What’s another reason, aside from the spectacular Alps, why I love Europe so much? It is simply because Europe has numerous structures that embody culture and tradition – things we look for to discover when we travel. Not only are these buildings historical too, but they inspired people to tell incredible stories that have put wonder to every young version of us.
A perfect example of this is Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, rumored to be the real-life inspiration for Disney classic fairytale movies. Travel + Leisure even said that you can even notice the resemblance of Neuschwanstein castle to “Sleeping Beauty’s” castle in Disneyland.
Besides, Germany is known to be the source of many fairytale stories we hear today. From Grimm Brothers’ “The Frog Prince” to “Snow White and The Seven Dwarves” to “Hansel and Grettel” and many more. All of these suggest that Neuschwanstein Castle is more likely one of the true inspirations of Disney.
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What makes Neuschwanstein Castle even more exciting to visit, aside from its fairytale-like characteristics, is the location where it is built. Perched on a hill at the edge of the Bavarian Alps, going to Neuschwanstein Castle also means seeing breathtaking scenery that for sure will fill you with awe.
In this post, I share the information to help you plan your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. You will also discover the scenic viewing points of the castle, places your eyes and your camera will love. Additionally, you also learn the things to do next and the nearby cities you can visit before or after touring the castle.
Without further ado, let’s go dive into the topic!
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is perched on top of one of the hills of the Bavarian Alps, located east of the Hohenschwangau village in southwest Bavaria. The town of Fussen has the nearest train station to Neuschwanstein Castle you can access if you plan to visit without a car.
Go to Neuschwanstein Castle from Fussen
Going to Neuschwanstein Castle from Fussen is a two-part trip (See links for exact Google Maps location):
- From Fussen Train Station, onboard bus 73 or 78 to get to Hohenschwangau. The bus journey from Fussen to Hohenschwangau will take no longer than 10 minutes.
- When you arrive at Hohenschwangau village, you have 3 ways to reach Neuschwanstein Castle:
- Start the easy but inclined hike.
- Get a horse-drawn carriage ride.
- Ride the bus.
Hiking from Hohenschwangau to Neuschwanstein Castle
From the Ticket Center in Hohenschwangau, the hike up to Neuschwanstein Castle takes about 40 minutes. The hiking trail stretches for 1.5 kilometers with a 110-meter gain; it will not be a terrible hike. Besides that, almost all parts of the track are covered by trees. It’s going to be just a pleasant hike instead.
You do not have to fear getting lost during the hike! The hiking trail is adequately labeled, and all the information you need is there. Also, if you come during peak hours, you can just follow the crowd as they’re going to the castle as well.
You can always get a map from the tourist information center to get to Neuschwanstein Castle. But in case you forgot to get one, here is the map to show you the summary of the hike from the castle ticket counter to the castle itself:
Click the box above the up and down arrows to see the whole map / recenter.
Riding a Horse Carriage to Neuschwanstein Castle
Another way you can get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Hohenschwangau Village is through a horse carriage ride. It shall give you the impression that you’re really visiting a castle.
To get a ride, proceed to the carriage stop at the Hohenschwangau Village, located near the Hotel Müller. In that spot, you can find the horse carriage parked. However, you might instead find a long queue of people waiting for a horse carriage during the peak season.
The horse carriage should be more fun and should cut your travel time way up to Neuschwanstein Castle down to approximately 20 minutes, half compared to 40 minutes of hiking. Horse carriage rides are available the whole year round.
Payment to a horse carriage to Neuschwanstein Castle is 7 Euros for an uphill ride (3.5 EUR for downhill that starts), and the transaction is done directly with the horse carriage driver.
Please note that the horse carriage ride will not bring you directly to the castle’s entrance. You still have to hike for around 15 minutes, however.
Getting a bus to Neuschwanstein Castle
The most convenient and fastest way to reach Neuschwanstein castle from Hohenschwangau village is a shuttle bus ride that goes as far as the Jugend Viewpoint above Neuschwanstein Castle.
The bus journey to Neuschwanstein Castle starts at Alpsee P4 (Parking Area), where the buses are parked and where you can also buy tickets for a ride. Transactions can also be made with the bus driver.
Neuschwanstein Castle bus rates
|Adult||7 to 12 years old||6 years old and below|
|Uphill||3 EUR||1.5 EUR||FREE|
|Downhill||2 EUR||1 EUR||FREE|
|Round Trip||3.5 EUR||2 EUR||FREE|
Please note that there will be no bus servicing Neuschwanstein Castle during winter as long as there is snow. You must be aware that the buses can’t bring you directly to the castle entrance and thus you still have to hike for at most 15 minutes. Anyhow, here is the first and last departure time of the buses:
From Alpsee P4 to Neuschwanstein Castle
|First departure||8 a.m.||9 a.m.|
|Last departure||5:30 p.m.||3:30 p.m.|
From Neuschwanstein Castle to Hohenschwangau Village
|Last transfer||6:45 p.m.||5 p.m.|
IMPORTANT: The information I put here is accurate when I wrote it. But, this info may change without prior notice due to some factors that might arise in the future. Always double-check my source for announcements or adjustments.
Tours in Neuschwanstein Castle
The only way to enter the Neuschwanstein castle and see its rooms and halls is through a guided tour that lasts for 30 minutes.
The guided tour includes a peek at Neuschwanstein castle’s cave-like grotto, Singer’s Hall, the king’s bedroom, throne room, and scenic balcony… However, you are always allowed to go to the castle’s surroundings to admire the incredible architecture of its exteriors.
You can purchase a ticket to Neuschwanstein Castle from Ticket Center in Hohenschwangau or their official ticket purchase page. Alternatively, if you want day tours to Neuschwanstein castle and nearby attractions, you can try the following offers:
Neuschwanstein Castle tours are offered in German and English language. Other nationalities can join audio tours speaking:
- and Arabic
Read the history of Neuschwanstein Castle to know why you should get the Neuschwanstein Castle tour.
Neuschwanstein Castle Opening Hours
See Neuschwanstein Castle’s latest opening hours on the official website of Neuschwanstein Castle.
Why Purchase Neuschwanstein Tours Tickets in Advance?
- Neuschwanstein Castle is exceptionally famous, and ticket counters’ lines could be long, especially during peak season. Save your time!
- You will instead fall in line at the fast track counter to claim your ticket.
- The tours have time slots. By reserving a tour at least 3 days ahead, you get your desired time of visit to the castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle’s Most Scenic Viewpoints (Google Maps & Routes)
A visit to Neuschwanstein Castle does not end after the tour or simply admiring the castle from its grounds. Neuschwanstein Castle sits on the edge of the Bavarian Alps, and you know what it means! Magical scenic views await you.
Suppose you’re like me, who loves nature and mountains. In that case, the view of Neuschwanstein Castle from the different lookout points will satisfy the sparking wanderlust within! The alps are a piece of heaven on earth, don’t you agree?
Neuschwanstein Castle has several viewpoints you can visit. But nothing shall beat the lookout spots where you see the breathtaking view of the entire castle built over the top of the hill. These scenic points you can visit begin from the famous bridge: Mary’s Bridge or Marienbrücke.
Marienbrücke is a wooden bridge with steel railings over the Pöllat River, located a few minutes of hiking away from Neuschwanstein Castle.
The castle is situated directly north of the Marienbrücke. Thus, when you visit Marienbrücke, you see the entire Neuschwanstein Castle’s south face with the skyline of Schwangau in the background.
Taking Photos from Marienbrücke
It is from Marienbrücke that you can view the exact image of Neuschwanstein Castle that you commonly see on Instagram and other social media platforms. Here you can easily take a photo of Neuschwanstein Castle; however, you should conquer your fear of heights first!
Yet, I’m sure you’ll be more excited to see the castle from the bridge over minding your fear. CONQUERING THE FEAR – That’s how traveling can help us, right!?
