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The castle looks unreal the first time you see it; a royal crown nestled atop the mighty Alps. It’s hard not to have your thoughts wander off to the seemingly impossible feat of the structure and off to a distant fairytale land. This is the best castle in Bavaria, and it inspired Disney himself, to make it the icon of your favorite fairy tales. It’s easy to see why this day trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular excursions to the Alps. I’ll tell you how to get to Neuschwanstein, which tickets to buy, how to skip the line and alternatives to the tour like hiking and a bike ride.
Visiting the Disney like castle near Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle is a great option for everyone. There is plenty to do, from hiking, two different castle tours, and a museum. You can even get up to the castle in style with a horse-drawn carriage or bus if you have mobility concerns. Since this is one of the most popular day trips it can get very crowded if you go on the weekend be prepared to fight crowds and wait around. If you can, I recommend going in during the weekday in the summer. To avoid the longest line of your life, make sure you read the section on how to avoid the line, or you might head home unable to tour the castle. The first part of my guide will help you get there on your own. Then I will include some pre-packaged hassle-free tours. At the end of the post, I’ll include some advice on taking a group tour with Mike’s Bikes. I’ve been to the area twice, once independently and once with Mike’s Bikes, Munich and both are great options
This guide covers specific details on getting to Neuschwanstein castle from Munich, ensuring you secure tickets to tour to the main castle and doing the gorge hike after. If you want to go to the museum or the other castle, plan according.
Options and Cost to get to Neuschwanstein: Your cost for this tour will include the Bayern ticket. For groups of 2-5 people, always buy the group ticket, as it only costs you about 25 euros. This saves a ton of money, but is only valid after 9 am. The cost for an adult to tour one castle is 13 Euros. For more ticketing prices, check here. Bring money for lunch and expect tourist prices.
Seasons: All. Be warned that in winter the gorge and bridge may be closed due to ice and snow. Check the website for more details.
Water bottle or camelback.
Check the weather and dress appropriately. In Summer bring sunscreen or a hat. In winter, a hat and gloves and a warm jacket.
Good walking shoes.
Your ticket reservation information.
Buying Tickets for Neuschwanstein Castle Tour
This should be the first thing you do before you even think about going to Neuschwanstein Castle if you want to physically go inside the castle. If you do not do this, you will be waiting in a miserable line and during the summer you won’t even make it into the castle. Trust me. I walked up to the reserved line on a hot sunny day during peak summer and picked up my tickets no problem, while the line to get tickets on spot almost ran all the way to the bus stop, which was a LONG WAY! Don’t be one of those suckers. RESERVE YOUR TICKETS HERE You can reserve your tickets at least two days in advance, meaning the latest you can book is by noon two days before your trip. However, I’ve seen this book up a month in advance, so the earlier the better. You need a credit card to book online, but you pay once you arrive. When you buy your ticket it does not clearly state what time the tour is. I suggest trying to get a 13:55 or 15:55 tour, even though it only allows you to select hour increments on the hour. Most likely if you select an hour within that range, you will get an email with a confirmed tour time, which may be different than the time you hoped for. YOU MUST PICK UP THE TICKETS 90 min before your tour starts OR YOU LOSE THEM
How to Get From Munich to Neuschwanstein
By now you should have a confirmed time for your tour, hopefully, the 13:55 or 15:55, or you might be rushed on either end. Plan at least 4-5 hours of transit time before your tour. So, if you’re on the 13:55 tour, you should be leaving Munich no later than 9:55 am. The train journey takes about 2 hours, you’ll want to arrive early to buy your tickets and grab a seat, plus an additional 20 min bus ride and you will need to pick up your tickets at least 90 minutes before your tour starts.
The direct trains to Füssen leave the Munich Central Station at 8:53, 9:53 and 10:47 am. Plan which train you will need based on the start of your tour time. Remember to arrive at the station early to buy the Bayern ticket (only available after 9 am for 2 or more people), a normal ticket (before 9 am as a solo traveler) and to get breakfast or coffee. The Bayern or regular ticket will print out and you should have a pen on you to write the names of everyone in your party on the lines on the ticket. You can buy these tickets online or at the station from a kiosk or the help desk.
Your train will be full, during the peak season, so be at your platform at least 20 min early if you want a seat. The trains to Füssen usually leave from platforms in the back right (if you’re facing the trains) corner of the station, numbers are in the high 20s, but check the departures board and your tickets. It is usually 27,29, or 29.
Kick back and relax as the train ends at in Füssen. Use the train’s bathroom before you go!!! If it’s summer there are only about 2 toilets near the ticketing station and you can possibly wait up to 30-40 min in this line and miss picking up your tickets. As soon as you leave the train to follow everyone out of the station and to your bus. Take a left stepping off the right side of the train and a right at the Y, and another right. You can easily follow the crowd, but if you linger too long you’ll be waiting for another bus. Use your same ticket you boarded the train with and hop on bus 78. Ride to the bottom of the ticket center. Walk uphill and get in the reserved ticket line, pay for your ticket and ask any questions you might have.
