When planning for our European adventure, the main reason to visit Munich was to visit Neuschwanstein Castle above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. This castle was the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle. This castle is also seen in the film “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”
Neuschwanstein is a short day trip from Munich. It’s about a 2 hour train ride from Munich. If you are in Munich, it is well worth the visit. The castle is stunningly beautiful, and the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. The town just below the castle is darling, with several gift shops and restaurants. You have three options for getting to the castle from the town: ride the carriage, ride a bus, or walk. We opted for the bus on the way up, and rode the carriage on the way down. The bus took about 10 minutes, I would assume the walk up would take about 45 minutes to an hour.
Tips for visiting Neuschwanstein:
- Buy your tickets ahead of time (there is a fast pass lane to pick up tickets if you pre purchased them… everyone else probably had at least an hour wait)
- Prepare for a crowded train ride. Our first train was either delayed or cancelled, so the train we ended up taking was packed. We lucked out and got seats, but many people were standing for the two hour train ride.
- Plan on taking an early train. The castle has set tour times (you buy a ticket for an entrance time) and you cannot be late, or you will not be granted admission. All tours are guided and last about 45 minutes. You will want to factor in the 15 minute bus ride from the train station to the town by the castle, then factor in time for either walking, a bus ride or a carriage ride up to the castle.
- Lines for the horse drawn carriage ride are very long. We ended up riding down from the castle in the carriage, and we felt very much like princesses.
- There is a bridge where you get a great view of the castle and can take a photo. Just be wary that the bridge can be very crowded, and feels a bit bouncy. You seriously get amazing photos here, but just be warned there are lots of people crowding on a fairly small bridge.
- Plan for enough time to catch the return bus to the train station. We left the castle as it was closing, and we were booked on the last train of the day. Hoards of other people were leaving at the same time. Let’s just say after a day of exploring and looking at a beautiful castle, people were less than courteous while pushing and shoving to board the bus to the train. There was a line that soon became a mass of people pushing and shoving. We missed the first bus, and would have missed the second had we not done it “Neuschwanstein Style” and shoved our way on like everyone else.
- Be prepared to stand on the train. Again, there were not enough seats.
- You can buy “group” train passes that allows 4 people to travel on the same ticket. Much cheaper than buying individual tickets.
Here are some of my favorite shots from our day.
Here are some shots from our train ride through the Bavarian countryside: