It is located in the small town of Fussen, which is about 2 hours by train from Munich. Most people choose to visit the castle as a day trip from Munich, but you can also stay in Fussen itself. To make the best of your trip there, here are 10 things you should know when you plan your visit to this late 19th century castle.
10 Things to know for your Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
1. RESERVE YOUR TICKET!
This is probably the most important thing to do!!! Please, please, please do yourself a favor and reserve your ticket 2 days before your intended visit. This will save you a lot of time! We went in the winter time, and the line was HUGE! Thank goodness I booked tickets, and even though we were late for the tour I booked, they still took me in through the Reserved ticket line, which was 100 times smaller than the line for those who did not book. Also, book a tour that starts about 3 hours after your train leaves the station, and no earlier, just to be on the safe side. You might not have the same luck we did.
2. BUY THE BAVARIAN TRAIN TICKET
There is a particular type of tourist ticket you can buy from the Ticket machine that is specially for a round trip to the castle, train and bus included, and it is highly reduced. You will spend almost twice as much if you simply bought a regular round trip. The tricky part is that there are only certain trains you can take, hence the next piece of information.
3. TAKE THE RIGHT TRAIN
There are two main trains out of Munich. One is the 8:53 a.m. train, which has one change, and the other is at 10:00 am, and it is direct. Expect to return in at least 6 hours’ time. Why? It takes a train, two buses and some hiking just to get to the castle, and you will have to do that twice! Also, trains back to Munich come only every hour.
4. MAKE TIME TO EAT
You’re going to be away from Munich for most of the day. It if it is nice out, packing a picnic would be a great activity to do in the fresh air, but there are also a few restaurants in town. You will either want to eat before you go up to the castle, like we did, or after.
5. BRING YOUR BOOTS (or good climbing shoes)
Boot are not just made for walking, but climbing too! Did I mention that this castle is on a rocky hill? Even if you survive the swerving, rucus of a bus ride up the the mountain to the drop off point, you still need to make your way uphill for a good 10-15 minute hike. Don’t bring sandals, or shoes with no grip. Trust me on this.
6. EXPLORE THE “BRIDGE”
Most of the picturesque shots are taking from Mary’s bridge, which has been indefinitely closed to repair since August of 2015. If this is the case when you arrive, fear not. It was closed while we were there, but, adventurers are not faint of heart! It was not hard to find a very clear trail through a “broken” fence that goes off into the forest and stops at a ledge maybe 50 meters away from the bridge. You might have a slightly nasty encounter with the Bavarian police, but don’t worry! You got your nice boots on, so you can scamper back down the hill before they catch you! Other than them yelling at you, honestly, there are no consequences. Everyone goes up there. Just don’t fall off the ledge…please exercise caution when approaching the ledge!
7. TAKE YOUR PICTURE WITH FLASH (if it is sunny)
The ledge is in the forest grounds, so you are shaded by the trees, while the castle stands high on its hill, and will be very bright. This makes taking a picture of yourself in the dark foreground, and the bridge castle in the background, without one of the areas becoming overwhelmingly dark or bright. If you are lucky, there is a professional nearby that can take a nice shot, but otherwise, set up your camera to let the flash go off, which will help with this balance. I know, I hate using flash when I’m out in beautiful nature, but it was necessary. If it cloudy, you might luck out on ideal lighting conditions!
8. EXPECT A SHORT TOUR
The tour at the castle is shockingly short. It is a whopping 30 minutes long, 15 of those minutes are just walking around, going up and down stairs, and staring at all the beautiful details you are prohibited to take pictures of. Disappointing, yes. Keep in mind, though, the castle is surprisingly small, and even smaller due to the fact that a large part of it was left incomplete. If you are intrested, there is a small theater close to the bathroom, right next to the balcony everyone goes out on to see the view, which has a video presentation showing images of what was meant to be built. It is a dry film, so I lost interest quickly.
9. DON’T BE PUNCTUAL, BE EARLY!
Don’t forget that in order for you to get on the train back to Munich, you have to first take the bus from Fussen to the train station. You cannot walk it. You can take a taxi, who will charge maybe 12 euros, otherwise, just be at the bus stop about half an hour or earlier than the arrival of your train. There is no schedule to let you know how often the bus comes (at least not one that we could find…) so better to err on the side of caution, because the next train won’t come for another hour.
10. ENJOY THE SCENERY AND SURROUNDING AREAS
Because the tour of the castle is disappointingly short, and there is not a great deal to see inside the castle, most of what you will enjoy from your trip will be the exterior and the surrounding grounds. I cannot rave enough about the German countryside. We both fell in love with it, and perhaps you will too!
Have you been to this Fairy Tale castle? Is it on your bucket list? What amazing castle have you been to? Tell me in the comments below!