The fairy-tale castle: Neuschwanstein

The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

The name is complicated, it takes some practice to get it right, but the difficulty to call it hasn’t intervened on the beauty of this castle, or on its fame. The Neuschwanstein Castle inspired Walt Disney when creating Cinderella’s and Sleeping Beauty’s castles, and it has been said before that: “if you have the chance to visit only one castle in your life, this is the one”!

Neu-schwan-stein means: new swan stone, exactly because of the swans, famous in the region. It was only after visiting the castle that I learned what is really special about the Neuschwanstein, and what is really behind its story. In order to tell you what it is, you need to meet the story of the man behind it all: Ludwig II, the former King of Bavaria.

The fairy-tale king

If you ever mention his name to a German, they will refer to him as the crazy king, but I don’t see it this way. Ludwig II was born in Munich, at the Nymphenburg Castle in 1845, and had a lonely childhood away from his parents – Maximilian II and Princess Marie of Prussia. He reined Bavaria for 22 years, and during this time, he avoided being in public and surrounded by people as much as he could, he never got married, even though he was engaged for only a few months.

Ludwig II became King when he was 18 years old, had one brother – Otto – and was fascinated by the famous opera composer Richard Wagner, author of the story “Tristan und Isolde”. Wagner was brought to Bavaria by the king, where he composed many famous pieces. Ludwig II built a life of fantasy, a private world in which he felt like a real king, while he slept during the day and was awaken during the night.

In the summer of 1868 Ludwig II ordered the construction of his dream castle, where he could be isolated from the World and be the king of its own kingdom, the Romanesque Revival styled, Neuschwanstein Castle. The king himself designed some parts of the castle.

However, the construction of the Neuschwanstein was never completed, and the king only stayed there for 186 days, until he was declared by his brother and a psychiatrist to be crazy and incapable of being the king, and sent to isolation near the Lake Starnberg, where he died mysteriously on June 1886. Some people say he went for a walk with his psychiatrist and later both were found drowned in shallow waters on the lake.

The castle was opened for the public 7 weeks after Ludwig’s death, and nowadays receives around 1.4 million visitors each year, 6.000 per day during summer time.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

Visiting the castleΒ 

Location

Hohenschwangau, Bavaria, Germany

126 Km from Munich – approximately 1h30 – 2h by car/bus

How to get there

Taking a bus from Munich (51 Euros per person):

It’s a day tour, which also includes a visit to the Linderhof Castle and a short stop at the city of Oberammergau. I have done this option before and I thought that everything was a bit fast, and it didn’t include the Hohenschwangau Castle, totally worth the visit and just in front of the Neuschwanstein. The good thing about it is that you can buy the tickets directly with them (in addition to the 51 Euros).

By car: if you have the option to rent a car or pay a chauffeur to take you there, I advise you to do so. You can stay as long as you need, no hush, and it is cheaper than with the bus!

Parking: varies between 5 – 8 euros a day, or you can find free parking a bit further.

Tickets

I pretty much advise you to book your ticket in advance on Internet, buying there – especially during summer – means wasting time on the line.

Once you arrive in Hohenschwangau, you have to go to the ticket center and pick up your tickets before you head to the castle.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

Check out the opening times, prices and make your online reservation here.

*Your ticket will show you the time and the number of your tour, stick to that and don’t be late!

Getting up there

Walking: it is beautiful and for free.

By bus: it costs only 1 – 1,40 Euro one way, and it leaves you right beside the MarienbrΓΌcke – Marie’s Bridge. And you can easily walk your way down.

With a carriage: I personally don’t like this option! Its very pretty to go up the castle on a carriage, it feels like a real fairy-tale, but I do feel sorry for the horses having to climb their way up several times a day. In addition to that, it takes longer and you normally need to wait until a carriage is available for you. Should you choose this option don’t forget to check your watch and see if you are not going to miss your tour.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

The visit

Before entering the castle, pay a visit to the MarienbrΓΌcke, where the most famous pictures of the castle are taken (the bridge is very busy during summer).

The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

The visit inside the castle doesn’t take long, it lasts between 15 to 20 minutes, it can be guided in English or German, or you can choose to have an audio guide (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Russian).

No photos or videos are allowed inside the castle; I respected that, and this explains why I have none.