Marienbrücke is a perfect spot for taking photos of the Neuschwanstein Castle and selfies with the entire fairytale castle behind.
However, since Marienbrücke has a narrow walkway, it’s almost impossible to take pictures of Neuschwanstein Castle with your whole body included in the shot. That’s unless you have an ultrawide angle camera.
This is the reason why you should proceed to the hiking trail after Marienbrücke. Much more spectacular views of Neuschwanstein Castle await you there.
Going to Marienbrücke
There are two ways you can get to Marienbrücke from the Hohenschwangau Village:
- Hiking up to Neuschwanstein Castle or by horse carriage ride, plus another few minute hike to Marienbrücke.
- A bus ride from P4 (valley bus station) to the top bus station near Marienbrücke plus a few minute walk to Marienbrücke.
The first route is preferred if you plan to visit Neuschwanstein Castle first, then Marienbrücke. The second route is the opposite, however. See the map below to picture it out:
Also, the hiking trails around the area are well posted with signs. You won’t have to worry about getting lost.
Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail
Like what’s mentioned earlier, there are even more spectacular views that await you at the hiking trail above and after Marienbrücke. If you are lucky, you can even witness a dramatic view of Neuschwanstein Castle in the clouds. See the 360-image below:
If there are no clouds below Neuschwanstein Castle, you get a breathtaking view of the castle in front of Schwangau. Hike further, and the scene expands to the point that you can see Alpsee and Hohenschwangau Castle from where you’re standing. It will be just the view you will absolutely love!
Suppose you want to continue and finish the hiking trail that starts in Marienbrucke. In that case, you shall arrive at Tegelberg summit, where more beautiful scenery is, and a beer garden for some snacks. You can use the cable car to exit the mountains.
See Tegelbergbanh for more cable car ride information, including schedule and pricing.
I am not sure what the hiking trail’s name is after Marienbrucke. The maps have no labels or titles for them. So I will call it the Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail for this discussion.
After verifying in Komoot, Alltrails, and Google Maps, I can say that there are three absolutely breathtaking viewpoints along Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail. You see unobstructed views of Neuschwanstein Castle and its picturesque surroundings in these spots. We name these spots in levels:
|From Marienbrucke:||Distance (meters)||Elevation Gain (meters)||Travel Time (minutes)|
Here is the map to help you visualize:
Please click the square button on top of the plus and minus zoom buttons to recenter the map. You can hover your mouse or tap on the stars in the elevation graph to see the scenic viewpoints on the map. The third lookout is the destination.
Hiking Trail Information
Before you go, please note that Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail is not easy compared to the hiking trails before Marienbrucke. You need to be in good shape before hiking, and you must have proper footwear.
The way type is mostly a mountain hiking path (definitely rugged and not flat), and the trail surface is unpaved and made of mud with small rocks. The hiking trail could be slippery when wet.
Level 1 of Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail
Here you see almost the same view from Marienbrucke. The only difference is that you won’t have to deal with many tourists and photo bombers. Aside from photographing Neuschwanstein Castle with your whole body included in the shot, you can also get some quiet moments to enjoy the magical view of the castle.
Level 2 of Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail
At this point, you get a higher and more expansive view of Neuschwanstein Castle and its surroundings. You’ll enjoy the scenery that stretches from Alpsee to the flat plains, where the towns are until Bannwaldsee. Neuschwanstein castle would look like a gem in the ground waiting to be picked up by someone.
Level 3 of Neuschwanstein Castle Scenic Trail
Though this isn’t the end of the hiking trail, the level 3 lookout point is perhaps the farthest you can go in which Neuschwanstein Castle can still be easily spotted. The views here extend as far as the Tyrol mountains in the south, and you should be able to see at least 7 lakes on a clear, sunny day.
How long do you need at Neuschwanstein Castle?
You must allocate an entire day for a worthwhile, carefree visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. In a day, you should be able to visit the castle grounds, join a castle tour, and see all the scenic views around the castle.
