If your looking for the fairy tale castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella castle then Neuschwanstein Castle is it! While this is probably one of the most famous castles in Germany and it is impressive it’s very gaudy and by far not our favorite. The story about King Ludwig is quite fascinating though! We actually visited this castle in 2004 and went back several weeks ago with my mom and niece.
This is the most common view, but the least photogenic, to get the best view and photos you need to head to Mary’s Bridge.
It’s located near Hohenschwangau, Germany and that is the village where you park your vehicle. There are several parking lots, we parked in P2 but any that is open is fine. Parking was €6 for almost 2 hours. You can also visit Hohenschwangau where King Ludwig grew up.
If you know what day your visiting and what time you’ll arrive I highly recommend reserving the tickets online. Unfortunately we had a 6 hour drive so I wasn’t sure when we would arrive so we did not reserve tickets. We arrived at 2 pm and the tours were sold out until 5:30 pm. We were not able to wait because we had other plans and needed to check into our apartment by a certain time. So we skipped the guided tour. The ticket office is just down the street past the info office and bathrooms.
Also know that there are no photographs allowed in the castle if you do take a tour. I’m not a fan of the tours with photograph restrictions.
We did take the bus up so that we could walk around the grounds, see the views, and go out on Mary’s Bridge to take the iconic photos of the castle. The bus ride was €2,60 round trip for adults, and €1,50 for kids. The wait for the bus was 20 minutes to go up and we had no wait coming back down.
You can also walk up and down if you so desire, we walked up last time and took a horse & buggy ride down. Those are an option for either way as well, more spendy than the bus. Walk will take a good 20-25 minutes.
The best view of the castle is from Mary’s Bridge but if you really want to see it you need to wait until renovations are done mid-Nov as the bridge is currently closed. When we visited in 2004 we did not visit Mary’s Bridge so this was on my must do list this time, and it was great!
The bridge was a bit crowded but it wasn’t horrible. I was able to get a spot at the rail to take photos easily.
The view from the back side of the bridge overlooks a small waterfall.
Then we walked up and walked around the grounds before heading back down to the bus stop. It wasn’t super impressive but we were already up there so we did it.
These funny fellows add some great character to the outside of the castle.
If your doing a tour you line up at the turnstiles when it’s nearing your tour time, don’t be late or you’ll miss out!
I’d say if your in the area then it’s probably worth it to go see it at least once, with or without a guided tour is up to you. We have done it once with a tour and once without, and we won’t be going back now that Mary’s bridge is crossed off my list. I’ve heard several people say that they were more impressed with Linderhof Palace, I’ll have a post on that soon!
Know Before You Go
What: Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany.
How To Get There: It’s about 5 hours 11 mins from the Spangdahlem, 4 hours 9 mins from Ramstein and 1 hour from Garmisch. GPS addy: Hohenschwangau, Germany (we just entered the village and looked for the Parking signs, they are easy to find).
Parking: There are several parking areas, look for the blue P.
Cost: Free to wander the grounds and use Mary’s bridge. Tours are €12 for adults, kids 17 years and younger are free. You can also buy combo tickets for his other castles if desired.
Traveling with little kids: You can use a stroller on the walk up if needed, although I’m sure they are not allowed in the castle for the tour. Best plan is probably to use the bus up and down and wear them in a carrier.
How long: Plan on at least 2 hours to visit the grounds and bridge, more if you want to go on the guided tour.