The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

Extra tips

Previous to the Neuschwanstein, Ludwig II ordered the construction of two other castles, Linderhof – the only one completed before his death – and Herrenchiemsee. It is possible to visit both castles, as well as, the Hohenschwangau Castle, which is just across Neuschwanstein, where Ludwig spent most of his childhood, where I highly recommend a visit.

If you are interested on visiting the Hohenschwangau Castle too, you can buy a combined ticket, which includes a visit for both castles.

Souvenirs at the castles’ official stores are a bit more expensive than others just outside.

You can have lunch at the Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein, just outside the castle, the food is great and it’s very typical of Bavaria. Or have some snacks at the MΓΌller Hotel’s Bistro on the main street of the city.

There are hotels in Hohenschwangau in case you decide to stay longer and explore the area.

More information about the Neuschwanstein you can find here.

Giveaways

I am giving away 3 souvenirs of the Neuschwanstein Castle, which a bought on my last visit: 2 bookmarkers and 1 big post card. All you have to do to win is to follow these very simple steps:

1.Like Packing My Suitcase’s Facebook page

2.Look for this picture below:

The Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

3.Leave a comment on the photo and tag 2 people you know

The winner will be announced on Facebook on Sunday, November 16th, 2014 at 12pm at Germany’s local time. The winners will be picked randomly, using the website random.org. Good luck!

**If the winner doesn’t contact me within 2 days after the result, another one will be chosen.

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • This castle looks amazing. I would like to visit Bavaria, it seems the perfect spot for some wonderful hikes! Have a nice week πŸ™‚

    • Thank you dear! I hope you are also having a great week!
      Yes, Bavaria is for sure for hiking lovers… the options are endless, you really do have to visit it πŸ˜€ let me know when you come! πŸ˜‰

  • Reblogged this on travel blog and commented:
    Neuschwanstein Castle – the Cinderella castle

  • one place i always meant to visit but never did. thanks for sharing!

    • There is still time!! πŸ˜€ I hope you make it there, its is totally worth the visit, so far I havent seen any other castle like this one!

  • A fairytale castle! You must have been in awe when you visited this very old castle! That looks like a very nice path to walk down – so you’re very smart to suggest that we should go up by vehicle and down by walking πŸ˜€

    I knew you went there recently when it wasn’t winter but autumn, but was is cold in the castle, up there? The weather looked gloomy but I’m sure you had fun! Awww, so nice of you to have gotten us souvenirs. It would be weird to leave the castles without taking something home to remind you of the once-in-a-lifetime trip πŸ˜€

    • Its an amazing place Mabel, I hope you can o there someday, when you visit me in Munich I will take you there πŸ˜€

      I went there in August and recently in October… the first time was raining a little, last time was snowing already ahahah. It is very close to the mountains, so its a bit colder than the rest of the region, but veeery pretty to see the alps from there πŸ˜€ its a breathtaking place!
      Yeahh, if you like the souvenirs you follow the instructions and maybe you will be lucky to win one of the 3 and I will send it to you personally πŸ˜€ <3

      • Yes, I would like you to take me to this fairy castle when I visit in Munich. On the way there, maybe we can stop by a costume shop and I can buy myself a fairy costume with wings πŸ˜€

        Snowing? The castle must look more magical then blanketed in bits of snow. I hope there wasn’t cold wind. If there was, I suppose you would have hide behind the big castle walls!

        I will be generous and let the others readers have the prize πŸ˜€ <3

        • So let me know when you come πŸ˜€
          Ive seen pictures of the Castle on winter time and looks amazing, even more beautiful with the snow around πŸ˜‰

          • Don’t you worry. How can I now let you know when I come to Germany? I will have a free tour guide there. Free πŸ˜€

            When I do come it will be in the summer. Cold weather and me are not best friends. I’m sure your town will be very lively then anyway. Who doesn’t like summer? πŸ˜€

          • Yesss please do come during summer!! Munich is amazing during summer, its the best time to visit the city… and I always try to be there at this season πŸ˜‰ and of course I will be your guide for free πŸ˜€

  • It looks just out of fairy tales! No wonder Disney got inspired from this…

    • Its amazing isnt it?! I find the spot it was constructed a very pretty place, up in the mountain… such a big castle for such a lonely king!

  • Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous castle! Its history sounds so interesting, I would love to visit it! πŸ˜€ Great giveaway idea, I will definitely sign up! πŸ˜‰

    • Thank you Vlad!! Im so happy that you liked it πŸ˜€
      I hope you can go visit me in Munich one day and I will gladly take you there πŸ˜€
      Happy that you liked the giveaway idea!!

  • Great information there! πŸ™‚ Neuschwanstein Castle is my main reason for wanting to visit Germany, but hadn’t really given it much thought until now. Thanks for the guide in terms of how to get there, at least now I know which airport it’s close to. And Munich as well…must plan a trip that coincides with Oktoberfest next year πŸ˜‰

    • Yaaay thank you!! Im happy that you liked the post and that you also found the information helpful! I hope you can come next year. During the Oktoberfest is perfect, so you can do both on the same trip! Let me know if you need anything πŸ˜€

  • Wow, just wow πŸ™‚ Next summer!

  • I visited Ludwig’s castle in Germany. It was beautifully preseved in the original state as when Ludwig lived there. I loved every minute of the tour although I missed the English one and had to take it in German. Is this the same Ludwig?

    • Hi Cindy!! Yes, Im sure is the same Ludwig, the II… his 3 castles are the most famous in Germany πŸ™‚ happy that you liked it, even though you had the tour in German πŸ˜€

  • Ludwig may have been crazy, but that castle is absolutely beautiful. Definitely straight out of a fairytale πŸ™‚

    • I couldnt agree more with you Miriam πŸ˜€ in my opinion the guy was a genius, but back then, probably too much to be accepted by the society… he didnt feel like he fit! Poor him!

  • Tim

    I visited this castle many times when I was a guide in Europe. What a fascinating place and I was happy to return through your blog. Thanks.

    • Hi Tim!! Woww, everytime you surprise me… I didnt know you were a guide in Europe, how amazing…. Im sure you had the opportunity to visit amazing places!
      Im glad you liked “returning” to the Neuschwanstein once more πŸ˜€

  • So nice! It’s absolutely on my bucket list!!

    • I hope you can make it πŸ˜€ Its amazing… especially in person. The region is very pretty with all the alps! <3

  • Love this place! I am slightly obsessed with KΓΆnig ludwig’s history since moving to Munich. Amazing castle πŸ™‚

    • Yes Jennifer me too!! Im also obsessed with his story πŸ˜€ Have you been to the castle already after moving to Munich? πŸ™‚

      • Have you seen the film made about his life? Its great. And yes i have been πŸ™‚ also to Linderhof and Nympthemburg

        • No!! How is it called? I have to watch it!!!
          I also have been to Nymphenburg and Linderhof, I still gotta see the on in Chiemsee πŸ˜€

  • Is the inside actually pretty/interesting? Sometimes these places house really fantastic exhibits and interiors – and other times it’s just bare walls. When is the best time to visit? 6000 people per day seems like MADNESS! I just visited a castle in Croatia and my friend and I were one of only 3 couples inside for an hour and a half!

    • Hi Anna!! The inside is veeeery pretty, but since the castle wasnt finished there are only a few rooms you can see, but still worth seeing it… you can see the king’s chambers and also an artificial cave he designed πŸ˜€
      Yes, during summer is madness, but there are groups pre defined in different slots of time, so you don have to stand on the line if you buy your ticket online, and the groups have a maximum of around 15-20 people. I guess they have a tour every 20 minutes all day long! I guess during spring is a good time to visit it πŸ™‚

  • I’ve been wanting to visit this castle for a long time. Looks like it’s well worth a trip!

    • Yes it is!!! I always wanted to visit it too, when I finally made it there this year I was impressed, because even though I thought it was beautiful, in person it was even more! And its not only the castle itself that its beautiful, but also the little town and the alps around… its an amazing view! I hope you can visit it soon πŸ˜€

  • Have wanted to see this place for ages. Been to Germany a few times, but never here. Nice piece.

    • Thank you Alex!! Im happy that you liked it πŸ˜€
      Next time you come to Germany, you must visit it, its totally worth it πŸ˜€

  • Very useful post! planning to take my boys there next year…..lovely photos!!!

