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Where my Disney fans at? This one’s for you! Remember the Disney castle you see in the intro of all Disney movies? It’s also the centerpiece of Disneyland theme parks’ Magic Kingdom across the world. In the cartoons, it’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle! Well, did you know you can visit the real-life Sleeping Beauty Castle in Germany? The creators of the Sleeping Beauty castle drew inspiration from the real-life castle in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle, or Schloss Neuschwanstein! Follow along to find out how to get to Neuschwanstein Castle and how you can plan a trip there!
Neuschwanstein Castle, the inspiration for the renowned Disney castle, is nestled in a little town in Bavaria, Germany called Füssen. Today, it is one of the most visited castles in the world, and for great reason. One glance at this enchanting castle and you’ll feel like you’ve just stepped into a fairytale.
Oh, wondering how to pronounce this tongue-twister? It’s Noish-vahn-stine!
How to Get to Neuschwanstein Castle
The nearest major city to Neuschwanstein Castle is Munich, which is a 2.5 hour train ride away. To get to the castle you’ll have to follow these steps. Munich’s public transportation ticketing system is pretty confusing… I stayed here for 2 months and could barely understand the ticket system.
1- Take the train from Munich Hauptbahnhof and alight at Füssen. The cheapest way to get there is to purchase the Bayern-Ticket or Regional Day Ticket for Bavaria that’ll cost €25 per day. This pass entitles you to travel anywhere within Bavaria, including Munich between 9am Monday-Friday to 3am the following day, or between midnight to 3am the following day on weekends and public holidays. The best thing is that if you’re traveling in a group, it is only an extra €6 for each additional person.
There is another card called the Regio-Ticket Allgäu-Schwaben which costs €3 less. But this pass will only allow you to travel on trains, not busses. So if you’re taking the bus from Füssen to the castle grounds, you will still have to pay extra! Told you it’s confusing. Basically, just save yourself the trouble and get the Bayern-Ticket.
2- Once you arrive at Füssen, follow the crowds (and run) to the buses waiting outside the station. Take bus 78. There will be a few there, but they take a while to load everyone on the bus, so pick the right one so you’re on your way quicker! The bus will drop you a few hundred meters from the ticket office.
3- If you are going into the castle, you’ll need to get your tickets from the ticket booth. If you’ve purchased them online, you’ll need to collect your tickets here. From here, there a few options to get yourself up to the castle (FYI, it’s pretty high up).
- On foot – 40 min steep uphill walk (approx 1.5km)
- By shuttle bus – This isn’t included in the Bayern-Ticket, and costs €2.60 for a round-trip ticket / €1.80 uphill / €1 downhill.
- By horse-drawn carriage – In winter, if busses don’t operate, there can be a really long queue for the carriages. I refused to be pulled by poor little horsies uphill so I did the 40 min walk uphill *sounds of my thighs crying* It costs €6 uphill / €3 downhill
NOTE: In winter, due to ice and snow, buses and horse-drawn carriages may cease to operate, so the only way up is by foot. It’s pretty tiring if you’re unfit like me!
When to Visit
There is never really a bad time to see the castle, as each season gives it a different feel, from snow-covered rooftops to warm orange foliage framing the castle.
I personally think visiting in winter makes it extra magical, but there are drawbacks to it. Often in the colder days of winter when roads are slippery and icy, shuttle buses going up to the castle are not in service, so the only ways up are by horse carriage which cost €6 uphill and €3 downhill, or by foot. And it is a 40-minute steep uphill walk! One of the best viewpoints of the castle, Marienbrücke is also closed but there is a way to get up there that requires a bit of trespassing and life-risking…
Being one of the most visited castles in the world, it’s no wonder you will be expecting crowds. Avoid the peak summer months of June to August and weekends. Even when we went on a weekday in winter, we had to run–yes, run–to catch the bus to the castle grounds from the train station.
If you want to avoid the crowds, I would suggest staying overnight in Füssen so you can be the first visitors in at 9am. If you’re taking the train with the Bayern-Ticket on a weekday, you can only travel after 9am, which means the earliest time you’ll arrive at Neuschwanstein is at 11.45am. And by then, it’s already very crowded.
The only way to visit the castle interior is to book a guided tour. I’d highly recommend purchasing tickets online at least a week in advance to secure your preferred time slot. When you select your timing on the website, that doesn’t guarantee you will get your selected time. You will receive an email confirmation with your exact entry time and you cannot be late! The tour lasts 20 minutes, and pictures are unfortunately not allowed inside! I was personally a little underwhelmed by the interior of the castle, maybe due to my castle fatigue having visited so many castles across Europe. If you’d like to just admire the view of the castle from the outside–which is the most spectacular part of it all–it’s free!
If you don’t manage to get your tickets online, you can purchase your tickets from the ticket office but they usually sell out pretty early in the day, so come first thing in the morning!
Best Spots to Take Photos
Marienbrücke – This is a bridge where you will get an unobstructed view of the castle, and it’s a 15-minute uphill climb that diverts off the path from the ticket office to the castle. Just follow the signs.
Okay, story time. When we went in winter, the entrance to the path leading to Marienbrücke was barricaded and there were signs put up about its closure due to the snow and ice. We were super disappointed because we couldn’t get a nice picture of the castle from the path leading up to it. The only way to get an unobstructed view was to get to Marienbrücke. Feeling absolutely shortchanged, we went ahead with our guided tour at 3.30pm. Once inside, we happened to look out the windows and noticed some people actually on the bridge!!!! We were contemplating on whether we should just go with it, since the sun was setting in about 45 minutes. We decided to just do it, and we chanced upon another couple that were also thinking of trespassing and going to the lookout point as well. Thank God for them cause we probably wouldn’t have done it if it was just the two of us.
It was a pretty steep climb, and the path was completely covered in snow. We tripped and slipped a few times, so the warning signs were definitely warranted. We still trudged on until we were almost there, running as fast as we could up the steep hills, trying to defy gravity and chase the sunset. Once we were almost there, we saw some people leaving the bridge and they told us that the gate to the bridge was already closed.
We went to take a look, and true enough, the gate was closed and there was no other way to get on to the bridge except to climb over the gate. Mind you, it was a terrifying experience. As you know, this is a bridge. So we were pretty high up. And if you slipped while climbing over the gate, you’ll fall to your death into the river below, and you’re pretty much chopped liver. We decided to risk it anyway. Yeah, do it for the ‘gram! Thank God no one died. But anyway, if you ever do come in winter and find the gate closed, you’ll know there is a way to get across it but… at your discretion. I am in no way condoning you trespassing or risking your life. I’m just recapping my own experience.
Pollat Gorge – Now, if you’ve managed to make it to the bridge, continue on and you will find a hiking trail that leads you to Pollat Gorge, a scenic walk that offers you gorgeous views of the castle. Unfortunately, due to rockfall, the trails are currently closed, so do refer to the official website for the latest information.
Does this make you want to visit Neuschwanstein Castle now? It’s definitely somewhere you have to visit once in your life, especially as a Disney fan! Share this with the Disney fans in your life!
Til then, happy travels! xo
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