One of Bavaria’s top attractions, if you want to visit Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich, then this post will bring all the details, including my top recommended tours as well as how to make your own DIY day trip.
Whichever option you go for, Castle Neuschwanstein is one Germany’s most famous sights and a must-visit if you’re travelling this county in my opinion.
Its iconic outline is said to have inspired the renowned fortress in Disney’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as Cinderella’s Castle and the famous Magic Kingdom emblem, so it’s hard to understate how fairytale-like it really is.
Set in the beautiful Bavarian countryside, surrounded by forests, mountains and lakes, here’s how to get from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle…
- Top 21 Things to Do in Munich
- 3 Best Travel Itineraries for Germany
- How Many Days for Munich + Itinerary?
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Why Visit Neuschwanstein Castle?
One of the must-do day trips from Munich in my opinion, even if you only have 2 days in this Bavarian city, then I recommend you spend one of them heading out to Neuschwanstein Castle and the beautiful countryside around it.
Giving a fascinating insight into the life and story of one of the most memorable rulers of this German province – the unique Ludwig II – visiting this castle, as well as some of the others he constructed, will give you a unique glimpse into the bizarre slash brilliant mind of this eccentric leader!
The castle tour is led by an audio guide, which is included in your ticket price, meaning everyone has the opportunity to learn about Ludwig II, and the circumstances that led him to construct, and eventually isolate himself in, these fairytale fortresses.
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle also allows you to get a taste of the gorgeous Bavarian countryside and the delightful forest-filled landscapes of this stunning German region.
Offering beautiful views, stunning hikes and some amazing alp-scenery, if you want to explore further, even just getting a taste of this region beyond the city of Munich will add a delightful extra dimension to your time here.
And if you want to tick the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle off your list, then there’s no better place to come!
With a foundation stone laid in 1869, Neuschwanstein Castle was constructed on the site of 2 former castles that had fallen into disrepair.
It was the dream of Ludwig II – a ruler in Bavaria, who became increasingly paranoid, isolated and eccentric as his rule progressed.
Fascinated by the mountain scenery and Romantic art, architecture and poetry, Ludwig II’s inspiration came creatively from this period, and politically, from the fact that, having lost a war with neighbouring Prussia, he was no longer a sovereign ruler.
As such, he dreamed of building his own kingdom to compensate for his defeat as ruler and thus came Neuschwanstein Castle – the completely fantastical structure that inspired Disney’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Castle as well as that in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and the Magic Kingdom theme park.
Unsurprisingly, the castle took much longer to build than expected and the King didn’t take up residence there until 1873.
Even then, the towers were not built and the castle essentially remained unfinished until his death.
Neuschwanstein Castle translates as New Swan Stone and the castle, which quickly opened to the public after Ludwig’s II death, is now one of Germany’s most visited attractions, especially from the city of Munich from where it most easily be accessed.
It’s estimated 6000 people visit every day, so don’t expect to have the place to yourself!
When is Best to Visit?
I visited Neuschwanstein Castle during September, which I felt was the perfect time, boasting lovely warm weather, but far fewer crowds than the peak summer months.
As such, I rate the 2-3 shoulder months of September and May / June as the best times to make this day trip from Munich.
You should have pleasant weather during these months, ideal for sightseeing, with blue sky days for photos too.
And the autumn / spring foliage seen in the countryside around the castle can make an especially beautiful scene during these months as well.
The other time many people like to visit Neuschwanstein Castle is in winter, when you may get the chance to grab some snowy snaps of this icon.
Beautiful, but freezing (literally), I recommend you pack accordingly if you visit in December, January or February!
It’s also worth bearing in mind that one of the best viewpoints around Neuschwanstein Castle, Marienbrücke, is likely to be inaccessible in winter, so your snowy snaps may be limited.
If you do come during the month of December however, then the Munich Christmas markets will be in full flow – a really great time to visit this city!
Finally, the most popular time to visit this castle is during summer, of course!
Weather will be best in June, July and August, but the crowds will definitely be thickest too then, so you need to decide on which you value more!
Neuschwanstein Castle is open every day from 9am until 6pm daily, between 1st April and 15th October.
From the 16th of October until 31st March, the hours are 10am until 4pm due to the shorter days and fewer visitors.
