Neuschwanstein Castle, an enchanting masterpiece nestled amidst the picturesque Bavarian Alps in Germany, is a fairy-tale come to life. Commissioned by King Ludwig II in the 19th century, this iconic castle captivates visitors with its romantic architecture, inspired by medieval fantasies and Wagnerian operas. With its soaring turrets, majestic towers, and breathtaking surroundings, Neuschwanstein remains a timeless symbol of wonder and imagination, drawing millions of visitors from around the world to marvel at its ethereal beauty and immerse themselves in the allure of a true architectural wonder.
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Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle is a must for any traveler seeking to witness a jaw-dropping site that seems straight out of a fairy-tale. This architectural marvel stands as a testament to King Ludwig II’s romantic vision. To embark on your own epic Bavarian adventure and experience the magic of Neuschwanstein Castle, there are essential things to keep in mind. Here’s everything you need to know before visiting.
Brief History of Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century. Ludwig, who ascended the throne in 1864 at the age of 18, was a highly imaginative and romantic monarch. He was deeply inspired by medieval legends, German myths, and the works of the composer Richard Wagner. His vision was to create a fairytale-like castle that would serve as a private retreat where he could indulge in his love for the arts and escape from the political pressures of his time.
Construction of Neuschwanstein Castle began in 1869, led by architect Eduard Riedel until 1884 when architect Georg Dollmann took over until its completion. Despite his royal status, King Ludwig II was known for his reclusive tendencies, preferring isolation over official state functions. During the castle’s construction, he resided in the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle, where he had spent his childhood. Tragically, Neuschwanstein Castle was never fully completed, as in 1886, Ludwig was declared mentally unfit to rule and subsequently found dead under mysterious circumstances in Lake Starnberg. At the time of his death, only 15 of the planned 200 rooms were finished.
Despite the castle’s unfinished state, it was opened to the public for tours shortly after King Ludwig’s death. The magnificent architecture and picturesque surroundings quickly made Neuschwanstein Castle a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the world.
Where is Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is located in the Bavarian Alps of southern Germany. Specifically, it is situated near the village of Hohenschwangau, which is in the Schwangau municipality in the state of Bavaria. The castle overlooks the Alpsee and is surrounded by stunning mountain landscapes. The nearest major city to Neuschwanstein Castle is Füssen, which is about 4 kilometers away and serves as a popular starting point for visitors exploring the castle and its surroundings.
How to Get to Neuschwanstein Castle
Getting from Munich to Hohenschwangau
Take a train from Munich Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) to Füssen. Trains depart regularly from Munich to Füssen, and the journey takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on the train type. It’s recommended to check the train schedule and book your tickets in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. Once you’ve arrived in Füssen, follow the crowd (who are mostly headed to the castle too) down the platform to where the bus stops are. Here, board Bus #73 or #78, which will take you to the Hohenschwangau stop in about 10 minutes.
Alternatively, you can rent a car and drive. The journey shall take approximately two hours from Munich. Driving in Germany is approachable with well-maintained roads, efficient traffic management and rules-adhering drivers, making it a pleasant and safe experience for travellers. We recommend renting a car for the flexibility it provides.
› You can read more about Driving in Germany on our website via this link (coming soon).
› If you’d like to hire a car, be sure to compare car rental prices via Rentalcars.com to get the best deals.
Getting from Hohenschwangau to Neuschwanstein Castle
Once you’re in the village of Hohenschwangau, you have several options to reach Neuschwanstein Castle. Remember, you are not allowed to drive or bicycle all the way up to the castle itself, which is perched atop a hill. Consider one of these options instead.
- Walk your way up
- Take a ride on Horse Carriage to Neuschwanstein Castle
- Take a tourist shuttle bus
Allow ample time for your visit, including transportation and touring the castle. A half-day or full-day trip is recommended.
1. The walk to the castle takes about 40-45 minutes. It is a delightful journey through a charming forested area, offering breathtaking views and an opportunity to immerse yourself in the enchanting surroundings before arriving at the captivating fairytale castle. However, this option might be a challenge for some. Our advice is to wear comfortable and sturdy walking shoes, as the path can be uneven and hilly in some areas. Also, check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. The weather in the Bavarian Alps can change quickly, so bring extra layers or rain gear if needed.
