I’m ending our road trip series with the last stop of the roadtrip – the famous fairytale-like Neuschwanstein Castle located in Bavaria, Germany. I’ve wanted to visit here since I first saw photos of it a few years ago, and it was great to finally tick it off the bucket list while heading back from Slovenia to the UK. We made a quick stop there – spending the morning at the Castle, before popping in to the nearby town of Fussen before continuing the journey back to the UK.
Bavaria is an area of Germany located in the south, bordering Austria and Czech Republic and known for it’s culture and traditions, with the famous Oktoberfest originating there. There’s so much to see in the area – it’s filled with castles, history and amazing architecture. Munich is the capital of the region and it’s just under 2hr drive to Neuschwanstein, so an easy day trip if you’re locating yourself there.
Most people will have heard of it referred to as the Cinderella Castle, and there’s a lot of talk that Walt Disney actually designed the Cinderella Castle around Neuschwanstein Castle, but our tour guide had other ideas and said that Walt Disney never actually visited the Castle. So who knows?!
The Castle was built in the 19th Century by King Ludwig II. Building of the castle began in 1869, but it was never finished and he only managed to live in the castle for 170 days. In 1886, the government declared him insane, and the next day he was found dead in a lake at Burg Castle with the psychiatrist in mysterious circumstances.
Getting to Hohenschwangau
It’s easily accessible from most major towns and cities in Bavaria. With trains to nearby Fussen. You can then catch the bus from Fussen to Hohenschwangau/Alpseestraße or there’s plenty of car parks in the town at the base of the castle if you drive there.
The only way to buy tickets to the castle is either by pre-booking them online before you visit (at least two days in advance), or to buy them on the day at the ticket office in the village of Hohenschwangau below the castle on the day. We parked up and headed straight for the ticket office and the first time that we could get into was 10.50am. Tickets are for a timed entrance guided tour in specific languages, so make sure you get there early to make sure you get yourself a ticket as they can sell out pretty quickly in the high season.
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle
There’s two ways to get from the village to Neuschwanstein Castle – by shuttle bus or by foot. The shuttle bus leaves from Hohenschwangau Castle, near the ticket office and takes you to Marienbrucke bridge, which you then have about a 5 minute uphill walk to the castle with some amazing views. Or you can walk up the hill the other side of the castle, which is about 1.5km and takes about 20-30 minutes.
We decided to do the walk up to the castle as we had time to spare before our guided tour (and lets face it, we didn’t want to pay the for the bus to take us up – though it’s only €3pp return, or €2.50 uphill and €1.50 downhill, so what a bad decision we made haha). The walk is long, though it is on a paved road so it’s not too bad. Make sure you wear appropriate footwear, as for some reason, I decided to hike up in my flipflops, so it definitely took longer than usual, but it took us a good 20-30 minutes or so.
Honestly, we didn’t really enjoy the tour and wished we’d have skipped it for extra time to do some of the hiking trails around the castle instead to take in the amazing views (ensuring I had appropriate footwear haha). There’s only 3 rooms that you can actually go inside as the castle was never finished. The tour guide takes you through each room, gives you a little history of Ludwig and the castle and then guides you to the next room. Most of the time on the 30 minute tour was spent waiting for the rest of the group to catch up to each room.
The main viewpoint and location where you get those famous shots of Neuschwanstein Castle is from Marienbrucke bridge. If you take the shuttle bus up the hill, the bus drops you off right at the path to the bridge to your right. If you’re coming from the Castle exit door, turn left and walk along the path to the bus stop and turn left. The views along this path are amazing overlooking Hohenschwangau Castle and the lakes in the distance.
As we visited in the peak season, the bridge was SO full. Like to the point that the floorboards were bending underneath my feet – causing me complete panic (though Shane is adamant that it is completely safe)! I got there, literally took like 6 photos and (slowly) ran off the bridge as quick as I could muster myself because I was petrified. By the time I got back on land I was shaking all over, could barely breathe and was at the brink of tears/a panic attack. It was definitely worth the shots though and I’m SO glad I pushed myself to get them.
It’s definitely worth a visit though, and it’s open all year round (with the exception of public holidays in December/Jan). I’d love to see it in the snow one day as it looks amazing! We ended up getting the bus back down to the town – you just pay on the bus – and headed to the nearby town of Fussen for a ltitle explore, since it was the only stop of our trip in Germany, so we had to see something other than the Castle!
Fussen is a 10 minute drive from Hohenschwangau (Neuschwanstein Castle), and has plenty of shops and restaurants to fill you up after a morning of exploring. We didn’t have too much time to stop in Fussen because the castle took a little longer than we planned and we had to drive 6hrs to Luxembourg that night to our campsite, ready to catch our ferry in Calais the next afternoon.
What we did see of Fussen was so nice though, and I definitely recommend that if you visit Neuschwanstein that you stop in nearby Fussen too! It’s old town is filled with so many colourful buildings that I just couldn’t get enough of and we spent a good 30 mins or so just getting lost in the streets watching the locals go by.
As we were in the campervan, we stopped by the supermarket on the way back to the van and picked up some supplies. I ended up buying this amazing cake/bread thing but I can’t seem to find out what it is anywhere! It’s like a cinnamon swirl (the bread kind rather than the pastry kind), but instead of being filled with cinnamon it’s filled with berries and drizzled with a cream cheese flavoured icing. Ugh, it was SO good! Anyone know what it was?
Anyway, that’s the end of the roadtrip series! We literally spent the last night driving to Luxembourg, then the next morning from Luxembourg to Calais, to catch the ferry back to the UK. It was such an amazing two weeks and we loved every minute of it. I’m dying to do another trip!
Have you been to Neuschwanstein Castle? What did you think?