Are you looking to live out your childhood fairytale dreams? Then this is the place for you. Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is a must-visit when in Germany. Neuschwanstein Castle, also known as the Disney Castle and the Winter Castle, is one of Germany’s top landmarks and tourist hotspots.
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Looking for the world-famous Disney castle in Germany but don’t know it’s actual name?
Don’t you worry, I got your back!
The place you are looking for is called Neuschwanstein Castle or Schloss Neuschwanstein in German. It took me some time to pronounce it right. You’ll get there.
FUN FACT: THIS CASTLE IS WHAT INSPIRED THE CREATION OF SLEEPING BEAUTY AFTER WALT DISNEY VISITED BAVARIA WITH HIS WIFE IN THE 1950s.
Here’s the honest truth: I am obsessed with castles. Don’t believe me?
I used to work in a bookstore and there was this book about all the castles in Europe. One day, I was flipping through it and stumbled upon an image of this white, majestic castle sitting on top of a snowy ledge.
Amazed by its beauty, I made a promise to myself that someday, I am going to go there. And that wish finally came true!
A BRIEF HISTORY OF NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE:
Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned to be built by the German King Ludwig II (also known as the Mad King). Construction began in 1868 but it was never completed.
Ironically, this castle was meant to be a place of a recluse for the King and he ordered that no strangers are allowed inside his castle. Fast forward a couple of hundred years later and millions of strangers visit the castle every year!
King Luis spent much of his childhood in the nearby castle of Hohenschwangau (it’s pretty cool!) and upon his accession to the throne, he had this idea of building a more grander castle.
FUN FACT: Neuschwanstein was designed by a painter and not an architect!
NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE: THINGS TO KNOW
♛ Buy tickets beforehand to avoid disappointment:
The Neuschwanstein official website recommends buying tickets to the castle two days in advance until 3 pm German time. Peak season is between April-October so if you’re planning on visiting during that time, buying tickets online is highly recommended.
If you are going during the offseason as we did, you may get lucky and be able to buy tickets that day. Still, buying tickets beforehand is the best option.
There are three types of tickets you can purchase:
- Neuschwanstein 2020 – €13With this ticket, you only get admission to the Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the option we opted for.
- Konigsticket (King’s Ticket) – €25With this ticket, you get admission to Neuschwanstein and the nearby castle of Hohenschwangau
- Koningsschlosser Combination Ticket (Ludwig’s II Palaces) – €26
The combination ticket is valid for six months; you can visit each of the palaces Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee.
PS: There are also Annual Seasonal Tickets (14 days) which gives you access to forty sights in Bavaria.
♛ Neuschwanstein Castle Tours:
The tours last around 31-35 minutes. You are guided through some pretty awesome rooms such as the church, singing hall (which was never used) and my favourite, the King’s Chambers and Salon!
Tours happen every 10-15 minutes. It is recommended you get to the courtyard of the castle (which is where you’ll wait before the tour starts) at least 60-30 minutes before the tour starts.
There is a screen indicating the times of the tours and tour numbers which will be on your ticket and when a new tour starts, a bell rings.
Before the tour starts, you’ll be given an audio guide which will give you information about each room. You have the option to chose between German or English.
FUN FACT: The king was arrested in his chambers after the state governor declared him an unfit king.
Please keep in mind that photographs are not allowed in the castle except in the last room you’ll visit which is the kitchen.
Apart from the King’s Chamber, what I found fascinating was the views from the castle. I mean .. you cannot beat that view!
ANOTHER FUN FACT: The castle was equipped with electricity which was a novelty back then. Interestingly, the castle was built to preserve Medieval royalty and the divine order Kings, but there are also elements which were considered modern back then such as glass doors and electricity.
♛ Have all the latest info before you go:
Before you go, make sure you check online for the latest info (click here) about Neuschwanstein Castle, because at times, some roads and parts of the castle may be closed.
Storm Sabine hit Germany a week before we went and the main lookout bridge was closed. I was really bummed about that *cry*
HOW TO GET TO HOHENSCHWANGAU:
Hohenschwangau is the village where the castle is located.
♛ By car from the KMC:
It took us about 6 hours to get to the castle. We did run into heavy traffic when we were approaching Stuttgart. Without traffic, the commute is about 4-5 hours long.
