Are you looking to visit the Disney inspiring Neuschwanstein Castle? Are you wondering how to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, or how to get tickets for Neuschwanstein Castle? Join us as we visit Neuschwanstein Castle… the Disney Inspiring Castle where Fairytale meets Reality…
As we enter each room we expect to see a Princess asleep or trapped, waiting for her Prince charming to come and save her. Each corridor takes us further into the fairytale, with thrones, chandeliers, and swans, until we finally reach the balcony and see for ourselves… the reality is better than any fairytale could be!
We’re visiting the Disney inspiring Neuschwanstein Castle in the Bavarian Alps, Germany. The castle is one of the most famous castles in Europe, dreamt by King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Construction started in 1869 but was never completed following his death in 1886.
The castle was the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty’s castle and was used as the model for the castle on the Disney logo. Today it’s part of a wider UNESCO World Heritage site called the "Palaces and Parks of Ludwig II of Bavaria”, recognising it’s cultural and historical significance.
We go for the shuttle bus straight after breakfast hoping to beat the day trippers from Munich. But as we reach the ticket office there's already a long queue!
We manage to squeeze onto the next bus to leave though, and we make our way up the steep hill towards the castle full of excitement!
The bus drops us off a few hundred metres further up the road from the castle, at the Marienbrücke bridge viewpoint.
We make the short walk through the woods not sure what to expect, as the trees are thick making it difficult to see much around. But as we step onto the bridge we can't quite believe our eyes... what a view!
We're standing above a huge ravine, with Neuschwanstein Castle standing proud on top of the hill at the other side. And beyond the castle in the distance is the Forgensee Reservoir shining in the morning sun, and the Zweiselberg Mountains!
The bridge is quite busy with people but there’s lots of space for everyone to get a clear view and a great opportunity to get THE photo of Neuschwanstein Castle.
After lots of pics and admiring the view for a while, we head back into the woods and find our way to the Castle as we have timed tickets for the 1035am tour… and from what we’ve read online, the timings are very strict so we best not be late!
Neuschwanstein Castle Guided Tour
The Castle is only a few minutes’ walk so we reach in plenty of time to allow us a look around the courtyard outside, before the big screens show it’s our turn to enter and we scan our tickets through the automated barriers (we tried to scan earlier but they were rejected, so we guess if we’d been late they would have been too!)
We’re led through a maze of rooms, each one beautifully decorated and inspired by different periods of history. This is evident in two of the most impressive rooms…the Throne Room is like a Byzantine Church, while the Singer’s Hall is adorned with art depicting German folklores and poetry, as well as the Holy Grail.
Photos and videos aren’t allowed inside the castle, and they’re quite strict enforcing this as well! Sneha goes to take a photo in one of the rooms and the tour guide tells her to stop. And when walking with her phone in her hand, the guide makes her put it in her bag and ushers us to the front of the group so she can keep her eyes on us!
Despite the rooms all being decorated very differently, a common theme amongst them are swans, and King Ludwig II’s love of them! One room has a large swan statue while another has swans painted on the walls… he was after all also known as the Swan King!
The Castle was never finished before King Ludwig II died, and so the tour only covers 14 rooms on the 3rd and 4th floors, with the 2nd floor having been converted into a shop, café and multimedia room showing a video of King Ludwig’s vision for the uncompleted parts of the Castle and other dreamed of Castles to build!
One area not to be missed though is the balcony next to the café entrance. We walk out of the door to see were everyone is going, and the view we’re met with rivals that of the Marienbrücke from earlier!
Neuschwanstein Castle Balcony Viewpoint
We’re stood on a colonnaded balcony on the side of the castle, looking towards Hohenschwangau Castle, Alpsee Lake, and the surrounding mountains.
The lake is shining bright blue amongst the dense green fir trees, and the mountains tower over both in the background below the clear blue sky. Hohenschwangau Castle sits on it’s perch to the right, with our hotel visible by the side of the lake. The scene looks like something straight from a painting, it’s so serene and idyllic.
We decide to walk down the hill rather than take the shuttle bus down, which takes us to one of the best view points of the castle!
Walking to the side of the castle we head downhill, and there's a viewing point to see the coloured front of the castle... quite different from the rest of the white walls!
From here you can also get horse drawn carriages down the hill, but the walk down doesn’t take too long, and it's a nice walk through the trees.
