Neuschwanstein Castle might just be one of the most famous landmarks in Germany and perhaps even the world. If you’re planning a trip to Neuschwanstein, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to get there, especially if you’re coming from Munich. Luckily there are several options to choose from.
Everyone has seen a picture of the stunning building that sits on top of a steep hill in the middle of a forest. The castle looks like something out of a fairy tale and will make you fall in love with the picturesque nature that Germany is known for. With snow-covered mountains and crystal-clear mountain lakes as a scenic backdrop, Neuschwanstein is a winter wonderland place and is not to be missed.
Why You Need To Visit This Incredible Castle
Neuschwanstein dates back to the 19th century, which means it’s actually still relatively young compared to other famous castles in central Europe. King Ludwig II of Bavaria had the castle built as a royal retreat and even paid for it himself, which was highly unusual at the time. However, the castle was never properly finished, and the king never saw his new residence the way it was supposed to look.
Today, Neuschwanstein is open to the public and has become a hotspot for both regional and international tourism. 1.3 million people visit Neuschwanstein every year, and especially during the summer, the impressive structure is absolutely packed. However, Neuschwanstein has managed to retain its character and charm despite the crowds of onlookers. It’s far from an overhyped tourist attraction, and almost everyone who visits it agrees how magical and unique it is.
Since the castle is located not too far from Munich, it’s quite easy to get there. It was built very close to the Austrian border, so it’s reachable from that side as well. However, the Alps make this route far more difficult so coming to Neuschwanstein from Munich is a far better choice.
Where Is Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein Castle is located in southern Germany in the state of Bavaria. It actually lies just an hour away from the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. The Bannwaldsee and Forggensee, two major lakes, perfectly frame the backdrop to the impressive building.
Behind Neuschwanstein, the beautiful Ammergebirge begins, which is a popular nature reserve known for hiking and camping opportunities. The closest town to the castle is Fuessen which is quite small with a population of only around 15,000 permanent residents. Not surprisingly, tourism makes this village come alive with visitors, and especially during the warmer months, it completely transforms into a gathering of guest houses, hotels, and traditional Bavarian restaurants serving local specialties to tourists.
However, the majority of people visiting Neuschwanstein actually get there from the major city of Munich, which lies around 100 kilometers northeast. The drive takes just under two hours on the major highways and is a fantastic way to get to know the beautiful Bavarian landscape. Only four kilometers south of Neuschwanstein, the Austrian border is situated, and you can even hike across if you feel like it. Due to the largely inaccessible Alps, this route is not the most convenient though, and there are no major Austrian cities in close vicinity. The closest is Innsbruck which is slightly further away from Neuschwanstein than Munich is.
How To Get To Neuschwanstein From Munich By Car
A trip to Neuschwanstein from Munich is a popular day trip, so renting a car and driving there is highly recommended. While the public transport options aren’t a bad choice, you’ll be far more flexible if you have your own vehicle. You’ll be able to stop along the way or maybe explore the nearby Ammergebirge, which is well worth a visit.
Rental cars are relatively affordable and can cost between 30€ and 60€ per day. If you’re traveling with a larger group of people, this could cost you almost as much as the buses and trains to Neuschwanstein would. Why not make a weekend of it and explore more of the beautiful Bavarian Alps while you are down south? A great way to save money is to go camping which is very popular in this area during the summer months.
The fastest way to get from Munich to Neuschwanstein will be taking the highway or Autobahn, as it is called in German. You’ll start by going south on the A95, which is a major highway, before branching off in a town called Sindelsdorf onto smaller roads. An alternative route that is slightly longer is also available. From Munich, head west on the A96 until you reach a town called Landsberg am Lerch. Turn off onto B17, which will take you directly to Neuschwanstein Castle.
The Scenic Route
While the drive on the highway from Munich to Neuschwanstein is already quite scenic, you can take it to the next level by avoiding the Autobahn altogether and choosing rural roads instead. These are called Bundesstraße and are usually single-lane with stricter speed limits.
From Munich, drive on the B2 and the B17, which will take you directly to the castle. These roads will not be the fastest but will take you past very beautiful little villages and picturesque countryside. Just make sure you aren’t in a hurry because you’ll definitely take a lot longer to get there.
Can You Park At Neuschwanstein Castle?
A lot of people come to Neuschwanstein from Munich by car, so of course, there is parking provided nearby. Since the castle sits on a rocky outcrop, it is not as easily accessible as you might think. Hohenschwangau is a little village close by which acts as the perfect parking location. Expect to pay around 8€ per day, which is relatively reasonable considering the area is so popular. There will be plenty of signs pointing you in the direction of the car parks.
How To Get From The Car Park To The Castle
Unfortunately, you cannot park at the top of the hill where the castle is located, so you’ll have to get up there somehow. Walking is the cheapest option but can be exhausting, especially during the hot summer months. The hike takes about 40 minutes one way.
There are also shuttle buses which cost 3€ for a round trip. This might seem like an affordable and convenient option but keep in mind that you’ll have to walk a further 15 minutes from where the bus drops you off. These buses are also extremely popular so you might have to wait in line for quite a while to get on.
Finally, you can also take a horse-drawn carriage which is arguably the most romantic way to get to Neuschwanstein. Rides cost 4,50€ per person on the way up and only 2€ on the way down.
How To Get To Neuschwanstein From Munich By Train
If you’re not keen on driving in Germany and would like to get to Neuschwanstein by public transport you should take the train from Munich. Unfortunately, there is no direct connection from the city to the castle. You can get on a train from Munich to Fuessen though, which lies only 4 kilometers from the castle. Make sure you’re buying tickets for a direct train and not one where you need to change somewhere which also exists.
In Fuessen you’ll have to get on a bus which will take you to the castle in about 10 minutes. Buses leave every 30 minutes, and they’re very easy to find since almost everyone getting off the train here is heading to Neuschwanstein Castle. You’ll be dropped off close to the car parks in Hohenschwangau and will have to choose between walking, getting the shuttle, or riding a horse cart to get up to the castle.
Groups Tours To Neuschwanstein From Munich
If you’re not looking to hire a rental car but also don’t want to worry about dealing with the German train system, you should consider joining a group tour to get to Neuschwanstein. There are a lot to choose from, and prices tend to vary between 50€ and 100€ per person depending on the group size and included services.
Try to avoid tours that include transport by train as this will not be significantly better than doing the journey yourself and you’ll just end up paying more. The best tours have large tour busses which will pick you up in Munich and take you directly to the castle. Just keep in mind that you’ll still need to get either a shuttle bus or horse cart in Hohenschwangau in most cases, so check with the tour company whether this is included in the price.
Group tours also sometimes include other sports such as scenic viewpoints where you can take photos of Neuschwanstein castle from a distance. Keep an eye out for the exact itinerary to get an idea of what’s included.
Things To Know When Going From Munich To Neuschwanstein
If you want to visit Neuschwanstein during the main tourist season in summer, make sure you’re not visiting on the weekend. The castle will be packed with visitors, and you might not have the best experience. Also, keep an eye out for German regional and national holidays, which might affect opening hours and crowds.
Try to arrive at the castle in the morning to make sure you have enough time to see everything and get back home. The last shuttle buses from the castle to the parking lots leave at around 7 pm so you cannot stay there too late.