Close to the Austrian border, with a view of the Alps, near the town of Fussen (last city on the famous Romantic Road), lies Neuschwanstein Castle, the beautiful castle everyone dreams of, which exists in real life.
At the top of the mountain, it is incredible to think about how they built something so monumental in natural circumstances and with such difficult techniques. It is so beautiful and well maintained that it seems almost unreal.
The visit to Neuschwanstein Castle is a must for those who are going to spend a few days in Munich. This is one of the most famous castles on the planet.
Neuschwanstein Castle is located between the cities of Hohenschwangau and Fussen in south-west Bavaria.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Germany (Travel Guide)
The Neuschwanstein Castle was built in 1869 by King Ludwig II (also known as “The Mad King”). Ludwig II died in 1886, drowned in a nearby lake (under circumstances that were never fully explained) and the construction of the Castle was never finished. A few months after his death the Castle was opened to visitors.
Close by is the Hohenschwangau Castle, where Ludwig II spent much of his childhood. Very close to the “new” castle, the King’s inspiration is also open to visitors. Ludwig II’s initial idea when building Neuschwanstein Castle was to create something more impressive than the Hohenschwangau Castle, powerful but at the same time intimate.
How to visit Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich
Being located in the Bavarian region, the Neuschwanstein Castle can be visited on a day trip from Munich, as part of a Romantic Road trip or even a short break from Austria. But the most common route to getting there is via Munich.
Fussen and Hohenschwangau, the base towns to visit the Castle, are about 131 km from Munich and can be accessed by bus, train or car. There is a parking lot in the village of Hohenschwangau to leave the car during the day.
There are also many excursions from Munich that make the tour by bus. For such ‘comfort’, the price is higher and it might not be worth it if you want the time to go to the village and castle yourself at your own pace.
Take the Train
The best option to go on your own is by taking the train from Munich and it pays to use the Bayern Ticket, a regional pass that allows up to 5 people to travel together in the cities of Bavaria all day long. The route includes the 2-hour train to Fussen and from there a 10-minute bus ride to Hohenschwangau.
In Munich, take the train at the central station, the Munchen Hauptbahnhof, make sure to arrive 10/15 minutes before the departure time. As there are no assigned seats, try sitting in the window on the left side of the train on the way there to have beautiful views of the Alps, lakes, villages, and fields near Fussen.
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Rent a Car
If you have your own wheels in Germany, perhaps you’re driving the Romantic Road, then heading out from Munich to the Bavarian castle is a perfect way to experience the countryside. This is how we visited Neuschwanstein Castle during our German road trip.
We rented a car online with Auto Europe and then picked it up in Munich. From Munich, it is a 1 hour and 45-minute drive south towards the Alps. The day we drove down, we actually stopped at the Dachau Concentration Camp for a tour before hitting the autobahn to Fussen.
Having a rental car is a great way to experience the many things to see outside of Munich and offers you the flexibility to stop when you want along the way.
The further south we got, the more things we found to pull over at, including bright teal alpine lakes and quaint villages. We were also able to stay near the castle and then drive around the area exploring, including having dinner in Fussen.
By selecting the right place to stay and having our own car, we were able to thoroughly explore the area outside of the busy hours.
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Take a Day Tour
As you can imagine, there is no shortage of tour options from Munich to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle but there are also other options. Tours run the gamut from large group bus tours to private sedan trips.
Viator offers 71 different day trips to Neuschwanstein from the major cities like Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck Austria, Frankfurt, and many more. Below we have listed out the best day trip tours to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Day trips from Munich:
- Neuschwanstein Private Tour from Munich
- Neuschwanstein Castle Small-Group Tour
- Neuschwanstein Castle BUS TOUR from Munich with Oberammergau and Linderhof
Day trips from Füssen:
- Fairytale Castles Private Tour from Füssen
- Top Bavarian Sightseeing: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Oberammergau, and Wieskirche
- Neuschwanstein Castle Half-Day Small-Group Tour with Horse Carriage Ride
- Skip the Line: Neuschwanstein Castle Afternoon Tour from Füssen
Day trip from Innsbruck, Austria:
Day trips from Frankfurt:
- Neuschwanstein Castle Day Trip from Frankfurt
- Royal Castles Tour from Frankfurt: Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace
- Frankfurt Super Saver: Neuschwanstein Castle and Rothenburg Day Trip
Day trips from Garmisch-Partenkirchen:
- A Full-Day Private Tour of Neuschwanstein Castle
- Private Group Tour from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Castle
Visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle
Once you arrive in the village of Hohenschwangau you can start your tour, which can be just outside the castles for free or making the complete tour, which includes guided tours inside the castles. Pick up this great Neuschwanstein Castle: Official Guide in English to enrich your experience.
