Neuschwanstein Castle Guide
Among the various castles found around Europe, the Neuschwanstein Castle is without a doubt my favorite one. Perhaps it’s the notion that it was the original inspiration to Walt Disney in creating Sleeping Beauty’s castle. A castle we now see in Disney theme parks all around the world. Nevertheless, the Neuschwanstein Castle is surely a spectacular sight; something you need to see for yourself. Unlike most castles in Europe, the Neuschwanstein Castle does not lie on top a hill in over watching a major city. In actuality, the Neuschwanstein Castle is quite secluded, located in southwest Bavaria and overlooking the small village of Schwangau. The castle is beautiful to say the least and works effortlessly to complements the surrounding nature.
A quick history lesson
The Neuschwanstein Castle was actually created by a crazy king, King Ludwig II, in the late 1800’s. King Ludwig II was also known as the Mad King. His objective was to create a beautiful castle that he could later call his home. After some unfortunate events, he died unexpectedly in 1886; a mystery still to this day. As a result, much of the interior of the castle has yet to be finished but already had its beautiful external features. The castle was then made available to the public and turned into the popular tourist attraction it is today.
What is there to do at the Castle?
As you have probably guessed with any touristic castle, you have the option of touring the interior of the castle. Unfortunately for Neuschwanstein, the majority of the interior remains incomplete due to King Ludwig II’s premature death. To enter the castle, you must follow an organized tour group which will take you around the few rooms that are completed. Getting tickets to visit the castle can be quite the hassle and will be described in detail in the following section.
I find that the best way to enjoy the castle is actually from afar. So that you can get the complete view and put yourself in Walt Disney’s point of view. The more you look at Neuschwanstein Castle, the more the castle starts to resemble Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
A short walk from the castle and right across the nearest bus station. There is a short wooden bridge, Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge). You’ve probably seen countless pictures taken from this bridge. On the Marienbrücke you can get the best view of the castle as a whole. Unfortunately, the Marienbrücke can get quite busy at times and there may be a long queue, but it is certainly worth the wait!
After you cross the Marienbrücke, you have the option of doing a short hike up to get an alternate view with a smaller crowd. I’d recommended it just to avoid the crowded bridge and from this angle, you can also see the small village resting in the background. Albeit the castle is not as pretty from this angle as compared to the bridge, it’s always interesting to see it from a different perspective.
Around the Neuschwanstein Castle, there are also many beautiful hikes that you can set foot on due to its natural surroundings. Other than that, most people from far and wide just to see the Neuschwanstein Castle exclusively. There is also the Hohenschwangau Castle nearby but is not nearly as popular as Neuschwanstein Castle.
How do I get tickets to go inside?
Despite the unfinished nature of the castle, tickets to the castle are still extremely popular and limited. Since following an organized tour is the only way of entering the castle. The tour lasts for approximately 30-45minutes.
My first suggestion would be to reserve tickets online beforehand. There is an unusual ticketing system where you have to fill out a reservation form and request a general time slot. From there they will allocate you a specific time within your desired time slot. They are also very strict on the timing, so make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the castle. The ticket reservation site can be found here. Tickets are likely to be sold out quickly during peak seasons. I suggest reserving about a week in advance to ensure ticket availability. All ticket reservations will have to be picked up at the Ticket Center in Hohenschwangau.
Which leads me to the second option, if you’re unsuccessful in reserving tickets online. You will have to line up at the ticket center in Hohenschwangau on the day of to get access to the castle. At peak seasons, the queue can be over 1 hour long and they might give you an entrance time extremely late in the day. This gives you ample of time to explore the surroundings of the castle, but most likely much more than you actually need.
There is also a ticket center hidden by the entrance of the castle. The queue at this ticket center is generally shorter as it is less popular for tourists, but the entrance times will be identical to the ticket center in Hohenschwangau. When I was there, they gave me an entrance time about 5 hours later.
Otherwise, you could always join a tour group from Munich or Füssen so that you have nothing to worry about. Consequently, it will also be much more expensive.
How do I get to the castle?
Located near the German/Austrian border and practically in the middle of nowhere. Tourists flood from all surrounding areas just to visit the castle. The majority of people will be arriving from Munich, so that’s where I’ll start from.
We’ll begin from the main train station in Munich. At the Munich Hauptbahnhof (Main Train Station) you will have to take the train to the town of Füssen. Trains to Füssen run every hour with an alternating schedule of direct trains and connecting trains. In the case of the connecting train, you will have to make 1 change in Kaufbeuren. Don’t worry, this is not difficult as you can usually just follow the crowd since the majority of the people will be visiting the castle as well. The train ride from Munich to Füssen will take about 2 hours.
After arriving in Füssen, you will then hop on the bus 73, 78, or 9606 towards Hohenschwangau. Once again, you can most likely just follow the crowd.
Now after arriving at Hohenschwangau, you can first pick up your reserved tickets from the ticket center. Once again, if you don’t have tickets, I’d suggest you to not queue at this ticket center as the wait times are generally much longer. There will be another ticket center just beside the entrance to Neuschwanstein.
From the ticket center, you have the options of walking, taking a bus, or riding in a horse carriage up to the castle. If you choose to walk, it will take you about 30-40 minutes up a steep incline. Otherwise, the cost of the bus is €1.80 uphill and €1.00 downhill, or €2.60 roundtrip. While the price of the horse carriage is €6.00 uphill and €3 downhill.
Finally, after your long journey (approximately 3 hours), you have arrived at the Neuschwanstein Castle! From the drop-off point, the castle is just a short walk away downhill and the Marienbrücke is a short walk up.
On another note: you do not have book your train tickets in advance. From Munich, you can buy the “BayernKarte” or “Regional day ticket for Bavaria” and this will allow you to travel roundtrip from Munich to Hohenschwangau. This will cost you €25 for the day for 1 person, and €6 for any additional person in your party for a limit of 5. So the ticket actually gets cheaper if there are more people coming along in your group. You can buy this ticket online at (Bahn.de), at any ticket machine, or at any ticket center.
I hope you guys enjoy your visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle as much as I did. It was a hassle getting to the castle but was well worth the trip. The beautiful isolated setting truly makes this castle something special and I wouldn’t have imagined it any other way. Neuschwanstein is a truly beautiful castle that should definitely be seen first-hand.
Thanks for following! 🙂