King’s House on Schachen
The King’s House on Schachen isn’t as accessible as the other castles commissioned by Ludwig II, and you will need few hours to hike/bike there. But that doesn’t make it any less attractive. On the contrary, the views from Schachen, located 1866 m above sea level in Wetterstein mountains are beautiful, and the house itself is spectacular.
The exterior of the castle is built in Swiss Chalet style. Inside, the first floor is exactly in line with what you would expect from a mountain hut. The surprise awaits on the upper floor. A Turkish Hall with Moorish-style décor and golden ornamental cravings will remind you of a sultan’s palace from One Thousand and One Nights. There even is a fountain in the middle.
You’ll wonder how a wooden ceiling can hold such a massive chandelier. But there is nothing to worry about. Ludwig loved architecture and technology, so the chandelier-construction stabilises the roof in heavy mountain storms.
The king used to visit the house for his birthday on the 25th of August. Until today, there is a mass and a small festival with Bavarian music to celebrate this occasion.
On Schachen there is also an alpine botanical garden and mountain hut where you can get a delicious lunch.
There are several options on how to get there
If you like hiking, choose from three routes starting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Elmau or Mittenwald. All of these non-technical hikes will take 4-5 hours. Be prepared for a long walk (10-20 km / 6-12 miles depending on the route) and an elevation gain of around 1000 m (3300 feet). Our favourite route is from Garmisch-Partenkirchen through the stunning Partnachklamm gorge.
You will need to pay the admission in cash (currently 5 € p.p.), to get through the gorge. But it’s worth it.
Another option is a mountain bike trip
From Munich, take the train to Mittenwald. Get off at the stop Klais. On your bike follow the signs for Schloss Elmau – today a luxury hotel and spa – and continue on the forest road to Schachen. It’s the same path, King Ludwig II used to take with his horse carriage. You will ride on a gravel road with a few tricky passages at the top. It isn’t difficult, but there are some steep parts.
A good fitness is a must. Or you can rent an e-mountain bike. We won’t blame you, but be aware that you will need to handle a heavy e-bike on a steep gravel road with some loose stones on your way down.
After the Schachen tour, we recommend continuing to Mittenwald. It is a charming small town where you can grab a refreshing “Halbe” of Mittenwalder Beer in the historic city centre before catching the train.
The round trip is approximately 50 km (31 miles) long with a 1600 m (5250 feet) ascent.
On the train, you can use Bayern ticket. Don’t forget to get a ticket for your bike (5,50 € per day). There are dedicated carriages for cyclists.
Bike rental is possible daily in Mittenwald (http://www.bikerbahnhof.com/verleih-bikes) or Garmisch-Partenkirchen (http://www.bikeverleih-garmisch.com/de/mountainbikes.html). We have never used their service, so we can’t get you an honest recommendation which to choose.
Please be careful. Even if this hiking/biking trip is not a huge technical challenge, it is still an alpine tour. Wear solid shoes, be prepared for a rapid weather change and have an extra warm layer.
Enjoy the unique combination of a hiking trip and a visit to one of King Ludwig II’s castles.