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How I missed Bavaria's #1 attraction from only 100 metres away

How to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a day trip from Munich

This post was originally published on A Globe Well Travelled in 2015. The content has been revised and updated with fresh information.

Do a web image search for Neuschwanstein Castle, and what comes up?

My guess is that it will be a ridiculously picturesque photos taken from the viewpoint of Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge).

You would have to be insane to visit Neuschwanstein and not do the short walk to Marienbrücke. It’s at this viewpoint that you can truly comprehend how Disney became so inspired for Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

When I visited Neuschwanstein Castle on a day trip from Munich, my number one priority was getting to that bridge. I was unsuccessful at reaching the classic Neuschwanstein photo spot, and I’ll tell you the full story of my unfortunate failure in the post below, but luckily I still enjoyed seeing the extravagant castle interior and the Bavarian countryside as it was dusted with fresh snow.

If you’re planning a day trip from Munich to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, here’s my travel tips on how to have the best Neuschwanstein experience!

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany

How to get to Neuschwanstein from Munich:

To get from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle, you have a few options–here’s how to get there via guided tour, train, or car:

By guided tour:

This is the method we used to visit the castle. I didn’t want to mess around with public transport, so we booked a Neuschwanstein guided tour that would take us there from the city.

Guided tours will usually collect from Munich at a predetermined location in the morning, then you’ll travel by bus to the castle and back over a full day, returning in the evening.

One added benefit of taking a guided tour is the additional stops at Linderhof Palace and the town of Oberammergau, which allows you to see more of Bavaria and its glamorous countryside palaces. I really enjoyed having a chance to explore these other locations along the way.

By train:

Travelling to Neuschwanstein by train is the cheapest option, though it does take longer than by car or guided tour, and it involves some transfers.

Start your journey at Munich’s main train station (Hauptbahnhof). You can buy tickets to Füssen (the closest train station to Neuschwanstein Castle) at the station or online in advance for specific departure times. The train journey from Munich to Füssen takes about 2–2.5 hours.

Once you arrive at Füssen, you have a couple of options to reach Neuschwanstein Castle. You can hop on a bus, take a taxi, or even walk (though walking will take around an hour and a half).

To catch the bus, exit Füssen station and head towards the bus stop area – there should be signs pointing to Neuschwanstein Castle departures. You can buy bus tickets from the ticket machines at the bus stop or directly from the bus driver (though be aware that some buses may not accept card payments).

The bus ride takes around 10-15 minutes. On arrival, you have the option to walk uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle, which takes about 30-40 minutes, or you can take a shuttle bus. There may be a small fee for the shuttle service, which you can pay on board or at the ticket center.

By car:

If you prefer to have more flexibility in your day trip to Neuschwanstein, you can rent a car from Munich and drive through the countryside. The drive takes approximately 1.5–2 hours, depending on traffic conditions.

Note that driving to the castle entrance is not an option. Once you arrive, you’ll find designated parking areas at the bottom of the hill. From there, you can either walk or take a shuttle bus up to the castle.

Neuschwanstein Castle interior, Bavaria, Germany

Touring the castle:

Upon arrival at Neuschwanstein, we immediately jumped into touring the interior. In my mind I had imagined it to be huge, so I was somewhat surprised to find out that the castle is actually not all that large. It is, however, incredibly ornate and fancy – the interior offers a glimpse into the lavish and fantastical world envisioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria.

Guided tours are mandatory for all visitors, and tickets are timed to manage the flow of people throughout the day. Before entering the castle, you must purchase Neuschwanstein tickets either online in advance or at the Hohenschwangau ticket center near the castle. Be aware that if you choose to buy your tickets on arrival and are visiting at peak times, you may have to wait for a quieter tour time.

The tour begins in the Entrance Hall and concludes with a visit to the gift shop. Afterwards, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the grounds or enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from various viewpoints around the castle.

Views of Neuschwanstein Castle in winter, Bavaria, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle photo spot:

There are a handful of viewpoints around the castle where you can snap a nice photo. The classic photo that you’ll often see of Neuschwanstein Castle is taken from Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge). The above photo was actually not taken from Marienbrücke, as a recent snowfall unfortunately crushed my dream of getting that photograph.

After touring the castle interior, I made a bee-line for the path to the bridge, only to discover there was a fence blocking my way. ‘Caution, path closed due to ice’ was splashed across the blockade. Confidently ignoring the sign, Rob and I climbed around it, slowly making our way down the slight decline.

It was very slippery. A few hundred metres in, Rob made the decision to turn back. He slowly started pulling his way back up to the safety of the castle grounds, using the handrail to keep himself steady. I continued onwards, determined to see the view of Neuschwanstein from Marienbrücke.

A turning point in the path meant I had to let go of the handrail to cross to the other side. I slowly edged my way across to where a bunch of other people were attempting to climb over a second barricade and up a snow covered hill. Half way across, my feet went from under me. Falling backwards, my arm went out to break my fall and my backside hit the rock hard ice.

My wrist was sore when I pressed it against the ground to get myself back on my feet. Making it to the other side of the path, I began to climb over the second barricade, but it was impossible as I couldn’t get a good hold on anything with a sore wrist. I conceded defeat. Ice = 1, Ash = 0.

I carefully slid back down the way I’d come, holding on to the handrail with my good wrist and trying very hard not to injure myself a second time. It killed me knowing I’d made it all the way to Bavaria and not been able to make it to the bridge.

Rob told me that he’d seen another young woman emerge from the path with blood pouring out of one hand – she’d obviously slipped and cut herself on something. Apparently ice is significantly more dangerous than we all had thought.

We arrived back in Munich and I used Dr Google to figure out how bad my injury was. It looked as though I’d done something very similar to an injury tennis players get when they fall and land on their wrist, pulling a tendon beneath the thumb. Dr Google prescribed resting the wrist for a few weeks and no strenuous activity.

Point of the story? Sometimes, shit happens and we just can’t do the things we want to do. I did everything in my power to get that photograph of Neuschwanstein from Marienbrücke, but sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. I’ve just had to accept it as a reason to go back and see some more of Bavaria on another trip, and maybe I’ll book the next one for the summertime when the path isn’t covered in ice!

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