Germany

The Cheapest Way to See Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

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 basis for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Located a couple of hours away from Munich, the majority of visitors pay for 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…

🐾 Dog-friendly: While dogs aren’t allowed inside Neuschwanstein Castle, check out my tips for visiting with a dog at the end.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links.

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. If it’s high season or even at other times of year, it is recommended to book tickets in advance, in case tickets sell out or there is a long queue to buy them onsite.

Buying Neuschwanstein Castle Tickets in Advance

To book tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle from the official ticket office click here. Note that bookings must be made at least two days in advance. Credit card details are required to reserve a ticket, but are only used if you are a no-show.

Entrance to Neuschwanstein Castle, including a guided tour, costs €13 per adult. Online bookings are currently charged an extra €2.50 reservation fee per person. But this is well worth the cost in case tickets are all sold out by the time you arrive or there is a very long queue.

If you have booked advance tickets, you will be advised to arrive at the Ticket Office to collect them well before your tour, generally 1.5 hours in advance. When you pick up your tickets, you also pay for them, with options including cash, credit or debit card and ATM card.

Cancellations are permitted up to two hours before the tour, via email.

Buying Neuschwanstein Castle Tickets on the Day

If you haven’t booked in advance for tickets, you will need to join a queue at the the ticket office and select a tour to buy on the day. On busy days, tickets may already be fully sold out.

Available tours are listed on the boards above the ticket counters. Tours are offered every 5 minutes in either German or English, with audio guides for other languages at no additional cost.

The Neuschwanstein Castle ticket price is €13 per adult, with children under 18 entering for free. You can pay with cash, credit or debit card or ATM card.

If you’re worried about missing out on a ticket, it’s best to catch an earlier train. Plus for a shorter queue it’s worthwhile hurrying to the ticket office once you alight from the bus, so you’re not lined up behind everyone else from the bus.

Don’t forget to buy a ticket down in the village, as they’re not available 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 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. Depending on your group, children or grandchildren up to 15 years old can usually travel for free.

You can also buy a Bavaria Ticket 1st Class, with a single traveller costing €38.50 and each additional traveller an extra €20.50. But I’ve found 2nd Class to be perfectly comfortable, especially on shorter trips like this one.

A Bavaria Ticket can be purchased at any train station in Munich or online.

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.

Interested in staying the night in Füssen, perhaps for an early morning visit to Neuschwanstein? Check out Hotel Fantasia, just 150m from the train station, or Hotel Sonne, in the heart of Füssen. 

The town of Füssen

The town of Füssen

What Time Do Trains Depart on Weekdays?

On weekdays, trains to Füssen depart each hour, at 8:53am, 9:52am, 10:53am, 11:52am, 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 some trains are direct to Füssen, while others require a change. The trains at 9:52am, 11:52am, etc are direct. While the trains at 8:53am, 10:53am, etc require a change at either Buchloe or Kaufbeuren. The total journey time remains roughly the same and in both cases the final train terminates at Füssen.

Double check the timetable at the Deutsche Bahn website, although the train time has rarely changed from year to year.

How Do You Catch the 8:53am Train with a Bavaria Ticket?

If you’re wanting to catch that early 8:53am 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 trip ticket for Munich for €3.30 per adult. This will cover the part of your train journey from München Hauptbahnhof to München-Pasing, where the train then departs at exactly 9:00am.

What Time Do Trains Depart on Weekends?

The train times on weekends slightly differ, and generally involve a change of train and a longer journey time. Check out the full 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.

To get to the Neuschwanstein Castle ticket office, 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.

What about the Munich Neuschwanstein Flixbus?

An alternative transport option to get to Neuschwanstein Castle is offered by Flixbus. Flixbus has in recent years offered a direct bus from Munich to Neuschwanstein.

When I last checked, the price was €9.99 in each direction, for a total cost of €19.98 return. For two people, this is only a few euros more expensive than taking the train and bus combination using the Bavaria Ticket.

The bus departs from Munich Central Bus Station (close to the Hauptbahnhof) and deposits you at Schwangau (the same destination as the above local bus). It takes 2hr 5 minutes each direction.

There are generally two bus departures each morning, at 8:15am and 9:45am. Then there are two return trips each afternoon, at 4:40pm and 6:10pm. I’m not sure if this differs over the winter, with the schedule for late in the year not currently online. It is likely there are less services over the winter.