Overall, it’s 3 hours on the hiking trails, 2 hours of sightseeing and photography, 2 hours for meals and getting a tour ticket, a 30-minute castle tour, and another 30-minute time allowance.
Best time to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
Considering all factors, the best time to visit Neuschwanstein Castle is during Autumn. When the summer crowd is gone, and the Bavarian Alps turn golden – a natural spectacle perfect for the fairytale vibe that the castle has. Also, the weather is relatively pleasant, and the temperature is mild.
Should I Visit Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter?
Certainly, Neuschwanstein Castle looks even more magical during winter, especially when it is still covered with snow. It is even better when the golden hour sunlight hits the snow-covered Neuschwanstein Castle. Can you imagine that?! However, snow may block Marienbrücke and prevent you from hiking to the scenic lookout points of the castle.
Beautiful Places Near Neuschwanstein Castle
An entire day could be spent admiring Neuschwanstein Castle. However, it is not necessary to spend all your day in Neuschwanstein. You can always see one viewpoint, skip the rest of the hike, or simply not join a castle tour.
It would not be hard to understand why some visitors would skip some parts of Neuschwanstein with the other beautiful places near Neuschwanstein castle.
The more places you can visit, the better right? So in this section, we’ll talk about the most beautiful places near Neuschwanstein Castle you can go to right away:
- Hohenschwangau Castle
- High Castle of Füssen
I suggest you also try going to (click the name of the place to learn more):
- The most scenic towns closest to Neuschwanstein Castle: Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Mittenwald, and Oberammergau.
- The town you can visit from Munich after a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle: Berchtesgaden.
- More fairytale places in Germany like Neuschwanstein Castle: the Black Forest and Lichtenstein Castle.
- The most charming places in Franconia, northern Bavaria: Bamberg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Wurzburg.
- The three largest cities in southern Germany (Stuttgart, Nuremberg, and Munich).
Distance from Neuschwanstein Castle: Very close, walking distance
Hohenschwangau Castle is the yellow castle that you can see from Neuschwanstein Balcony. Originally it was a 12th-century fortress destroyed in many wars and battles. However, In 1832, king Maximillian II, the father of King Ludwig II, acquired the ruined fort and rebuilt it to make it their family’s home.
During your visit, you’ll see the details of the neo-gothic style castle and the 90 paintings that harmoniously relate to each other. At the castle gardens, you get a view that expands from Alpsee to Neuschwanstein Castle, in which white color pops up in front of the dark forested mountain.
You can get Hohenschwangau Castle tours included in a package together with Neuschwanstein. To go here, you need to hike for a few minutes on the paved road between Hotel Muller and P4. You can get a horse carriage ride too!
Distance from Neuschwanstein Castle: Very close, walking distance
Alpsee is the lake you see from the Balcony of Neuschwanstein Castle, located left of the Hohenschwangau Castle. It is the home of cute wild swans that you will see drifting gracefully over the calm surface of the lake’s water.
Going here, you’ll see not only the swans but also King Ludwig’s castles that seemingly sit like a gem on top of the hills they were built. You can rent boats to get an angle to photograph both Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle in Alpsee in one frame.
To visit Alpsee, just go to the village’s corner southwest corner. It is only 2 to 3 minutes away from the ticket counters for the tours of Neuschwanstein Castle. You can continue a hike around the lake, where enchanting forest scenes await.
High Castle of Füssen
Distance from Neuschwanstein Castle: 10-minute bus ride or 10-minute drive
The High Castle of Füssen is a white building built on a small hill in the heart of Füssen. It has beautiful Lüftlmalerei, the mural arts unique to Upper Bavaria, which you can see when entering its courtyard. Several late-Gothic paintings and sculptures made in Bavaria during the 15th and 16th centuries await you inside.
You can visit the High Castle of Füssen before going to Hohenschwangau if you plan to use public transportation and you are not in a hurry to see Neuschwanstein Castle. Located southeast of Füssen train station, you can quickly drop by and take a look.
Planning to visit? The High Castle of Füssen is only open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday during summer (April to October) and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to Sunday during winter (November to March).
