Neuschwanstein Castle is the stuff of a fairytale fantasy, even inspiring the creation of the Disney Castle. Set above the town of Hohenschwangau in Bavaria this castle perfectly perches itself among the landscape. I visited Neuschwanstein from Munich because I have always wanted to see this castle (ever since it was on the back of a pack of cards of mine way back when I was a child), and being in Munich was the perfect opportunity.
In terms of castles, Neuschwanstein is actually pretty new. It was completed in 1886 for King Ludwig II. There were actually medieval castle ruins here previously but they were blown up to make way for Neuschwanstein. Ludwig II was reclusive and wanted somewhere to escape to, and you can easily see why he chose this location. The beautiful Bavarian countryside really is breathtaking and the nearby mountains give you a sense of perspective. However, poor Ludwig only managed to spend 11 nights in his castle before he died in 1886 and the castle wasn’t even finished yet.
Luckily for you, the castle is now complete and it is easy to access. You can easily visit Neuschwanstein from Munich as a day trip and it does not even have to cost much.
How? Well, let me tell you.
The view of Neuschwanstein Castle from Marienbrüke
Getting to Neuschwanstein from Munich
It is best to get a Bayern day pass which is available at any S-Bahn or U-Bahn station, it covers a day of travel in Bavaria between 9am and 3am the following day. Get this at the first stop of your journey because it will cover the train trip to Munich Hauptbahnhof as well. The ticket costs €25.00 for the first person and then only €5 for additional persons – this is a great price!
Make sure you write your name on the ticket for it to be valid – so bring a pen.
Once you arrive at Munich HB you will need to catch a train to Füssen. These leave every hour at around 52 minutes past the hour. Because the Bayern pass is only valid after 9:00am, the first train you can get to Füssen is the 9:52am. The train takes around 2 hours to get to Füssen. Be wary that you will need to arrive well before 9:52am if you want a good seat – I arrived at 9:30am and most seats in the train were already taken.
Once you get to Füssen follow the crowds and the signs to Bus 78. This bus is also covered in the Bayern Pass. It takes about 10 minutes and will drop you at the bottom of this hill in Hohenschwangau.
From here you can either catch a return bus (€2.60) up to Marienbrüke (the bridge with the amazing lookout), get a horse and cart (why?), or walk up the hill (around 30-40min walk). I love walking and saving money so the choice was easy for me. The path is paved the whole way and although it is uphill, it is not too steep.
Taking the walk up and around the Marienbrücke will give you great views like this
Going inside Neuschwanstein Castle
If you wish to go inside the castle you will need to join a guided tour. Tickets for this should be booked about 2 days in advance and cost around €12. The tour will last 30mins. Personally, I think that if you want to save money, this part isn’t really worth it. The castle is actually pretty new and the best bit is definitely the outside. If you have the cash to spare, head on a tour to complete the tour and get some more information on the history of the castle.
Walks around the area
The surrounding landscape makes for some beautiful hikes
Obviously walking to Marienbrüke is a must – this is where the money shot is! It can be very crowded though so be prepared.
There are many other walks around the area including around Schwansee (2hrs) or Alpsee (2hrs) which are gentle walks. If you want something more intense then after Marienbrucke there is the walk to Tegelberg peak which takes about 3.5 hours but provides spectacular views.
Coming back to Munich
Not too surprisingly, it is the same way as you came but in reverse. Get to the bus terminal and catch Bus 78 back to Füssen station. Wait for a train back to Munich HB which leave every hour at about 5 minutes past the hour. The journey will take 2 hours to come back and will all be covered on the Bayern Pass.
Even from Hohenschwangau the castle is breathtaking
Some practical tips
The town of Hohenschwangau is beautiful in itself!
- Toilets in Hohenschwangen cost 50c a pop (and require an exact 50c coin, do not give change) and are very crowded; if you can hold on, the toilets actually at the castle (after the 30min walk) are free of charge and have fewer people.
- Restaurants and cafés are expensive around the castle itself and in Hohenschwangen, if you want a bite to eat I would recommend doing it in Füssen in between the train and bus.
- There is free WiFi at the castle itself if you need to look up some quick facts or update your Instagram (guilty as charged)
One of the main streets in Füssen
Due to a bit of a timetable mishap (for some reason a train leaves Füssen 5 minutes past every hour except at 15:05 oops) I ended up with a lot of spare time in the town of Füssen. At first I was mad, but then I wasn’t because the more I looked around, the more I realised how beautiful it is. Füssen is a very pleasant town with some beautiful buildings and the souvenirs are cheaper than at Neuschwanstein itself.
I would recommend the café in the train station where coffee and pastries are very reasonably priced.
Alternative ways to visit Neuschwanstein from Munich
Hiring a car
If you have hired a car then you can drive to Neuschwanstein. There is parking available in Hohenschwangau and I think the fee was €6 (I could be wrong, but this is what the signs seemed to be saying). This option will give you a lot more flexibility as the trains only seem to run hourly and you need to make a connection with the bus.
Many tours run to Neuschwanstein from Munich, some go by coach and others are guided tours that will take the public transport route. The benefit of going on a tour is that all of the annoying transport is sorted for you. Although you will not have much flexibility, having a guide is helpful in learning more about Ludwig and Bavaria. A lot of tours will still charge the extra €12 if you wish to go inside the castle itself because an official guide for Neuschwanstein must be used here.
Sandeman’s run tours from Munich using the transport method and it costs €37 for adults and €34 for students. I have used Sandeman’s previously in other cities and find them to be a reputable company.
Shop around because there are plenty of options!
Been to Neuschwanstein or have questions? Let me know in the comments below!
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