Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Germany can be stressful. It doesn’t need to be.
The Walt Disney Castle. The Cinderella castle. Or simply one of the most beautiful castles in Germany. There are many nicknames given to the 19th-century palace perched on a steep hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. And it’s not just a catch: Visiting Neuschwanstein castle is simply a unique experience.
I have been longing to visit this place since ever, linked one of those places from the dream list. When I moved to Ingolstadt, it was more or less sure that one day, it will change to reality. It would be a pity to live in the same region and never actually make it there, right? When my Czech friend Marketa was about to visit me and we were searching for a cool place in Bavaria to visit, the choice was clear: Let’s just see Neuschwanstein castle in winter.
In the summer, the castle receives as many as 6,000 visitors per day. That is a huge number, especially for such a small town such as Schwangau. In this post, you will learn all you got to know all the basics for visiting Neuschwanstein castle in winter, which is the most suitable season. There are a couple of things to be aware of: we nearly missed the chance of getting the tickets, so I am sharing all the info for you to avoid this problem.
Why visiting Neuschwanstein castle in the winter?
Although summer might be a generally better choice for exploring Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is a huge exception. Not only it looks stunning under the snow, there are also practical reasons: avoiding the tourist crowds, getting more accommodation options nearby. And last but not least, you have more chances of getting the guided tour on your wished time.
–KNOW BEFORE YOU GO-
Therse are some of the most common questions you will ask before your visit. I have included all the answers – feel free to comment under the article if you need more info.
Where do I book the tickets?
It is only possible to visit the interiors of the castle on a guided tour. It lasts about 35 minutes and the spots are limited. One ticket costs 13 Euro for adults, and it is always connected to a certain time slot. The castle is heavily visited so unless you arrive there early in the morning, the tickets are likely to be sold out.
TIP: Care to get your tickets on time: the reservation is the best way to secure you the visit to the castle. You can do it easily online, but the timing is a bit tricky: you got to do reservation two days ahead. Plus, it is not possible to do so after 3 pm of German time. Link for booking them is here.
How do I get to Neuschwanstein castle?
Don’t expect you can just travel all the way to the castle: you will be arriving at the village of Swangau rather than the castle itself. Keep in mind to arrive at least one hour before your planned admission: you should be able to hike to the castle within 40 minutes, but the way is pretty steep. It also depends how fit you are and what kind of shoes you are wearing. I noticed Chinese tourists in high heels- yes, this kind of shoes rather prolong the time needed to get up 🙂
TIP: Keep plenty of time to explore the surroundings: we arrived two hours ahead and still had enough to do. We used the time to enjoy the views of the castle from various places. It’s nice to wander without having a time pressure. Alternatively, you could use a shuttle bus (€ 1,80 for uphill, € 1,00 for downhill) or horse carriage (€ 6,00 to go uphill and € 3,00 to go downhill).
What should I wear?
Since there is a lot of walking to do, the most important thing to have are comfortable and waterproof shoes. It can get pretty chilly in the forest, so make sure you have warm clothes including the cap and gloves. It is a good idea to wear clothes in layers and anticipate quickly changing weather conditions.
TIP: Pack enough water and enough snacks with you on the way! Once you start climbing, there are very limited options to get supplies. I don’t think you want to waste money on an overpriced restaurant, don’t you?
TRAVELING TO NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE
While you can visit Neuschwanstein from a wide variety of locations in Bavaria, many visitors treat Munich as a base camp for their trip. From Munich, your best bet is to purchase Bayern tickets for Füssen. These special tickets are valid from 9am-3am, and offer one day of unlimited access to regional and local transport within Bavaria. This means that you’ll not only be covered for your train tickets to/from Füssen, but also for the buses that take you to Neuschwanstein. There is a separate post by a fellow blogger on how to get from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle.
If you can, traveling by car is the comfortable option. On our trip, we were driving from Ingolstadt via Munich. The 200 km trip took just little over two hours. After spending a day in Schwangau, we traveled to Pfronten, where we had our accommodation. We stayed in Landhotel Röfleuten, where the room for three we paid 100 euro, including breakfast. We were booking pretty last minute, and it turned out much cheaper than staying in Swangau itself.
Our trip was planned for two days and one night. That was enough for us to see the castle, and we even got to see the Allgäu Alps as a bonus. We were traveling in three people, including my Czech friend and my boyfriend who did the driving. Feel free to follow our itinerary.
Day 1: Visiting the Neuschwanstein Castle
Driving to Hohenswangau right after breakfast. Finding parking place in the town center, walking to the Ticketing office (the queue for people who reserved the tickets in advance was much shorter). It is important Buying Neuschwanstein Castle tickets in advance, before climbing up a hill.
Since we had enough time, we went to visit Hohenswangau castle from outside and walked around Alpsee. Then we climbed the mountain and first visited Marienbrücke. Although the sign at the junction said it was closed, we managed to get there climbing the minor fence (actually, it was pretty crowded). I was little worried whether the bridge could carry us all, but it was the best picture spot, so I could not have missed it.
Walking further to the castle and joining the 45 minutes guided tour inside. Then we returned to the car and drove to Phronten. Check-in and having dinner.
Expenses of the first day:
Parking fee in Hohenswangau: € 6 for the whole day
Admission fee for the castle – € 13 per person
Accommodation: € 112 for all three of us
Dinner in the accommodation: € 40 including coffee & cake
DAY 2 – Allgäu Alps and Füssen
After breakfast, we check out from the hotel. Receiving a local discount card (King’s card) for one night stay, and decided to explore the mountains. We went up the Breitenberg by cable car c and went up the mountain in Pfronten.
Checking out the mountain views, renting sledges and enjoying the ride down. The route has 13 kilometers! It ends up near the road, and after another 5 minutes of walking there is a bus stop. We moved back to the car, changed into dry clothes and drove direction of Füssen
Visiting lovely Füssen on our own, walking around the historic center. We are some pizza for lunch and traveled back home.
Expenses of the second day:
Cable car and bus in Pfronten – free
Lunch in Füssen – € 30 for all 3 of us
Parking in Füssen – € 5
All it all, although it is one of the most touristy places in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle is totally worth visiting. It’s a gorgeous castle and all the history of Ludwig II of Bavaria for whom the castle was built is pretty interesting. Just visit it and make your own opinion! Good luck, and take lots of pictures from your trip!
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