Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most famous castles in Europe. It’s nestled in the mountains of Bavaria near the charming town of Füssen, Germany. Commonly referred to as a ‘fairytale castle’, it’s even said to have inspired the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. Here’s how to make the most of your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, and why you should also make your trip an overnight one in the nearby town of Füssen…
Left to right from top: Neuschwanstein Castle in the snow, views from the walking path on the way to Mary’s Bridge; the road entering Füssen from Neuschwanstein; downtown Füssen in the snow; Füssen’s town center; homemade soup for lunch at Kuess die Hand.
How to Get There
From Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle is an hour and a half drive and one hour by train. Day trips are possible from Munich, but I recommend staying at least one night in Füssen if you have the time. The town is charming, and staying overnight will let you visit the castle in the morning before the crowds arrive.
- By train – Depart from Munich’s central station (Munchen Hbf) on the train to Füssen. If you’re heading straight to the castle from there, follow the crowds to the buses right next door and take bus 78. The bus drops you off just downhill from the ticket center by the castles.
- By car – We took this route into Füssen the day before visiting Neuschwanstein. There is a parking lot at the bottom of the hill where you’ll be able to park and walk or shuttle up to the castle.
Where to Stay
Hotel Hirsch – If you love pastels, this hotel is a must. Located just down the street from the city center, this historic art nouveau hotel features individually decorated rooms and each is completely unique. Also on site: a Bavarian beer garden and rooftop views of Füssen.
Aktiv-Hotel Schwieger – We had a great stay at this hotel, which puts emphasis on health and well-being. They offer lots of in-house treatment options and a healthy menu featuring local produce. They even offer memory foam pillows on request!
Hotel Bergruh – For views of the Alps, check out Hotel Bergruh. This quaint lodge is a short 10-minute drive from Füssen’s city center, but you’ll feel completely tucked away thanks to their cozy rooms.
Tickets & When to Visit
Tickets – Buy tickets for Neuschwanstein at least two days in advance through their website. If you’re just going to view the outside of the castle, you won’t need tickets. If you’re trying to purchase them the day of from the ticket booth, they generally sell out in the morning. The tour of the castle’s interior lasts about 20 minutes. Note: you cannot take photos of the inside!
Time of year – The castle and surrounding area are beautiful year-round, but if you want to avoid the high tourist season, aim to visit between November and April. The summer months — June, July and August — are the busiest. Weekdays will always be less crowded. We visited in the morning at 8:00am in February to experience the castle and grounds without the crowds, and it was worth the early wake-up call!
Where to Take Photos
Mary’s Bridge – From the parking lot, head up the hill towards the castle until you reach the souvenir shop on the left. Take the walking path on the right from there and follow signs for Mary’s bridge, here. This view provides an unobstructed view of the castle with the valley behind it, so it really pops in photos. Note that the bridge was closed for construction when we visited last month in February.
Pollat Gorge – For higher-up views of the castle, cross Mary’s bridge and continue on the hiking trails into the woods. Here you’ll find additional views without hordes of tourists. Note these trails are currently closed due to rockfall, so I’d recommend checking the Neuschwanstein Castle website for the latest.
The walking paths – There are some trees blocking the castle if you enter from the main walking path, so it can be hard to photograph. We preferred the view from the walking path on the way to the Mary’s Bridge (as seen in the first vertical photo at the top of this post).
From the Tegelberg Cable Car – For sweeping views of the alps, valley, and castle in the distance, consider taking the Tegelberg cable car up the mountain. Due to weather, we couldn’t do this on our trip, but I would’ve loved to experience the landscape from above. Bonus: there’s a restaurant at the top!
Neuschwanstein is currently under construction through June 2018, so part of the castle is covered in scaffolding. You can see which side in the photo below.
We had a great time visiting Neuschwanstein in the snow, but next time around we’d love to see it in fall! It’s a great time of year to visit as the surroundings are beautiful with the leaves changing, and it’s not high season.