The Marienbrücke is a must see, so if you decide to walk up to the castle rather than take the bus, make sure you go to the extra effort of heading to the bridge too!
Also, if you have a timed ticket for the inside tour… make sure you arrive at the correct time for your tour. The automated gates didn’t let us in any earlier, so we guess they wouldn’t have let us in if we’d been late either!
Inside the castle there are 2 shops… we recommend waiting until the second shop! The first shop you pass through has some nice souvenirs, but this is run by a multi-national corporation. Whereas the second shop is the original and is still family owned. Plus, the souvenirs are handmade in Germany, prices were less, and we thought they were nicer too!
For more info and to buy tickets... Neuschwanstein Castle Website
Close to Neuschwanstein Castle is Hohenschwangau Castle. Maybe not as famous as it's neighbour, this is where King Ludwig II grew up and gave him his love of castles, leading to him building Neuschwanstein Castle!
Hohenschwangau translates to High Swan Meadow, reflecting it’s scenic location near the Alpsee Lake and the surrounding Alpine Meadows… and where King Ludwig II’s love of swans came from!
We arrive at our hotel late at night so we’re not sure what the “Castle view” might be like, wondering if we’ll be able to see the castle at all.
But as we reach the hotel, we can see Hohenschwangau Castle shining bright on top of the hill opposite, lit up against the dark night sky.
It looks beautiful, and the sky above is so clear and dark, we can see thousands of stars sparkling above the castle! We even mange to capture a shooting star on a photo!!
Unfortunately, we run out of time the next day visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and having to head to Munich for Oktoberfest (read our blog… Oktoberfest… the World’s Biggest Folk & Beer Festival), so we don’t get the opportunity to visit the castle properly.
But the view of it during the day, sat atop the hill overlooking the Alpsee Lake is almost as magical as the view was last night!
To see both castles and fully appreciate the area you need at least 1 day, as we were too pushed for time and so weren't able to go inside Hohenschwangau Castle. So if you want to see both, plan your time!
For more info and tickets... Hohenschwangau Castle Website
Alpsee Lake is a glacial lake in the Bavarian Alps, sitting below Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle.
The natural beauty of the area led to the Bavarian Kings building the castles here, and after spending a few hours here it’s easy to see why!
Having seen Alpsee Lake from the top of Neuschwanstein Castle, we need to go and see it close up before we leave!
So once down from the castle we make the short walk to the lake’s edge, and it’s just as serene and idyllic as it looked.
The water is calm and crystal clear, reflecting the surrounding trees and mountains and shines a bright, brilliant blue.
It’s a very warm and sunny late summer day, and after the walk down from Neuschwanstein Castle, it looks very inviting to jump in and cool off!
The shores of the lake can get quite crowded during nice weather, but there is a small clearing in the bushes near to the Alpenrose am see restaurant where you can climb down to the waters edge. Although only a few metres from the main pathway, it feels like quite private and secluded, meaning you can enjoy the peace and beauty of the lake by yourself!
For more info... Alpsee Lake Website
Where to stay for Neuschwanstein Castle… AMERON Neuschwanstein - Alpsee Resort & SPA
While Neuschwanstein Castle can be visited on day trips from Munich, if you want to see both Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle, and enjoy some time at Alpsee, we highly recommend you stay for at least one night!
There are a lot of hotels in the area, but we chose AMERON Neuschwanstein - Alpsee Resort & SPA, and it couldn’t have been better!
The hotel is on the edge of the Alpsee Lake and in the shadows of both castles, with rooms having a view of at least one of these. We had views of Hohenschwangau Castle and could also see Alpsee Lake and the Bavarian Alps from the balcony, and it made for a stunning stay!
The hotel itself is very modern and upmarket, with a beautiful reception area, multiple bars and restaurants, and a spa. We could easily have spent a whole day at the hotel and not gone to the castles!
The breakfast was great with a wide choice of hot and cold foods, and if you pick the right table there are amazing views out to Neuschwanstein Castle.
And, as a very nice touch, with it being Paul’s birthday when we visited they also left a gift of macaroons!
One thing to note is that parking at the hotel is an extra charge, it was €12 for our stay. This did include the whole day of check out though, and it's really close to Alpsee Lake, Hohenschwangau Castle, and the shuttle bus stop to get to Neuschwanstein Castle.
You can use the spa and hotel facilities even after check-out, so plan your time well to make the most of your stay!
For more info or to book... AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa Website