Seeing Neuschwanstein Castle has been at the top of my bucket list, and we finally got to see it last weekend! The fairy tale look of the Neuschwanstein castle inspired Walt Disney to create the Cinderella Castle, and we definitely felt like we were in a Disney movie. It’s also surrounded by beautiful landscape, as it’s located at the top of a hill in the Alps!
Built in the 19th century for the eccentric and mysterious ‘Mad King’, Ludwig II, Neuschwanstein was meant to be a place of escape. Ludwig II spent his childhood at the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle, which you can also easily see in the same day. Sadly, Ludwig II only lived in Neuschwanstein less than a year before he died. A few weeks after his death, the castle was opened to the public as a museum, and continues to welcome 1.4 million visitors every year!
Getting to the Castle
You can easily visit Neuschwanstein as a day trip from Munich. We took the train from Munich to Fussen, which is about a two hour train ride. We used a “Bayern ticket” which is 25 euros for the first person, then 6 euros additional for every extra person with you, which means huge savings if you get up to 5 (the maximum) on the same ticket. It’s also valid for unlimited train travel within that region! Munich and Fussen are both in Bavaria, so this was a great way to get there. (We also used a Bayern ticket when we went to Nuremberg with my family at Christmas.) We took a bus from Fussen to Hohenschwangau. The castle is a huge tourist attraction, so the transportation is super easy! There were multiple buses waiting right outside of the train station all going straight to Hohenschwangau.
Once you’ve arrived in Hohenschwangau, you have two options for getting up to the Neuschwanstein castle: walking the lengthy path or riding in a horse-drawn carriage. We chose to walk and it really was not that bad. It is a GORGEOUS walk! Plus it started snowing mid way through our walk, which really added to the whole snow globe vibe.
Touring the Castle
You can tour the inside of the castle with a guided tour that is booked based on a time slot. They do not allow photos inside of the castle. I highly suggest buying your tickets at least two days in advance. The guided tour is about 35 minutes.
This is a major tourist attraction, and they sell out fast. If you don’t buy tickets in advance, be prepared to wait two hours in line. Buy them here on the official site.
We had heard it can get crazy crowded, which is a big reason why we decided to go during off season in February. It wasn’t super crowded while we were there, and I loved seeing the castle in the snow.
The best place to see all of Neuschwanstein in all of her glory (and get the iconic pic!) is from Mary’s Bridge. Unfortunately, this bridge can be closed due to icy weather. When we visited, it was closed with “Danger of Death” signs all around the gate to it. However, while you’re on your way back down the hill there is a hiking trail off to the side that also leads to the iconic lookout point. Thankfully I was wearing my snow boots, so we made our way up the trail.
There were a ton of other people with the same idea that were on the trail too! In total, it was probably about a 15 minute hike – not bad at all. However, it was super slippery on the way back down. We got there early in the day, and by the time we headed down from the lookout, the “off road” hiking trail was getting crowded and extremely slippery with all of the packed down snow from everyone walking on it.
From this hiking trail, you also get a great view of Alpsee and Hohenschwangau Castle, the other castle in Hohenschwangau. The history behind these castles is so interesting. I’m definitely not claiming to be a history expert, so if you’d like to know all about the history you should visit the official website here.
And since it’s only two hours away, I told Pat I want to come back to see it in every season! 🙂 We brought our “good” camera with us, though we’re both still learning how to use it.