Destinations / Europe

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 the fact that the castle is from the 1800s, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany 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 the Castle.

About Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. Image of the famous tourist attraction surrounded with autumn colors during fall
Photo| Neuschwanstein Castle |SHUTTERSTOCK – ROMRODPHOTO

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.

Where is Neuschwanstein Castle?

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.

By Foot

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.

Interesting Facts About Neuschwanstein Castle and King Ludwig II

  • The castle was only for King Ludwig II. He wanted no visitors.
  • King Ludwig only slept 11 nights in  the castla.
  • 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.
  • Do you know the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? Yes, they filmed it here at the castle.
  • The castle spends more than 14.5 million euros on maintenance each year.
  • The castle is now owned by the state of Bavaria.
Picturesque autumn view on Neuschwanstein Castle with colorful trees and the Alps on background, Bavaria, Germany. Beautiful autumn colorful scenery.;
Photo| Neuschwanstein Castle |SHUTTERSTOCK – RBRECHKO

Things to Know Before You Visit

  • You cannot take photos or videos Neuschwanstein Castle inside.
  • Entry into the castle is only possible via one of the Neuschwanstein Castle Germany tours.
  • It’s possible to reserve tickets beforehand.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle official site

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 Neuschwanstein 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)

View of Neuschwanstein Castle from 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.

Popular Hotels Near Neuschwanstein Castle

Hotel Muller

Hotel Muller, Neuschwanstein Castle hotel
Photo| Hotel Muller | Provided by BOOKING.COM

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.

Villa Ludwig Suite Hotel

Villa Ludwig Suite Hotel, Neuschwanstein Castle hotel
Photo| Villa Ludwig Suite Hotel | Provided by BOOKING.COM

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 

Hohenschwangau Castle

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.

Museum for King Ludwig II of Bavaria at Hohenschwangau in Fall,
Photo| Museum for King Ludwig II of Bavaria | SHUTTERSTOCK – ANDREAS ZERNDI

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

Read more about the Most Romantic Castle Hotels In The World

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4 thoughts on “Neuschwanstein Castle: Expert’s Guide on Visiting the Fairy-Tale Castle”

  1. I am from Germany and I recommend you (if possible for you) to hike around this place. Doing this, you would see Neuschwanstein Castle from a view the most tourists don’t see.

  2. Trying to find a hotel where I sit on a deck with glass of wine and stay at King ludwigs castle – any recommendations?

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