Buying Your Ticket
You can not buy tickets at the castle. Tickets to visit the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle are on sale only at the Ticketcenter, located in Hohenschwangau.
You can buy your tickets online here to visit Neuschwanstein Castle. It is important to buy your tickets in advance, especially between July and September due to long queues and considerable waiting times.
During peak season a good option is to book your scheduled tickets online 2 days in advance, it is worth the extra 1,80 euros. The Ticketcenter opens one hour before opening and closes one hour prior to the castle closing.
Even if you book in advance you still need to go to the Ticket center to collect your ticket. Once you buy your ticket you will be given a tour time.
All tickets must be picked up one hour before your tour otherwise they will give your spot away even if you have booked them in advance. If you are late and your spot is given away you cannot join another tour group, you will just be out of luck.
There are several different packages you can buy for your ticket to visit the Castle. The main option is a tour to the Neuschwanstein Castle for 13 euros per person.
The “King’s Ticket” is another great option that allows you to visit Hohenschwangau Castle as well, for 23 euros. Children below 18 years old are free of charge.
The Neuschwanstein Castle is open to visitors throughout the year, except January 1st and December 24th, 25th and 31st. From March 24th to October 15th the castle is open from 9 am to 6 pm and the rest of the year from 10 am to 4 pm.
From the Ticketcenter to the Castle
The road that leads to the Castle, Neuschwanstein Strasse, is a 1.5 km uphill lane where cars and bikes are not allowed. Cyclists who decide to take their bikes need to take the bike path which branches off the main road just 100m after the start.
The most common option is to go up to the castle on foot. A 30 to 40-minute walk gets you to the entrance of the Castle. Other than that, there are two very interesting alternatives to get from the Ticketcenter to the Castle – shuttle bus or horse-drawn carriage.
Both options are operated all year long according to demand, which means there are no fixed timetables and it works on a “first come, first served” basis, where you buy the tickets from the driver when you get there.
The shuttle bus drops you off 10 minutes walking from the final destination but it’s all downhill from there. Tickets for the bus are 2,60 euros return or 1,80 euros uphill and 1 euro downhill.
The other alternative is a bit more expensive but the experience takes you back in time. The horse-drawn carriages are 6 euros uphill per person and 3 euros downhill and it drops you off 5 to 10-minute walking distance from the castle.
The Tour In The Neuschwanstein Castle
All visits are guided and available in English, German or via audio guides that has many other languages. All tours last 30 minutes inside the castle and the visit is full of history and surprises including the many rooms which are all impeccably crafted.
Keep in mind that, unfortunately, you cannot take photos or videos from inside the castle. The interior of this beautiful building is magnificent and each wing is uniquely designed.
Some of the rooms that need your extra attention include the Hall of the Singers, the Hall of the Holy Grail and the Throne Room. In Neuschwanstein, the most beautiful view of the castle is from the Marienbrücke, a bridge in the middle of the valley with a picture-perfect view of the castle.
Where To Stay Near the Castle
Is there a better way to experience all the culture from this region than staying a night in the village instead of doing a day trip from Munich?
We don’t think so. In the middle of the climb to Neuschwanstein, the Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein is a special inn with an amazing view to the castle. We stayed here and that is how we got the amazing photographs without the crowds.
This is the perfect option for those seeking a night in the countryside. The hotel is a beautiful old building and protected by UNESCO and offers the amazing experience of waking up with a view to the stunning Neuschwanstein Castle from your bedroom window. During castle opening hours, the hotel also works as a restaurant for anyone who passes by.
