When you’re in Southern Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is a sight you can’t miss.
This white castle, perched on a rock ledge in the Bavarian Alps, seems like it’s straight out of a fairytale. For those of us who love to imagine scenes from our favorite movies set in the Middle Ages, a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle can make those fantasies a reality.
Fortunately for us today, Neuschwanstein Castle welcomes everyone. We can not only get up close to the castle, but we’re also allowed to go inside and marvel at the interiors, which are just as beautiful as the exteriors. However, a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle isn’t as straightforward as a walk in the park. From figuring out how to reach it, to deciding on the perfect time to visit, planning a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle involves a lot of considerations.
Investing time in preparing for your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle is absolutely worthwhile to make sure you have an enjoyable trip.
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Important Notes About This Post
While planning a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the challenges I encountered was navigating the multiple official websites that provide information about the castle. These include the main website of the Bavarian Palace Administration, the main website of Neuschwanstein Castle, and the official website of Hohenschwangau (the town where Neuschwanstein Castle is located).
These sites are packed with useful information for planning your visit, but the content organization leaves room for improvement. It was somewhat confusing to jump between webpages to find specific details. In this blog post, we aim to simplify your planning process for a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle by providing all the necessary information in an easy-to-understand manner.
Anyhow, if you’ll be looking for more information which I did not include in this post, you might find these two websites helpful:
- neuschwanstein.de, the main website for Neuschwanstein Castle managed by the Bavarian Palace Administration, offers information on reaching the castle, its accessibility, and an in-depth history of the castle and King Ludwig II.
- On the other hand, hohenschwangau.de, the official Hohenschwangau website, provides visitor-specific information such as ticketing, opening hours, access to viewpoints, parking facilities, and guidance on using maps and public transportation to reach Neuschwanstein Castle from Hohenschwangau.
If you’re planning a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle and need a place to stay, don’t worry. Here’s where you can find the best hotel deals.
Is Neuschwanstein Castle Worth Visiting
Let’s be honest. Neuschwanstein Castle, while a must-see and a bucket list item, is not without its flaws. Yes, it’s absolutely enchanting. Nestled in the Alps, this stunning castle with majestic mountains as its backdrop is a unique sight. However, its popularity brings with it certain drawbacks.
Millions visit Neuschwanstein Castle each year. With such a high volume of visitors, you can expect long lines during peak season and tours that may feel rushed. It’s important to manage your expectations accordingly. Moreover, crowded viewpoints and inconsiderate travelers taking photos are common occurrences as you explore the castle and its surroundings.
Despite these inconveniences, a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle can be rewarding if you focus on the positives. The castle’s architecture, stunning scenery, and intriguing history make it a worthwhile destination. It’s the same castle that inspired Walt Disney for Cinderella’s Castle, and who knows, it might inspire you too!
Compared to other palaces and castles, Neuschwanstein Castle is relatively small as its construction was never completed. If you’re expecting to spend the entire day marveling at artwork and architecture, you might be disappointed. The tour is brief, lasting only 30 minutes, to accommodate the influx of visitors.
However, there are several nearby attractions to fill your day after visiting Neuschwanstein Castle. Hiking trails offer breathtaking views of the Alps and the castle. There’s also Hohenschwangau Castle, another beautiful site to explore. For some peace and quiet, take a stroll by the lake where you can see both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.
In conclusion, again, despite its drawbacks, Neuschwanstein Castle is worth a visit, especially considering the additional attractions in the area. These side attractions add to the overall enjoyment of your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle.
If you’re planning a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle and wish to explore more of the Bavarian Alps, you might find my list of recommended places in the Bavarian Alps and 24 Beautiful Destinations Near Neuschwanstein Castle useful. Also, I’ve compiled a few itineraries that could help you plan your visit more effectively:
- Visit all the highlights of the Bavarian Alps with Neuschwanstein Castle: 10-day Bavarian Alps Itinerary.
- Get a well-rounded week-long trip to the Bavarian Alps: 7-day Bavarian Alps Itinerary.
- Short in time? You can visit Munich-Neuschwanstein Castle-Berchtesgaden in three days: 3-day Bavarian Alps Itinerary.
Best Time to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
Here’s a simple tip to make your trip to Neuschwanstein Castle extra special: time your visit just right. Choosing a less busy time could make all the difference in your experience. When I mentioned that millions visit the castle each year, I bet you started thinking about how crowded it could get, right?