Note: The walk to Neuschwanstein Castle involves some uphill sections and may not be suitable for individuals with mobility issues. Assess your fitness level and plan accordingly.
2. Taking a horse carriage to Neuschwanstein Castle is a unique experience that transports visitors through the picturesque Bavarian landscape. The slow clip-clop of the horses’ hooves complements the breathtaking views of the majestic Alps. The leisurely ride offers a unique perspective on the castle, allowing travellers to savour every moment of the journey. It is important to note that the horse carriage ride might not be the best option for some, as the slow pace and movement of the carriage can trigger discomfort for some individuals who are prone to motion sickness.
› Where to get the ride? : Right opposite Hotel Müller
› Where to get off? At the bottom of castle. It takes about a 15-minute walk from the horse carriage stopping point to reach the castle entrance.
› Fare: €7.00 for uphill ride, €3.50 for downhill ride, payable to coachman.
› The horse carriages operate all year round, except in bad weather conditions.
3. There is also a tourist shuttle bus available that takes visitors from the parking lots near Hohenschwangau village directly to Neuschwanstein Castle’s entrance. It’s a convenient option, especially if you don’t want to walk or take a carriage.
› Where to get the ride? : P4 Parking
› Where to get off? The bus stop near Marienbrücke. Buses do not go directly to Neuschwanstein Castle. It requires a steep 20-minute walk from the bus stop to reach the entrance of the castle.
› Fare: €2.50 for uphill ride, €1.50 for downhill ride, return €3.00, payable to bus driver.
› Under icy or snowy road conditions, shuttle buses will not operate.
› Summer: First uphill bus at 8 AM; last downhill bus at 6:45 PM. Winter: First uphill bus at 9 AM; last downhill bus at 5 PM.
Tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle
While you can freely explore the castle’s exterior and the nearby hiking trails, to venture inside the unfinished fantasy palace that Ludwig envisioned, you’ll need to purchase a ticket for a guided tour.
Plan your visit and purchase tickets
Decide on the date and time of your visit. Consider booking your tickets for the guided tour of the castle in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to secure your preferred time slot.
You can purchase your tickets at the ticket office or online ahead of time. Ticket for adults is €15, and an advance booking fee / processing fee of €2.50 is chargeable when purchasing tickets online. Children under the age of 18 when accompanied by an adult can visit for free.
Ticket office is near the base of Neuschwanstein hill, so if you’re to purchase in person, make sure you go to the right location (here).
I highly recommend buying your ticket in advance. This not only allows you to avoid waiting in lines at the ticket office but also ensures you secure a spot for the limited number of guided tours available each day. Most tours are conducted in German, with only a few offering audio tours, and typically just a couple of tours provided in English. As these tickets often sell out online ahead of time, early booking is essential.
Please be aware that if you purchase your tickets in advance, tours will depart promptly at the designated time, and there are no refunds or exchanges if you arrive late. Allow ample time for standing in line at the ticket office, getting up the hill to the castle doors (shuttle lines can be especially long in the summer), and make sure to be ready at least 10 minutes before your scheduled tour departure.
What to See and Expect When Visiting the Castle
Exploring the castle’s interior is only possible through guided tours. You will be part of a group led by a knowledgeable guide who will provide insights into the history, architecture, and the life of King Ludwig II. The castle’s interior is exquisitely decorated with intricate woodwork, stunning murals, and lavish furnishings. Prepare to be mesmerised by the opulence and attention to detail.
Some of the notable rooms and features you can see during the guided tour include:
- Throne Room: The Throne Room, though unfinished, features a magnificent throne platform adorned with elaborate woodcarvings and stunning murals depicting scenes from Wagnerian operas.
- King’s Bedroom: Ludwig’s private bedroom is adorned with rich textiles, woodwork, and ornate decorations, reflecting the king’s taste for romantic luxury.
- Singer’s Hall: This grand hall was designed for musical performances and features impressive frescoes inspired by medieval themes and the works of Wagner.
