Neuschwanstein Castle

The Essential Guide To Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle

Last updated:

This post may contain affiliate links. Read the full disclosure

Some destinations make you feel like you are walking into your very own fairytale and few places make you feel that way more than Neuschwanstein Castle. This guide will help you plan your visit to Schloss Neuschwanstein, with everything you need to know before you go.

A fairy tale castle in Bavaria, Germany, sitting above the small village of Hohenschwangau, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular attractions in the Bavarian region.

Neuschwanstein Castle

A History of Neuschwanstein

Schloss Neuschwanstein during autumn

Neuschwanstein Castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria as a private refuge and as a homage to the composer Richard Wagner.

The castle construction began in 1869, but due to Ludwig’s untimely death in 1886, it was never completed in his lifetime.

Ludwig II is known as the Fairytale King and it’s no wonder with a castle such as Neuschwanstein.

The exterior of the castle was inspired by Ludwig’s love of Wagnerian operas, in particular, the Opera House in Bayreuth which Wagner himself designed.

Ludwig wanted his castle to be a grandiose stage where he could escape from reality.

There are actually two royal residences in the area, both having been built on the ruins of 3 existing castles. The older of the two, Hohenschwangau Castle, was the summer residence of King Maximilian II and his family, built on the remains of fortress Schwangau, from 1833.

King Maximilian’s son, Ludwig II went on to build his own castle, Neuschwanstein, on the site where Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and Hinterhohenschwangau Castle previously existed.

Disney Inspiration

If Neuschwanstein Castle seems familiar, that’s probably because it is. Disney used the castle as inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle for the Disney theme parks.

Where Is Neuschwanstein Castle?

Neuschwanstein Castle is located in southwest Bavaria, in southern Germany. Located in Hohenschwangau VIllage, the castle is about 70 miles (110 km) southwest of Munich.

The nearest major town is Fussën.

How To Get To Neuschwanstein Castle

View of village of Hohenschwangau

The best way to get to Neuschwanstein Castle is by car or train. The castle is located about an hour and a half drive from Munich.

You can also take a train or bus to Fussen Station from Munich. The best option to do this is with a Bavarian Ticket (Bayern) which is a regional train ticket for the Bahn.

Once you are in Fussen, you can take a local bus or taxi to the castle. There is also the option to take a horse-drawn carriage from the parking lot to the castle.

You can also walk from the train station, however, it is approximately a 20-minute walk to Hohenschwangau Castle from the ticket centre and a 30-40 minute walk to Neuschwanstein Castle.

View of Hohenschwangau from village

We visited both Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle during a week in the Bavarian region of Germany, in the middle of December.

We took a day trip from Munich to the nearest major town, Fussën, via train. It takes around 2.5 hours on the train (Bahn) to travel from Munich to Fussën. The best option to do this and the cheapest is by purchasing a Bavarian ticket, which is what we used for all our day trips from Munich.

Upon arrival at Fussën, we travelled via shuttle bus to Hohenschwangau. The Village itself is mostly a tourist stop these days, with a bus stop, souvenir shops and places to eat. It is also the pickup point for tours to each of the castles.

Or you can take a guided tour from Munich if you prefer.

Best Time To Visit Neuschwanstein Castle

The best time to visit Neuschwanstein Castle is in the spring or fall when the weather is milder.

Summers can be quite crowded and winters can be very cold with snow. The castle is open year-round, however, so you can visit any time of year.

Tips For Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle In Winter

Neuschwanstein Castle in winter

We visited Neuschwanstein in the middle of December. While I have no doubt Neuschwanstein is glorious in summer, the snow-covered winter backdrop made it something truly magical.

If you can get there in Winter, we would highly recommend it as it adds to the fairytale vibe.

  • Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes as there is no way to avoid a little bit of walking on this day tour.
  • Dress to suit the cold weather. You want to be warm enough and comfortable so wear proper waterproof shoes and clothing in case of snowfall.
  • Bring water and snacks with you, especially if you are visiting with kids and need to keep them happy during all the travel time between castles.

Visiting Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle in winter

We visited Hohenschwangau Castle first, however, we did not go into the castle for a guided tour. Instead, we chose to admire it from the outside due to time restraints.

The bold gold of the castle is one of my favourite parts, along with the fortress walls. It gives off a very medieval vibe.

If you do opt to do a guided tour of Hohenschwangau, the tour takes approximately 45 minutes and they are conducted in small groups at regular intervals. Book ahead online so you aren’t disappointed on the day if the tours sell out.

Hohenschwangau Castle To Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

Visiting between Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein can be done on foot, however, it is a bit of a trek up the mountain.

There is approximately a 20-minute walk to Hohenschwangau Castle from the ticket centre and a 30-40 minute walk to Neuschwanstein Castle.

There is also the option of a minibus up to Neuschwanstein however due to the steep trek up the mountain, you still have a 15-minute walk from the bus stop, or alternatively can catch a horse and cart to take you slightly closer.

We took a horse and cart ride. Totally worth it for the experience and for saving our legs!

Even with a horse and carriage or shuttle bus transfer, you will still need to walk around 300 metres up a hill to reach the Neuschwanstein entrance.

You can definitely visit the castles in reverse order instead if you prefer to start with the big walk and then finish closer to the village.

