Get ready to explore Neuschwanstein Castle, the real-life inspiration for Disney’s Cinderella Castle. From how to get there to the best viewpoints, here’s your ultimate guide to a magical visit.
Perched atop a hill in Bavaria, Neuschwanstein Castle is an iconic landmark and a must-visit destination for anyone touring Germany. Whether you’re a history buff, a Disney fan or just want amazing photos for your social media feed, this guide will ensure your visit is nothing short of magical.
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The journey to Neuschwanstein Castle
Reaching Neuschwanstein Castle is easier than you might think. Located about 70 miles southwest of Munich, you can easily get there by car, train or tour bus. If you opt for public transportation, be prepared for a scenic mile-long walk from the bus stop to the castle’s entrance.
See our recommendations for Best Day Trips from Munich and City Sightseeing: Munich First Timers Guide
The climb to the castle
The journey doesn’t end when you reach the base of the hill. The impressive German castle sits atop a steep incline that can be quite the workout. While you can certainly make the trek on foot, horse-drawn carriages and shuttle buses are available for those who prefer a more leisurely ascent.
Securing your tickets
Before you start the climb, make sure you’ve secured your tickets. The Hohenschwangau ticket center is the only place where you can purchase tickets for interior tours. These tickets sell out fast, especially during peak seasons, so booking in advance is highly recommended.
Renovations and scaffolding
Neuschwanstein Castle is not just one of the things Germany is famous for — it’s a living monument. That means it is constantly undergoing renovations to keep it in tip-top shape. Don’t be surprised if you encounter scaffolding or closed-off areas during your visit. But rest assured, these minor inconveniences don’t detract from the castle’s overall splendor.
What to bring and what to leave
When packing for your visit to Neuschwanstein Castle, it is important to know that you cannot take luggage, large backpacks or bulky items inside the castle. If you have a small bag, the castle staff will ask you to wear it in front of your body to avoid any accidental bumps against the castle’s delicate interior.
The Swan King’s signature
As you wander through the castle, you’ll notice the recurring motif of a swan. This elegant bird was a symbol closely associated with King Ludwig II. That’s why you’ll find it intricately woven into the castle’s design, from etched glass windows to fixtures.
The influence of Richard Wagner
Neuschwanstein Castle was not just a home but a tribute to German composer Richard Wagner. Ludwig II was a great admirer of Wagner’s work, and the castle features numerous works of art inspired by his operas. It’s like a visual playlist of Wagner’s greatest hits.
Modern amenities in a medieval setting
Despite its medieval appearance, Neuschwanstein was ahead of its time in terms of amenities. From hot and cold running water to a central heating system, Ludwig II ensured that his retreat was as comfortable as it was gorgeous.
While you might be tempted to capture every stunning detail, photography is prohibited inside the castle. However, the exterior is fair game, so make sure to get your iconic castle shot from the castle grounds or a nearby footbridge.
“As the castle is breathtakingly stunning, you want your photos to look equally as beautiful. Try to take photos from Marienbrücke, also known as Mary’s Bridge, for a classic postcard view of the castle. Get there early to beat the crowds.”— Mandy Applegate, Splash of Taste
After your tour, your stomach may be growling — especially if you climbed the hill to the front door by foot. The castle houses a cafe and bistro on its second floor. Alternatively, you can pack a picnic and enjoy it on the castle grounds, with stunning views as you dine.
The perfect viewpoint
For the best exterior shots of Neuschwanstein Castle, make your way to Marienbrucke. This footbridge offers a bird’s-eye view of the castle and is the perfect spot for that postcard-perfect photo.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a year-round destination, with each season offering its own unique charm. While summer is the peak tourist season, visiting during the fall or spring provides a different but equally stunning backdrop.
More castles to explore
If one German castle just isn’t enough, consider visiting Hohenschwangau Castle, Ludwig II’s childhood home. Located just down the hill, it offers another fascinating glimpse into Bavarian history and architecture.
Nearby nature reserves
For those who love the great outdoors, the Ammergebirge Nature Reserve is located just east of the castle. Once Ludwig II’s royal hunting ground, today it offers hiking trails and opportunities to spot local wildlife.
If you want to extend your fairy-tale experience, consider staying in the nearby town of Fuessen. It’s a convenient base for exploring not just Neuschwanstein Castle but also other attractions in the region.
Where to stay near Neuschwanstein Castle (scroll out to see the options in Füssen).
Final thoughts on Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle offers more than just a pretty facade — it’s a journey into a world where history, fantasy and modern convenience intersect. With its rich history, stunning architecture and breathtaking views, visiting this iconic landmark will surely highlight your trip to Germany.
Other resources here on PassingThru for your visit to Germany:
Sage Scott was bitten by the travel bug as a preschooler when her family moved abroad for the first time. Now settled in America’s Heartland, Sage is a travel writer, world wanderer and photographer whose favorite color is golden hour.
This article originally appeared on Food Drink Life.