Neuschwanstein Castle is closed totally on 24th, 25th and 31st December, as well as the 1st January.
Is a Day Trip Enough Time?
A day trip is definitely enough time to travel to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich.
It takes around 2 hours to explore the castle itself, with an extra hour to explore the exterior from the viewpoints and to snap this Bavarian icon.
This means, with a total maximum sightseeing time of 3 hours, you can easily get here and back in a day from Munich.
That said, if you would rather stay near the castle, then the nearby town of Fuseen boasts lots of good accommodation options.
How to Get from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle?
There are essentially 2 choices when it comes to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich – either you can take a guided tour, or you can enjoy a DIY day trip.
Below I’m going to give you not only my top recommended tours for seeing the famous Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle, but also the easy, step-by-steps to take if you want to opt for a DIY day trip.
In short, arranging the day trip yourself will be cheaper, more adventurous and allow for more flexibility; while opting for an arranged tour will be easier and quicker, with less hassle, research and effort required!
A day trip tour may also allow you to see more than just Neuschwanstein Castle, as some options include other attractions too, so this is a great choice if you want to cram as much into your Bavaria itinerary as possible!
You can also day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle by staying in Hohenschwangau – the town that lies at the foot of the castle.
Check out these accommodation picks there.
Top Day Tours to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich
If you do wish to take a guided tour of the Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich, then here’s my top recommendations…
These all include transport from Munich, entrance tickets to the castle, audioguide inside the castles and an English-speaking guide.
Some also include visits to other attractions in the area, including Linderhof Palace, which is a big value add.
- From Munich: Neuschwanstein Castle Full-Day Trip by Van
- From Munich: Neuschwanstein Private Guided Tour Packages
- From Munich: Neuschwanstein Castle & Linderhof Premium Tour
DIY Day Trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle
Otherwise, why not consider a DIY day trip from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle instead?
The first thing you need to do when arranging an independent tour to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich is buy your castle entrance ticket online in advance.
I recommend doing this at least 7 days before your planned excursion, because tickets do sell out, especially in the busy summer months.
I also recommend grabbing an afternoon time slot – around 2pm or 3pm would be best.
This will allow you enough time to get to the castle using public transport from Munich.
Tickets for the castle can be bought here.
All tickets include an audio guide inside the castle, but more about this later.
Once armed with your ticket (and with an afternoon entrance slot), you’ll then want to catch a late morning train from Munich Hbf to a station called Fussen.
The journey takes 2 hours and usually involves 1 change at Buchloe.
You can easily use Trainline to book your tickets online in advance from Munich to Hbf to Fussen.
Otherwise, you can also use the ticket machines in Munich Hbf to buy your ticket on the day of travel – although this is likely to be a more expensive option.
Once you arrive in Fussen, exit the train station and head into the car park to catch the #73 or #78 bus, which both leave from the stop directly opposite the train station exit.
Just follow the crowds!
There are public toilets in the station car park too if you need, along with a small shop for snacks and water.
Once the #73 or #78 bus arrives, hop onboard – you can buy tickets on the bus in cash from the driver. They cost 2.60€.
Ride the bus to the last stop, which is the town of Hohenschwangau – again many people will get off here!
Disembark and begin the walk up the hill to the Neuschwanstein Castle.
There are snacks and restaurants at the bottom of the hill if you’re looking for lunch, coffee or a beer beforehand.
Otherwise, start walking and you will shortly pass the Visitor Centre, where you can grab a paper map of the castle and surrounds if you wish.
If you don’t want a map, then there’s no need to enter the Visitor Centre, so long as you already have your electronic entrance ticket to the castle, which includes a scannable barcode.
Continue to hike up the hill that winds up in front of the Visitor Centre – the pedestrian footpath is clearly marked and takes about 20 minutes to complete.
There’s some beautiful views as you make the ascent, so have your camera ready!
Keep going up the steep hill until you see the castle right infront of you.
Walk round to the left of it, until you see the entrance area – there’s a ticket / security person here, so you’ll know you’re in the right place!
Alternatively, if you don’t want to hike up the hill, you can take a 3€ shuttle bus, or a far more expensive horse-drawn carriage.
Both of these options can be arranged at the Visitor Centre.