- Grotto Room: This unique room resembles a mystical grotto, inspired by the Tannhäuser opera, with colorful stalactite-like formations and cave-like designs.
- Dining Room: The dining room showcases beautiful wooden panels and a large chandelier, creating an elegant and royal ambiance.
- Minstrel’s Hall: Adorned with images of medieval knights and troubadours, this hall served as a space for entertainment and gatherings.
- Artwork and Decorations: Throughout the castle, you will encounter intricate wood carvings, beautiful paintings, and elaborate decorations that reflect the themes of mythology, fairytales, and Wagnerian operas.
Is the castle over-touristy?
Due to its popularity, the interior tours can be crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. However, the castle’s grandeur and historical significance make it a worthwhile experience despite the crowds.
To enhance your visit, consider going during less busy times or opting for early morning or late afternoon tours, which may offer a more serene and enjoyable atmosphere. Additionally, exploring the castle’s exterior and its picturesque surroundings can provide a quieter and more intimate experience with nature’s beauty.
Tips for Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
1. Arrive early
By arriving early than the usual crowd, you get to avoid the long lines that can form at the ticket office, especially during peak tourist seasons. It gives you the opportunity to enjoy a more tranquil and serene visit.
Moreover, being among the first visitors of the day allows you to enjoy the castle interiors with more space and freedom, as the guided tours are less likely to be overcrowded. You can take your time to appreciate the intricate details of the opulent rooms, admire the stunning artworks, and learn about the fascinating history and stories behind Neuschwanstein Castle without feeling rushed.
2. Respect photography rules
It’s important to note that photography is not allowed inside the castle’s rooms to preserve the delicate artworks and historical interiors. However, visitors can still capture the stunning exterior views and the picturesque landscapes surrounding Neuschwanstein Castle.
3. Be mindful of physical limitations
The castle involves some uphill walking and stairs, so assess your physical abilities before planning your visit. Also, be prepared for changing weather conditions in the Alps, especially if you plan to hike or explore the trails.
The Best Photography Spots of The Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle offers numerous picturesque spots to capture its fairytale-like beauty and stunning surroundings.
- Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge): The classic and most iconic spot for photographing Neuschwanstein Castle is from Marienbrücke, a bridge that spans a deep gorge just behind the castle. The view from here offers a postcard-worthy shot of the castle with the breathtaking Bavarian Alps in the background.
- Colomanstraße: Photographing Neuschwanstein Castle from Colomanstraße offers a unique and less conventional perspective of this iconic fairytale landmark. Colomanstraße is a road that runs through the picturesque village of Schwangau, and from this vantage point, you can capture Neuschwanstein Castle amidst the charming Bavarian countryside and traditional village architecture.
- The village of Hohenschwangau: From the village of Hohenschwangau, you can photograph Neuschwanstein Castle rising above the rooftops, adding a touch of quaint charm to your shots.
- Tegelberg Mountain: For an elevated view, consider hiking or taking the Tegelbergbahn cable car to the top of Tegelberg Mountain. From here, you can capture panoramic shots of Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau Castle, and the surrounding landscape.
Best Time to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
For a balanced experience with fewer crowds and pleasant weather, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. If you prefer a more vibrant atmosphere and are willing to navigate larger crowds, summer is the time to visit.
Where to Stay Around Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is surrounded by a picturesque landscape dotted with charming villages and towns, each offering a unique and delightful stay for visitors. Whether you seek the convenience of staying closer to the castle or prefer a more serene and rural setting, the area caters to diverse preferences and budgets.
This village is located directly at the foot of Neuschwanstein Castle, offering the closest accommodation options. Staying here allows you to enjoy stunning views of the castle from your hotel or guesthouse and provides easy access to both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles.
Where to stay in Hohenschwangau
AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa
Füssen is a larger town located about 4 kilometers from Neuschwanstein Castle. It offers a wide range of accommodations, including hotels, guesthouses, and vacation rentals. Füssen has a charming old town with shops, restaurants, and historical sites to explore.
Where to stay in Füssen
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