Make sure to buy your skip-the-line tickets online before your visit!
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First of all, you should know that Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most visited sites in Germany, with more than 1.3 million visitors annually, and as many as 6,000 visitors per day in the summer! It can be really overcrowded during peak season (particularly July-August).
The tickets for the Castle can either be bought online or at the Hohenschwangau ticket office.
We strongly recommend booking your ticket online. They have an extra cost that is entirely worth it, especially during the summer (when you can easily see a 90-minute waiting line just to buy tickets). One disadvantage is that you’ll need to go to the ticket office anyway to grab your pre-booked tickets, but the line is much smaller, moves faster and your place for the guided visit is guaranteed. You need to get your ticket at least an hour before the booked time slot, to be in the castle on time for the visit. Online reservations are possible up to 2 days before your visit but not later than 3:00 p.m. (local time).
If you decide to buy the ticket upon arrival - be aware that queues for the ticket desk are not the only problem you’ll face. Admittance to the castle is only permitted in guided groups, and even with one group leaving every 5 minutes you may find the next available tour (the one you can buy your ticket for) only 3-4 hours later! Many tourists decide at this point not to go to the castle and just admire it from the outside. If you plan to see the Castle’s interior - buy your ticket and book your entrance time before doing anything else in the area - even before having breakfast!
The walk from the ticket office to the Castle will take about half an hour (or more, if you stop quite often to take photos or travel with kids). For this reason, you should get your pre-booked ticket well in advance of the entry time booked. You can also take the bus: the route starts in front of Schlosshotel Lisl and the bus will leave you at “Marienbrücke” stop (“Marie’s bridge”) which is a 5 minute walk from the famous bridge and still a 15 minute walk from the Castle. Expect significant queues at the bus stations during the summer. This shuttle only operates in suitable weather conditions (no snow or ice).
The best time to visit Neuschwanstein Castle without crowds is between the summer and the winter seasons, when the visitor numbers is at its lowest: for example, in November, December (before the holiday period) or in March-May (avoid Easter holidays). We recommend choosing a weekday for your visit.
The best time of the day to visit the Castle is either at the opening hour, before crowds arrive, or when they start leaving in the afternoon, after 15:00. This rule can not be applied during the summer months however, because if you arrive at the ticket office in the afternoon - there’s a high probability of tickets being sold out for the day.
To be the early bird in summer, consider staying the night in a hotel nearby: in Hohenschwangau or Füssen (15 minutes from the village by bus), this will allow you to arrive well before the tourists who come for a one-day-trip to Neuschwanstein from Munich.
During low season you won’t find many eating options in Hohenschwangau, so it can make sense to have breakfast in the hotel or take something with you.
The guided tour of the Castle has a duration of about 30-40 minutes. If you’re really into taking photos of the castle from all possible angles - go to Marie’s Bridge before visiting the Castle (it gets super crowded later in the day).
Another interesting viewpoint for photographs - from the Castle - is the western balcony, you’ll see it at the end of the tour, on the same floor as the cafe and souvenir shops.
The entrance of the Neuschwanstein Castle - photo credits to xiquinhosilva via Flickr
The rooms of the castle can only be visited as part of a internal guided tour.
No smoking, photographing or filming is allowed inside the castle.
Prams, child carriers, large rucksacks and similar bulky objects are not permitted inside the castle. There is very limited space for depositing these items. If you have doubts about your bag’s size - better check with the guards before the start of the tour.
The palace building has 5 floors, so you’ll have to go up 165 steps and down 180 steps.
Exploring the area
In the village of Hohenschwangau you’ll find three tourist attractions:
The Neuschwanstein Castle (the famous Swanstone Castle, commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as homage to Richard Wagner)
The Hohenschwangau Castle (the childhood residence of King Ludwig II of Bavaria)
The Museum of Bavarian Kings
The first Castle is the most popular and the most crowded. The ticket office is located downhill in Hohenschwangau, so to visit of any of these sites, you’ll need to get your tickets there (combined tickets available, see prices below).
The map can be consulted here
- Full rate: 12 euros
- Reduced rate: 11 euros
- Children under 18 years: free
King’s ticket ( Neuschwanstein Castle + Hohenschwangau Castle on the same day):
Full rate: 23 euros
Reduced rate: 21 euros
Prince ticket ( Neuschwanstein Castle + the Museum of the Bavarian Kings on the same day):
Full rate: 20 euros
Reduced rate: 18 euros
Wittelsbach ticket (Hohenschwangau Castle + the Museum of the Bavarian kings on the same day):
Full rate: 20,50 euros
Reduced rate: 18 euros
Swan ticket ( Neuschwanstein Castle + Hohenschwangau Castle + Museum of Bavarian kings on the same day):
Full rate: 29,50 euros
Reduced rate: 28 euros
King Ludwig II’s palaces ticket (Linderhof, Herrenchiemsee and Neuschwanstein palaces, valid for 6 months):
- Full rate: 24 euros
14-day-ticket of the Bavarian Palace Department (free entrance to 40 palaces, including Neuschwanstein)
- Full rate: 24 euros
By car: Drive along the A7 motorway/ expressway, direction Ulm-Kempten to the Füssen exit. At the exit go in the direction of Schwangau/ Königschlösser (Royal castles) to the federal road B16. From Füssen city, drive onto the federal road B17, Schwangau direction, and follow the signs to Hohenschwangau village/ Königsschlösser (Royal castles).
By train + bus : Füssen (Fuessen Bahnhof) is the nearest train station, located about 5 Km from Hohenschwangau. To get to the village you can either grab a taxi afterwards or the bus: lines RVA/ OVG 73 (Direction: Steingarden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen) or RVA/ OVG 78 (Direction: Schwangau). Bus journey time: approx. 15 Minutes. Expect big queues at the bus stop in high season!
Photo credits to Ben Garrett via Flickr
Photo credits to Pedro Paulo Boaventura Grein via Flickr