When I visited Neuschwenstein Castle last year, I discovered the castle was not as romantic as one would think it was be. Sure, it was the inspiration for that famous Disney fairy tale castle, but they seem to forget that getting to this famous castle is not as easy to get to or romantic as one would think. Here is what I mean.
Here are some things on what to expect when visiting Neuschwenstein Castle:
Book your admission tickets in advance – when it comes to famous landmarks like this, it is often best to book your tickets in advance as they often sell out fast. Another good alternative is it is best to join a tour group who would also provides transportation from Munich to the Bavarian Alps.
Tours can be book with the Munich Tourist Office – this is how I was able to book my visit to Neuschwenstein Castle. On my visit to Germany, I did not have a rental can so I went to the tourist office during my trip to Munich a couple of days before to book my tour. Depending on the season and availability, you can book your tour as soon as the next day.
The drive from Munich to the Neuschwenstein Castle is a little over an hour – If you are planning on driving from Munich to the alps is about an hour and a half so plan your time accordingly. If the weather is not agreeable, give yourself extra time.
Parking at the castle’s visitor center is limited – Parking is located at the bottom of the hill. I suggest you come early is you plan to drive to Neuschwenstein Castle. Another alternative is to join a tour group where bus parking has more availability. There is no need to worry about driving directions and parking when going a tour group.
The castle itself is on top of a very steep hill – if you look at photos of the castle, Neuschwenstein sits at the very top of a very steep part of an alps. This means you will need to literally hike up to this hill to get to the castle.
It takes about 50 minutes to get to the top of the alp – if you plan t hike up to the castle, depending on your pace, the hike can take up to an hour. So before you hike up, give yourself a hearty meal for energy.
There is a horse-drawn carriage to take visitors up to the castle – Finally, a decent mode of transportation. These horse-drawn carriages are available by the visitor’s center however lines are quite long which means the wait can take about an hour long.
All tours to the castle are guided tours – the Free State of Bavaria who is responsible for the upkeep and management of the castle does not allow visitors to roam freely within the castle. Try not to get lost as the tours are sometime done on a quick pace.
Guided tours can go up to 15 people at a time – because the castle is quite a popular landmark, guided group tours are necessary for crowd control and can go up to 15 people per group. Private tours not often not available.
No photography allowed inside the castle – notice this blog post does not have photos of the interior of the castle. This is to preserve the current state of the castle because they receive hundred if not thousands of visitors daily.
There is another castle nearby – You don’t see it in brochures but there is a neighboring castle not far from Neuschwenstein Castle. It is called Hohenschwangau Castle that also once belonged to Ludwig’s family. It is rumored that Ludwig II himself spent time at this castle going up and lived there for a time to supervise construction of Neuschwenstein. So if you have extra time, I would recommend paying a visit to this castle as well. The style and design is completely different from that of Neuschwenstein but it is worth the visit.
All these things are not to dissuade you from visiting this famous castle. It is only to prepare you so you can plan your trip ahead and accordingly. This way you know what to expect and what to do once you get there.