How To Visit Neuschwanstein Castle, AKA The Sleeping Beauty Castle
If there’s one castle on your list, it’s probably Germany’s famed Neuschwanstein Castle. The sweeping Bavarian castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s castle creation in Sleeping Beauty. In reality, Neuschwanstein Castle was built for a Bavarian king in the 1800s and has been open to visitors ever since. And you can walk through that history on a visit to the castle. Here’s how to make a little piece of a fairytale come true.
There are a couple ways to see Neuschwanstein. You can get a ticket to go inside the castle on a tour or hike around the castle grounds to see the stunning palace from above — or both. It makes a perfect day trip from Munich to Hohenschwangau, the town below the towering castle.
From Munich, you can drive to Hohenschwangau or, if you’re carless, you can take a combo train and bus route. It’s a 2.5-hour train ride from Munich to a small town called Fussen. From there you take a bus (the #73 or #78) about 15 minutes to Hohenschwangau.
When you reach Hohenschwangau, you can book a time slot for a guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle in the visitor center. It’s about $15 per person for a guided tour ticket.
In order to reach Neuschwanstein Castle from Hohenschwangau, you have a small mountain to conquer. It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to walk from the town up the hill to the castle. But the forested path is pretty in its own right, so your time isn’t nearly wasted. You can also take a bus up for a small fee. Feeling a little extra fantastical? You could take a horse-drawn carriage ride up the hill to the castle instead of walking. Whatever makes your dreams come true!
You can get into the courtyard where the guided castle tours depart straight from the path uphill, but if you don’t have or buy a ticket, that’s as much actual castle time as you’ll get. However, there are plenty of activities to fill your time even if you don’t go inside.
Around the castle…
The most popular walk from Neuschwanstein Castle is Mariabrucke, Marie’s Bridge. It’s one of the best views of the castle in the area, if you can muster up the guts to stand on the tiny bridge over the huge gorge overlooking Neuschwanstein. And once you cross the bridge, you can connect to more hiking trails in the area.
There’s actually another castle within close proximity to Neuschwanstein: Hohenschwangau Castle. The architecture is different than its Sleeping Beauty neighbor, but it’s also worth a look while you’re in the area.