See Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, Marienbrucke, Museum of the Bavarian Kings, and Alpenrose am See. Learn about Train Trip Savings and Travel Tips. It’s an Easy Day Trip from Munich – even during Oktoberfest!
Hello fellow travel lovers!
I wanted to share with you how it is easy to visit the famous Neuschwanstein fairy tale castle on a day trip from Munich via train on your own without having to pay a high price for a tour. My family and I have visited Neuschwanstein on our own from Munich in both summer and winter and had a wonderful and fairly inexpensive trip. It is beautiful both times of year, as you can see from the pictures below. I put together the basic itinerary we followed and updated it with the latest pricing and website links in case you would like to do the same.
Getting to Neuschwanstein:
Before 7:51 am – On a Saturday or Sunday, make your way to Munich’s Hauptbahnhof, the main train station, in time to be on the train to Füssen by 7:51 am. (If you want to sleep later or if you must travel on a week day and you want to use a Bayern Ticket, it is possible to begin this trip later and see the recommended highlights, but you would have a later lunch and less time to explore the village.)
Discount Tip for Train Travel – Before you go or soon after you arrive in Munich and finalize your plans, purchase a Bayern regional day ticket for Bavaria. The price for second class tickets is 25 Euros for the first person plus only 6 Euros per additional passenger traveling together (maximum of 4 additional passengers), so the cost would range from 31 Euros for 2 passengers to a maximum of 49 Euros for 5 passengers. Bayern Tickets are valid from Monday to Friday after 9:00 am until 3:00 on the following day and all day on weekends and public holidays until 3 am the following day.
Bayern Ticket Purchase Link:
7:51 am – Take a train from Munich Hauptbahnhof to Füssen using a Bayern ticket if traveling with at least one other person to save money. There is no need to make a reservation. Just hop on the train. Trains leave every hour for Füssen, but some trains require changes. Trains closest to the even hours usually do not require a change.
Since you must leave Munich after 9 am if you want to use the Bayern ticket on weekdays, the 9:52 am train may work better if you can only make this trip on a week day. There is a 9:52 am train that does not require a change. It arrives in Füssen at 11:55 am, so adjust your reservation time two hours later if you use this itinerary. Other times and ticket options are available at the Deutsche Bahn (DB) website:
9:55 am – Arrive Füssen station, follow the crowds and take the bus 8 minutes to Schwangau where you will pick up your reserved Neuschwanstein Castle tickets at the Ticket Center at least 90 minutes in advance of your reserved tour time. Buses are timed to depart soon after trains have arrived. Take Bus 73 in the direction of Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkrichen or Bus 78 in the direction Schwangau. Exit at stop Hohenschwangau – Alpseestrasse. The buses are usually labeled Königschlösser (Royal Castles). The bus ticket is included with your Bayern ticket. It costs less than 3 Euro each way if you do not have a Bayern Ticket. If you prefer, you can also take a taxi from Füssen to the Ticket Center. It will cost about 10 Euros.
10:30 am – Pick up your 13 Euro reserved tickets for touring Neuschwanstein Castle at the Ticket Center. (Note: You must pick up your ticket at least 90 minutes before your admission time to the castle.) The Ticket Center is open from 8 am to 5pm April 1st through October 15th and 9 am to 3 pm from October 16th through March 31st. The castle opens and closes one hour later than the Ticket Center. The castle is open every day except January 1st and December 24th, 25th and 31st.
Planning tip to save you wait time at Neuschwanstein – Reserve your tickets in advance to avoid a long line to enter Neuschwanstein. (Some people have reported waiting in line up to five hours!) There is a small fee of 1.80 Euro per ticket to reserve your tickets and time of entry. You must reserve online at least two days in advance of the date you would like to tour – the earlier the better to get your preferred date and time! Confirmation will be received at time of booking. When you arrive, just pick up your tickets at least an hour before your time of entry and show up at the castle 15 minutes before your assigned entry time. For this itinerary, you would try to reserve tickets for noon (or later) on the day you wish to tour. When you reserve, ask for your preferred time, but you may be assigned a time slightly different from your request, so be sure to check your reservation for the exact time. Neuschwanstein website (in English) with link for ticket reservations:
Look for the Maypole in the village either before or after you tour the castle. Before people could read, Maypoles let them know what they could find in each village. Note the symbols of the castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau at the top of the Maypole.
