The fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein in one of Germany’s top five tourist attractions. Visitors come from far and wide to see Ludwig II’s masterpiece in all its glory, a structure that is said to have been the inspiration for Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty castle. The problem is that this must-see piece of 19th-century architecture isn’t the easiest place to get to. It isn’t situated within a major city and instead lies off the beaten track close to the border with Switzerland. So what is the best way to visit Neuschwanstein Castle?
A Nearby Base
The nearest major city to the castle is Munich, but this is still about 75 miles away. Having said that, Munich is a great place to stay if you plan to visit Neuschwanstein as it will offer plenty to do during your trip. You can explore the beautiful sights of the Bavarian capital for a few days before visiting the castle for the day. Munich has great public transport links with the surrounding area and so provides an excellent base. If you are looking for some ideas for things to do on a Munich city break, read our in-depth guide.
Alternatively, if you wish to stay closer to where the castle is situated, the nearest airport is in the town of Memmingen. Budget airlines such as Ryanair offer direct flights to Allgäu Airport (Memmingen) and these are likely to be less expensive than flying into Munich. If you choose this option, you can discover Oberstdorf, Oberstaufen, Füssen and the other charming towns of the Allgäu Region.
Buying Your Ticket
The only way to visit Neuschwanstein Castle is as part of a guided tour. And the only way to purchase your ticket is at the little office in the town of Hohenschwangau – where the castle is situated. However, and this is something we strongly recommend you do, you can reserve your ticket online for an additional cost. This is only €1.80 more than you would pay anyway and so it is definitely worth doing to avoid the disappointment of travelling there to find all of the tours for that day are sold out.
You can reserve your ticket online here but this must be done at least two days before you plan to visit. You can select a specific time slot but the website encourages you to check your confirmation as not all preferences can be guaranteed. At the time of writing, tickets are priced at €13 per adult and children under the age of 18 are free. You can also save money if you buy a combination ticket which includes your guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle and entrance to either Hohenschwangau castle, the Museum of Bavarian Kings or both.
It is worth pointing out that this is just a reservation service and you will still need to collect and pay for your ticket at the collection office in Hohenschwangau no less than one hour before your time slot. There are two different queues, one for reserved tickets and one for those buying theirs on the day. The opening times are 1st April to 15th October: 9 am-6 pm and 16th October to 31st March: 10 am-4 pm.
Step One – Train to Füssen
Unless you have chosen to stay in Füssen, which is just a few miles away from the castle, it is best to put a whole day aside for your visit. Whether you are arriving from Munich or Memmingen, the first step is to travel to Füssen by train. This journey takes about two hours on a direct train from Munich and about one hour and forty-five minutes from Memmingen. The latter involves a change at Buchloe, so the first train you get on will be headed to Munich.
Step Two – Bus/Taxi to Hohenschwangau
Once in Füssen, the next step is to take a bus or taxi to Hohenschwangau. If you opt for the bus, look for number 73 towards Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkrichen or number 78 towards Schwangau. In both cases, you need to exit at stop Hohenschwangau – Alpseestraße. If in doubt, follow the crowds as many people will be taking the same journey as you. Buses are timed to coincide with the arrival of the train so there should be one waiting at Füssen station when you get there.
Step Three – Make Your Way To The Top Of The Hill
Once you have collected your ticket from the office, remembering to arrive at least one hour before your time slot, the last leg of the journey provides a choice of transport to the top of the hill and the entrance of the castle. If you’re feeling energetic, you can make your way up the winding path on foot – a journey which takes around 40 minutes from the ticket centre.
Another option is to use the shuttle bus which departs from opposite the Schlosshotel Lisl. The bus costs €2.60 for a return trip and takes you up a different route to that used by pedestrians and drops you at the Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge). From there, it’s a 10-minute walk downhill to the entrance of the castle. Please note that this path may not be suitable for those with reduced mobility.
Finally, and possibly the most romantic way to make it up the hill, you can choose to travel by horse and carriage. This nostalgic option costs €6 for the uphill leg and €3 on the way back down. The pickup point is outside the Hotel Müller on the Alpseestraße but it’s important to differentiate between the carriage heading up to Neuschwanstein and the one that takes visitors to nearby Hohenschwangau Castle. The horse and cart will drop you off near the top of the hill, leaving you to walk the last 300 metres to the gate.
The Romantic Road
The castle’s location means that it can also be visited as part of a trip along the Romantic Road. This fabled tourist route takes visitors through quaint towns and villages, beautiful countryside and delicious wine regions. It stretches between Würzburg and Füssen, meaning you can start or finish your holiday with a trip to Neuschwanstein.
For more information or to arrange a visit to this stunning castle, call our friendly team. We can offer advice on the best places to stay and tailor-make an itinerary to suit you.