By Vicky · Published Dec. 30th, 2023 · Updated Jan. 12th, 2024
Neuschwanstein Castle is the fairytale castle near Füssen that inspired Disney, and one of the most famous castles in the world.
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich by Car
The castle is roughly 2 hours drive from Munich, with the shortest route just over 100 km. Traffic in the morning rush hour around Munich can be bad, so it’s best to set off either early (before 7:30am) or later (after 9am). If you need to hire a car, one of the best places to compare prices is Rentalcars.com*.
Parking at Neuschwanstein Castle
The castle is in the town of Hohenschwangau, and there are several car parks here all designed for visitors to the castle. The large, official car parks (P1, P2, P3, P4) are all €10 for the day, with no other ticket option.
Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich by Train
Taking public transport from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle is relatively straightforward, and doesn’t take too much longer than driving: It takes between 2hr30 and 2hr40 if there are no delays.
The route involves a regional train to Füssen Station (either direct or with one change), then a bus from Füssen Station to the middle of Hohenschwangau. This is exactly where you want to be to visit the castle. You can use the Deutschland €49 ticket on these trains and the bus, and you also avoid the car parking fee!
Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich on a Tour
Several tours take you from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle and back. Some also visit Linderhof Palace, another of King Ludwig II’s extravagant residences. Some tours are ‘premium’ but you end up paying quite a lot more for basically just a comfier bus with snacks. Note that in some cases the headline price you see for tours doesn’t actually include entry to the castles themselves (€15 plus a €2.50 booking fee for Neuschwanstein, and €10 for Linderhof Palace).
I think it’s worth visiting Linderhof Palace as well, but not worth getting premium, so would recommend this day tour to Neuschwanstein*.
Neuschwanstein Castle & Hohenschwangau Map
Tips for Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
- If you’re not visiting on a tour, make sure to book tickets online in advance from the official website. Book your tickets as soon as possible as they can sell out weeks, if not months in advance. A limited number of tickets are reserved for sale on the day – from 8am at the Ticket Center – but you may need to queue for a long time and these tickets sell out very quickly.
- Tickets to Neuschwanstein cost €18/€17 for adults/concessions. Children under 18 are free but still need a ticket. If you book tickets online (recommended), there’s an extra €2.50 booking fee per ticket, including for the free children’s tickets.
- Leave bulky objects such as rucksacks and prams in your car as they’re not allowed inside the castle.
- No photography is allowed inside the castle.
- Wear comfortable footwear as it’s roughly a 30-40 minute walk from the car parks up to the castle. If you prefer not to walk, there’s also a shuttle or a carriage ride.
- While in the area, check out the cute town of Füssen. You can even walk from the castles to Füssen and back on a lovely roundtrip hike. Additionally, a stroll around nearby Alpsee Lake is a great way to escape the crowds. For more ideas, check out our Germany Page.
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
Key Information: Neuschwanstein can only be visited on a guided tour. Tours are from 9am-6pm from April to mid-October and 10am-4pm from mid-October to March. Check the official website to book tickets in advance (highly recommended). Tickets cost €18, children under 18 free. Additionally, there’s a €2.50 booking fee for all tickets, including free tickets.
Getting to the Castle from the Car Parks or Bus Stop
There are three ways to reach the castle from the centre of Hohenschwangau, where the car parks and bus stop are. Whichever transport you take, aim to arrive at the castle roughly 15 minutes before your tour is scheduled to start.
- It’s 1.5 km uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle. Allow 20-40 minutes.
- There are several walking routes. Some lead through the forest, some follow a paved road the entire way.
2. Shuttle Bus
- Leave from parking P4 near Alpsee.
- End near Marienbrücke, from where it’s a 500 metre downhill walk to Neuschwanstein Castle.
- Tickets are €3.50 for a return ticket, €3 for one-way uphill and €2 for one-way downhill. They can be bought from the bus driver.
- No fixed timetable, buses leave when full. Last bus down is 6:45pm in summer and 4:45pm in winter.
- In the summer holidays, there may be a long wait time. In winter, buses don’t run if the road is blocked with snow.
3. Horse and Carriage
- Leave from Hotel Müller in the centre of Hohenschwangau.