When you’re approaching Füssen (taken from the official website): “Take the A7 motorway (direction Ulm-Kempten-Füssen) until the end. From Füssen first, follow the road B17 to Schwangau, then the signs to Hohenschwangau or take the A7 motorway until the exit Kempten and then the road B12 to Marktoberdorf. Follow the road B16 to Roßhaupten – OAL I to Buching – and then take the road B17 to Schwangau and Hohenschwangau.”
There is a parking lot where you can park your car. Make sure you have small change because the cost to park there is €7.This was the stuff to set a young man’s imagination alight and to dare to dream of building the most beautiful castle in the world—Neuschwanstein. Click To Tweet
♛ By train or bus:
From the nearby town of Füssen, take either bus #73 (direction Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen) or #78 (Direction Schwangau). Buses leave every 30 minutes from the train station. These buses take you to Hohenschwangau and then it is a slightly uphill walk to the ticket office.
Getting to the castle with public transport is very easy. If you get nervous when using public transport (like yours truly), there is no need! You’ll see a huge crowd of people waiting for these busses in Munich and then the bus will go empty when the buses reach the stop for the castle. Simply follow the crowd or ask the driver.
♛ From Munich:
Your best option is to purchase the Bayern Ticket to Füssen. There are trains bound to Füssen every 30 minutes. When you get off at Hohenschwangau, simply get on the above-mentioned buses.
The last regional train to Munich leaves at 6:06 pm. There are of course other trains but they will not be covered by the Bayern ticket.
FUN FACT: You will see a lot of Swan figures and paintings all around the castle. That is because Ludwig became immersed in the heroic tale of Lohengrin, a Knight who was sent on a boat of Swans to save the Duchy of Brabant. As a result, Swans became the leitmotif of the castle and Ludwig.
HOW TO GET TO NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE:
So you made it to Hohenschwangau and you picked up your tickets ready to marvel at this castle. There are a couple of options on how to get to the castle.
♛ By shuttle:
The castle is located on a steep(ish) hill which takes about 40 minutes to reach by foot. If the weather permits, there is a shuttle for €2,50 per person per way which takes you directly to the castle. This is the easiest option. Ask at the ticket office when you pick up your tickets if the shuttle is working that day.
♛ Private Tour:
If it’s in your budget, there is an option for a private tour of Neuschwanstein.
♛ By horse carriage:
The horse carriage costs €7,00 uphill and €3,50 downhill. I personally don’t like this option because I hate seeing animals being used this way. These poor horses work from when the castle opens which is 9 am until it closes at 6 pm carrying tourists up and down the hill. But, the option is out there if you want to take it.
♛ By foot:
This is the option we ended up taking as the shuttle wasn’t working due to the icy roads. It was a brutal 40-minute walk but boy, was it worth it! I hit a new record on the activity app on my iWatch!
I recommend working comfortable shoes, not converse like I did and layer up because it gets quite chilly up there.
BEST PHOTO SPOTS TO PHOTOGRAPH NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE:
All angles are perfect, in my opinion.
♛ Marienbrucke/Mary’s Bridge:
If you want that perfect Insta shot, I recommend the Marienbrucke bridge. Get there early though as by 10 am, it gets swarmed by tourists. As I will mention later on, when we went, the bridge was closed so make sure to call beforehand!
♛ Outside the castle entrance:
Just by the lockers, there is a mini bridge where you can get a full side view of the castle. You might need to wait in line to get a picture that’s how busy it was.
My photographer also snapped a pretty cool photo of my souvenir from this photo spot (scroll below) and of course, I had to pose for the camera 😉
WHERE TO STAY NEAR NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE:
Depending on how far you are from the castle, I recommend spending one or two nights in a nearby town.
Here are my top picks from the research I did:
Füssen is a cute little town located 6 minutes (by car) from the castle and it is where we decided to stay. Since our trip was a last-minute decision, we opted to stay in a hostel to save some money.
We picked Old King Hostel located in the heart of Old Town. For €60 per person, we had our own private room and breakfast. Not bad at all!
Parking in Old Town is only for residents. The receptionist, who was an extremely nice guy, gave us two options for free parking. One of them was in Kemptener Straße and the other was Kirchstraße, Rudolfstraße and Sonner Straße.
If you have some time to kill, I highly suggest checking out Füssen. Mainly the AldStat (old town), Lechfall and the High Castle of Füssen.
Furthermore, if you’re down for some bomb Italian food, check out Il Pescatore. You might want to make a reservation beforehand as it always fully booked.
♛ Edelweiss Lodge and Resort:
If you’re in the military, you can book a room at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort. It is a bit of a drive from the castle (approx. 1 hour) but there is also lots to do nearby such as Zugspite and Eibsee Lake.
