Neuschwanstein Castle: Expert’s Guide on Visiting the Fairy-Tale Castle
Along with Burg Eltz, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the fairy-tale castles in Germany, located in the Bundesland of Bavaria in the town of Schwangau. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany, with more than 1.3 million annual visitors who admire the beauty of the castle and its natural surrounds.
Despite being built in the 1800s, Neuschwanstein Castle showcases medieval architecture, because King Ludwig II of Bavaria who built this majestic palace always had a fascination for the old history and medieval era. Want to experience this otherworldly castle? Here’s an in-depth guide on how to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.
About Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle is a Bavarian castle, located on a hilltop above the village of Hohenschwangau, in the municipality of Schwangau in Southern Germany. Neuschwanstein inspired the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. It’s a fairy-tale castle that was built by the “Mad King”, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, taking 22 years to finish.
The Romanesque-Revival architecture was intentionally used to make it a true fairy-tale castle, as the king was very fond of stories from his childhood. Neuschwanstein translates to “The New Swanstone Castle” in English and was originally named the New Hohenschwangau Castle. The original Hohenschwangau Castle was the childhood home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria.
Interesting Facts About Neuschwanstein Castle and King Ludwig II
- The castle was built solely for King Ludwig II. He wanted no visitors.
- King Ludwig only slept 11 nights in Neuschwanstein Castle.
- The Sleeping Beauty Castle was immensely inspired by Neuschwanstein.
- Neuschwanstein is one of the world’s most photographed places.
- King Ludwig II died before its completion under mysterious circumstances.
- LEGOland in Gürzburg has a replica of Neuschwanstein Castle with more than 300,000 LEGO bricks.
- The castle was featured in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
- More than 14.5 million euro is spent on maintenance each year.
- Neuschwanstein Castle is now owned by the state of Bavaria.
Things to Know Before You Visit
- Photography and video are not allowed inside.
- Entry into the castle is only possible via one of the Neuschwanstein Castle tours.
- It’s possible to reserve tickets beforehand.
How to Reserve and Buy Tickets
If you travel during high season, book your tickets online in advance. If you prefer to buy tickets there, visit the ticket office early in the morning or organise them through your hotel if you’re staying in Schwangau.
You can’t buy tickets at the castle entrance and you have to join a guided castle tour to see inside. There are numerous tours every day and you can choose the a time to suit you when booking your ticket.
If you visit during low season, it’s much easier to buy tickets on the day even if you arrive late, but some days can get sold out as well.
Queen Mary’s Bridge (Marienbrücke)
For the best view of Neuschwanstein, walk up to the Queen Mary’s Bridge. It’s about 15 minutes uphill from the castle and rewards you with that iconic photo-perfect view seen on posters, puzzles and books around the world.
If you want another viewpoint, hike up the hilltop beyond Queen Mary’s Bridge. It’s less crowded and is a great place to get some memorable photographs. The photo below shows Christine sitting at the top overlooking the castle.
How to Get to Neuschwanstein
The easiest way to reach Neuschwanstein Castle is to rent a car and drive from either Munich or Innsbruck, which takes around two hours. If you drive from Munich, you’ll drive along the Romantische Strasse, which reveals verdant natural scenery.
You can also join a guided tour from nearby cities, but driving yourself grants you to the freedom to choose when and where you want to go. It’s also possible to go by train to Füssen and take a bus to the castle.
The walk up to the castle takes between 30-40 minutes. It’s quite steep and requires a moderate level of fitness. You’ll need to walk an additional 10-15 minutes to reach the Queen Mary’s Bridge viewpoint.
By Shuttle Bus
The shuttle bus takes you to the parking lot, which is a short walk from the entrance. The shuttle bus also travels to Queen Mary’s Bridge.
Popular Hotels Near Neuschwanstein Castle
This grand, old-world hotel offers a peaceful setting with its grassy front lawns, elegant chandeliered dining room and cosy guest rooms. It’s also ideally located in the town Schwangau, providing convenient access to Neuschwanstein Castle. You can relax on the outdoor terrace, grab a drink at the on-site bar or take advantage of the complimentary Wi-Fi.
Are you looking for a bit more room space? Check out the accommodations at Villa Ludwig Suite Hotel, which offers large rooms with deep-soaking baths, heavenly beds and contemporary furnishings. The luxurious hotel also has a knowledgeable concierge who’ll show you the best ways to experience Neuschwanstein Castle. Relax after your big day of sightseeing with a pampering treatment in the on-site massage room.
Nearby Sights Worth Ticking Off
This is the original castle of Hohenschwangau where King Ludwig II spent his childhood. It’s possible to walk inside Hohenschwangau Castle on a guided tour.
Museum of the Bavarian Kings
History lovers shouldn’t miss the Museum of the Bavarian Kings. It’s dedicated to the history of the House of Wittelsbach, one of Europe’s oldest dynasties, and boasts fascinating historical exhibits from that era.
Best Time to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
There’s never a bad season to visit Neuschwanstein Castle. However, autumn is particularly memorable for photographs, thanks to the changing colours of the leaves. Summer is the most popular time to visit, but it’s also very crowded, so it’s better to visit during spring.
Souvenirs from Neuschwanstein Castle
There are several souvenir shops where you can buy some classic Neuschwanstein souvenirs. The puzzles are very popular, along with the royal dinnerware, fridge magnets, mugs and postcards.
Author: Swedish Nomad