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Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited castles in Germany, and it’s not hard to see why: set against the Bavarian countryside, Neuschwanstein’s towers rise from between the mountains and even inspired Walt Disney. Find out what you need to know about visiting this famous German castle.

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Neuschwanstein Castle twice now, and it remains one of my favorite castles!

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and the neighboring Hohenschwangau 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 Neuschwanstein Castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle History

Neuschwanstein Castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria beginning in 1869 and the castle still wasn’t fully completed by his death in 1886 and he had only slept 11 nights in his fairy tale castle. Still, after Ludwig’s death, the castle was opened to paying visitors in order to balance the debts and complete construction.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

The castle was intended to have more than 200 rooms, but only 15 rooms and halls had been completed. King Ludwig intended for the castle to be his own retreat, and he styled the castle in honor of composer Richard Wagner and his operas with whole murals and rooms dedicated to Wagner. They were very special friends, if you catch my drift.

“Neuschwanstein” translates to “New Swan Castle”, and Ludwig filled the castle with swan décor and references to Wagner’s character the Swan Knight. Wagner’s operas come alive in the elaborate interior of Neuschwanstein Castle.

Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle

German Countryside

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

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

Most people will likely stay in Munich and take the train to get to Neuschwanstein Castle. This is what I did the first time I visited, and it was a pretty easy trip. It’s about a 2.5 hour train ride from Munich to Füssen. The trains run regularly, so you shouldn’t have a problem finding 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, you’ll take a 10-15 minute bus 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.

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. 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. Most tours depart from Munich and may be able to pick you up from your hotel. You can also find a few tours from Füssen and from Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Getting Up To the Castle

From the village of Hohenschwangau, you have a few options for getting up the mountain to Neuschwanstein Castle:

  • Walking — takes 40 minutes. It’s a pretty steep 1.5 km (less than 1 mile) walk uphill, but it’s free.
  • By bus — €3.50 for a round-trip ticket or €3 for uphill, €2 for downhill; takes about 20 minutes with an additional 15 minute walk downhill about 500 meters (about 0.3 miles) to the castle entrance
  • By horse-drawn carriage — €8 for uphill, €4 for downhill; takes about 20 minutes with an additional 15 minute walk uphill about 450 meters (about 0.25 miles) to the castle entrance
Neuschwanstein Castle Horse-Drawn Carriage, Hohenschwangau, Germany

The bus and 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 Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

The only way to see the castle is with a guided tour.

A guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle starts in the servants’ quarters where you’ll learn about the 19th century technological innovations that were unique to the castle. Then you’ll move into the Throne Hall with its giant crown-shaped chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

The Singer’s Hall is the largest room in the castle, and it was designed to be the perfect place to see Wagner’s operas performed. The tour also takes you through Ludwig’s bedroom, his dressing room accessed by a secret door, and his man-cave where the king would listen to Wagner’s operas.

The tour only takes about 30 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.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

After touring the incredible interior of the castle, you’ll want to brave the wooden pedestrian bridge, the Marienbrücke (Queen Mary’s Bridge), that Ludwig named for his mother. The bridge hangs high above the Pöllat Gorge and can be scary for those with a fear of heights to step on, but it’s the only way you’ll get that iconic view of Neuschwanstein Castle from the side set against the Bavarian countryside.

Access to Marienbrücke may be restricted in the winter due to ice and snow.

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle welcomes nearly 1.5 million tourists each year. The height of tourism season for the castle is summer where the castle sees about 6,000 tourists a day.

That’s why I recommend visiting Neuschwanstein Castle 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, so I could still take the bus up to the castle.

Getting there earlier in the day is always best to avoid the crowds. It seemed less crowded in December than it did in March.

Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Germany

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 up 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), Neuschwanstein Castle is open from 9 a.m. to 6 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 Neuschwanstein Castle costs €15, and accompanied children under 18 are free.

Top Neuschwanstein Castle Tours

There’s a lot to see in Germany! To take some of the stress out of planning your visit, opt for a guided tour. Check out this list of the top tours that include Neuschwanstein Castle.

Castle Count: 9

While you’re in Hohenschwangau, it would be a shame if you didn’t visit Hohenschwangau Castle 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 Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Germany? Plan your trip with these tips.



Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Germany

Have you visited Neuschwanstein Castle? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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  1. As always, I enjoy reading your awesome tips for Europe! I love the idea of the horse ride if it’s not cold. How cold is it during the cold season? Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, April! I’m not sure how cold it gets in the dead of winter. I was there in March and there was snow on the ground, but the actual temperature was in the 50s

  2. Wow. Beautiful castle. I will get there one day. We haven’t toured many castles, but it is a good idea for a bucket list for sure. Sad you couldn’t take pictures inside, I bet it is breathtaking.

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