Hohenschwangau Castle may not be as famous as its neighbor, Neuschwanstein Castle, but it is just as worth a visit. Find out what you need to know about visiting this 19th century German castle.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Hohenschwangau Castle twice now, and it is such a lovely castle!
Visiting Hohenschwangau Castle and the neighboring, and more popular, Neuschwanstein Castle is practically an all-day affair. Nestled in a small village in the Bavarian Alps, it takes some effort to get to, and then you want to make sure you have plenty of time to visit both castles.
Here are my top tips for making the most of your visit to Hohenschwangau Castle.
Hohenschwangau Castle History
Hohenschwangau Castle was built beginning in 1832 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria on the ruins of a previous castle. He rebuilt the castle based on original designs with a neogothic exterior.
The castle was the official summer and hunting residence of Maximilian. This is the castle that his son, and the mind behind Neuschwanstein Castle, King Ludwig II grew up in. A look around inside shows that elaborate design runs in the family.
Getting to Hohenschwangau Castle
I’m breaking this section into two important parts: getting to the village of Hohenschwangau where the castle is located, and getting up to the actual castle. You have a few options for both. So first, let’s get you to the village.
Getting to Hohenschwangau
Most people will likely stay in Munich and take the train to get to Hohenschwangau Castle. This is what I did the first time I visited, and it’s a pretty easy trip. It’s about a 2.5 hour train ride from Munich to the neighboring town of Füssen. The trains run regularly, so you should easily be able to find a time that works for you.
Fun Fact: Füssen is the sister city of Helen, GA, the cute little town in the North Georgia mountains that is made to look like a Bavarian village!
From Füssen, it’s a 10-15 minute bus ride to the village of Hohenschwangau. You have two options for buses to take; they’ll both get you to your stop: Hohenschwangau / Alpseestraße. Buses run regularly, though they can be crowded during tourist season.
- Bus #73 toward Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen or
- Bus #78 toward Schwangau
If you’re staying nearby in Bavaria, like we did on my second visit, or are coming from somewhere with a less direct route, you may want to just rent a car and drive to the castle. It was only about a 1 hour drive from where we stayed in Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Hohenschwangau. Once you get to Hohenschwangau, it’s pretty easy to find parking.
Or you may want to just hop on a guided bus tour to take you to the castle. For most bus tours, the main highlight is Neuschwanstein Castle, but they’ll often include a visit to Hohenschwangau Castle as well. Be sure to read the tour description carefully to make sure Hohenschwangau Castle is included.
Getting Up To the Castle
From the village of Hohenschwangau, you have a couple options for getting up the mountain to Hohenschwangau Castle:
- Walking — takes about 20 minutes. It’s an uphill walk, but it’s not nearly as long or as steep as walking up to Neuschwanstein, and it’s free.
- By horse-drawn carriage — €5.50 for uphill, €3 for downhill; takes about 10 minutes and lets out directly in front of the castle
The carriages don’t operate if there is snow or ice that can make the trip hazardous, so keep that in mind if you’re visiting during the winter.
Touring Hohenschwangau Castle
The only way to see the castle is with a guided tour.
A guided tour of Hohenschwangau Castle takes you through two floors of beautiful staterooms. Nearly every wall in the castle has a mural painted on it. The King’s bedroom even has a mural of the night sky with the “stars” lit by the light outside and a small figure of the moon over the bed that the servants changed every day to mimic the phases of the actual moon.
Hohenschwangau Castle also houses some special Richard Wagner memorabilia. King Ludwig was
in love with a huge fan of Richard Wagner and his operas, and you can see the full extent of his admiration in Neuschwanstein. But in Hohenschwangau, you’ll find the bed that Wagner slept in while he was a special guest here and one of his pianos in the Music Room.
The tour only takes about 45 minutes.
You aren’t allowed to take pictures inside the castle, but that just means you can spend more time enjoying it through your own eyes rather through a camera lens.
Visiting Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle welcomes over 300,000 tourists each year. The height of tourism season for the castle is summer.
While Hohenschwangau Castle doesn’t see nearly as many tourists as Neuschwanstein Castle does, the village itself will still be crowded during the height of tourist season with the Neuschwanstein tourists.
That’s why I recommend visiting both these castles in the off-season. I’ve visited in December just before Christmas and in March. Both times, there was snow on the ground, but not enough to be hazardous.
Getting there earlier in the day is always best to avoid the crowds. It seemed less crowded in December than it did in March.
You can book your ticket for a tour online so that you won’t waste any of your trip standing at the ticket office. This will give you an entrance time so you know exactly when you need to be at the castle. You will have a service fee of €2.50, but it’s worth it for reserving your tour ahead of time. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to book last minute as the cut-off for reserving online is two days in advance.
In the summer (April through mid-October), the castle is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the winter (mid-October through the end of March), the castle is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Admission for adults to Hohenschwangau Castle is €21, and accompanied children under 18 are free.
You absolutely should visit Neuschwanstein Castle while you’re here as well! Be sure to leave 2.5 hours between the start of each tour to make sure you have plenty of time to travel between both castles.
Ready to visit Hohenschwangau Castle in Hohenschwangau, Germany? Plan your trip with these tips.
- Book your flight: Find the cheapest flights using Skyscanner, my favorite flight search engine.
- Find accommodation: You can find top hotels near Hohenschwangau Castle or top hotels in Munich using Booking.com.
- Get packing: Make sure you’ve packed everything you need with my packing list resources.
Have you visited Hohenschwangau Castle? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!