Neuschwanstein Castle is without doubt one of Germany's most famous landmarks. Built by the former King of Bavaria, Ludwig II., this magnificent building is also said to have been the main inspiration behind the fairytale castle in Disney's Sleeping Beauty (1959). So if you're ever come to the South of Germany, don't miss the opportunity to see this enchanting palace with your own eyes. Here is all you need to know in order to make the most of your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle…
For many people, seeing Neuschwanstein and taking a souvenir photo with the castle in the back is a must-do item on their Germany bucket list. Personally, I was also very intrigued to learn more about the history of why this unique castle was built.
For example the fact that although it looks very old, the castle is actually pretty new. After all, it was only built in the late 19th century (construction began in 1869). There are also many myths and stories about the castle's creator Ludwig II. (1845–1886), who was a former King of Bavaria and sometimes also referred to as "the mad king". For example his mysterious death in a lake close to the castle. You can learn more about Ludwig's life by watching the most recent German biopic feature film of him called Ludwig II (2012).
Scene from the film "Ludwig II" (2012). Photo: © Warner Bros. GmbH
How do I get there?
Neuschwanstein Castle is easily accessible from Germany's third largest city Munich. From here, you can either drive to the castle yourself (takes about 2 hours), catch the 1 1/2 hour train from Munich to Füssen or join a day trip tour with a guide.
In my opinion, it's best if you go on a guided tour because all transport will be organised for you and you don’t have to worry about looking for a parking space etc. Plus, your tour guide will give you the full scope of the fascinating history that surrounds the construction of Neuschwanstein Castle.
Bavarian countryside on the train from Munich to Füssen
What’s there to see?
I went on the day trip tour with Sandemans, which was a train tour. Thus, we met our group and guide at Munich's main train station (Hauptbahnhof) and then boarded the regional train together.
After we arrived at the train station in Füssen, we took a public bus up to the hillfoot and the village, then walked up the hill to the castle together.
A first glimpse of Neuschwanstein Castle
Meanwhile, our guide filled us in on the many historical facts and myths that surround King Ludwig II. For example that he was 7 million Euros in debt for building Neuschwanstein, his obsession with music composer Richard Wagner and his addiction to build more and more fairytale castles.
Our first photo stop was at the Marienbrücke – a bridge that hangs between two mountains. But fear not, everything is safe and you will get one of the best views of Neuschwanstein Castle here. Also, the picture that I took here kind of looks more crowded than it actually was.
.. offers some of the best views of the Neuschwanstein Castle!
We then had some free time. This is when you can visit the inside of the castle on a guided tour for an additional 13.50 Euros. The tours do not include this on purpose because some people might just want to skip the inside and rather spend the time walking around the area and taking more pictures.
I can highly recommend going inside though. Mainly because this is not your typical royal palace tour, which usually all look the same. Although the castle was built as recently as the late 19th century, the inside looks like a really cool version of a medieval royal palace blended together with many other inspirations that Ludwig II gathered for his "dream castle".
The inside of the castle was never fully completed. But there are 13 beautiful rooms, including the throne room, which looks like a Byzantine Church, or a private room for the king, which was designed to look like a cave and our tour guide jokingly called "the original man cave".
Inside the castle, no photography or filming is allowed. However, you can take pictures of the outside scenery from the inside of the castle or the balcony. I really recommend this because the view from up there is actually pretty stunning!
Looking over the Bavarian Alps from the royal balcony of Neuschwanstein Castle
Afterwards, everyone walked down to the village independently, from where we took the bus back to Füssen's train station.
On the train back to Munich, our tour guide told us some more interesting facts about Ludwig II, Bavaria, Munich and Germany.
The view of the Marienbrücke from the castle
When to go?
Bear in mind that the busiest periods are the main travel times for Munich and surroundings. These are the summer months (June to Oktoberfest in September) as well as December due to the Christmas Markets.
January and February are the quietest times and snow will be guaranteed up here in the mountains.
October is a good time, just wait until Oktoberfest is over (which is usally in early October Octoberfest mostly takes place during September) and after the Germans had their national holiday on 3rd of October (German Reunification Day).
After 3rd of October, it will be beautiful because of the changing leaves and autumn colours. I went mid-October and had gorgeous summer weather, about 20 degrees Celsius, sunshine and blue skies. Although such high temperatures are very unusual for this time of year and it was a bit worrying in terms of climate change.
How much does it cost and how can I book?
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Unless otherwise credited, all photos by © Sonja Irani | filmfantravel.com
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