- End roughly 400 metres below the Castle, you have to walk the rest of the way up which takes 5-10 minutes.
- Tickets are €8 uphill and €4 downhill. They can be bought from the coachman.
- No fixed timetable, carriages leave when full. There may be long queues in summer, no service in heavy snow.
Buying Tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle
It’s highly recommended to book tickets in advance online. Do so from the official website. In 2024, tickets cost €18 for adults, children under 18 are free. However, there’s an additional €2.50 booking fee for all tickets, including for the ‘free’ children’s tickets.
If you don’t book tickets in advance, you can get them from the Ticket Centre in Hohenschwangau. A limited number of same-day tickets are available from here, though there may be long queues for these and they may sell out. The Ticket Centre is open every day apart from December 24th, 25th, 31st and January 1st. Opening times are 8:30am-3pm from mid-October to March and 8am-7pm from April to mid-October.
History of Neuschwanstein Castle
King Ludwig II of Bavaria, also known as the Fairytale King, commissioned Neuschwanstein Castle in 1869. It was inspired and dedicated to Richard Wagner, the famous German composer, as a medieval romantic, fantasy castle. When King Ludwig II died almost 20 years later, the castle was still not quite finished, yet it was soon opened to the public. Today, its picturesque setting atop a rugged hill and its fairy-tale-like appearance have made it an enduring symbol of romantic architecture and Bavarian heritage.
Neuschwanstein Castle Viewpoints
- Marienbrücke: Perhaps the best viewpoints of Neuschwanstein Castle. The bridge may be closed in bad weather.
- On the way up Tegelberg: 1 km and 170 metres uphill from Marienbrücke on a small, steep path.
- On the way up Säuling Peak: 1 km and 140 metres uphill from Marienbrücke on a fairly easy track.
- Around Alpsee Lake: Several viewpoints, including the best one at the far end, from where you can see both castles. It’s roughly 2 km, flat, from Hohenschwangau.
- Around Schwansee Lake: Several viewpoints between 1.7 and 2.3 km from the centre of Hohenschwangau village on a flat, easy track.
Things to do near Neuschwanstein Castle
Apart from visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, there are many more things to do in the area. To make the most of your time, you might want to consider staying overnight.
1. Visit Hohenschwangau Castle
Key Information: Like Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau Castle is visited by guided tour only. Check the official website to book tickets in advance, though these tours sell out less quickly than those of Neuschwanstein. Tickets cost €21/18/11/free for adults/reduced/children 7-17/children under 7.
Hohenschwangau is the castle where King Ludwig II grew up. It’s less impressive than its sister castle, Neuschwanstein, though the interior tour is interesting and there are great views of the mountains from the windows. Even if you don’t pay to go inside, it’s worth walking up to look at the outside and the views from the terraced garden.
2. Discover the Museum of the Bavarian Kings
Key Information: Open daily, year-round from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Tickets cost €14, free for children. Official website.
A great activity in any weather, here you can learn about Bavarian royalty and the history of the region, including the crazy building projects of King Ludwig II.
3. Explore Füssen
Füssen is a charming nearby town, known for its colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and historical sites. There are also plenty of cozy cafes and shops. For more information, check out this walking tour of Füssen.
4. Head up the Mountain on Tegelberg Cable Car
Key Information: Open daily, year-round from 9am to 4:30pm (winter) or 5pm (summer). Check the official website for weather-related closures. It costs €30/19.50 for return/one-way tickets with significant reductions for children under 15.
The Tegelberg Cable Car whizzes you up the mountain, where there’s a mountain restaurant and panoramic views over the Bavarian Alps and lakes below. There are also several short walks you can go on at the top, or you can choose any of several hiking paths leading back down.
5. Go Swimming in a nearby Lake
You can swim in both Alpsee and Schwansee. At Alpsee, there’s a special swimming area. It’s open daily (weather permitting) May-September, 11am-6pm. Tickets cost 3.50/2 per adult/child and deck chairs are available to rent (cash only). It’s a 10-minute walk from car park P4 and dogs are not allowed.
At Schwansee there’s no official swimming area, but there are fields near the lake to sunbathe in and two wooden jetties leading into the lake from which you can get into the water. It’s a 20-minute walk to this swimming spot from the centre of Hohenschwangau village.