Pros of the Munich Neuschwanstein Flixbus

  • Direct service, with no need to change trains or change to the local bus
  • Slightly faster trip, assuming there are are no traffic delays
  • The early bus arrives earlier than the earliest train possible on a weekday with the Bavaria Ticket
  • Cheaper for a single traveller than the Bavaria Ticket

Cons of the Munich Neuschwanstein Flixbus

  • Not as comfortable as travelling by train
  • Costs more than the Bavaria Ticket for two or more people
  • Children are charged full price, rather than travelling for free
  • Public transport to get to and from the bus station isn’t included
  • The total time you’ll spend at Neuschwanstein Castle is at least 6hr 20 minutes, which is longer than most people would spend at the castle, even if you also visit nearby Hohenschwangau Castle. You also don’t get the option to spend part of the day in Füssen.

Climbing the Hill to Neuschwanstein Castle

Once your bus has arrived at the village below Neuschwanstein Castle and you have visited the ticket office, 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 €2.50 uphill and €1.50 downhill, or €3.00 for a return trip. The final alternative is to take a horse and cart ride. This costs €7 uphill and €3.50 downhill.

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.

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.

Courtyard of Neuschwanstein Castle

Courtyard of Neuschwanstein Castle

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 actually good value, at least at the time of my visit.

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.

Prefer to be accompanied by a guide and skip the ticket queue? Check out the prices and availability of this small-group day tour offered through Viator.

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Neuschwanstein Castle

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33 Comments

  • Reply
    Angelia Meyer
    March 3, 2016 at 1:12 am

    This is so helpful! I was going to book a tour with Viator for our trip this Summer, this just saved me a lot of money.

    One question, however. Are the busses/trains to Füssen operated by DB Bahn (I assume so, but just checking)? I did not get us a Bavaria Pass, but I did get us a German Rail Pass that is good through all of Germany on any mode of transportation operated by DB Bahn.

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      March 3, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Yes, the train to Fussen is operated by DB Bahn. Enjoy your trip!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Correll
    May 23, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this great information. I went to Germany last month and this article saved money and also gave me the confidence to go on my own. It was a wonderful day!!! In group tours it’s 5 minutes here, 10 there, who cares what you love or hate. My day was so relaxing. I stood on the porch of the castle (it’s accessed from inside the castle just past the gift shop and tea room, don’t miss it, it’s after the tour as you exit the castle!!!) with the most amazing view for almost an hour! Stopped and had tea just outside the castle and enjoyed the view from that direction. I also stopped for a late lunch in a little restaurant on the way down the hill and had traditional Goulash that was delicious! One of my most enjoyable days spent on any vacation. Thank you!!!

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      May 24, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Thank you so much Elizabeth! I’m glad to hear you had a wonderful time there, it’s such an amazing castle!

  • Reply
    John
    June 19, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for you worthy information!
    I have some questions 😀
    Did you visit the castle on a weekend or a weekday?
    Because I was planning to go on Monday (11th July). It means that if I buy “Bavaria ticket”, I need to take the train which departs at 9:53 and arrives at 12:18 to Hohenschwangau.
    Given this, What time should I reserve online my ticket?

    How many time did you spend there approximately? I would like to know, a what time should I return to Munich 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      June 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Hi John, thanks for leaving a question! I visited on a weekend, which meant I caught a far earlier train and left buying a ticket until I arrived. (It was also early December outside of peak time.)

      I’d book a ticket at least 1 hour after you arrive. You’ll need to leave time to walk or bus up the hill, which takes at least 30 minutes. And the tour starts exactly on time – no latecomers permitted! If anything, book even later and have lunch while filling in time – there’s plenty of restaurants and snack stands.

      I probably ended up spending around 3 hours in total, including wandering around the site (make sure you visit the bridge nearby for the best views), taking the tour and having lunch.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy travels!
      Shandos

  • Reply
    Maddie
    July 28, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Is the Bavaria ticket good for only 1 day or is it good for our whole trip? (we will be there for 4 days)

  • Reply
    Robin
    August 23, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Thnx for the usefull info.
    We Will be visiting the castte next month but are not intrested in the castle tour.
    But we wanna take the bus. Where do you buy the bustickets? also is the ticketoffice with the long queu or at a seperate place?