Sample timetable for a 15:55 tour:
Several weeks out buy tickets online
10:30 am arrive at the train station, buy tickets grab coffee head to the platform.
10:47 am train leaves
12:50 train arrives in Füssen
12:55 bus leaves from Füssen to Neuschwanstein
13:10 (ish) bus arrives
13:15-13:30 pick up tickets
13:30-15:45 walk up to the castle- take photos, grab lunch.
15:45 be at the area ready for your tour at 15:55
16:00-16:45 Tour castle
Head down to catch the bus back to Füssen for the 18:06 train. The next train leaves at 19:05, but there is a stop involved, and the one at 18:06 is the last direct and easiest train to catch home.
All up transportation to and from Neuschwanstein takes most of your day with only about 3 hours for photos and the tour.
Getting to the Castle and Your Tour
There are four ways to get up to the castle, but my recommended route is to walk straight up the paved trail, to make sure you have enough time to get there before your tour. The guide says it takes about 40 min to walk up, but I think I did it in about 20 minutes, as a fairly capable walker. There is also a horse-drawn carriage for a dramatic entrance or a bus system that can get you most of the way uphill. I have not taken either of these, so ask an attendant how to do this if this is your mode of transportation. An alternative option if you have enough time to make it to your tour of the castle, is hiking up the gorge. This can be done after an earlier tour, or before a later tour. One of my favorite reasons for doing this tour is you not only to learn about the history of the castle and King Ludwig II, but you also get some great photo ops otherwise unavailable. See below photos.
Book A Guided Tour to Neuschwanstein Castle
If all that sounds way too complicated for you, check out some of these all-inclusive tour packages. If you choose a tour package I appreciate you booking through one of these links to support my blog.
Exploring The Area Around Neuschwanstein
After or before your tour you should have some time to explore the surrounding area. If you want a view like a photo above, walk up a bit further behind the castle to the Marienbrücke Bridge. This bridge gets very crowded in the summer. My sister and dad opted to stay behind and let my mother and I brave the bridge. Just be patient and you’ll get your turn at this majestic photo opp.
The gorge I mentioned above is also a nice walk and can be done on either side of the tour, depending on how much time you have. Occasionally this area is closed due to maintenance or flooding; pay attention to all signs and follow instructions. (Photos of this hike in the section about Mike’s Bikes.) You will be following the Pöllat River and you end near the toboggan ride and gondola. Keep an eye on the time and explore this area if you want, but make sure to be back at the train station or at the castle to start your tour.
There are also plenty of forested walks to the castle as well. Instead of taking the main paved route, you can try one of these alternative routes. If hiking isn’t your thing, but you want to shake things up, this is a good route to go. My parents loved it, aren’t they cute? This takes you right back to the visitor center or spits you out near the castle and your map provided at ticketing has the trails.
Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle with Mikes Bikes
If independent adventures aren’t your thing, but you want to enjoy everything Neuschwanstein and Füssen have to offer, while making new friends, then check out Mike’s Bikes! The first time I came to Munich almost six years ago I used this company. They picked us up from our hostel and bused us out to the castle. They handled all ticketing and transportation, so we just had to enjoy the day. We started off by renting bikes and riding around Swan Lake. We got some amazing views of the castle from below.
After our bike ride, we had lunch and hiked up the gorge to the castle where we took the tour. There were also plenty of options for anyone who didn’t want to bike, including a toboggan ride and tickets to the other castle or museum.
It was a well put together tour and I normally don’t recommend pre-packaged tours, but this one was great! Find out more about Mike’s Bikes here.
Pro Photography Tip
If you want a great view of the castle from the front, with the old red stone facing, take the gondola up near the Toboggan, you’ll need to make this a priority and if you’re lucky the guide will allow you to open the window for photos. I have not done this, but this is where you find the stunning front photos without a drone.
Getting Home from Neuschwanstein
Essentially follow the same route back home. From the ticketing center, head to the bus stop and take the bus back to the Füssen train station. Be careful which train you get on, if you want a direct train home take the train at 18:06. Many of the other trains stop halfway through where you’ll have to change trains and can almost double your ride home. Grab some food or relax in order to make one of these if you have leftover time. If you do get on a train that stops halfway through, just exit and look for the platform with a train headed to Munich.
I hope you enjoy your day trip from Munich Germany to the beautiful Neuschwanstein Castle. Let me know if you need any help planning your Munich trip and don’t miss these other day trips from Munich.
Don’t forget to pin this to your favorite Germany, castle or European board!
Susanna grew up in small-town Alaska where the changing climate was always on her mind. Through traveling, she gained an interest in the power of sustainable and regenerative travel. She now attends a Master's program for Ecology and bridges sustainable travel with the science of ecology.