How to visit the German castle that inspired Disney, Neuschwanstein Castle

by Kelly

I couldn’t wait to visit the castle that inspired Walt Disney and have my fairy-tale moment at Neuschwanstein Castle! Let me tell you the best way to visit Neuschwanstein Castle.

Brief history of Neuschwanstein Castle

Built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria who grew up in the more simple Hohenschwangau Castle. It was designed to be a beautiful castle in the style of German knights castles. You can find out all about the history during a tour or read all about its history on the official website. It is also possible to visit both Hohenschwangau Castle and Neuschwanstein Castle on the same day. The castle is said to have inspired Walt Disney who used it as a reference for the castles in his stories. It reminded me of the castle in Sleeping Beauty, even the forest felt familiar!

Neuschwanstein Castle

Day trip from Munich

If you are in Munich and don’t have time to come to Fussen you can actually do a day trip from Munich. These are some of the most popular day trips from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle. They are highly rated and well priced.


Tucked away in Bavaria Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is located just near the town of Fussen. This is the best base for you to stay, the town is lovely. There is a bus service to the castle, taking you right to Hohenschwangau village at the base the castle. The bus stop is located right near the train station. If you have a car then it is an easy 5 minute drive from Fuessen. There is a car park just across from the bus stop. The bus runs everyday and you can buy tickets when you board. You can check out the timetable here. If you are staying in Fussen your accommodation may give you a Fussen card. This card includes the bus ride, ask if you don’t receive one! We wrote a blog on our favourite things to do in Fussen. We stayed at the beautiful Hotel Sonne in Fussen and highly recommend it. It is one of the best hotels we have ever experienced and so unique! It is also located in easy walking distance to the bus and train station.

map Fuessen to Neuschwanstein Castle

How to get to the castle

There are a few ways to get from Hohenschwangau to the castle. Keep in mind that it is a bit of a walk and a steepish hill to the top. The way most people do it is to walk, it is a really lovely walk, the scenery is beautiful. You will walk through a forest and will get glimpses of the castle and the hills as you walk. The road is easy to walk, although you do have to dodge horse poo as as you go. The walk takes about 40 minutes depending on your speed and fitness. Most people, including us, chose to walk up even though it was rainy day.

Another option is the horse and carriages that you will see going up and down the hill. They can’t go right up to the castle and there is a turning area where passengers disembark. Then there is an uphill walk of about 450 metres (approx. 15 minutes) to the castle entrance. This costs uphill trip 8 euros and downhill trip 4 euros (at time of our visit in May 2022)

The final option is to catch the shuttle bus up. Again this stops before the castle at the Jugend lookout point (Marienbrücke) above the castle. From here it is a downhill walk of about 500 metres (approx 15 minutes and gradient of 12-19%) to the castle entrance. The shuttle bus costs 2.50 euro at the time we visited (May 2022).

 Hohenschwangau map

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle

You have the choice to go inside the castle or just view from the outside. I read all of the reviews I could before visiting as I really wasn’t sure about paying to go inside. There are so many mixed reviews. It seems that it is not possible to go all through the castle, just the courtyard and the front area. You are also not allowed to take photos or video and there isn’t much to see. It appeared that it is more beautiful from the outside. We chose to just walk up and see the castle from the outside. There is a viewing platform that sticks out across the valley. You can get a nice view from there also before walking up the final length to the castle.

If you do decide to go on a tour then you need to book your tickets beforehand. At the time we visited it was necessary to book a week or two ahead. This may depend on the time of year but it would be better to check before getting there. You can book online or in the town before going up to the castle. You can book your Neuschwanstein Castle tour and tickets online which makes it faster and easier than trying to do it when you arrive as they do book out!

Opening hours of Neuschwanstein Castle
April to 15 October: 9 am-6 pm
16 October to March: 10 am-4 pm
open daily except 1 January and 24 / 25 / 31 December

Viewpoints for Neuschwanstein Castle

There are some great viewpoints for pictures of the castle. Unfortunately on the day we visited it was raining and we couldn’t get to most of them! We could get to the viewpoint at the locker area which is right before the castle itself.

There is a great view to the castle from the bus stop, you can see right up to it with the trees in front. The bridge was closed when we visited due to repairs but the view from there is meant to be spectacular. I have also heard of people hiking up in to the mountain off the tracks and getting to some great spots but it was raining so hard we couldn’t get up there as it was just a mud pit. Walking down from the castle you can also get a good view to Hohenschwangau Castle as well.

Mike in front of Hohenschwangau Castle

We really enjoyed visiting the castle. I would recommend coming earlier in the day as we got to the castle without a lot of time to explore the area. We had to get up to see the castle before the last bus left and should have timed it better. Unfortunately we didn;t have many days to spare and wished we could have spent a few here. I would recommend giving yourself 2 to 3 days in the Fuessen area to really enjoy all that it has to offer.

Is there an easy way?

Looking for an easy way to see magical Bavaira? Check out this tour of Bavaira that includes everything from accommodation, transport and meals!

Where to next:

Hotel Sonne – the best hotel in Füssen!

Why you should live your real life Disney fairy-tale in Fuessen, Germany

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