I'd been dreaming of coming to this castle for 16 years. When I was 7 years old, my dad went on a business trip to Munich and brought me back a giant poster of Neuschwanstein Castle covered in snow. As he told me stories of his visit to the castle - which is most famous for being the inspiration behind Disney's Cinderella castle - I imagined myself as a princess frolicking through the snow towards my enchanted fortress. That poster has been hanging in our bonus room ever since.
The man who commissioned this castle, King Ludwig II of Bavaria, was a bit of a character. Okay, well, maybe more than just "a bit". Some people still ascertain that he was a nut job. Who can know for sure?
Back in the late 1800s, King Ludwig II spent all of his royal funds pursuing extravagant architectural and artistic endeavors. During his reign, he built three over-the-top castles: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee. He also had a fervent obsession with the works of Richard Wagner. Inside Neuschwanstein Castle, you can find many vibrant frescos depicting scenes from Wagner's operas.
Despite King Ludwig II's soap opera story and dramatic demise, his whimsical ambitions made Neuschwanstein that much more unique. This fortress was the most breathtaking castle I've ever seen, and I don't think any other castle can quite compare. I suppose these were Ludwig's precise intentions. Little did he know!
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich:
- Take the U-Bahn to the Munich Hauptbahnhof (main train station)
- Take the train to Füssen (But be sure to ask the information desk which train to Füssen your Bayern ticket will cover. We tried to take the 8:53 train, but apparently our ticket wasn't valid for that particular train. The 9:53 train, however, is covered.)
- Enjoy the scenic train ride, which takes about 2 hours
- Follow the tourists and take bus 73 in the direction of Steingaden/Garmisch-Partenkirchen or bus 78 in the direction of Schwangau to the stop Hohenschwangau/Alpseestraße
- The buses will drop you off below the ticket office
Planning Your Visit:
- Pick up your tickets at the ticket booth no later than one hour before your tour
- Take the shuttle bus to Mary's Bridge (Marienbrücke) to see the views before hiking down to the castle. The shuttle bus picks you up in front of Hotel Lisl above the ticket office and costs 1.80€ for a one-way ride. The downhill hike is about 10 minutes long.
- Take the Neuschwanstein castle tour, which lasts for approximately 30 minutes
- Pack a lunch or snacks and have a picnic by the castle
- Take a horse-drawn carriage ride from the castle back down to the parking lot (3€) or take a scenic hike down (go back up to Marienbrücke and follow signs down to Pöllat Gorge)
- Take bus 73 or 78 back to Füssen
- Take the train back to Munich
Be sure to buy your castle tickets at least 2 days before your visit.
I recommend buying them at least a week in advance here.
You can click here for more information on getting to the castle.
*We wanted to allow ample time for exploring and taking photos, so we scheduled our tour for 2:25, took the 8:53 train to Füssen, and picked up our tickets at the ticket booth before 1:25. We could have taken the 9:53 train and been okay on time - and that train would have also been covered by our Bayern ticket. We got back to Munich just in time for dinner. Although it was a long day, we were glad we took our time so we didn't have to rush through the sights.
What is your favorite castle in Europe?