Perched over one of the world's prettiest gorges, Neuschwanstein Castle is everyone's fantasy dream. It's the image you've seen everywhere that makes you want to start planning your trip to Germany. Why not rent that Porsche and hit the romantic road? We'll give you what you need to know.
Where is Neuschwanstein Castle?
Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most popular destinations in Europe, is located in the German State of Bavaria close to the Germany's border with Austria, not far from the popular ski resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
The closest airport is Munich, 128km to the north east.
Tickets and Guided Tours
Entrance tickets to the castle must be purchased at the ticket center in Hohenschwangau before you start the climb to the castle. Cost is 9 Euros for an adult. The mandatory tour takes a little over half hour. There are 165 stairs to climb on the tour, and 181 to descend. A recent traveler reports that there is now a cafe inside. Tours for the disabled in wheelchair and walkers are held on Wednesdays. See the links below for more information.
Best Spots to View Neuschwanstein Castle
You can get good pictures of the castle and waterfall from Marienbruecke (Mary's Bridge). Between the bridge and the castle is a view of Hohenschwangau castle. Photography is not allowed inside the castle.
By rail: Take the train to the town of Füssen, then bus 9713 to Hohenschwangau.
See ticket prices, journey times and departure times with this Interactive Rail Map of Germany.
By car: Take the A7 to Füssen, then on to Hohenschwangau where you'll find parking. From Hohenschwangau you can walk to the castle in 30 minutes. You can get a 5-minute ride by horse-drawn carriage for 5 euros uphill and 2.50 euros on the return downhill.
A bus is also available from Schlosshotel Lisl, Neuschwansteinstraße in Hohenschwangau.
Where to Stay
I recommend staying spending the night in Hohenschwangau. Read more about Staying in Hohenschwangau when visiting the King's Castles.
The Hotel Mueller has views of both castles and a good restaurant.
You can also stay nearby in Fussen, as many do:
Neuschwanstein Castle Description & History
Neuschwanstein Castle was built by King Ludwig II, sometimes known as Mad King Ludwig although less and less these days. His aim was to to replicate medieval architecture, especially the Romanesque, and to pay homage to the operas of Wagner. You may think you've already seen it--it's Disney's Sleeping Beauty Castle, but real.
The foundation stone was set on September 5th, 1869. When Ludwig II died in 1886, the castle was still not complete.
The building site near Pöllat Gorge is probably one of the most beautiful in the world.
Neuschwanstein Castle Interesting Facts:
- The Castle is under tremendous tourism pressure; in summer over 6000 people wind through the castle per day - 1.3 million per year.
- Since 1990, the state has spent 11.2 million euros on renovation and maintenance of the castle and improvement of the visitor service.
- Neuschwanstein Castle was opened to the public 7 weeks after the death of King Ludwig II.
- Although the Castle was designed to look medieval, it had quite modern refinements: hot air, running water, automatic flush toilets were all part of the royal residence.
- The kitchen at Neuschwanstein has been preserved in its entirety, featuring automatic spits and cupboards that could be heated with hot air from the large kitchen stove.
- From Neuschwanstein Castle there are great views of alpine lakes, especially the Alpsee. Hiking trails abound near the Alpsee, and the one circling the lake is protected as a nature reserve.