Neuschwanstein Castle, or Schloss Neuschwanstein in German, is a 19th-century palace commissioned by King Ludwig II in honor of Richard Wagner. Over 1.5 million tourists per year make the journey to Hohenschwangau to visit this architectural wonder, making it one of the most visited landmarks in Germany!
If you look at photos of Neuschwanstein, it looks straight out of a fairytale. In fact, it was the official inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Due to its location in southwest Bavaria, this German castle is one of the most popular day trips from Munich.
However, there are actually three different ways to get there. With this in mind, this article will cover how to get from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle by car, guided tour, and public transportation. In general, the best way to get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich in a day depends on the experience you’re looking to have.
For example, would you prefer a quick and easy guided tour? Or would you rather save money and take the train? No matter which route you choose, you’ll find step-by-step instructions here on how to take a Neuschwanstein Castle day trip from Munich.
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How far is Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich?
The distance from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle is approximately 80 miles (130 km). Therefore, it can take anywhere from 2-3.5 hours to make the trip one way. Neuschwanstein Castle sits on a hill above the village of Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria. So, you’ll be traveling almost to the Austrian border and back!
With this in mind, we highly suggest planning to spend a whole day visiting this fairytale castle in Germany. Some tourists try to squeeze this trip into a half-day experience, but we think that’s way too stressful and rushed!
Pro tip: The correct pronunciation of “Neuschwanstein” sounds like “noysh-vaan-stine.”
How to purchase Neuschwanstein Castle tickets
Remember that you can only buy Neuschwanstein Castle tickets from the Ticket Center Hohenschwangau. So, we highly suggest reserving your tickets ahead of time from the official website. Since Neuschwanstein Castle is such a popular destination, it often sells out weeks or months in advance!
Once you’ve made a reservation online, you don’t have to worry about printing your tickets. All you need to do is present the QR code on your phone at the entrance to Neuschwanstein Castle. Just don’t forget to charge your phone!
The official Neuschwanstein Castle hours are from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. from April to October 15 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from October 16 through the end of March. Once inside Neuschwanstein Castle, tours typically cover 14 of King Ludwig II’s rooms, including his Throne Hall, bedroom, and the Singer’s Hall.
However, beginning in 2023, restoration work may limit being able to view all the rooms in the King’s Apartment. In total, castle tours last approximately 30-40 minutes. Please remember that taking photos or videos within the castle is not permitted.
What do I do if Neuschwanstein tickets are sold out?
If tickets aren’t available online for the date you choose, don’t fret! Any remaining tickets can be purchased in person from the Hohenschwangau Ticket Center. The Ticket Office is located within Hohenschwangau Village, near the parking lots (Alpseestraße 12, 87645 Schwangau, Germany).
These spare tickets go on sale beginning at 8:00 a.m. from April to October 15 or at 8:30 a.m. from October 16 through the end of March. So, if you want to secure your Schloss Neuschwanstein tickets, you’ll have to arrive at Hohenschwangau early in the morning to have the best chance. Plus, you’ll need to bring enough euros to pay in cash.
However, even if you don’t have tickets, we believe it’s 100% worth traveling to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich. If you arrive at Hohenschwangau and tickets are sold out for the day, you still have options! In fact, you can explore the outside of this Bavaria castle and its surrounding trails for free.
Many visitors choose to skip the Neuschwanstein Castle tour and visit the Marienbrucke or go hiking instead. Moreover, another alternative is to tour the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle (Schloss Hohenschwangau) or explore the Museum of the Bavarian Kings (Museum der bayerischen Könige).
Driving to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich
If you’re wondering how to get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich, traveling by car is the most flexible and quickest option. Whether you’re driving from the Munich airport or the city center, it should take about 2 hours to reach Hohenschwangau Village. The address for Neuschwanstein is Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany.
If you’re traveling in a group, renting a car for the day is sometimes even cheaper than paying for a guided tour. Nonetheless, public transportation is likely still the most budget-friendly option, thanks to Bayern tickets.
We suggest checking Google Maps before leaving Munich to see which driving route has the least amount of traffic. Typically, the best option to drive directly from Munich to Schloss Neuschwanstein is to take Autobahn 96 to Landsberg am Lech and then highway 17 towards Füssen.
Hohenschwangau Village is just over 2 miles from Füssen (approx. 4 km). Even if you don’t have previous experience driving in Germany, this route is relatively easy as it’s mostly on highways or autobahns.
If you choose to rent a car for the day, consider making the drive into a road trip! Popular places to add along your driving route include Linderhof Palace, Oberammergau, and Ammersee. Moreover, some tourists opt to visit the Pilgrimage Church of Wies, a famous UNESCO World Heritage site in Steingaden, Germany.
Where to park in Hohenschwangau Village
Once you reach the village of Hohenschwangau, follow the signs for the private parking facilities. There are four parking lots in total: P1, P2, P3, and P4, and each is located a short walk away from the Ticket Office.
