munich to the Glentleiten Freilichtmuseum and you go even further back in time… a DSCN6186hundred years or more! The museum is comprised of a large area of land and old Bavarian houses, barns, workshops and mills that have been picked up from their original locations and reconstructed and restored on the museum grounds. It’s a place to learn about the historical life and culture of rural Bavaria. Continue reading

destination: füssen

Füssen gets a lot of tourist traffic because it has the nearest train station to the most popular “fairy tale” castle of crazy King Ludwig II, Schloss Neuschwanstein.

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Schloss Neuschwanstein

To American tourists, the castle is best known as “the Sleeping Beauty Castle,” since it inspired Disney’s designs for the Disneyland princess castle. Neighboring Neuschwanstein is a smaller castle, Schloss Hohenschwangau, built by Ludwig I. Scads of tourists on a whirlwind tour of Europe get off at the station in Füssen, board a bus straight to Schloss Neuschwanstein, visit one or both palaces, then head back to Munich all in a day. I have done the day trip to Neuschwanstein TWICE myself!

According to this news story, in 2013, a record 1.52 million people visited Neuschwanstein! Up to 6,000 people visit daily. I have experienced a wait time of several hours there. Once you get inside the castle though, because it was never completed before Ludwig’s death, there isn’t all that much to see. You only get about a 20 minute tour. In my experience, the guides usher you through at a pretty quick pace, don’t encourage questions or lingering, and before you know it, you’re out of there. So when guests come to visit from abroad, I’m usually not to keen on taking this day trip again.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I visited once, but for me, it isn’t worth the money to go again and again. Anyway, the really spectacular thing about the castle is the view from the outside. It is situated perfectly in the Bavarian Alps above the Alpsee (lake), and walking/hiking around is really a treat.

Since my parents were here in September and wanted to see the castle, we decided to not just do the typical day trip, but to spend a little more time in Füssen and experience more of the town itself and the surrounding area. Continue reading