PRO TIP: This resort is usually always booked during peak season so make sure to plan ahead!
Schwangau is another cute town located 5 mins away from the castle. Here, you’ll find plenty of Guesthouses and AirBnB’s.
This cute town is a gateway to the castle and there are also cable cars in Tegelberg if you’re into skiing.
TIPS TO MAKE YOUR TRIP TO NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE (AKA THE DISNEY CASTLE IN GERMANY) A PERFECT ONE:
♛ Pick a less busy time of the year:
As mentioned earlier, the peak season is between April and October. If possible, try to pick a day during the offseason. There won’t be that many people and you are most likely guaranteed to get a ticket.
♛ Check the weather beforehand:
While the castle looks stunning in during any season, foggy or rainy conditions are not that ideal. We got incredibly lucky with good weather in February!
♛ Have some small change:
You’re going to need some small change to pay for parking and if you want to use the restrooms outside the castle. You’ll also need cash to pay for the shuttle and the horse carriage.
Additionally, you can pay with card at the souvenir store inside the castle if your bill is more than €10. If you don’t want to spend that much on a souvenir, cash is required.
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Does anyone else get excited about souvenirs like I do? 🙈 Taking a picture of my souvenir became a mandatory thing for me when I’m traveling ✈️ I have a collection of souvenirs displayed around my house and in jars! I have four jars in total starting from 2016 filled with souvenirs I bought. I like to keep them as memories and once in a while, I go through them and reminisce 🧡 Do you buy souvenirs on your trip? How do you display them? . . . . #neuschwansteincastle #neuschwansteinschloss #neuschwanstein_castle #neuschwansteincastlebavaria #thesolowomantravel #travel #germany #bavaria
I ended up spending €20 euros on souvenirs because I’m a souvenir junky 🙃
♛ Get there early:
I already mentioned this beforehand, but if you want to be able to take photos at the Marienbrucke (Mary’s Bridge) and pictures around the castle, I recommend getting there early.
Our tour started at 16:10 but we got to the castle at 15:00. This gave us plenty of time to walk around and take a ton of pictures.
♛ Call beforehand to check if the Marienbrucke bridge is open:
Mary’s Bridge is the main photo spot to take some pretty awesome, Instagram influencer-esque pictures.
I made the rooky mistake of not calling beforehand and when we got to the ticket office, the guy working there informed us that it was closed! Needless to say, I was a bit bummed out but I can always visit again.
If you’re lucky enough to go on a day where the bridge is open, go there early. It starts getting packed around 10 am. So if you’re wanting that perfect picture, wake up early and beat the crowds.
♛ Keep on walking to get more stunning views of Hohenschwangau:
If you keep walking 120km across the hiking path from the bridge through the surrounding trails and mountains, you’ll get some amazing views of Hohenschwangau castle.
There are also a lot of unique viewpoints of the castle. Don’t be afraid to venture out a little bit!
PRO TIP: If you want out of this world images, you can take a helicopter tour from Munich that takes you around several sights and castles in Bavaria, including Neuschwanstein Castle. Click here for more info.
♛ Grab yourself some sugary quark balls:
Whilst yours truly was and still is on a quest to slim down for the Summer, I resisted the urge to eat these.
However, I read on countless blogs that these quark balls are delicious so I thought I’d recommend them for my readers!
You can buy some along the way to the castle and eat them while you’re burning calories walking up to the castle.
Grab yourself a soft, warm pretzel.
I took this picture in Munich and I am currently working on an ultimate guide to Munich. Subscribe to my newsletter to get the link sent directly to your inbox 👀
♛ Bring a camera and a camera husband or wife to take pictures:
It’s hard not to take pictures of this castle, so make sure you got your photography gear and your photographer with you!
♛ Explore the nearby castle of Hohenschwangau:
If you buy the King’s Ticket or the Combination ticket, you’ll get admission to the other castle where Ludwig II grew up. Even though we didn’t get the chance to go, I highly recommend checking it out.
♛ Leave your bags and other bulky items in the car:
Since bags are not allowed inside the castle, I recommend leaving them in your car. If you don’t have that option, there are lockers located outside the castle where you can leave your bag there.
Do you have any more questions about Neuschwanstein Castle?
Neuschwanstein Castle is perhaps one of Bavaria’s top tourist attractions. If you come prepared, you will most definitely have an amazing time.
Have fun making all your fairytale wishes come true!