Distance from Neuschwanstein Castle: 2.5 hours of hiking from Marienbrucke OR 15-minute bus ride plus 1 cable ride
Tegelberg is a mountain closest to Neuschwanstein Castle, which you can hike right away after visiting the castle. A cable car (Tegelbergbahn) services the summit, which lets you see epic views of the alps and the plain fields of Fussen in an instant.
Climbing to Tegelberg’s peak, situated at 1,881 meters above sea level, will let you see absolutely breathtaking scenery from the rugged mountain ranges of Austria to the vast flat plains of Bavaria. The best part? There is a restaurant in Tegelberg’s peak – tummy and eyes will be satisfied!
How to go to Tegelberg’s peak? You can either hike starting from Marienbrucke or ride on a cable car from Tegelbergbahn Talstation, located northeast of Hohenschwangau. From Hohenschwangau village, hop on bus no. 78 or 73 heading to Schwangau or Waltenhofen. You must arrive at Tegelbergbahn Talstation in less than 15 minutes.
Distance from Neuschwanstein Castle: 2 bus rides with 20 minutes travel time (consider matching bus schedules) and a 10-minute drive.
Wanting to have a relaxing time after Neuschwanstein Castle? You can try visiting Hopfensee, a shallow lake that has an extensive view of extensive views of the Allgäu Alps on its northern shore. You can see the mountains reflected on the lake in calm weather – a pretty fantastic sight to see.
Hopfensee has waterfront restaurants and hotels where you can enjoy relaxing with the view of the glittering surface lake water and the scenery of the German countryside. The lake lets you do fun activities like boating, sailing, windsurfing during summer, or ice skating over a frozen lake in winter.
How to go to Hopfensee? By public transportation starting from Hohenschwangau, hop on bus nos. 78/73/72 to Fussen. Then, from Fussen, ride bus no. 56 to Hopfen. Ideally, the travel time should only be 20 minutes when you select the best bus schedule that matches the bus transfer.
Though bus nos. 78/73/72 runs every 30 minutes; the bus line 56 has trips that only depart Fussen every 3 hours. Fussen is a beautiful Bavarian town; you can explore and discover beautiful houses in it while you kill the time gap between bus transfers. You can check bus offers and bus timetables from banh.com.
Beautiful Cities Near Neuschwanstein Castle
We know now the way to Neuschwanstein Castle from the nearest transit station, the essential things to remember when visiting, and the beautiful places near the castle we see next after Neuschwanstein.
Since most of us will be traveling for more than a week and planning to visit more places other than Neuschwanstein Castle, it would also be good to know what cities are best to see next.
So in this section, I share with you the 5 beautiful cities near Neuschwanstein Castle you can quickly travel to after visiting Neuschwanstein Castle. For each city I mention, you shall see answers to questions:
- Why go to this city?
- How far is this city from Neuschwanstein Castle?
- How to go to this city from Neuschwanstein Castle using public transportation?
Here is the summary of the beautiful cities near Neuschwanstein Castle you can travel to quickly. The cities with (*) are not recommended to visit using public transportation.
|Fussen||4 mins||9 mins||1 bus||Route to Fussen|
|GaPa||52 mins||2 hours 7 mins||1 bus||Route to GaPa|
|Munich||1 hour 35 mins||2 hours 16 mins||1 bus, 1 train||Route to Munich|
|Bregenz *||1 hour 15 mins||4 hours||1 bus, 3 trains||Route to Bregenz|
|Innsbruck *||1 hour 23 mins||4 hours 27 mins||3 buses||Route to Innsbruck|
IMPORTANT: The data above shows the “quickest” routes you can use to arrive at a city destination. Especially for public transportation, take note that buses/trains will have different schedules at various times of the day. The route can be slightly longer depending on the time you will travel.
Also, please consider the traffic situation, weather, and other factors that might cause a slight difference in the data I’ll give you. Please double-check the resources I linked to when you’re creating itineraries.
All the route information is based on Rome2Rio.com (one of the best trip planners on the internet).