Visiting Schloss Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein Castle in winter

The castle itself is set high on a hill with the most stunning natural bushland surrounds. We had quite a wait before our tour began so we had time to enjoy the views from just outside the castle entrance. All the snow-capped trees looked magical, all white and fluffy from afar.

The only way you can view inside the castle is via guided tour, which takes less than an hour. Unfortunately, no photographs are allowed inside though.

Our tour took us through many of the restored and maintained rooms within Neuschwanstein Castle, giving us the history of king Ludwig II and his reclusive life. He certainly under-budgeted for what was to be a modest castle.

The castle even has an indoor garden and cave, which were pretty amazing to see. A perfect way for the King to get the best of the outdoors without even leaving his castle, since he much preferred to keep to himself.

Neuschwanstein Castle road during winter

After our tour, we decided to take a leisurely walk back down the hill to catch our return bus. Since it was mostly downhill, it was much easier and quicker than the way up. If you are physically up for the return walk, DO IT!

Most other people seemed to prefer catching one of the transport alternatives so we had the road mostly to ourselves on foot, which was pretty awesome. There may have even been the occasional snowball thrown and a whole lot of wow over the winter scenery.

There are admission fees for both Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle, with both only accessible via guided tour.

Food and beverages are available for purchase at both castles as well as at the ticket office in Hohenschwangau village.

The guided tour of Neuschwanstein takes approximately 30 minutes and is conducted as a small group tour. These run at regular intervals throughout the day. Be sure to book ahead so you don’t miss out!

Opening hours of Neuschwanstein Castle

The opening hours depend on the time of year. The castle is open daily except for 1 January and 24, 25 and 31 December.

  • April to 15 October: 9 AM to 6 PM
  • 16 October to March: 10 AM to 4 PM

Neuschwanstein Castle Admission

Neuschwanstein Castle

Admission tickets can be purchased online. Children and youth under the age of 18 are free of charge, however, you do need to pre-purchase online tickets to book their spot on the tour prior to visiting.

The current prices as of June 2022 are 15 euros for adults and free for kids and teens under 18.

You can also purchase a “Königsschlösser” combination ticket.

This combination ticket is valid for six months and allows you to visit each of the palaces Neuschwanstein, as well as Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee once.

The combination ticket is currently priced at 31 euros for adults.

You can also book a Neuschwanstein day tour from Munich:

Where To Stay Near Schwangau

There are plenty of accommodation options available in Schwangau and the surrounding areas if you want to spend a few days in the area. Here are some of the best places to stay near Neuschwanstein:

Camping Near Neuschwanstein Castle

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something closer to nature, there are several camping grounds located nearby including the following:

  • Royal Campsites
  • Camping Brunnen
  • Camping Bannwaldsee

Places To Visit Near Neuschwanstein Castle

alpse lake in winter
The Alpsee in winter

There are quite a few places to visit near Neuschwanstein Castle, making it the perfect base for exploring the area.

Here are some of our top recommendations:

Visit the Museum of the Bavarian Kings: A must for anyone interested in the history of Bavaria or the Bavarian Kings. The museum is located in Hohenschwangau Castle and requires an extra admission ticket.

Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge): This is probably one of the most popular places to visit near Neuschwanstein Castle. The Marienbrücke is a bridge that offers stunning views of the castle and the valley below.

Hire a row boat at the Alpsee: A great activity for a sunny day, hire a row boat and explore the Alpsee at your own leisure, with views from the water of the royal residences

Hike up to Jugend viewpoint: For stunning views of Hohenschwangau Castles, the Alpsee and the Allgäu Alps, hike up to the Jugend viewpoint. The trailhead is located behind Alpsee lake and there are shuttle services available if you would rather not walk.

See Pöllat gorge: A short walk from Neuschwanstein Castle, the Pöllat gorge is a narrow ravine created by the Pöllat river. It’s an easy walking trail and suitable for kids, although not ideal for strollers.

Visit Tegelberg mountain: For breathtaking views, hikes and a popular alpine skiing region in Bavaria, with plenty of opportunities for winter sports.

Spend time in Schwangau: Located 2 miles from Füssen on Germany’s Romantic Road, Schwangau is a lovely little town with plenty of Bavarian charm. Visit the old city centre with its traditional half-timbered houses, visit the Royal Thermal Bath or enjoy exploring the countryside by bike.

If you are staying in Germany for a while, check out the best places to visit in the Bavaria region for your stay.

FAQs

Is Neuschwanstein Castle kid-friendly?

Yes, Neuschwanstein Castle is definitely kid-friendly! You may find that younger kids get a bit restless on the tour of the castle, but there is plenty to explore outside and the kids will love getting up close to the castle.

Is Neuschwanstein Castle suitable for wheelchairs or strollers?

The castle is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers as there are a lot of stairs and also a walk to the castle from the transfer point. , but there is an elevator that takes you up to the first floor.

Neuschwanstein Castle is one of our favourite European castles… at least of the many we have seen so far, although let’s face it, Europe is full of castles. Anything that inspired a Disney castle has to be pretty awesome, right? We hope you find this complete guide to visiting Neuschwanstein and the surrounding areas helpful in planning your visit to the Bavarian fairytale castle!

Neuschwanstein Castle guide