No, you're not looking at Sleeping Beauty's castle from an upcoming live-action Disney movie, but rather Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. Today, with 1.3 million visitors per year Neuschwanstein is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. For security reasons the palace can only be visited during a 35-minute guided tour. Continue reading for more amazing places from around the world that geeks should visit in the winter.
13. Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is home to a number of famous cultural attractions, many of which survived the violence and destruction of 20th-century Europe. Main attractions include the Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, the Jewish Quarter, the Lennon Wall and Petrin hill.
12. Ludwigsberg, Germany
The middle of Neckarland, where Ludwigsburg lies, was settled in the stone and bronze ages. Numerous archaeological sites from the Hallstatt period remain in the city and surrounding area. Towards the end of the 1st century, the area was occupied by the Romans. They pushed the Limes further to the east around 150 and controlled the region until 260, when the Alamanni occupied the Neckarland. Evidence of the Alamanni settlement can be found in grave sites in the city today.
11. Bergen, Norway
The city is an international centre for aquaculture, shipping, offshore petroleum industry and subsea technology, and a national centre for higher education, tourism and finance. The city's main football team is SK Brann and the city's unique tradition is the buekorps.
10. Hokkaido, Japan
Hokkaido is Japan's second largest island; it is also the largest and northernmost of Japan's 47 prefectures. The Tsugaru Strait separates Hokkaido from Honshu, although the two islands are connected by the underwater railway Seikan Tunnel. The largest city on Hokkaido is its capital, Sapporo, which is also its only ordinance-designated city.
9. Lapland, Finland
Most of the gold used to mint Finnish gold coins comes from Lapland. Lapland itself has been the main motif for a recent commemorative coin, the Finish First Finnish gold euro commemorative coin, minted in 2002. On the reverse side, the midnight sun above a lake in Lapland can be observed.
8. Erfurt, Germany
The city is the birthplace of one of Johann Sebastian Bach's cousins, Johann Bernhard Bach, as well as Johann Sebastian Bach's father Johann Ambrosius Bach. Bach's parents were married in 1668 in a small church, the Kaufmannskirche (Merchant's Church), that still exists on the main square, Anger.
7. Milan, Italy
Milan is the main industrial, commercial and financial centre of Italy and a leading global city. Its business district hosts the Borsa Italiana (Italy's main stock exchange) and the headquarters of the largest national banks and companies. The city is a major world fashion and design capital.
6. Harbin, China
Having the most bitterly cold winters among major Chinese cities, Harbin is heralded as the Ice City for its well-known winter tourism and recreations. Harbin is notable for its beautiful ice sculpture festival in the winter. Besides be well known for its historical Russian legacy, it serves as the commercial center in Sino-Russian trade today.
5. Edinburgh, Scotland
The city is famous for the Edinburgh International Festival, which, since its inception in 1947, has grown - largely as a result of the "Fringe" and other associated events - into the biggest annual international arts festival in the world. The city's historical and cultural attractions, together with an annual calendar of events aimed primarily at the tourist market, have made it the second most popular tourist destination in the United Kingdom after London, attracting over one million overseas visitors each year.
4. The Tadami River, Japan
The Tadami River is a major tributary of the Agano River in Japan. Its basin covers 8,400 km2 (3,243 sq mi) and its main stem is extensively regulated and developed for hydroelectric power. The river is located within Niigata, Gunma and Fukushima Prefectures.
3. London, England
London is the world's most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the world's largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic. London's 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.
2. Paris, France
Centuries of cultural and political development have brought Paris a variety of museums, theatres, monuments and architectural styles. Many of its masterpieces such as the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe are iconic buildings, especially its internationally recognized symbol, the Eiffel Tower.
1. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886 It has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures.