🏰 Neuschwanstein the dreamiest castle of Bavaria that inspired the castle of Sleeping Beauty is a must visit in Germany.
You can have a dreamy concept of visiting it however in real life your visit can easily turn to a nightmare.
✌🏼I visited this place twice : the first time not prepared, the second time learning from my previous mistakes and I have to say it made a huge difference !
💡 Here is everything you need to know to make a successful visit to Neuschwanstein
1. Choose the right season go out of holidays and touristic seasons
It is highly highly touristic. Imagine 20+ buses of Asian tourists everyday plus the locals plus you. It's a lot of people and if you go at the busiest periods you will not enjoy the magic of the place. There are seasons where it's more crowded than others
- 📆 Go in the week and avoid the week-ends
- ⏰ Go early in the morning or 3h before the sunset when everyone leaves
- 🕶 Never go during public holidays
- 🌬 In general decide to visit when no-one else would. For example we went during fall in the pandemic and we had the place for ourselves with a few locals.
- Choose the season :
- ❄️ For winter wonderland with the castle covered in snow expect a lot of people and apply the rules above strictly to not ruin your trip
- 🌸 Spring will really depend you could have a busy day or a more quiet day
- 🌞 Summer is very popular and is very packed with people
- 🍁 Fall is less crowded and you get to see the golden colors of the trees remember to still apply the rules above to optimize your visit.
2. Stay in Austria to reduce the costs and get better service
Like any touristic place the prices jump pretty easily for hospitality. This place is so touristic I have to say the main thing that ruined the experience is the service you get when you need anything. Unfortunately anytime I went I always met very rude locals working there.
- 🚫 I don't want to cary on with the negativity but simply be aware that you need to book way ahead to simply eat and get a table anywhere in town. Your own hotel might not have a spot for you and the price/quality ratio is really not great.
- ✅ For that reason whenever I want to visit Neuschwanstein I stay on the other side of the Border in Austria away from the tourists and I get great service and good restaurant / hotels for a decent price.
- 🇦🇹 You can stay 30-45min away in Austria and make a day trip to Bavaria and visit the castles. The roads are also really good on that side and the traffic is much better to access the car park because you are not taking the same road as everyone else.
3. Check on the weather
Your visit might be also ruined by bad weather make sure it's not too cloudy or foggy.
☁️ Too much clouds : There is a high risk of the castle being completely in the clouds wrapped in fog especially in Fall and winter time.
🌧 Rain : It doesn't prevent a nice view however the hike to the viewpoint will become extremely muddy and slippery especially with all the people walking up everyday
4. Check that Marienbrücke (Queen Mary's bridge) is open
⏰ Marienbrücke is the ultimate view point of the castle. It is a suspended wooden bridge that has a limit of visitors it can support and if you arrive on a peak time you might even queue for hours to reach it. If you followed my indications chances are you will be able to access it more easily.
🚧 However because of its structure whenever the weather is bad they close it especially with a risk of frost or heavy rain for the security of the tourists.
And if the bridge is closed you cannot access the other side of the cliff and hike up in the forest to get a higher viewpoint.
🥾 When you reach it stop for a minute to admire to castle from up close and then cross it and cary on to hike up on the other side. Most tourist don't go that way they stop on the bridge and go back down. So cross it and enjoy getting the place a little bit more for yourself.
5. Pack your bag with the right gear
The more you are ready the less time you loose on your visit. Once you get up there are no more shops or restaurants you get in the forest and you go on a hike.
- 🥾 Wear comfortable shoes / Hiking shoes if you want to reach the view from above the castle. You will be walking up in a forest that has big roots and maybe muddy areas.
- 🍎 Bring water and snacks you can make a lot of efforts to reach the top and the road is steep
- 👒 If you visit during summer hat, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must it will burn and be really hot up there
- 🧥 If you visit in any other season carry a little foldable puffer jacket, the sun sets really quickly in the mountains and the temperatures drop fast.
- 🔦 You might hike down at night time especially if you stay until sunset to get a nice view. Bring a flashlight or make sure you get enough battery on your phone to see clearly where you go. It's a forest around there you will be in the dark.
6. If you want to visit the inside of the castle
If you wish to visit the inside of the castle book ahead online :
- 🚫 Regular tickets have to be purchased on the day itself at the Neuschwanstein Ticket center in Hohenschwangau (not up there at the castle) early in the morning because waiting lines can be 3h long and If you are late, all tickets will be sold out. No tickets are sold for the following days.
- 💡 If you buy your ticket online the day before your visit you won't have a queue anywhere. The ticket is more expensive than the regular ticket but it saves you a lot of time and hustle.
- ⏰ The castle is opened :
- From 16 October to 31 March: Daily from 8:30 - 15:00h
- From 1 April to 15 October: Daily from 8:00 - 16:00h
- Closed on December 24th, December 25th, December 31st and January 1st
- 💶 Tickets for adults is 39,75€- Children up to 18 years is 22,50€
- 🚫 📸 You cannot take pictures inside the castle, also no backpack or stroller are authorised.
7. What about drones ?
🚫 You cannot fly your drone immediately around the castle and it’s dangerous with all the crowd around.
💡 Go further on the opposite cliff and make sure you are in a green zone to fly it away from people.
⏰ Choose a smart timing : early in the morning for sunrise for example and you will be sure to gave the best shot and safely.
8. Get to know the different angles from which to photograph the castle
There are many viewpoints from which to see the castle
- Marienbrücke is the best view to see it well in full
- The hike on the other side of the cliff gives you a view from above the castle with the lake in the background
- You can walk to the entrance of the castle and see it from the bottom
- You can drive further on the road on Colomanstraße and view it surrounded by the forest (I don't recommend blocking the traffic for that stop only if there is no one around)
- You can visit this park and see it in the background away from all the crowd