Top Things To Do In Neuschwanstein: Germany’s Fairytale Icon (+Photos)

It’s hard to picture a time before I had images of Neuschwanstein Castle burned into my mind. The white castle perched atop a hill with its round spires and mountainous backdrop is arguably one of the most famous castles in the world and it’s not hard to see why. It is, after all, Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle too!

One fateful day, with my trusty Deutschland Ticket in hand, I showed up at Munich’s bustling Hauptbahnhof. No plans, no itinerary, just a thirst for adventure. The next train was headed to Füssen, the gateway to Neuschwanstein, so I hopped on board.

It was only on the way there that I realized that I would be visiting one of the most famous attractions in all of Germany!

How To Get To Neuschwanstein

How To Get To Neuschwanstein

Getting to Füssen from Munich is a breeze, thanks to Germany’s efficient train system. The journey takes about two hours, but the time flies by as you gaze out the window at the passing scenery. Once you arrive in Füssen, you have several options for reaching the castle.

The most convenient is to hop on bus line 78, which runs regularly and takes you directly to the village of Hohenschwangau, where Neuschwanstein is located.

For those who prefer a bit more independence, taxis are readily available from Füssen train station to Hohenschwangau. Once you reach the village, most people opt for the cheap shuttle bus that takes you up the mountain. And for the adventurous souls, there’s always the option to hike up to the castle.

The trail winds through the forest and takes about 45 minutes, but the reward is arriving at the castle gates with a sense of accomplishment and a few extra calories burned.

History of Neuschwanstein Castle


Constructed in the late 1800s, Neuschwanstein Castle was never built for defense purposes as most castles. Instead, this castle was created as a fanciful retreat for a man dubbed the “fairy-tale king.” King Ludwig II of Bavaria had a reputation for abiding in daydreams instead of reality. He was completely captivated by a German legend surrounding the Swan Knight.

Neuschwanstein Castle

After losing complete sovereignty of his kingdom, Ludwig became obsessed in a project to build a castle that materialized his romantic fantasies. However, the project drained Ludwig of his finances. When the banks threatened to seize his property, Ludwig reacted irrationally, causing the government to declare him mad. Shortly thereafter, Ludwig was found drowned in a lake, without ever seeing the completion of his beloved castle.

Marvel at the Marienbrücke: A Fairytale View


The first thing I did upon arriving was hike up to the Marienbrücke, a bridge that spans a gorge with the most breathtaking view of Neuschwanstein. The path to the bridge is well-maintained, but be prepared for a bit of an uphill climb. As you ascend, the trees gradually give way to stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

And then, suddenly, there it is–Neuschwanstein Castle–perched majestically on a rocky outcrop, its turrets and towers seemingly reaching for the sky. Standing on that bridge, with the castle above and the Pöllat Gorge below, I felt like I had stepped into a storybook. It’s a truly magical moment that you won’t soon forget.

Delve into History at Hohenschwangau Castle

Hohenschwangau Castle

After taking in the view from the Marienbrücke, I headed back down to Hohenschwangau to explore the castle where King Ludwig II spent his childhood. Although most people visit this area for its much larger, much grander big brother, Hohenschwangau is also a must visit.

This charming castle, with its yellow facade and ornate interiors, offers a glimpse into the life of the “Fairytale King”.

The rooms are filled with intricate details, from elaborate murals to opulent furnishings. You can almost imagine the young Ludwig dreaming of the fantastical castle he would one day build. Hohenschwangau also offers stunning views of the surrounding area, including the Alpsee and the distant mountains.

Step Inside the Fairytale: A Tour of Neuschwanstein

A Tour of Neuschwanstein

Of course, no trip to Neuschwanstein would be complete without a tour of the castle itself. Tickets must be purchased in advance, either online or at the ticket center in Hohenschwangau, but chances are that they are most likely sold out. The tour takes about 35 minutes and takes you through several of the castle’s most impressive rooms, including the Throne Room, the Singers’ Hall, and Ludwig’s bedroom.

