We arrived in Austria in the late afternoon, in torrential rain. We were warmly welcomed at Hotel Maximillian, in the town of Reutte. This hotel ranks up there as one of our favorite things about this trip…actually, I am fairly certain that the girls would say it was the best part.
Thank goodness the sun was shining the following day. We were in heaven, surrounded by green pastures, castle-topped mountain peaks and lots of space for the girls to play.
A short drive from Reutte lies a group of 13th century castle ruins, along with an entertaining, kid-friendly (albeit a bit creepy) museum. You can try on a set of armor (heavy!), learn about the plague that swept through this area long ago and watch a 3D jousting video.
Matea found her Prince Charming…
My Knight in shining armor…
Matea declares that Fair Maidens do indeed carry swords.
Off with his head!
From the playground / parking lot, it is about a half-hour hike to the ruins of Ehrenberg Castle, built in 1296. Posted along the trail were short legends of trolls that throw rocks, roses that grow from a princess’ tears and a snake carrying boulders up the hillside. The girls were captivated…and perhaps just scared enough to make it interesting.
At the top, we had the ruins to ourselves as our imaginations took us back to a time of Emperor’s, Knights and Fair Maidens. The views were stunning.
The following day we headed for Neuschwanstein Castle. We had explained to the girls that this castle was the inspiration behind Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle. We soon learned that Matea understood what that meant, as she became fascinated by the true-life tragic tale of Kind Ludwig, who had this castle built in 1868, yet was never able to enjoy it, since his life was mysteriously cut short at the age of 40. Dahlia however, toured the castle with the idea that Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) had once lived there, pointing out to us where she slept, ate dinner, kept her horses, etc.
Just across the way, is Ludwig’s father’s castle, Hohenschwangau.
Travel with Kids Notes:
- We opted for taking the bus up and a horse carriage down. Even then, there is still quite a bit of walking involved to visit these castles.
- When visiting Neuschwanstein be sure to make reservations ahead of time (especially in peak season). We avoided a very long wait by doing this.
- Buying a few simple toys in the gift shop can be a great distraction during waiting times.
- Make sure to enjoy the nearby lake if you visit on a hot day.
We spent 3 nights at Hotel Maximillian and although they had a great restaurant, we decided to spend one evening with a picnic, along a nearby river.
On our way back to the hotel we saw numerous tiny frogs. We caught one and took turns holding it. Dahlia named it Sally.
Eventually, we had to leave Reutte, heading north again for Munich.
I leave you with a few images from the road…