There are other cafes, restaurants, and hotels in the village of Hohenschwangau. The Muller Hotel is a great choice for accommodation and dining. Located on the main road of the village it gives you the chance to go to the local shops or even visit the Museum of the Bavarian Kings.
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Around the Neuschwanstein Castle
To get to the oldest castle, Hohenschwangau Castle, the walk is light, on a steep ascent, with stairs and ramps, which takes a maximum of 15 minutes.
For those with mobility problems, there is a horse-drawn carriage near the Ticketcenter that climbs up to the castle, just like the ones to Neuschwanstein Castle.
There are several walking trails around both castles so for anyone who wants to see the nature of this region then we recommend spending at least 1 night in Fussen.
Following the end of the main street of the village of Hohenschwangau, past the castle of the same name, stands a beautiful lake with breathtaking views of the Austrian Alps.
Sitting on one of the benches around it and taking in all of that beauty is the perfect ending to such a busy touristic day.
Can I Fly A Drone Around Neuschwanstein Castle
Drones are not permitted to fly near or around Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany. I know what your thinking, ‘I’ve seen all kinds of drone photos of Neuschwanstein Castle’, that is true but everyone who has done it has broken the rules.
Neuschwanstein Castle is on the edge of the Ammergebirge Nature Reserve; it is therefore not permitted to fly model planes or drones/multicopters. Germans are sticklers for rules, many tourists have had to pay heavy fines and some even have had their drones confiscated.
At the end of the day if you have a drone you represent all of us as drone users so please follow the rules and regulations.
Photography Rules And Regulations
Taking photos for the private use of Neuschwanstein Castle (only with the usual hand-held cameras for private use and without lights and tripods, etc.) does not require a permit, and is allowed unless this conflicts with conservation or organizational requirements or trademark rights.
The use of any private photo material for further purposes is expressly prohibited. There is no photographing or filming allowed inside Neuschwanstein Castle. Photo and filming shoots are basically subject to approval and charges.
Permits for photography in several of the Bavarian Palace Department properties are issued by the central administrative office in Munich. You can find more information on this subject on the Bavarian Palace Department’s official website.
Fun Facts About the Neuschwanstein Castle
- The construction is that the design of Neuschwanstein Castle was not made by an architect or engineer, but a theatrical set designer of the time, Christian Jank (1833-1888), and the impression one has by being there is of standing in a fairy tale scenario.
- Fourteen constructors spent nearly 5 years just carving the woodwork in the king’s chamber.
- The majestic design included 360 rooms, but only 15 were completely finished.
- In the middle of the royal quarters, there is an artificial cave, including the reproduction of stalactites and stalagmites.
- Ludwig slept only 11 nights in the castle.
- Ludwig never lived to see his creation fully completed.
- The name Neuschwanstein means “New Swan Stone”. The name of the castle derives from one of Wagner’s opera’s characters, the Swan Knight.
- Neuschwanstein didn’t get its name until after Ludwig II’s death.
- So much of its beauty served as an inspiration to Walt Disney. The Sleeping Beauty’s castle in the movie and Cinderella’s castle in the Magic Kingdom, in Florida (USA), are based on it.
- Neuschwanstein castle was built for only one person, King Ludwig II. Neuschwanstein castle is so immense though, that in some days it is visited by up to 6000+ tourists, with a total of over 1.3 million visitors yearly. I think he would be turning in his grave!
- I’ve seen a photo of this castle before. You are right, Neuschwanstein castle is one of the most photographed buildings in the world, even if photography is not permitted inside of the castle.
- No throne has ever sat in Neuschwanstein castle, as the Throne Hall was not completed before Ludwig’s death.
- Despite its medieval look, it was built in the 19th century, and it served no defensive purposes.
- Neuschwanstein’s highest tower reaches a height of 213 feet.
- Though Ludwig’s nicknamed was “Mad Ludwig,” the king was not really mad. But there was some madness in his family. King Ludwig’s aunt thought she had eaten a grand piano made of glass.
- In 2012, Neuschwanstein Castle appears on a €2 commemorative coin.
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