Each room is more opulent than the last, with intricate murals, gilded furniture, and stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The tour provides fascinating insights into the life and mind of King Ludwig II, his love of art and music, and his obsession with the medieval world.

While photography is not allowed inside, it gives you the chance to truly let the grandeur sink in, without the distraction of cellphones.

Glide Across the Alpsee: A Tranquil Interlude


As I visited in April, I was a few days too early for this one, but I would probably make the trek back to try it out. Rowboats and paddleboats are available for rent from May till September or October and it is undoubtedly the calmest way to see these magnificent castles.

The calm blue waters of the lake offer a perfect reflection of the castle and the surrounding mountains. The only sounds you will hear is the gentle lapping of water against the boat and the occasional bird call. It is a peaceful escape from the crowds and a chance to soak in the serene beauty of the area.

The Alpsee is a popular spot for swimming and boating, but even if you’re not feeling active, it’s worth a visit just to relax on the shore and take in the views.

Discover the Bavarian Monarchy’s Legacy

Museum of the Bavarian Kings

To delve deeper into the history of the region, I visited the Museum of the Bavarian Kings in Hohenschwangau. Housed in a modern building with sleek architecture, the museum’s exhibits tell the story of the Wittelsbach dynasty, which ruled Bavaria for centuries.

You’ll learn about the kings who shaped the region, their political struggles, their cultural contributions, and their connection to Neuschwanstein. The museum also features interactive displays and multimedia presentations, making it a fun and engaging experience for visitors of all ages.

Conquer Tegelberg: A Panoramic Playground


If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, and wearing the right shoes, you might decide to tackle the hike up Tegelberg Mountain. The trail is steep and challenging, but the reward is worth it. As you ascend, the forest thickens, and the air grows cooler.

Along the way, you’ll pass through meadows filled with wildflowers and rocky outcroppings that offer glimpses of the valley below.

Finally, you’ll reach the summit, where you’ll be greeted with breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. You can see for miles in every direction, taking in the lakes, forests, and distant peaks. If hiking isn’t your thing, there’s also a cable car that takes you to the top, but where’s the fun in that?

Füssen: A Bavarian Charmer


Back down in Füssen, I wandered through the cobbled streets of the old town, browsing the shops and sampling local delicacies. The town’s charming architecture, with its colorful facades and ornate details, transports you back in time.

Füssen is a great place to pick up souvenirs, from traditional Bavarian crafts to locally made chocolates and liqueurs. Be sure to try some of the regional specialties, like käsespätzle (cheese noodles) or schweinshaxe (roasted pork knuckle).

Fussen Fair

There was an adorable town fair happening while I visited, bringing all the local delicacies together with a pop-up Beer Garten and some bright carnival rides. What might be an eye-sore to many, creates a jovial atmosphere that can’t be replicated without the loud dinging of bells and flashing of carnival lights!

Take a Regal Ride: A Horse-Drawn Carriage

Horse-Drawn Carriage

For a unique and leisurely way to experience the area, consider a horse-drawn carriage ride. It’s a bit of a touristy thing to do, but hey, sometimes it’s fun to feel like royalty for a day. The carriages depart from Hohenschwangau and take you on a scenic route through the countryside, offering beautiful views of the castles and the surrounding landscape.

It’s a romantic and relaxing way to see the sights, and the gentle clip-clop of the horses’ hooves adds to the fairytale atmosphere. Not to mention, it helps to not break a sweat to get to the top of the hill!

Bavarian Feast: Indulge in Local Flavors

After a day of exploring, I settled down for a hearty Bavarian meal at a local restaurant. The warm, inviting atmosphere and the smell of roasting meat were enough to make my mouth water.

There’s nothing quite like enjoying a plate of Bavarian potato salad paired with a stein of frothy beer. Other Bavarian specialties worth trying include bratwurst, pretzels, and my personal favorite, Käsespätzle. A delectably cheesy affair with German style noodles and crispy onions on top. Heaven!
And for dessert, don’t miss the apfelstrudel, a flaky pastry filled with apples and cinnamon!

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