You can enter the castle ground up to 10 mins before your entrance time slot. The ticket man will check this.
Once you’re allowed to pass through the gateway, you’ll enter the castle courtyard.
There’s benches to sit on here, as well as toilet facilities.
While waiting, be sure to look at the tour number on your ticket, then wait for the digital screen above the turnstiles to give your tour number.
You will be able to enter the castle when your tour number is called and the buzzer sounds.
Your entrance ticket includes an audio guide, but no cameras are allowed inside the castle (hence why there’s no pics of the interior in this article!)
Pass through the turnstiles, grab your headset, put away your camera and enjoy the tour.
Inside the Castle
The tour inside the Neuschwanstein Castle takes about 45 mins.
It is led by audioguide, so make sure you collect a headset in the language you require.
There is also a physical escort who is on hand to guide you through, or assist you with any problems.
In total, you’ll pass through 14 rooms inside the castle, including the dressing room and throne room.
You do get some time to look around each, but will largely keep filing through in a continuous stream, guided by the audioguide’s numbering system.
As you can’t stop to take photos, this works well, although it can feel a bit soulless.
Nevertheless, this is the only way to see the interior of the castle, so there’s little choice!
If you’ve been to the Schobrunn Palace in Austria, Bran Castle in Romania or Sintra in Portugal, then it’s a similar kind of experience.
Outside the Castle
Once you’ve visited the interior of Neuschwanstein Castle, it’s time to marvel at, and get some snaps of, the phenomenal iconic exterior.
There are a few good places to do this, including from the viewing platform you will have passed on the hill you took to come up to the castle entrance.
There’s also the amazing Marienbrücke, which is a bridge over a gorge, that gives a great perspective of Neuschwanstein amidst its surroundings.
To get to the Marienbrücke, head out of the castle and down the hill slightly until you see the signs to walk here.
It’s about 10 minutes away on a clear footpath.
Things to Take for your Castle Day Trip
And here’s a few essentials you definitely want to pack for your day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle.
#1 Camera – I love my Sony A6000.
#2 Flat, comfortable walking shoes – These New Balance ones are perfect.
#3 Day pack for snacks, water, wallet, phone, camera etc – Can’t beat the Marmot Kompressor in my opinion!
#4 Electronic castle entrance tickets saved on your smartphone – A must to get in!
#5 A hat for sun protection in the summer or a winter hat for warmth in the winter!
#6 A jumper for the return journey – It gets cold in the late afternoon here.
#7 Waterproof jacket depending on the forecast – It rained when I was there in September! North Face are always my go-to.
Mini Travel Guide to Bavaria
When to Visit Munich?
I personally recommend visiting Munich during the warmer months when sightseeing and day tripping is a lot more pleasant.
June and September are great choices when it comes to balancing crowds and prices, with sunshine.
The other key time of year to spend some days in Munich is during December, when the Christmas markets are in full force and you might see beautiful Bavaria under snow.
Where to Stay?
From hostels to apartments, guesthouses to hostels, check out these top places to stay in Munich.
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How Many Days for Munich?
I recommend 3 days for Munich.
Check out my ideal 72 hour itinerary for this city here.
Things to Do in Munich
There’s so many great things to do in Munich, it would be impossible to list them all here!
This list of the top 21 Munich attractions is a good starting point – go on click through!
When it comes to paying for things in Munich, you want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise card away with me wherever I travel.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups, no sneaky transaction fees and a free Euros account, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Germany… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold! Get yours here.
Where to Travel After Munich?
After Munich, why not take the overnight train to explore the Dutch capital of Amsterdam?
Learn all about how to grab this night train here, otherwise check out my top 3 day itinerary for Amsterdam here.
Alternatively, Cologne is also an easy train ride away and has a beautiful Cathedral that’s definitely worth exploring.
If you’re heading east, Berlin is a must and finally, Salzburg is just a hop skip and a jump from Munich, so don’t miss this beautiful Austrian city if you have a few extra days.
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And that’s my full guide about how to visit Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich.
With all the details you need about when to visit, how to get tickets, the different day trip options and what to expect, hopefully, I’ve covered everything you need to know!
If you still have questions about visiting the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle however, then don’t hesitate to drop your queries into the comments box below and I’ll get back to you asap!