Standing on a low wooded hill above Alpsee, Schloss Hohenschwangau was a ruin when Ludwig’s father, Maximilian II, bought it in 1832 while still crown prince, and had it rebuilt in a prettily romantic neo-Gothic style. Ludwig II spent much of his childhood here, and it was here that he first encountered the legend of Lohengrin, the Swan Knight; the Schloss is decorated with frescoes on the theme by Michael Neher and Lorenz Quaglio. Schloss Hohenschwangau still belongs to a Wittelsbach trust, not to the state of Bavaria, and part of its charm is that it feels altogether more homely than its showy neighbour.