10:45 am – Walk 30 minutes uphill or take the shuttle bus (2.60 Euros roundtrip) to Marienbrucke above the castle, and then walk downhill from the bridge to the castle for about five minutes. Take pictures of the castle from bridge. Another option is to take the horse-drawn carriage, but you will still have a bit of an uphill walk when you get out of the carriage. The price is 6 Euros up hill and 3 Euros down hill. The wait for the bus or carriage can be up to 30 minutes during summer and holiday times.
11:30 am – Take pictures of Neuschwanstein Castle from the pedestrian bridge, Marienbrücke. This is the best view of the castle. If you are here at crowded times, you may be afraid to walk out there with all the tourists. Do it anyway. You will not be disappointed. If you have to, hold your camera above your head to get a picture of the castle without tourists on the bridge in front of it.
11:45 am – Walk to the Neuschwanstein entrance for your reserved tour at 12:00 pm (or later).
12:00 pm – Tour the interior of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Over one million visitors per year tour Neuschwanstein Castle, and if you are here during the summer you may think they are all here with you! Tour reservations are a must in summer if you want to tour the interior. Of course, the outside alone is spectacular and worth the visit. The eccentric King Ludwig II of Bavaria had the castle built in 1869. He died mysteriously before it was completed. When Walt Disney visited the castle, he was inspired to build Sleeping Beauty castle at Disneyland in California, the first Disney park.
Visiting the Environs of Neuschwanstein:
12:30 pm – Walk down the hill toward the Museum of the Kings. Have a late lunch here at the Alpenrose am See restaurant on the lake at the Museum of the Bavarian Kings and take some time to walk along the lake.
Stay later to tour the museum if you are interested in the history of the kings of Bavaria.
The Museum of Bavarian Kings is located in the historical building of the former Grandhotel Alpenrose. It contains artifacts and interactive exhibits that tell the history of the Wittelsbach Dynasty and their Bavarian kings, with a special emphasis on King Ludwig II and his royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau. The cost is 11 Euros per adult. Children under age 18 are free. There is no need to reserve tickets. The museum is open 9 am – 5 pm daily.
Website (in English):
Look up to see Hohenschwangau Castle. This was the boyhood home of King Ludwig II, and he continued to spend a few weeks at Hohenschwangau every year throughout his life. The original castle here belonged to the knights of Schwangau, or “swan land,” dated to the 12th century. The swan was the symbol of the knights of Schwangau. After many years, the castle fell into ruin until, in 1832, King Maxilimilian II, Ludwig II’s father, aquired the ruin and had it rebuilt according to its original plans. He adopted the Schwangau knights coat of arms. This is why his son, Ludwig II, named his new castle Neuschwanstein, or “new swan stone.”
Returning to Munich from Neuschwanstein:
5:30 pm – Take the bus or a taxi back to Füssen.
6:06 pm – Trains return to Munich from Füssen at five or six minutes past each hour. Trains on even hours generally do not require a change of trains. The 6:06 train does not require a change.
8:05 pm– Arrive back in Munich in time for dinner.
If you would like to have more information about visiting Munich, check out my free blog and podcast, “16 Things to See and Do in Munich”:
For more detail about planning a trip to Munich and visiting the castles and surrounding historical sights, check out my just-published book on Amazon, “Munich 2018 Travel Guide with Bavarian Day Trips,” for $8.99 paperback and $5.99 Kindle version:
Paperback version link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1980506876
Kindle/e-book version link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BB4S4FG
If you would like to visit the Rhine River area, check out my post and podcast here: Rhine River – Boppard to Bacharach, Podcast #023
Until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect!