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When we decided to go to Germany we had a few ideas of places to see, and visiting Neuschwanstein castle, the fairy tale Bavarian castle of Ludwig II, was high on the list. Being on a tight budget on this road trip around Europe means that inevitably we have to make some choices about what to include and what to miss. Munich was also on the list, but we opted to miss that and do the castle instead on the basis that we could fly into Munich one day and visit it fairly easy in the future. Visiting a German castle in the Alps wasn’t such an easy option from home so it made the cut!
How to get to Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein is located in Bavaria in southern Germany. It’s nearest to the town of Fussen in the Allgäu region. Getting to the area of the castle was really easy in our campervan, we opted to stay in a motorhome campground in Füssen the night before which was at the top end of our budget for these things at 13 euros a night, but it had the luxury of wifi! Füssen was a really pretty town as well and worth exploring, especially if you want any souvenirs of the castle. I got some small watercolour pictures for 3 euros and saw them the day after at the castle for twice the price!
Neuschwanstein Castle Parking
There is ample Neuschwanstein parking around the castle too in the village of Hohenschwangau. We were there on a Saturday and it was busy, but plenty of room. It costs 5 euros a day to park a car, and 7.50 euros for a motorhome. You can only stay 6 hours for that price in a motorhome as well, otherwise it’s more, but I forget the actual price of that.
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
The village of Hohenschwangau itself is pretty much all cafes, restaurants and gift shops. You need to go up the hill a little way to the Neuschwanstein ticket center and join the queue for tickets if you want them. This is the only place you can buy them and you can’t get them in advance. It was quite busy when we were there and we needed to wait at least 30 mins to get to the front to buy our tickets. You then choose a time to go up and that’s you sorted. Only the job of walking up the huge hill to go!
Tickets were 12 euros per adult and kids are free. Make sure if you have a lunch time tour that you have an idea of what you’ll do for food. Having the van means we can eat in it, but it was a long way away! We should have brought food up with us. Of course there are also food options on the way up to the castle if your budget isn’t as tight as ours or cafes in the village.
I feel like it’s really important to note that you do NOT need to get tickets to get up to the castle and you can walk up there for free, get all the views and even go in as far as the entrance without a ticket. The tickets only get you the guided tour.
The walk up the hill is only 20 minutes or so, but feels a long time. Or maybe that’s because I am unfit! As you don’t quite know how long you have to go on the walk up and you know you need to be there in time for your tour it feels worse! There are some strategically placed shops on the way up too so you can be relieved of your money If you are worried about the journey up there is also a bus and a horse carriage ride on offer. Being as we’d spent our daily budget already we walked!
The views are stunning and it was just as beautiful as I’d hoped. We were lucky and had a dryish day, but it was a bit chilly. There are some great views over the lake by Füssen and some excellent view points of the castle itself.
Neuschwanstein Castle Tour
So, onto the tour. I like tours, I like to hear the history of places and so for me it was a great addition to the day. I have to say that it did feel rather overpriced, as it must have only lasted about 30 mins. I think if I’d have known we could have got up as close as we did without paying anything we would have done that, but if you are a history buff then it’s not too bad and I am!
Overall it was quite a difficult place to do on a strict budget due to the parking and the tour ticket, but we’re probably an anomoly there with how tight ours is! Overall I’m really glad we made the effort to get there. And when you drive away and see views like this behind you, it was all the sweeter! We’d had such awful weather it was our first proper view of the Alps!
If you’re planning to stay in the area then Füssen is probably the best town. Neuschwanstein is also an easy day trip from Munich and many people do Neuschwanstein tours from there. If you’re planning to do the trip independently then you can get the train from Munich to Füssen and then a bus from there to the village of Hohenschwangau.
Hotel Sonne Fussen comes highly recommended and has rooms suitable for families too – you can check out prices here.