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-  Ludwig’s palace  (© Boris Jordan Photography/Getty Images)

Get to southwestern Bavaria, near Germany’s border with Austria, to see this magnificent castle. It was built not as a stronghold against invaders, but as a fancy getaway for Ludwig II, the Bavarian king who commissioned the construction in 1869. Ludwig sunk most of his personal fortune into Neuschwanstein Castle and a couple of other estates, and even borrowed heavily to pay for the castle. Part of his inspiration for Neuschwanstein was the composer Richard Wagner, whose operas appealed to Ludwig’s romantic sensibilities. After Ludwig’s death, the castle was opened to the public for tours, and it continues to be a popular attraction today.