Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Families Should Know About Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle

It is the number one tourist attraction in Germany and a beautiful sight to see, set in a ruggedly spectacular landscape in southwest Bavaria.  Neuschwanstein Castle and its surroundings are a highlight destination.

Let me immediately dispense my advice, however, for families with young children.  If your children are age 7 or younger, I would suggest you skip the guided castle tour.  The ticket lines are long (although you can purchase them online now), the wait times for the assigned tour times are long, and the tour is long and crowded.  In the summertime, over 6,000 people a day visit Neuschwanstein Castle.  For those with older children, a tour of the fairy-tale palace is worthwhile and leads through the Throne Room, the Drawing Room, the Dining Hall, the king's bedroom, and more.  The consummation of King Ludwig II's obsession with swans, art, and Richard Wagner's operas result in a rich, ornate interior of eccentricity.

Regardless of whether you have purchased a tour ticket or not (tickets must be purchased in advance at the ticket center in the village of Hohenschwangau below the castle), you can, and should, still venture up to the castle.  Access to all exterior areas, courtyards, the Marie's Bridge (named after Marie of Prussia, Ludwig's mother) over the stunning Pöllat Gorge, the forest trails and waterfalls is free.  Views of the Tegelberg mountain, the Alpine foothills, the bright orange Hohenschwangau Castle, Alp Lake and Schwan Lake are breathtaking from all directions.

Marie's Bridge over Pöllat Gorge.

View of Hohenschwangau Castle from the walking path up to Neuschwanstein.

Views of the castle from all directions.

The walk from the village all the way up to the castle takes about 30 minutes, is steep, and is partly loose gravel, so it's not stroller friendly.  If you have the time and energy it is a beautiful hike, but otherwise, transportation options are available.  I have done the walk, but when we took the kids we opted for the 2.60€ per person shuttle bus.  Maybe some day I'll try the horse-drawn carriage for 9€ roundtrip.  Note:  even if you take the shuttle bus or the carriage there is still a 10 minute, steep walk from the drop-off location to the castle!

King Ludwig II of Bavaria built Neuschwanstein on top of a cliff ridge beginning in 1869, overlooking one of his childhood homes, Hohenschwangau Castle.  He meant to reside in Neuschwanstein and financed its construction with his own personal fortune, but sadly he died after having lived in the palace for only 172 days.  But what he left us to enjoy today is a fairy-tale castle with towers and turrets, gables and balconies in an idyllic Alpine setting.

Tourist information:

•  Neuschwanstein Castle is open from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. from April 1st to October 15th, and 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from October 16th to March 31st.  Closed on January 1st and December 24th, 25th, and 31st.

•  Admission is 12€ for adults, all persons under 18 are free!

•  Tickets must be purchased in advance at the ticket center in the village of Hohenschwangau below the castle.  Tickets for the shuttle bus to the castle can be purchased here as well.

•  If you take a tour, there are public bathrooms inside the palace near the kitchen, which you will see at the end of the tour.  There are no restrooms in the courtyard where people wait (sometimes for a long time) for their scheduled tour time, nor anywhere else up on the hill.  Down in the village, there are pay restrooms (drop in a coin to unlock the entrance turnstile) across the street from the ticket center.

Courtyard where you wait for your tour to begin.

This is my Photo Friday link-up post for DeliciousBaby.com.


  1. I so want to take my girls here and through the entire fairytale region. Thanks for all the great tips.

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  2. We loved visiting the castle. We went in the winter and my daughter begged to ride in the horse carriage and it was actually the highlight....big blankets wrapped around us, snow falling, very few visitors, felt like we were traveling back in time as we approached the castle.

    Thanks for this post which prompted a pleasant little trip down memory's lane.

  3. We took our 4 kids (5, 8, 9, and 12)in April 2012 with great success. It was a day or two after a snowstorm, but by then the weather had warmed up again and most of the snow was gone. Crowds were not like summer crowds. We rode the shuttle up the hill and the carriage back down. The kids loved the horse-drawn carriage. We also were able to do the sommerrodelbahn (alpine slide) nearby at the base of Tegelberg and played at the fun park there. That was one of the kids' favorites, too.

  4. Hi Sonja, I'd like to interview you for an article about travelling with kids. Could you send me an email at katie.wallace (at) caliberi (dot) com? Thanks!

  5. We just went here a week ago, 4 kids under 6 as well as two people over 65. We took the carriage ride and it still drops you off before the steepest part of the hill so it was very difficult for my husband's parents to make it up. We bought our tickets in advance so we didn't have to wait in line, but there are lots and lots of steps inside, so it was a bit slow going. Great tips!

  6. Great tips! I know a lot of people think that Neuschwanstein is over-rated but I want to see it for myself. Mostly because I want a photo like that first one of yours - beautiful!

  7. This is really a beautiful castle. Nice captures of castle. Thank you for sharing these tips anyway. ;)

  8. We'll be visiting Neuschwanstein the last week of June! It's been a childhood dream. Thanks for these tips. We're still not sure if we should do the tour. I'd like to see it but I'm also about picture taking and I can't handle the no picture policy or the wait times. Thanks for this wonderful preview!

  9. Great tips, thanks for sharing.

  10. I conceive you have noted some very interesting points, regards for the post.


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