Click here for a map of the parking lots in Hohenschwangau if you’d like to see their exact locations. Parking fees for cars currently start at €10.
If you have tickets for a guided castle tour, you must factor in enough travel time to get from the parking lot to the entrance. If you arrive late for your timed tour, you won’t be able to enter and will miss your time. For those in a rush, P3 is the closest lot.
It takes around 30-40 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the castle entrance. You may be able to save some time by paying to take the shuttle bus or horse carriage to the top (they operate seasonally).
How to get from the parking lot to the castle
Once you’ve parked in one of the four designated parking lots, there are three different ways to reach Neuschwanstein Castle. Remember, the castle is located on top of a hill! So, you can either walk, take the shuttle bus, or hire a horse carriage. Below, we’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide to each option.
Option #1: Walk from the parking lot to the castle entrance
If you choose to walk, the trail from the parking area is only about one mile long (1.5 km). However, note that almost the entire walk is uphill. Therefore, it takes about 30-40 minutes to reach the entrance to Neuschwanstein Castle from the parking lots. Additionally, it’s a good idea to wear comfy walking shoes with good traction if you plan to walk to the castle.
Once again, don’t be late for your entrance time if you have tickets for a guided castle tour! You’ll need to head to the castle courtyard and enter using the tour number on your ticket. Your tour guide will then meet you once you’re inside. Neuschwanstein Castle is very serious about punctuality–if you’re late, you’ll miss your tour.
Option #2: Take a horse-drawn carriage ride to the top
For those who’d like to take a horse-drawn carriage ride, you’ll need to head to the departure point across from Hotel Müller (Alpseestraße 16, 87645 Schwangau, Germany). Carriage rides run year-round and cost €8 per person to ride uphill or €4 per person to go downhill.
Unfortunately, it’s not possible to make a reservation in advance. So, you’ll need to pay your carriage driver directly. With this in mind, make sure to travel with enough cash on hand! Carriages run about every 30 minutes, and the ride lasts approximately 20 minutes.
However, be aware that the horse-drawn carriages do not go all the way to the castle entrance. In fact, from the carriage drop-off point, you’ll still need to walk about 15 minutes uphill (0.28 miles or 450 meters).
Although this option is the priciest way to reach Neuschwanstein Castle, it’ll make you feel like you’re living in a fairytale! If you’re visiting in the winter, check that the carriage rides are operating on the official website. Sometimes weather conditions–like snow or rain–make them impossible.
Option #3: Ride the shuttle bus
The shuttle bus is a convenient way to travel from the parking lot to Neuschwanstein Castle. Plus, it’s a more affordable option than the carriage ride! To take the shuttle bus, you’ll need to wait at the departure point in the P4 parking lot below Hohenschwangau Palace (next to Lake Alpsee).
The price per adult is €3 uphill, €2 downhill, or €3.50 roundtrip. Additionally, the shuttle bus is free for children six or younger, or €1.50 uphill, €1 downhill, or €2 roundtrip for kids aged 7-12. You’ll need to pay either the cashier at the bus stop or the bus driver in cash–no credit cards are accepted!
As with the carriages rides, the buses do not go to the castle entrance. Instead, your shuttle bus will drop you off at the Jugend lookout point (Marienbrücke) above the castle. From here, you’ll need to walk about 0.3 miles (500 meters) to the Neuschwanstein Castle entrance. Luckily, this walk is downhill and should only take 10-15 minutes.
Remember to check on the official website to see if shuttle buses will be operating during your visit since they don’t run if there is snow or ice on the roads. The buses run approximately every 20 minutes, although there is no set schedule. The first shuttle bus departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle is at 8 a.m. during the summer and 9 a.m. during the winter.
The last time to catch the bus uphill is at 5:30 p.m. in the summer or 3:30 p.m. in the winter. Furthermore, the last downhill transfer runs at 6:45 p.m. in the summer or 5 p.m. in the winter.
Pro tip: If you have extra time after visiting Neuschwanstein Castle, you can also check out Hohenschwangau Castle!
Guided day tours from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle
Booking a guided tour is the most stress-free way to visit Neuschwanstein Castle on a day trip. So, if you’re the type of traveler who’s willing to pay a little extra not to have to worry about taking the train or driving, this is an excellent choice for you.
Since guided tours to Schloss Neuschwanstein from Munich are so popular, we’ve decided to review some of the best options below. For a complete list of Neuschwanstein Castle tours, check out GetYourGuide or Viator.
Pro tip: It’s important to note that castle tour tickets for the inside of Neuschwanstein are usually not included in these guided day trips unless explicitly stated.
Guided tours are a great way to see more than just one of King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s palaces in a day. For example, many companies offer tours that make stops at both Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace.
On this particular Neuschwanstein castle tour from Munich, you’ll first travel in a small group to Linderhof Palace via an air-conditioned bus. Then, after exploring the grounds, you’ll make a quick stop in the Bavarian town of Oberammergau before heading to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Although you’re in for quite a busy day, we think this guided tour is the best way to see as much as possible in a short amount of time. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes!