    • Hi Diana πŸ˜€ thaaaaat is a great idea!! I hope you come!! Stay in Munich a few days so we can meet and then you visit the castle for the day!! I will be happy to help if you need anything πŸ˜€

  • A gorgeous castle! Your photos are fantastic, especially the view through the arch.

    • Thank you πŸ˜€ Im happy you like the photos!! This castle is indeed amazing!

  • This place was one of the first things on my “bucket list”. Very much enjoyed looking at your photos.

    • Hi Iris!! Im happy you like my pictures πŸ˜€ This place is really amazing, it was never on my bucketlist, but it was no doubt a place I had to visit as I live in Munich, and I must say it really impressed me!!

  • Oh my goodness! What a beautiful castle! I really hope I get to go here some day

    • Hi Stacy!! Yes, this place is stunning, I really hope you can make it there sometime soon, its lovely and breathtaking πŸ˜€

  • What a stunning castle, I can see why it inspired Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty! Bavaria looks like a stunning place and one place I’m going to have to visit!

    • Ohhh Ting yes you should definitely visit this place… its so beautiful, the kids also love it, I saw many there wanting to ride with the carriage πŸ˜€
      And you are right, Bavaria is an amazing region… soooo much to see!! If you ever come let me know and I will help you with anything you need and we can finally meet!!

  • Lol… when my parents visited this castle, it was when Gangnam Style was a huge hit, and some German students chased down my father (I guess they thought he looked like Psy?) and made him do the Gangnam Style dance with them!!

    • hahahahaha OMG no way!! Are you serious? I hope your father didnt mind though!! And I hope he liked the Castle πŸ˜€

      • Heh heh, he has a pretty good sense of humour, so he had fun doing the horse dance with a bunch of German university students. There’s video and photos as proof. hahahaha

        • hahahahha oh my, thats awesome! It must have been really funny to see him doing that…you have a cool dad πŸ™‚

  • Neuschwanstein is an absolute must if you are traveling in the area. Even if you don’t get a chance to take of tour of the inside of the castle, you definitely need to see the outside. We always have driven there, and there are many roads in the area to get great photos of the castle from a distance, then closer and closer without lots of tourists in your photos.

    • I completely agree with you!! The outside is already worth the visit, such an amazing place… the whole town already looks like you are in a fairy-tale πŸ˜€

  • The castle is lovely. Castles of Europe are something I can’t wait to see! πŸ™‚ I wouldn’t be able to do the carraige either, I can’t even do it in cities for smaller tours. I feel too bad for them. They don’t really belong there. And often times it doesn’t seem like their owners are very kind to them. -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    • Thank you for your comment Alexandra πŸ™‚
      If you love castles then Europe is your place… there are amazing one around here. The Neuschwanstein is the most famous, but there are also amazing ones in France and Scotland πŸ™‚ I hope you can make it to the Neuschwanstein sometime, and if you need tips, here I am πŸ˜€
      I will check your blog by the way πŸ˜‰

  • Anna

    I visited Neuschwanstein castle more than 20years ago while on a road trip to Austria and Bavaria. I don’t remember much so I’ll have to visit again at some point!! I’ve also visited Linderhof! Yes, I’ve heard the stories too that Ludwig was crazy…I believe he was eccentric to say at least…but then if he wasn’t, Neuschwanstein wouldn’t exist! Btw love your header, where did you get it from?

    • Ohhh nice that you have also visited Linderhof… its much more smaller and was inspired on the Versailles.
      Ludwig’s story is very interesting… after I first heard about him I fell in love with his story. You are right, if he wasn’t this way there wouldn’t be a Neuschwanstein πŸ˜€

      Thank you for the compliment πŸ™‚ a blogger friend of my did it for me πŸ˜€

  • Do you also get to visit inside the Linderhof? It looks SO opulent. And to confirm, the 51 Euro includes transport and all the tours (2 castles plus a town), right? I think this is what I’ll do…

  • Ohh yes, It’s a must!! You will need a whole day to go there though, it’s a bit far, but totally worth the visit πŸ˜€

  • Noooo don’t go during winter hahahaha… it’s veeeeeeeery cold!!! Seriously hahahah
    But if you don’t mind, you have to go πŸ˜€
    I loved it during fall!!

  • Pingback: Travel Dreams Come True: NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE | Home & Away()

  • Yes, it’s a must! You can easily take a day trip from Munich πŸ˜€