I’ve recently come back from a weekend break to Munich and I think it’s safe to say Bavaria is the most beautiful place I’ve been so far. Maybe Copenhagen is close second but the views in the Bavarian alps are close to perfection. You can’t visit the region without going to Neuschwanstein Castle. If you haven’t heard of the castle (do you live under a rock?!) it’s the most visited tourist attraction in Bavaria and it always ranks highly on lists of the top attractions across Germany. Here’s a couple of snaps I took whilst I was there which may jog your memory!
Time for a quick history lesson before we get into the travel deets, feel free to skip this part if you have an aversion for the historical. I want to take this opportunity to try and prove to myself having a history degree wasn’t a complete waste of time! So, the castle (Schloss if you speak German, GCSE Germany wasn’t a complete waste of time either!) was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria in honour of the composer Wagner. You may have heard of Ludwig II being referred to as ‘Mad King Ludwig’, whilst he was undoubtedly eccentric the label of ‘mad’ came from a ploy by the Bavarian government to have him deposed. The government had to rid themselves of Ludwig as he was running up large debts with his compulsions to build spectacular castles (see Linderhof Palace and Herrenchiemsee Palace). If you’re into conspiracy theories then you’ll totes want to read up on how Ludwig died..
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich
It’s really easy to get to the castle from Munich, there are several different routes or transport you can take:
1. Train – from the main train station in Munich (Hauptbahnhof) you can easily get to Neuschwanstein Castle. The destination you will be looking for when purchasing your ticket is ‘Füssen’. Once you’ve arrived at Füssen then you will need to take the bus to Neuschwanstein. The stop you will be needing is “Hohenschwangau Neuschwanstein Castles, Schwangau”. Go here for more information on local bus routes. It will be fairly obvious when you arrive which stop you will need to get off at as you will be at the base of the castle at the visitor information point (Hohenschwangau). Just look directly upwards and you’ll spot the castle nestled in the hills…
For more information on train routes visit Bahn.
2. Local tours – if like me you’re a bit of a baby and unable to follow simple instructions then a local tour may be preferable to you. We booked our tour through Get Your Guide, I highly recommend this company I usually book the majority of my tours through them as it’s a super simple process and you can get everything arranged before you even leave the country. Our trip cost around £40 which included our train fare, bus and guided tour up to the castle. You have to pay for your tickets into the castle separately if you’d like to go inside, which after walking all of the way to the top why wouldn’t you?! Alternatively there are so many kiosks around Munich where you can buy tour tickets, these are likely to be a coach trip. If you prefer travelling by train I would recommend booking via Get Your Guide.
3. Car – if you’re brave enough to drive in Europe (as mentioned before I’m a total baby and haven’t attempted to do this yet) then you’ll have the freedom the stop off at the many beautiful locations along the way. After a quick google search you take the A7 motorway in the direction of Ulm-Kempten-Füssen until the end. I’m sure if you choose this option you’ll be using a sat nav or Google Maps, unless you’re a natural born navigator..
Arriving at Hohenschwangau
Once you’ve successfully made it to the visitor centre for the castle you’ll be out of breath just looking at the route up to the castle. Unless you’re actually fit and healthy then you’ll be thinking pfft this is easy peasy. Of course I fall under the first category. You have the option of taking a shuttle bus up the castle which costs: Uphill 2.50 euros, downhill 1.50 euro and a return trip is 3 euros. I did debate whether to take the shuttle bus but thought I would miss the beautiful views on the way up and down, even if it did mean my thighs were burning the whole time! If you’re looking for a more romantic option (yuck) then there is the option to travel up to the castle via horse-drawn cart, this costs: uphill is 7 euros and the downhill trip is 3.50 euros. I will say the queue for the carts was up to an hour wait which seems extortionate to me. Plus the horses looked so tired! If you’re able bodied and feel up to the task then I definitely recommend walking as the views on the way up are breathtaking. You also feel a great sense of achievement once you’ve made it all the way to the top, or at least I did because I’m very lazy.
Once you’ve arrived at the castle make sure you leave plenty of time to explore the grounds as there ‘s many different paths to explore. Each route offers spectacular views of the Bavarian alps and different perspectives of the castle.
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