There’s also a premium version of this tour if you’re interested in paying a little extra to travel in a luxury coach bus. This day trip also includes snacks and drinks on board, as well as entrance tickets for both castles. If you have room in your budget, we definitely think the premium tour is worth the splurge!
Pro tip: We recommend booking tours that include travel via bus instead of on the train. It’s just more comfortable!
This well-organized day trip from Munich is perfect for first-time visitors wanting to see Neuschwanstein Castle. Beginning at 9:15 a.m. in the center of Munich, you’ll first meet at Radius Tours Office and then head out on your adventure.
Your guide will direct you to the train or bus (transport price included in ticket), answer your questions, and provide interesting historical facts along the journey. After arriving, your guide will then point out some of the best vantage points for you to take the perfect photo of the castle.
Although the castle entrance fee isn’t included in this experience, you will get to skip the line! If you choose to tour the inside of the castle, you’ll need to pay this fee at the tour office before departing Munich.
Taking the train from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich takes approximately 3 hours by train. Unfortunately, there are no direct trains between the two destinations. Nonetheless, we promise that reaching Neuschwanstein by public transport is much easier than it may first appear!
One of my best travel tips is to download the “DB Navigator” to start planning your route. This app from Deutsche Bahn lets you view real-time train and bus times and connections.
If you’re planning to travel from Munich to Neuschwanstein castle by public transport, we highly suggest choosing an afternoon tour time when you book your tickets.
Step #1: Purchase a Bayern ticket (also called a Bavaria ticket)
When choosing your train tickets, purchasing a Bayern ticket is the most budget-friendly way to travel from Munich to Castle Neuschwanstein. This type of ticket provides you with unlimited access for one day to all regional trains, buses, and transport association services in the Bavaria Region.
So, it covers your ride on the S-Bahn, U-Bahn, or tram from your hotel to the Munich Central Station, the train ride to Füssen, and the bus ride to the castles. Remember that it covers your trip back to Munich from Neuschwanstein Castle as well!
This type of ticket costs €26 for one person and €8 per additional person traveling with you. You can purchase these regional day tickets at the Deutschebahn kiosks located in most train stations or online here.
Note that you can travel with a maximum of five people total on the same Bavaria regional day ticket. Children 5 years old and younger travel for free on Bayern tickets. Moreover, two adults on a Bayern ticket can bring up to three children between 6-14 years old along with them for free.
Step #2: Take the train from Munich to Füssen
When viewing train times, remember that Bayern tickets are valid on Mondays to Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. Moreover, on weekends and public holidays, they become valid at midnight. So, if you’re traveling on a weekday, the earliest train you can take from Munich Central Station (München Hbf) is at 9 a.m.
Additionally, remember that you must write the names of all passengers traveling with you on your Bavaria ticket for it to be valid. Since there is no direct Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle train, so you’ll be traveling from München Hbf to Füssen.
Sometimes, this route will involve one transfer at Buchloe; however, changing trains doesn’t add any extra time to your journey. To find the correct train, check the electronic timetable at the station or check train departures on your DB Navigator app.
You’ll notice that departures have a “Gleis” indicated. This number is the platform from which your train will leave. After boarding the train, you’ll have to show your Bayern ticket. Next, you can sit back and relax on the two-hour ride from Munich to Füssen.
Once you arrive at the Füssen train station, you still have one more step to reach the village of Hohenschwangau. So, you’ll need to make your way to the correct bus stop to catch the Füssen to Neuschwanstein Castle bus.
Step #3: Take the bus from Füssen to Hohenschwangau
Exiting the train station, you’ll look for either bus 73 or 78, which will say “Hohenschwangau Castles” in big letters. Usually, there are lots of other tourists also looking for these buses.
Luckily, your Bayern ticket covers this bus ride as well, so you won’t have to buy another ticket! Just make sure you don’t misplace your regional day ticket. Once you’re on the bus, it’s a short eight-minute ride to Hohenschwangau.
If you’re ever in doubt about which bus to take, either follow the crowds of tourists or find someone to ask. The people working at the station are friendly and very helpful!
Step #4: Make your way to the castle
As mentioned previously, there are three ways to get from Hohenschwangau Village to Neuschwanstein. You can choose to walk, take a horse-drawn carriage ride, or ride the shuttle bus. Just remember that your Bayern ticket does not cover the shuttle bus from the parking lots to the castle.
Moreover, you’ll want to have cash on hand if you plan to take the shuttle or a carriage ride. Read the “how to get from the parking lot to the castle” section of this article to review these three options thoroughly.
After you’re done at the castle, you’ll basically backtrack! To get from Neuschwanstein castle to Munich, you’ll catch the bus in Hohenschwangau to return to the Fussen train station. From there, you’ll want to make sure you take a regional train (if you bought the Bayern ticket) back to München Hbf.
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This article was first published in December 2021 and has since been updated.