One of the must-see sights when you are visiting Munich and Bavaria in Germany is the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein. Built by Mad King Ludwig in the late 19th century, it’s the inspiration for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Located a couple of hours away from Munich, the majority of visitors pay to go on a day tour, sometimes also visiting a second castle. However, if you’re only interested in visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and don’t need a guide to direct you on your way, it’s very easy to organise your own day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Find out about the cheapest way to see Neuschwanstein Castle on a day trip from Munich…
Note: While dogs aren’t allowed inside Neuschwanstein Castle, check out my tips for visiting with a dog at the end.
How to Buy Neuschwanstein Castle Tickets
The cheapest way to buy tickets for tours of Neuschwanstein Castle is directly from the castle. There are two options for buying these tickets: buying tickets in advance or on the day.
It’s best to buy tickets in advance, no matter the time of the year, with tickets often selling out in advance, or the limited tickets left for sale on the day being quickly snapped up early morning. In particular, English tours tend to sell out before the more frequent German tours.
Buying Neuschwanstein Castle Tickets in Advance
To purchase tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle from the official online ticket store click here. There are multiple ticket options available, with tickets to multiple castles and combination tickets, including tickets just to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Neuschwanstein Castle can only be visited on a guided tour. A ticket is a reservation for a guided tour at a particular time. Tours commence as frequently as every 5 minutes. Most tours are in German, with a smaller number of tours in English, while some tours are audio-guide only, including in English.
Entrance to Neuschwanstein Castle, including a guided tour, costs €15 per adult (as of 2022). Online bookings are currently charged an extra €2.50 reservation fee per person. But this is well worth the cost to confirm your tickets in advance.
Previously, the online ticket centre just booked tickets, and you still needed to collect and pay for your tickets in advance before your tour. However, this is no longer the case. Simply display the QR code of your ticket on your phone at the entrance, or print out the ticket as back-up.
Buying Neuschwanstein Castle Tickets on the Day
If you haven’t purchased tickets in advance online, it still might be possible to buy a ticket on the day. Any tickets that haven’t yet been sold are put on sale at the Ticket Center when it opens, at 8am in summer and 8:30am in winter.
However, on many days there are no tickets still available, so none are available on the day. Even if tickets are still available, they generally sell out during the morning hours, possibly before you arrive at the site.
At the Ticket Center, the Neuschwanstein Castle ticket price is also €15 per adult. You can pay with cash, credit or debit card or ATM card.
Note that the Ticket Center is down in the village, not up at the castle!
The Cost to Travel to Neuschwanstein Castle by Public Transport
So, now you know how to buy tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle, but what about the cheapest way to travel to Neuschwanstein Castle? Most day trips to Neuschwanstein Castle will cost around €50-60 per person, often with the castle entrance not included. Instead it’s cheapest to travel to Neuschwanstein Castle by public transport.
The best ticket to buy to travel to Neuschwanstein Castle is the Bavaria Ticket. The Bavaria Ticket allows travel on all trains across Bavaria and many buses (including the one to Neuschwanstein Castle). On weekends and public holidays it is valid all day long, while on weekdays it is valid after 9am.
The Bavaria Ticket 2nd Class costs €26 for a single traveller, plus an extra €8 per extra traveller, for up to five travellers in total. So if there are two of you, the total cost is €34 for both of you. Or just €17 each to do the trip yourself. Additionally, up to three children age 6 to 14 years old can travel with you for free, with children under 6 years always travelling for free.
You can also buy a Bavaria Ticket 1st Class, with a single traveller costing €38.50 and each additional traveller an extra €20. But I’ve found 2nd Class to be perfectly comfortable, especially on shorter trips like this one.
A Bavaria Ticket can be purchased online or at any train station in Munich.
Taking the Train from Munich to Füssen
To get to Neuschwanstein Castle by public transport is a two step journey. Firstly, you need to catch the train from Munich to Füssen, before taking a local bus the rest of the way.
To catch the train from Munich to Füssen, firstly head to München Hauptbahnhof (or Hbf for short, the main train station). Alternatively, if you are staying on the western side of Munich, you may want to join the train when it stops at München-Pasing. Trains and buses to the starting point are included in the Bavaraia Ticket, as long as it is after 9am on weekdays.
No reservation is required on the train from Munich to Füssen.
What Time Do Trains Depart on Weekdays?
On weekdays, trains to Füssen depart roughly hourly, at 8:40am, 9:36am, 10:39am, 11:39am, etc. The total journey time is a couple of minutes over 2 hours, with the journey comfortable and rather picturesque as you approach the Alps.