You see, Neuschwanstein Castle is a destination that you would appreciate visiting when it’s not too crowded. This is because it offers the experience of a fairytale-like setting and the magic of the place might not hit you as hard if you’re sharing the space with a crowd.
Actually, it can get even worse if there are those noisy “travel influencers” around, more interested in snapping photos and videos for social media than in soaking up the moment and taking in the magical charm of Neuschwanstein Castle.
Honest confession: A few years back, I was just like them. But then, something clicked. I caught a glimpse of how annoying my behavior was. So, I put a stop to it.
Neuschwanstein Castle during Winter: No Crowds
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle during the winter months, from November to April, can be a great choice if you prefer a less crowded experience. However, before you make your decision, there are a few things to consider.
During the winter, certain parts of the castle may be closed due to weather conditions. For instance, the Marienbrücke, which offers the most iconic view of Neuschwanstein Castle, may not be accessible. Additionally, if there is snow on the road, the horse carriage and shuttle buses that usually transport visitors to the castle may not be in service. This means you would need to hike up the hill from the town to reach the castle.
Despite these potential challenges, many find the winter visit worthwhile. Neuschwanstein Castle, blanketed in snow, presents a magical scene that some visitors find particularly captivating. This unique winter charm is the reason many choose to visit Neuschwanstein Castle specifically during the colder months.
Neuschwanstein Castle during Autumn: Best for Photography
If you find winter too chilly but still wish to explore the castle without the throngs of tourists, consider a visit during the shoulder season of autumn. For photography enthusiasts, this could be the ideal time to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.
The scenery around Neuschwanstein Castle is breathtaking during this time, with the castle’s majestic white facade appearing even more enchanting against the backdrop of fall foliage. The red and golden leaves of the surrounding spruce trees offer a visual feast from various viewpoints.
However, it’s worth noting that autumn isn’t as sunny as summer. You might find the castle under an overcast sky, which can lend a somewhat gloomy atmosphere to the place. This might make it less exciting to wander around. At times, fog might obscure the view, rendering some viewpoints less impressive. But on the flip side, the fog can also create a dramatic ambiance around Neuschwanstein Castle.
So, visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in autumn involves a bit of a gamble with the weather. But with a bit of luck, you could be rewarded with some truly memorable views.
Neuschwanstein Castle during Summer: More Activities, More Time to Enjoy
While summer might not be the first choice for some due to the influx of tourists, visiting Neuschwanstein Castle during this season does come with its own set of advantages. One of the key benefits is that all areas of the castle, including viewpoints and hiking trails, are accessible.
In fact, there are hiking trails starting from Neuschwanstein Castle that lead up to the mountains. These trails offer views of the castle that are akin to those captured by drones, which, incidentally, are not permitted in the area.
Another advantage of a summer visit is the extended daylight hours. With the sunset occurring around 9 in the evening at the peak of summer, you have more time to explore the castle and its surroundings. This allows you to pack more activities into a single day.
Your itinerary could include not just a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, but also a cable car ride, hiking activities, a tour of Hohenschwangau Castle, relaxation time at the shores of Alpsee, or even a visit to Linderhof Palace. The latter, like Neuschwanstein Castle, was constructed by King Ludwig II, adding another layer of historical interest to your visit.
How to Get to Neuschwanstein Castle
Now that you’ve decided on the timing of your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, let’s move on to discussing the various ways you can reach the castle.
If you’d rather not worry about the details of getting to Neuschwanstein Castle, you can simply join a tour. These tours take care of all the arrangements for you.
Flying to Neuschwanstein Castle
If you’re planning to fly in for your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, Munich and Innsbruck are the most practical starting points. Both cities have airports that are less than 120 kilometers away from the castle. From either city, it’s approximately 2-hour drive to Hohenschwangau, where Neuschwanstein Castle is located.
If you’re asking for my suggestion on where to start your journey to Neuschwanstein Castle, I’d recommend Munich. This city not only offers more flight connections and a wider range of accommodations, but Munich also boasts a number of beautiful places to visit. Choosing Munich as your starting point allows you to maximize your time in Germany.
Plus, if you’re planning to drive to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich, you won’t have to worry about navigating the different road rules that apply in Austria, which would be the case if you chose Innsbruck as your starting point.
