Neuschwanstein Castle in Hohenschwangau, Bavaria has a fairytale history to match its design. Every year the castle attracts millions of visitors and that’s exactly why we decided to write this Neuschwanstein Castle guide for first timer’s to help you with your travels. This guide includes everything you need to know: how to get there, best visiting times, photo spots, travel tips, and everything in between!
Neuschwanstein Castle Guide
Neuschwanstein Castle has a fairytale history to match its design. Bavarian „Mad King“ Ludwig II commissioned the castle to fit a Wagner theme. Ludwig II was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. Initially, he built this castle in 1869 in the „castle romanticism“ style to be a medieval style retreat.
Contrary to popular myth, Ludwig II paid for the castle with his own personal funds and went bankrupt in the process. Back in the days, Ludwig II was obsessed with Wagner and the Middle Ages as well. Hence, he built the now famous Neuschwanstein Castle to live out his fantasy of life from hundreds of years ago.
Neuschwanstein Castle was opened to the public only seven weeks after the death of King Ludwig II. The king initially built the castle in order to withdraw from public life. Now, a vast number of people com to visit his private refugee making it one of the most popular of all palaces and castles in Europe. In summer the castle has around 6,000 visitors a day.
However, the setting of Neuschwanstein could not be more idyllic. What you don’t see is that the movement in the foundation area has to be continuously monitored and the sheer rock walls must be repeatedly secured.
Facts about Neuschwanstein Castle
In 1869, Neuschwanstein was built on the remains of nearby old twin towers Vorderhohenschwangau Castle and Hinterhohenschwangau Castle. Did you know that Neuschwanstein means New Swanstone and that it’s named after the Wagner character the Swan Knight?
Neuschwanstein as a Disney castle
In medieval times castles mainly served as defensive fortresses. Now, Neuschwanstein was built in the mid-1800s and is a purely aesthetic creation. The castle also featured modern amenities such as warm water and automatic flushing toilets.
Sadly, the King of Bavaria died in 1886 before the castle was completed. He only spent 11 nights in the castle before his death. After his death, the design was simplified in order to speed along construction. For example, there is no throne room in the castle. Only 14 out of 200 planned rooms were completed.
How to get to Neuschwanstein Castle
You can get to Neuschwanstein Castle by car or by public transport. There are several parking spaces on site. From there you can easily go to the castle and explore the surroundings.
Hohenschwangau is about an hour and forty-five minute drive from Munich. Alternatively, you can also purchase a Bayern train ticket from Munich to Füssen train station and take bus 78 to Neuschwanstein. It will take you about two hours to get there.
To ensure your spot is saved, plan to arrive at least one hour ahead of time to pick up your tickets.
The opening hours depend on the current season, but generally it is:
- March 19 to October 15: 9am to 6pm
- October 16 to March 18: 10am to 4pm
- Closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
Due to Neuschwanstein’s popularity, you can only visit for 35 minutes with a guided tour. Save time by being your tickets ahead of your visit.
Tickets and Fees
Ticket prices are €12 for adults and €11 for students. Children are free if they travel with an adult. It will cost you €1.80 extra for booking online.
Parking spots usually cost around €6 for the whole day. This way you have some time left to explore the surrounding area.
If you don’t want to walk to the castle (takes around 30 minutes), you can also take a bus. This will set you back €1.80 for an uphill trip, €1 for a downhill trip or €2.60 for a round trip.
You can also splurge on a horse drawn carriage for €6 uphill or €3 downhill.
Good to know before you go
It is actually prohibited to take photos inside the castle. However, it’s absolutely worth bringing a camera if only for the beautiful Alpine views and pictures from the outside.
Don’t miss on your visit to Neuschwanstein
During your visit you want to make sure to see the Marienbrücke, or Marie’s bridge, that Ludwig II built to honor his mother. Suspended between two cliffs over a waterfall, this bridge gives magnificent views of the castle itself.
Of course, this Neuschwanstein Castle guide wouldn’t be complete without some photography tips.
BEST TIMES TO SHOOT | Usually, the best times are sunrise or sunset. If you prefer light pink or orange colors, these times will work best.
PHOTO SPOTS | There are various photography locations depending on which motif you want to shoot. Many people – just like us – prefer the place above the Marienbrücke where you can get insane views of the castle itself. Obviously, you can shoot some pretty nice pictures from the bridge itself as well or if you walk around the castle.
Please note that the photo spot above the Marienbrücke is not secured and it’s not advised to go up there. Please always think about your safety first and avoid it on rainy days.
PHOTO TIPS | In general, we’d recommend to arrive a little earlier than normally. Neuschwanstein Castle gets extremely crowded, especially on the typical photo spot. We knew we wanted to shoot during sunset and that’s why we arrived around 6pm when sunset was around 9pm. It’s been three hours too early but it was absolutely worth waiting since we had the place completely to our own. You have to know that there is not much space, so if a place it taken, it’s taken. However, we always like to take turns with other photographers as we hate the feeling of missing a spot ourselves. Unluckily, not everyone thinks so and most people will simply act like they own the whole property.
DRESS | With the castle in the background, there are of course dresses, chic shirts and pants.
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