Note that most trains to Füssen require a change. Only the 9:36am train is direct, which is also the first train that you can catch using the Bavaria Ticket on a weekday. The other trains require a change at Buchloe, although the total journey time remains roughly the same. In either case, the final train terminates at Füssen.
Double check the timetable at the Deutsche Bahn website, although most years the timetable barely changes.
Can You Catch the 8:40am Train with a Bavaria Ticket?
If you’re wanting to catch that early 8:40am train on a weekday, and still use the Bavaria Ticket that doesn’t allow train journeys before 9:00am, there is a way!
Additionally purchase a single M-4 ticket for Munich for €10.50 per adult. This will cover the part of your train journey from München Hauptbahnhof to Geltendorf, where the train then departs at 9:07am. This is cheaper than buying regular tickets to cover the journey.
What Time Do Trains Depart on Weekends?
At the moment, the train times on the weekend are virtually the same as on weekdays, with the same trains requiring a change. There is also a convenient 8:07am train directly to Füssen, which is convenient for early risers.
Double check the latest train timetables on the easy to use Deutsche Bahn website.
Taking the Bus from Füssen to Neuschwanstein Castle
Stay on the train until Füssen, where the train terminates, and then alight from the train. At the train station, board one of the buses heading to either Schwangau (RVA/OVG 78) or Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen (RVA/OVG 73).
It’s easy to work out which bus to catch, as many other passengers on the train will also be catching the same bus. Usually one or more buses will be waiting when the train arrives. If in doubt, check with the driver.
Your Bavaria Ticket also covers this bus trip. Just show the driver your ticket.
Arriving at Neuschwanstein Castle
After about 10 minutes on the bus, get off in Hohenschwangau. Again, most of the other people on the bus will be alighting here, too.
If you are heading to the Ticket Center, cross the main road and head a few hundred metres along the road through Hohenschwangau. The office is located on the right hand side of the road.
Alternatively, you can start heading directly up to the castle. It’s recommended to arrive 1.5 hours before your booked tour, particularly if you will be using transport to climb the hill to the castle.
Climbing the Hill to Neuschwanstein Castle
Once your bus has arrived at the village below Neuschwanstein Castle and you have possibly visited the Ticket Center, you then need to proceed to the top of the hill to the actual castle for your tour.
The cheapest option to get to Neuschwanstein Castle is to walk up the hill to it, which is naturally free. Whilst the hill is steep, the 1.5km climb is no issue if you’re used to walking. It is recommended you allow 30-40 minutes for the walk, but the climb will be quicker for people of average fitness.
The next cheapest option is to take a shuttle bus. This costs €3.00 uphill and €2.00 downhill, or €3.50 for a return trip. Note that you may need to wait to board the bus.
The final alternative is to take a horse and cart ride. This costs €7.00 uphill and €3.50 downhill and takes about 20 minutes.
After the shuttle bus or horse and cart ride, there is still a short distance to walk, with the horse and cart ride dropping you closest to the castle entrance. In either case, allow 15 minutes to walk to the entrance.
The Tour of Neuschwanstein Castle
Your actual tour of Neuschwanstein Castle begins from the interior courtyard. If there is still time until your tour starts, fill in time by visiting the Marienbrücke and taking photos from the popular look-out (see the top photo), then wander around the outside of Neuschwanstein Castle and the interior courtyard.
If your wait is even longer, it may be worthwhile having lunch first. There are multiple options down in the village (either sit down inside or simple take-away options outside). Alternatively, the restaurant just below the castle where the horse and card ride terminates is reasonably priced.
When it’s almost time for your tour, make sure you are waiting at the tour gate in time. Five minutes before the start time, the electronic board will update to display your tour number. Your ticket now allows you through the turnstile into the queueing area. Promptly on time, your tour will then enter the castle.
The guided tour lasts 35 minutes, although you can spend extra time wandering through the souvenir shops and old kitchens at the end of the tour. Strictly no photos are allowed on the tour, and there’s no free time to wander around by yourself.
Returning to Munich from Neuschwanstein Castle
To return to Munich, follow your journey in reverse. Return to the main road to catch the bus, then climb aboard a train at Füssen. Trains again depart approximately hourly. Check out the time of return trains at the Deutsche Bahn website.
If you have enough time, it is worthwhile wandering around the historic centre of the beautiful town Füssen before returning to Munich.
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle with a Dog
While dogs aren’t allowed inside the castle at Neuschwanstein (or on the shuttle bus), it’s still possible to visit the outside of Neuschwanstein Castle with your dog.
Dogs are allowed on the train (either free in a container or pay for an extra traveller on the Bavaria Ticket) and on the local bus, then on the walking path up to the castle and to the Marienbrücke lookout spot.
If there’s two of you and you both want to head inside, buy tickets to two different tours at least 45 minutes apart.
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