If you’re considering public transportation to reach Neuschwanstein Castle, starting from Munich might be more convenient than Innsbruck. As of 2023, there’s a direct bus service to Hohenschwangau, the village near Neuschwanstein Castle, from Munich. This service is provided by Flixbus, making the journey straightforward and hassle-free.
Driving vs Public Transportation
In the past, the most practical and effective way to reach Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich was either by car or by joining a guided tour. However, a few years ago, this changed with the introduction of direct bus services by Flixbus. This development has greatly enhanced the experience of visiting Neuschwanstein Castle.
Now, one might wonder if a car is still necessary for the journey. Given the convenience and cost-effectiveness of the bus service, it might seem that a car is no longer essential. But this isn’t always true, especially when you take into account the bus schedules.
The last time I checked, there was only one bus departing from Munich to Hohenschwangau around 8 to 9 in the morning, and one return bus from Hohenschwangau to Munich around 5 to 6 in the afternoon.
If you’re planning to spend the entire day in Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle, then the bus service should be sufficient. However, if you want more flexibility with your time, a car might be a better option. Having a car allows you to visit additional attractions near Neuschwanstein Castle after your visit, such as Linderhof Palace, Ettal Abbey, or Oberammergau.
Lastly, it’s worth mentioning that there are alternative public transport options to get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich. However, these are not as fast or convenient as the direct bus service. This route involves taking a train to Fussen, followed by a bus to Hohenschwangau.
We’ll discuss more about this route later.
Driving to Neuschwanstein Castle
Driving to Neuschwanstein Castle gives you convenience and control of your time, but it can be a bit expensive. The trip covers about 120 kilometers and typically takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes.
If you’re planning to drive, you’ll be glad to know that there are four parking lots in Hohenschwangau where you can leave your car while you explore the castle.
Parking lot no. 1 is near the Apollo duty-free shop. Parking lot no. 2 is situated between Schwangauer Road and Coloman Road. Parking lot no. 3 is at the roundabout next to Restaurant Cafe Kainz, and Parking lot no. 4 is near Alpsee. All these lots accommodate cars but be prepared for a fee which lets you use the parking all day.
Despite the availability of multiple parking lots, it’s advisable to arrive early, especially during peak season, to secure a spot. This not only allows you to park closer to the ticket center but also helps you avoid long queues when buying your tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Lastly, Parking lot no. 4 is the closest to the ticketing center and the shuttle bus and horse carriage departure points for Neuschwanstein Castle. Parking here could make your visit a bit more convenient.
You can learn more about the parking lots in Neuschwanstein Castle here.
Using Public Transportation to Get to Neuschwanstein Castle
Germany is well-known for its efficient public transportation system. Often, you’ll find that you don’t need a car to get around. This is particularly true when visiting Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich.
If you prefer not to drive, there are several options available. The most convenient are the two options below.
- The first is to take a bus, which is a great choice if you’re planning a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. This is the cheapest option.
- The second option is a combination of train and bus. This is ideal if you’re planning to stay in Fussen (the town with the nearest train station to Neuschwanstein Castle) or Schwangau for a night or longer.
It’s important to note that both transportation options can be used for a round trip from Munich, depending on your itinerary.
For instance, if you plan to visit Neuschwanstein Castle and then explore the town of Fussen, you can take the bus from Munich to Hohenschwangau. After your visit, you can return to Munich from Fussen by train. You can get to Fussen from Hohenschwangau by bus.
Option 1: Munich — Bus — Hohenschwangau
If you opt for the bus to reach Neuschwanstein Castle, it’s crucial to consider the bus schedules. There’s only one bus departure for the Munich-Hohenschwangau route and vice versa. Given the limited availability, it’s advisable to book your tickets as early as possible. They tend to sell out quickly, especially during the peak season.
The total travel time between Munich and Hohenschwangau via this direct bus is approximately 2 hours. If you plan to leave Munich around 8 to 9 in the morning, which were the earliest departure times last I checked, ensure that your entry/tour ticket to Neuschwanstein Castle is not scheduled earlier than 12:00 pm. This will help avoid any scheduling conflicts.
Here is the official website of Flixbus where you can book your trips.