6. Rent a Boat on Alpsee
Key Information: Open daily from May to October (weather permitting), 10-7pm. You can rent rowing boats or pedal boats for up to 4 people per boat. It’s €15 per 30 minutes (cash only).
In the summer months you can rent a little boat to row or paddle around scenic Alpsee. The boat rental is just a few metres around the lake from the Museum of the Bavarian Kings and Parkplatz P4.
7. Take a Photo of Scenic St. Coloman Church
St. Coloman Church is a small, white church in the middle of a field near the road towards Neuschwanstein. There’s a small car park just in front of the church where you can park to step out for a few moments to visit the church. The inside is highly decorated, while if you walk around the church you’ll find great photo opportunities with the mountains in the background.
Walks near Neuschwanstein Castle
- Schwansee Lake Walk, 4.5 km of flat, easy walking around a nearby lake. Start from the castle car park.
- Alpsee Lake Walk, 6.5 km of relatively easy walking with a little hill around a nearby lake. Start from the castle car park.
- Füssen Walking Tour, 4.5 km around the cute nearby town. Start from Füssen, a 5-minute drive away.
- Hopfensee & Burg Hopfen Walk, 8.2 km with 140 meters climb around a lake and to a great viewpoint of the Alps. Start from a Hopfensee, a 15-minute drive away.
Medium & Difficult:
- Castles to Füssen Walk, 10.3 km with 310 metres climb on a lovely loop with great views. Start from the castle car park.
- Alatsee & Weißensee Lakes Walk, 8.5 km with 170 metres climb around two lovely lakes. Start from Weißensee, a 15-minute drive away.
- Neuschwanstein to Linderhof Overnight Hike, 26 km and 1775 metres climb. This 1.5-day hike (staying overnight in a mountain hut) leads over the mountains between two of King Ludwig’s opulent residences. Start from the castle car park, best done on public transport.
- Säuling Peak Hike, difficult, 18.5 km with 1420 metres climb up a mountain and into Austria. There’s a little scrambling near the top. Start from the castle car park (and take the bus back).
Best places to Stay near Neuschwanstein Castle
There are many hotels and a couple of self-catering apartments near Neuschwanstein Castle. The best are selected below.
Hotel Garni Schlossblick*: The most popular place to stay near Neuschwanstein, with castle views from the breakfast buffet and free parking.
Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein*: This hotel has a superb location, extremely close to Neuschwanstein. You can easily take an evening stroll around the castle. Additionally, hotel guests can drive up the road to the castle that’s closed to the public.
Hofwiese Self-Catering*: A 10-minute walk to the centre of Hohenschwangau village, this is a self-catering apartment for up to four, with free parking.
Chalet Annemarie Hohenschwangau*: A great 3-bedroom self-catering apartment roughly 10 minutes from the centre of Hohenschwangau.
Hotel Villa Ludwig*: A boutique hotel 5 minutes walk from the centre of Hohenschwangau, with large rooms all with balconies and a small spa area.
Hotel Alpenstuben*: A traditional hotel in the middle of Hohenschwangau with castle views and friendly staff. Paid parking (€8/day) just opposite the hotel.
Hotel Müller*: A smart hotel right in the middle of Hohenschwangau. There are castle views from some of the rooms. A delicious breakfast and free parking is included.
AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa*: A 4-star hotel and the fanciest place to stay in Hohenschwangau. The hotel offers free private parking, a fitness centre, a bar, a restaurant and much more.
Guidebooks to explore more of Germany
While in the area, check out the cute town of Füssen. You can even walk from the castles to Füssen and back on a lovely roundtrip hike. Additionally, a stroll around nearby Alpsee Lake is a great way to escape the crowds. For more ideas, check out our Germany Page.
FAQS: Neuschwanstein Castle
Tickets cost €18, children under 18 free. Additionally, there’s a €2.50 booking fee for all tickets, including free tickets. Check the official website to book tickets in advance (highly recommended).
To visit Neuschwanstein you have to go on a tour. These take place from 9am-6pm from April to mid-October and 10am-4pm from mid-October to March.