In this post you’ll find useful things to know before visiting the fairytale castle of Neuschwanstein, famous for inspiring the Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland. Located in beautiful Bavaria near Hohenschwangau, this enchanting palace attracts thousands every year for its dreamy setting.
Travel via Munich to explore Bavaria
One of the easiest ways to get to Hohenschwangau is on the local #78 bus from Füssen where you can catch the train to Munich and beyond. The scenic train journey between Munich and Füssen is around 2 hours – Munich is an ideal base to explore Bavaria and Austria with a well connected airport. You can download the Deutsche Bahn app to your phone for real-time information on the trains to Munich and book mobile phone tickets.
Dine in Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau is quintessentially Bavarian – alpine lodges shaded by pine trees and the spectacular snowcapped mountains. On the nearby hilltop is the 19th century Hohenschwangau Castle, another palace that King Ludwig spent his childhood before dreaming up Neuschwanstein.
Over the course of a day you’ll likely cover a lot of ground, so take time to try some local cuisine in the cafes and restaurants (and use the restrooms) before you begin. Typical dishes include; pork knuckle with sauerkraut, currywurst and schnitzel.
Travel to Marienbrucke (and beyond) for the views
Marienbrucke (Queen Mary’s bridge) is where you’ll enjoy one of the best views of Neuschwanstein Castle. From the village you have the option of taking a bus to Marienbrucke (€3 round trip for adults), horse drawn carriage (€10.50 round trip) or a 20 to 40 minute (depending on your pace) uphill walk through the forest. If your knees are up to the walk it’s a lovely route that crosses a trickling waterfall with glimpses of the mountains, lakes and Hohenschwangau Castle through the trees.
The bus drop off point is a 5 minute walk from the bridge and around 10 to 15 minutes (downhill) to the castle. Most tourists seem to head for the bridge first before exploring the castle and grounds – I’d suggest reversing this order for a quieter experience on the bridge later on in the day.
For a better vantage point of Neuschwanstein Castle and the lakes and countryside surrounding it, head past the bridge and up the hill for a further 5 to 10 minutes, a useful tip I picked up from Zigzag on Earth.
Marienbrucke may be busy (or closed)
Marienbrucke is very popular, so don’t be surprised (like I was) if you’re met with a queue just to get onto it. In the winter they may close it due to hazardous snow and ice.
The tight squeeze onto the bridge makes the experience a little unnerving, if you’re really afraid of heights you may want to skip this experience and enjoy the view across to Hohenschwangau Castle and the lakes on your walk to Neuschwanstein.
Reserve tickets to Neuschwanstein in advance
I’d recommend reserving tickets to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castle in advance of your visit (up to 2 days before) so you can beat the on-the-day queue at the ticket centre. It’s also possible that tickets will sell out during the peak spring and summer season.
Turn your camera off… sometimes
I should stick this reminder across my camera screen (!!), Neuschwanstein Castle is undoubtedly one of those most photogenic places on earth that you’ll feel compelled to capture every view from every angle for Instagram and Facebook. In doing so you may forget to spend a few moments to just savour all the sights, sounds, scents (etc.) of this stunning location.