Option 2: Munich — Train — Fussen — Bus — Hohenschwangau
The train and bus route from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle offers more departure times compared to the direct bus route. This may not provide the same level of control as driving a car, but it does offer more flexibility when planning your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle.
This option is generally more costly than taking the direct bus by Flixbus, which is why it’s recommended as a second choice.
Trains from Munich to Fussen leave three times a day, and buses from Fussen to Hohenschwangau (buses 78 and 73) depart one to two times per hour. The train ride from Munich to Fussen takes about two hours, followed by a 10-minute bus ride to Hohenschwangau.
Tip: As soon as you step out of the Füssen train station, you’ll find the No. 78 bus parked nearby. This bus is clearly marked for the Hohenschwangau castles.
In an ideal scenario, the journey to Neuschwanstein Castle via this route should take about two and a half hours. However, due to potential scheduling mismatches, the entire trip might extend to around three hours. It’s always good to factor in some extra time when planning your visit.
Neuschwanstein Castle Opening Hours
Before purchasing your bus or train tickets, it’s important to align your travel schedule with the opening hours of Neuschwanstein Castle. The most accurate and up-to-date schedule can be found on the official Hohenschwangau website.
Tip: Keep in mind that the ticket office typically opens one to two hours before the castle itself. It usually opens at 8:00 am or 8:30 am. I suggest arriving at Hohenschwangau early to visit the ticket office as soon as it opens, helping you avoid long lines. Being first in line is a great strategy to save time when buying tickets. Once you have your tickets, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the castle surroundings.
Tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle
Here are the most important things you must know about Neuschwanstein Castle’s tickets:
- The only way to get inside Neuschwanstein Castle is to join a guided tour of the castle. At present, you have the freedom to approach the main entrance of Neuschwanstein Castle and explore the surrounding outdoor areas.
- Tickets for the guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle tend to sell out quickly. If you’re planning a visit, it’s crucial to book your tickets well in advance. The last time I checked the castle’s ticketing page, I noticed that tickets were fully booked for the entire month ahead.
- When you buy a ticket for Neuschwanstein Castle, it comes with a specific entry time. If you book your tickets in advance, you have the advantage of choosing the entry time that works best for you.
- While it’s possible to buy tickets on the same day of your visit, I wouldn’t advise doing so. The queues for tickets can be quite long, and you might not get the entry time you want for Neuschwanstein Castle.
- If you’re thinking about buying tickets from the ticketing center, you’ll need to get there very early. Tickets often sell out by early morning, so the earlier you arrive, the better your chances of getting a ticket.
- If you book your tickets online, remember that the email confirmation you receive won’t be accepted at the castle’s main entrance. You’ll still need to pick up your actual ticket from the ticketing center.
- Don’t worry if you don’t receive a confirmation email immediately after buying your ticket online. Sometimes, it can take a day or two to arrive. Also, be aware that your requested tour time might be adjusted. It seems that the Neuschwanstein Castle administration tries to optimize the tour schedules to accommodate as many visitors as possible.
- If you’ve reserved your tickets online, it’s a good idea to pick up your actual ticket from the ticketing center at least an hour or 1.5 hours before your scheduled castle entry time. It’s important to note that the ticketing center isn’t located next to the castle. Walking from the ticketing center to the castle can take up to 40 minutes. While there are shuttle buses and horse-drawn carriages available to shorten the travel time, these options often have long lines which can also delay your journey.
- If you miss your time slot for the guided tours to Neuschwanstein Castle, please be aware that refunds will not be provided.
- When you’re purchasing tickets, you’ll also have the option to visit Hohenschwangau Castle. If you choose this option, you’ll visit Hohenschwangau Castle first, followed by Neuschwanstein Castle. Additional guidelines are posted on the ticketing page of the tours to the castles.
Neuschwanstein Castle Tour
Now, you might be wondering, is a tour of Neuschwanstein Castle worth it? Given that you’re already planning to visit, it makes sense to fully experience it. So, yes, the tour is definitely recommended, especially if you have an interest in architecture, history, or King Ludwig II.
The tour lasts for only 30 minutes, and you’ll likely wish it could be longer, given the castle’s impressive interiors and unique history. Despite feeling a bit rushed, it’s still a great opportunity to see some remarkable interiors and learn about a unique piece of history.
Here is the quick summary of the tour.