Fussen is the largest town nearest to Neuschwanstein Castle. It is home to impressive late-gothic artworks exhibited in the High Castle—a simply beautiful building with Lüftlmalerei (murals) tricky to the eyes.
If you come here, don’t miss the oldest fresco in Germany, located in St. Mang’s Abbey, which dates back to the late 10th century. St. Mang’s Abbey also has this cute library perfect for your Instagram feed!
Traveling by train, you will arrive at Fussen first before you get to Hohenschwangau, where Neuschwanstein Castle is. These two places are only 5 to 10 minutes away by car and are connected by bus #73 or #78.
Being just a 2-hour commute or 1-hour drive away from Hohenschwangau, Garmisch-Partenkirchen serves as an ideal continuation of your Journey in Bavaria after Neuschwanstein Castle. By visiting Garmisch-Partenkirchen, you bring yourself closer to the most awe-inspiring wonders you could ever find in Germany.
From the colorful murals in the old town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany… Garmisch-Partenkirchen just has everything that can satisfy whatever kind of wanderlust ablaze inside you. You can learn more about Garmisch-Partenkirchen here in my post.
The easiest way to go to Garmisch-Partenkirchen from Hohenschwangau is to ride on the special bus #9606 that connects both towns in just one single trip. Expect at least 2 hours and 10 minutes of travel time in between.
If you’re not from Munich before you visit Neuschwanstein Castle, this is the sign that you must do it! Munich, the capital of Bavaria, is only 2 hours and a few minutes away from Hohenschwangau in commute and 1 hour and 35 minutes by car.
Though the travel time might be longer than the first two places mentioned, the experiences you can have in Munich are just endless – a place really worth a visit.
Munich is the place in Bavaria where the old meets the new. Also, the beers and festivals are really fantastic. Most importantly, it has numerous tourist attractions you can’t just visit all in a day!
Don’t miss the magnificent Munich Residenz, Townhall, English Garden, Asam Brothers’ Church, Nymphenburg Palace, and Frauenkirche when you visit Munich. These are just a few of the things you can do in Munich. A lot more is waiting! Learn more from my article Is Munich Beautiful? 10 Beautiful Places in Munich to See
How to go to Munich from Hohenschwangau? First, hop on bus #73 or #78, heading to Fussen. In Fussen, get a train ride that runs directly straight to Munich. You should arrive in Munich in 2 hours after the train from Fussen departs.
Bregenz is an Austrian City located on the easternmost coast of Lake Constance, the third-largest freshwater European lake. Sandwiched between the lake and Pfänder mountain, you get this three-in-one package mountain, lake, and city adventure vacation.
Also, It has two fantastic modern museums that at the same time preserve the city’s rich cultural heritage, like the Kunsthaus Bregenz and Vorarlberg Museum. Bregenz is a must-visit during Summer, mid-July to mid-August of every year when the Bregenz Opera Festival occurs.
I do not recommend going to Bregenz from Neuschwanstein Castle by public transportation. There are 3 to 4 public transport transfers which is definitely a hassle. However, it could be just a quick 1-hour-and-15-minute drive from Hohenschwangau during ideal traffic conditions.
Last but not least is Innsbruck, a city in Austria that’s only a 1-hour-an-20-minute drive from Hohenschwangau. Innsbruck being almost in the center of Europe is an ideal stop/destination for exploring more parts of the continent.
As Innsbruck lies between the towering mountains of central Europe, visitors can expect picturesque views everywhere. Added with the colorful Lüftlmalerei, anyone’s wanderlust would definitely be satisfied. It’s a town comparable to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, ideal for continuing your magical alpine journey from Neuschwanstein Castle.
Indeed, Innsbruck has similarities with GaPa, especially when the Olympics are brought to discussion. Both have hosted an Olympic Game at least once. You can still see up until now the stadiums and platforms each city used during the event.
Travel Inspiring Photos of Neuschwanstein Castle
Have a glimpse of what awaits you in Hohenschwangau!
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