Neuschwanstein Castle, built by Ludwig II in the 19th century, is a romanesque revival palace positioned upon the foothills of the Bavarian Alps. Known for being the inspiration for Disney’s castle, Neuschwanstein is Germany’s most visited castle and one of the most visited castles in Europe. It is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and enchanting places in the world, making it a very popular attraction to tourists visiting Bavaria. I recently checked visiting the castle off my bucket list back in December, and visiting it was one of my favourite travel experiences ever. This post is a guide to Neuschwanstein, including info on tickets, how to get to the castle, where to get the best views of the castle, and my experience visiting it.
Located in southern Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is very close to Germany’s border with Austria. It is located within the Alpine foothills, above the village of Hohenschwangau and near the town of Füssen. Another castle, Hohenschwangau Castle, is also located in the village of Hohenschwangau. The nearest major cities include Innsbruck, a two hour drive away; Zürich, a three hour drive away; Salzburg, also a three hour drive away; and Munich, a two hour drive away. My family visited Neuschwanstein on the way from Munich to Salzburg; it was slightly in the wrong direction but it was definitely worth visiting!
To go inside Neuschwanstein Castle, you must purchase tickets to a guided tour of the castle, which lasts about 35 minutes. These tour tickets are only available to purchase at the ticket centre in Hohenschwangau, where lines can often be hours long. Therefore, I’d recommend reserving tickets to tour the castle many days before actually coming to the castle (this can be done through this link). Tickets to tour Neuschwanstein alone cost €12-13, and are free for those under 18 (click here for more ticket options). Unfortunately, we didn’t reserve tickets before coming to the castle, and the ticket line was really long when we arrived, so we decided against getting tickets to tour the castle. Although we didn’t get to actually go inside Neuschwanstein, it was still a great experience (which you’ll read more about throughout this post!).
Getting to the Castle
There are a few different options as to how to get up to the castle from the Hohenschwangau village. The option we decided on was walking up the trail to the castle, which is about a 40 minute hike. I thought it was a lot of fun to walk up to the castle since there were stunning views on the way up (and at the top!) and walking up the trail also counted as a mini workout. It was slightly cold walking up, since we visited during December and there was snow and ice on the ground, but we got a hot chocolate before heading up the trail and it warmed us up a lot.
A different option as to getting to the castle is taking a horse and carriage ride from the village up to the castle, which goes on the same trail as the one people can hike up. This costs €6 per person going up and €3 per person going down. The other option is to take the bus, which is only available during suitable weather conditions.
Views of the Castle
The most famous viewing spot of Neuschwanstein Castle is the Marienbrücke, or Mary’s Bridge. Boasting stunning views of Neuschwanstein and its surroundings, this stunning bridge is where most of the iconic Neuschwanstein photos were taken. This bridge, crossing the Pöllar river and connecting two cliffs, is accessible by trail and bus. Sadly Mary’s bridge is closed during most winter months, so when we visited we weren’t able to get the famous view of Neuschwanstein from it.
Although we didn’t get to visit Marienbrücke, we did find many just as good views of Neuschwanstein from the trail heading up to the castle and from the village below. Other good views of the castle can be found from the area surrounding the castle, specifically on Neuschwansteinstraße.
Views from the Castle
As most people just focus on where to view Neuschwanstein the best, the views from the castle itself are often overlooked. Neuschwanstein overlooks the Hohenschwangau valley, including Füssen and Hohenschwangau.
There are also great views of the Alps, Pöllat river, Alpsee lake, Forggensee lake, and Hohenschwangau Castle. (these photos weren’t taken from the castle though).
Once we got to the top of the trail, and to the actual castle, we wandered around the exterior of the castle and then stopped at Schossrestaurant Neuschwanstein for lunch. Schossrestaurant Neuschwanstein is a nice restaurant just next to Neuschwanstein, with pretty views of the spire of the castle and a very cozy vibe. We also got some delicious dough balls covered in sugar from a stand near the castle, to have on our walk back down from the castle.
Since we didn’t get tickets to tour the castle, I unfortunately can’t tell you if I do or don’t suggest touring Neuschwanstein. However, I can tell you that even though we didn’t get to go inside the castle, I still had an amazing time visiting Neuschwanstein!
That’s it for my post about Neuschwanstein Castle! I hope it was helpful to any of you planning a trip to visit the castle or just entertaining. Have you ever visited Neuschwanstein? If so, what were your thoughts on it?
Thanks for reading.
P.S. I wrote about Neuschwanstein in my Dream Destinations series, where I talk about places that I’d dream of visiting, so I thought it was really exciting that I actually got to visit one of the places I wrote about in that series. If you want, you can check out the Dream Destinations post where I wrote about Neuschwanstein here!