During the tour, you’ll explore 14 rooms in Neuschwanstein Castle. My overall impression? Despite its medieval appearance, the castle is surprisingly modern.
The tour starts in the Lower Room, leading to the breathtaking Throne Hall. Next, you’ll visit the Dining Room, which houses an electric bell system cleverly hidden behind magnificent paintings and elegant furniture.
The tour then takes you to the beautiful bedroom, adorned with a wooden Gothic bed. Following this, you’ll visit the Oratory, Dressing Room, Salon, and Grotto. The Grotto is particularly unique, as it’s unusual for a castle to have an artificial dripstone cave.
After the Grotto, you’ll proceed to the study and anteroom, both of which are visually impressive. The Upper Hall is next, followed by the Singers’ Hall, one of the castle’s most significant rooms. The Singers’ Hall is known for hosting the famous Singers’ Contest, featured in Richard Wagner’s opera “Tannhäuser”.
The tour concludes in the kitchen, where you’ll fully realize that Neuschwanstein Castle is not a real medieval castle, but a product of Ludwig II’s imagination.
To truly enjoy the Neuschwanstein Castle tour, it’s helpful to know a bit about its history and King Ludwig II. Understanding the background can enhance your experience and appreciation of the castle.
Here’s a brief history of Neuschwanstein Castle and the story of King Ludwig II.
Neuschwanstein Castle becomes even more fascinating when you delve into its history. It’s a bit melancholic, particularly when discussing the life of its founder, King Ludwig II. Ludwig II was an eccentric and reclusive king of Bavaria, more famous for his fairytale-like persona than his governance. His reputation as a fairytale king emerged after a series of unfortunate events.
Just two years after ascending to the throne, Ludwig II lost his absolute sovereignty due to a war with Prussia, which resulted in Bavaria’s defeat. This defeat relegated him to the status of a “vassal” king, serving under another king.
This event must have been devastating for Ludwig II, as it stripped away a significant part of his identity as the true king of Bavaria. Despite being a king, he could not exercise absolute rule over his people, especially during times of war.
In an attempt to reclaim his lost status, at least in his imagination, Ludwig II embarked on a project to build castles and palaces. Inspired by tales from the middle ages, he envisioned creating his own medieval castle, reminiscent of the authentic style of old German knights’ castles.
He wanted these structures to embody the values of chivalry. As a result, Ludwig II commissioned the construction of what we now know as Neuschwanstein Castle. Concurrently, he also initiated the construction of two other castles/palaces in Bavaria.
Despite funding these projects from his personal fortune, Ludwig II faced criticism for his extravagant endeavors. When Bavaria faced financial difficulties, his ministers accused him of insanity for focusing on his projects instead of addressing the state’s affairs. This led to a threat of dethronement.
His ministers plotted a deposition, which Ludwig II dismissed for their criticism. However, the ousting was successful, and Ludwig was held in custody at Berg Castle on the shores of Lake Starnberg.
Shortly after, Ludwig II was found dead in Lake Starnberg under mysterious circumstances. The court ruled his death as a suicide by drowning, a conclusion that seemed implausible given that the official autopsy results reported no water in his lungs.
This is my understanding of Ludwig’s story. It’s a sad tale about a king’s life. Looking at his beautiful castles in Bavaria, you might expect him to have been a powerful ruler with many triumphs. However, the reality was quite different.
What’s even more tragic is that Ludwig II never got to see the completion of Neuschwanstein Castle. When he passed away, construction of the castle was stopped, with only 30% of it finished. It’s a poignant reminder of a life that held so much promise, yet ended in tragedy.
If King Ludwig II had lived longer, Neuschwanstein Castle might have been even more spectacular than it is now. Here’s what the castle was planned to look like:
Even though Neuschwanstein Castle was never fully completed, it has become one of the most beautiful places to visit in Germany. Over the past decade, it has attracted more than a million visitors each year, making it one of the most popular castles in the world.
It’s easy to see why it’s so popular. The castle’s white exteriors and blue pointed roofs create a stunning contrast against the backdrop of the nearby mountains.
Thanks to its remote location, Neuschwanstein Castle was spared from the bombings of World War II. As a result, when you visit, you’ll be able to see the castle almost exactly as it was originally built, including its stunning interiors. Here are some images captured in the late 19th century, showcasing the original design of the rooms and halls in Neuschwanstein Castle.
