Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle (pronounced Noy-Schvan-Stein) was next on our itinerary. While researching points of interests and routes from Berlin to Munich, this beautiful castle appeared on dozens of “must see” lists. If you Google “Barvaria” there are hundreds of pictures of Neuschwanstein on the first page. Neuschwanstein Castle was built on on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau or Schwangau near Fussen. The palace was commisionsed by “crazy” Ludwig II as a personal retreat. The castle was opened to the public immediately after his death in 1886.
We left Rothenburg ob der Tauber Tuesday morning and it took about 2.5 hours to drive to Schwangau and Fussen!
It was such a scenic drive!
We decided to visit Neuschwanstein first because our hotel check-in (in the town of Fussen) was not until 2:00PM. The castle is open from 8:00AM to 5:00PM during high season (April to mid October). There were plenty of signs to the castle and it was easy to find the paid parking lot (you can also take a bus from the town of Fussen). We paid 5 Euros to park and made our way towards the entrance. Towards the right and up a little hill there is a visitors center where you can purchase tickets for a tour of the inside of the castle. If you intend on taking a tour, make sure you purchase your tickets before going up the hill! Due to time, hunger, and the lines, Cliff and opted out of the tour (you can also purchase tickets in advance), but wanted to explore the castle grounds. How do you get to the top? There are three options:
- Walk to the top <-ummmm negative with my foot….and to be honest….negative if my foot was 100% 🙂
- Take a horse-drawn carriage <-it costs €6 for the uphill trip and €3 for the downhill trip
- Take a bus <-it costs €1.80 for the uphill trip, €1 for the downhill trip, or €2.60 for roundtrip.
Taking the bus was the winner! Cliff and I decided to take the bus up and walk back down. The buses were located close to the parking lot. Some of them were marked and some of them were unmarked vans. We found a bus, paid in cash, and waited about 15 minutes before the driver started the engine. I did some research in advance and read that the bus makes a stop at Marienbrücke Bridge where you can take panoramic shots of the castle…yup those very same shots that appear in ALL the pictures! Well apparently everyone had the same idea and it was a bit crowded on the bridge (wish I had a picture to share, mine turned out blurry). If you can get past the crowd at the front of the bridge, there is plenty of room in the center/end. Then you can get incredible pictures of this!
Fun Fact: Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle was modeled after Neuschwanstein. Cool map of the grounds – the bridge is to the right of the castle.
After we were done exploring, Cliff and I walked down the hill. It was paved and an easy walk, just be careful of the horse poo! We were hungry! We found a restaurant at the bottom of the hill and ordered some lunch.
We parked in an underground garage (sooooo tight in there) and checked-in at City Apart Hotel, which I found on Hotels.com. It is a newly renovated hotel in the center of town, nothing fancy about it. It does have a nice view of the town if your room is facing the front.
Here are two great blog posts I read while researching for this portion of the trip:
- Visiting a Fairytale: Neuschwanstein Castle by Twins that Travel
- Visiting the World’s Most Beautiful Castle Neuschwanstein by Happy to Wonder