From Ticketing Center to Neuschwanstein Castle
Once you’ve secured your tickets from the ticket center, it’s time to head to Neuschwanstein Castle (assuming you’re not planning a tour of Hohenschwangau Castle). From the ticket center, you have three options to reach Neuschwanstein Castle: you can hike, take a horse carriage ride, or catch a shuttle bus.
Quick link: Bus and Horse Carriage prices & schedules
Hike to Neuschwanstein Castle
The hike from the Ticket Center in Hohenschwangau to Neuschwanstein Castle takes about 40 minutes. The trail is 1.5 kilometers long with a 110-meter elevation gain. It’s not a difficult hike, and most of the trail is shaded by trees, making it quite pleasant.
You won’t have to worry about getting lost. The trail is well-marked, and all the information you need is readily available. If you’re hiking during peak hours, you can simply follow the crowd, as they’re likely heading to the castle as well.
You can pick up a map from the tourist information center for directions to Neuschwanstein Castle. But if you forget to grab one, don’t worry. Here’s a map that shows the route from the castle ticket counter to the castle itself:
Horse Carriage to Neuschwanstien Castle
Another way to reach Neuschwanstein Castle from Hohenschwangau Village is by taking a horse carriage ride. This mode of transport adds a touch of “magic” to your castle visit. You can find the carriage stop near Hotel Müller in Hohenschwangau Village. Here, horse carriages are usually parked, ready for passengers.
However, during peak season, you might encounter a long line of people waiting for a ride. Taking a horse carriage can cut your travel time to the castle down to about 20 minutes, which is half the time it takes to hike.
You’ll need to pay a small fee for the uphill ride, with the downhill journey costing half as much. You can pay the carriage driver directly. It’s important to note that the carriage ride doesn’t take you all the way to the castle entrance. You’ll still need to hike for around for a few minutes to reach the castle.
Bus Ride to Neuschwanstein Castle
The quickest and easiest way to get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Hohenschwangau Village is by shuttle bus. The bus takes you as far as the Jugend Viewpoint, which is above the castle. You can catch the bus at Alpsee P4, the parking area where the buses are parked and where you can buy tickets. You can also pay the bus driver directly.
However, please note that there are no bus services to Neuschwanstein Castle during winter if there is snow. Also, the bus won’t take you directly to the castle entrance. You’ll still need to walk for about 15 minutes.
Neuschwanstein Castle Viewpoints
Your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle doesn’t have to end after the tour or once you’ve admired the castle from its grounds.
The castle is nestled within the Bavarian Alps, which means stunning scenic views are just around the corner. If you’re a nature and mountain lover like me, the views of Neuschwanstein Castle from various lookout points will surely be exciting.
Neuschwanstein Castle offers several viewpoints for visitors. But the most breathtaking views are from spots where you can see the entire castle perched atop the hill. One of the best places to start is the famous Mary’s Bridge, or Marienbrücke.
Marienbrücke is a wooden bridge with steel railings that spans the Pöllat River. It’s just a short hike from Neuschwanstein Castle. The castle is directly north of the bridge, so from Marienbrücke, you get a full view of the castle’s southern face, with the Schwangau skyline in the background. This is the classic view of Neuschwanstein Castle that you often see on social media platforms.
From here, you can easily snap a photo of the castle. But be warned, if you’re afraid of heights, you’ll need to conquer your fear first! However, the excitement of seeing the castle from the bridge might just help you forget your fears. After all, overcoming challenges is part of the travel experience, right?
Marienbrücke is an ideal spot for taking photos of Neuschwanstein Castle and for selfies with the entire fairytale castle in the background. But keep in mind, the walkway on the bridge is quite narrow. So, unless you have an ultra-wide-angle camera, it might be tough to get a full-body shot with the castle in the background.
That’s why it’s a good idea to continue on the hiking trail after visiting Marienbrücke. There, you’ll find even more spectacular views of Neuschwanstein Castle.
There are two ways to reach Marienbrücke from Hohenschwangau Village:
- Hike up to Neuschwanstein Castle or take a horse carriage ride, then walk a few more minutes to Marienbrücke.
- Take a bus from P4 (the valley bus station) to the top bus station near Marienbrücke, then walk a few minutes to Marienbrücke.
The first option is better if you plan to visit Neuschwanstein Castle before heading to Marienbrücke. The second option is more suitable if you want to visit Marienbrücke first. Just a heads up, during the winter months, Marienbrücke, the bridge over the Pollät gorge, might have to close if the weather is bad.
Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trails
As we’ve touched on before, the hiking trail above and after Marienbrücke offers some truly amazing views. If you’re fortunate, you might even get to see Neuschwanstein Castle enveloped in clouds. The 360-image below gives you a glimpse of this.
If the weather is clear, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of Neuschwanstein Castle set against the backdrop of Schwangau. As you continue your hike, the vista expands, and you’ll be able to see Alpsee and Hohenschwangau Castle in the distance.
If you decide to complete the hiking trail that begins at Marienbrücke, you’ll eventually reach the Tegelberg summit. Here, you’ll find more beautiful scenery and a beer garden where you can grab some snacks. To descend from the mountains, you can take a cable car.
For more information about the cable car ride, including schedules and pricing, you can check out Tegelbergbanh Official Website.
I’m not certain of the official name of the hiking trail after Marienbrücke, as it doesn’t seem to be labeled on the maps. So, for the purpose of our discussion, let’s call it the Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail.
After checking on Komoot, Alltrails, and Google Maps, I’ve found that there are three viewpoints along the Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail that offer truly stunning, unobstructed views of Neuschwanstein Castle and its beautiful surroundings.
Let’s refer to these viewpoints as levels:
|Elevation Gain (meters)
|Travel Time (minutes)
- Level 1 — From this spot, you’ll see a view similar to the one from Marienbrücke. The main difference is that you won’t have to contend with crowds of tourists or people photobombing your shots. Not only can you take photos of Neuschwanstein Castle with your whole body in the frame, but you can also enjoy some peaceful moments while taking in the enchanting view of the castle.
- Level 2 — From here, you’ll have a higher and wider view of Neuschwanstein Castle and its surroundings. The scenery stretches from Alpsee to the flat plains where the towns are located, all the way to Bannwaldsee. Neuschwanstein Castle appears like a precious gem nestled in the landscape, waiting to be discovered.
- Level 3 — While the hiking trail doesn’t end at the level 3 lookout point, this is probably the furthest point where you can still easily spot Neuschwanstein Castle. From here, the views stretch all the way to the Tyrol mountains in the south. On a clear, sunny day, you should be able to see at least seven lakes. It’s a sight that’s sure to leave you in awe.
To recenter the map, simply click on the square button located at the top of the plus and minus zoom buttons. If you want to see the scenic viewpoints on the map, hover your mouse or tap on the stars in the elevation graph. The third lookout point is your final destination.
Before you set off, it’s important to know that the Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail is more challenging than the trails leading up to Marienbrücke.
You should be in good physical condition and wear appropriate footwear for hiking. The trail is mostly a mountain path, so it’s quite rugged and not flat. The surface of the trail is unpaved, consisting of mud and small rocks, which can make it slippery when wet. So, take care and enjoy your hike!
More Beautiful Places in Southern Germany
That covers everything you need to know about visiting Neuschwanstein Castle.
If you’re planning another day trip from Munich, there are plenty of other beautiful places in Southern Germany to explore besides Neuschwanstein Castle. You could visit other attractions in the Bavarian Alps like Berchtesgaden, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Oberammergau, and Mittenwald.
Actually, after visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, you could head straight to Garmisch-Partenkirchen or Oberammergau, which are 2 hours and 1.5 hours away from Hohenschwangau by direct bus, respectively.
If you fancy a change of scenery, consider visiting the charming towns in Franconia, which are easily accessible from Munich. My top three picks are Wurzburg, home to the world’s largest fresco; Rothenburg ob der Tauber, one of only three towns in Germany with intact medieval city walls; and Bamberg, a German town often compared to Rome and Venice.
If you’re looking for more of a city experience, you could visit Stuttgart and Nuremberg, the two largest cities in southern Germany after Munich. Stuttgart is a must-visit for car enthusiasts and fans of modern museum architecture. If you’re interested in history, ranging from the medieval ages to WW2, Nuremberg is the place for you.
Another destination in southern Germany that you might enjoy is the Black Forest, which is full of unique attractions, such as the world’s largest cuckoo clock. Also, don’t miss Lichtenstein Castle, another castle located in a breathtaking location.
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