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      August 24, 2017 at 5:04 am

      Hi Robin,
      If you’ve caught the train using a Bavaria ticket, the bus ride from Füssen to the castle (Hohenschwangau) is included in the price. Otherwise, I believe you buy the bus ticket off the bus driver. The ticket office with the long queue is at Hohenschwangau, with tickets for the castle.
      Thanks for the questions,
      Shandos

  • Reply
    Christina
    October 21, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Wow ! This is brilliant information. I am going to do this trip next week. However, I have a fear of German trains because I heard that you can be caught out with things like ensuring you validate tickets etc. I am going to start out before 9am, so will buy a single ticket to cover me up to 9am as well as the Bavaria Ticket. Do I need to stamp or validate any tickets, please?

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      October 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      Christina, that’s great to hear! I loved the castle and hope you have a magical time visiting. With the single ticket, you’ll need to validate it. However, with the Bavaria ticket, it depends on what type of machine you buy it from. If you have had to specify the date and it is printed on the ticket, there is no need to validate. Otherwise, validate the ticket. If I’m in doubt, I usually check if my ticket fits in the validator machine – if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t need to be validated.

  • Reply
    Alex
    October 23, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you so much! This article literally covered everything I needed to get to the castle on my own, even being my first time in Germany. Thank you thank you!

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      October 24, 2017 at 1:00 am

      Alex – that’s awesome to hear, thanks for sharing! I hope you had better weather than the rain and cold today in Poland.

  • Reply
    Ana
    October 28, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Hi. I have my trip covered to füssen by the Eurail pass but I was wondering how much would cost the bus ticket from there to hohenschwangau? Thanks in advance.

  • Reply
    Sergio
    October 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Hi!
    We plan to go in April 2018.
    Question! Is there a way to go to Switzerland from Fuesen or is it better/Cheaper just to go back to Munich?

    Also, when you book. a ticket for the castle online, do you have to do the tour at a specific time or can you go at any hour during that day you bought the ticket for?

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      November 4, 2017 at 3:55 am

      Sergio – sorry for the delay in replying!

      Yes, it’s possible to travel from Fuessen directly to Switzerland via train, without returning all the way to Munich. Looking at the train timetable, you travel about halfway back to Munich and change trains in Buchloe. It’s about 4.75hr on the train from Fuessen to Zurich, or less if you’re only travelling to St Gallen in the east of Switzerland. It’s definitely a worthwhile saving of time, although the ticket price is likely to be similar.

      When booking a ticket for the castle online, it’s for a specific time, not just a day. When booking the tickets, you specify your preferred tour time. In your confirmation email, it will list your actual tour time (which could differ, depending on availability). It’s later possible to change your time, subject to availability.

      Also, from next year the rules are changing slightly and you need to pick up your tickets at least 90 minutes before the time, not 60 minutes. And when you see the military precision with which they start each tour (with a digital clock ticking down the time), you’ll understand that they will enforce the times strictly (plus gain an appreciation for their organisational efficiency!)

  • Reply
    Rafael & Thomas
    March 2, 2018 at 2:11 am

    Hey, Shandos.

    We love that you are travelling with your dog, he is so cute.

    We recently visited Neuschwanstein but as we were based in Frankfurt it was cheaper going by bus than taking advantage of the Bavarian card. You can check more of our adventure here https://www.traveldiaryofafightingcouple.com/2018/02/01/the-enchanted-trip-to-f%C3%BCssen-and-the-neuschwanstein-castle/

    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      March 2, 2018 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks for sharing the cheapest way to get there from Frankfurt! Yeah, the prices of trains in Germany can quickly climb if you can’t use a regional ticket for a group.

  • Reply
    Siva Sangavi Siva Kumar
    March 16, 2018 at 12:44 am

    Shandos, After 2 days of research, I finally landed on your site. Thanks!!
    I am travelling on coming April on a weekday and I booked my castle at 1 PM. I thought of taking Bayern ticket but the train from Munich is only at 9.51 PM and reach Fussen only by 11.55 am –> schwangau bus stop–> ticket counter –> shuttle bus –>walk to castle, which is very close to my booking time to castle. So I was surfing around to check the cheapest way to travel from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle early morning (to and fro).
    Thank you sooooooo much :)))) for your above lines,

    “Oh, and if you’re wanting to catch that early 8:53am train on a weekday, and still use the Bavaria Ticket that doesn’t allow train journeys before 9:00am, there is a way! ”

    More than saving money I felt happy to find a way to reach Castle on time and spend good time there with both Bayern ticket and cheap & fast way!!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      March 16, 2018 at 4:38 am

      Thanks so much for letting me know that I helped you out! Have a fabulous time on your trip! Shandos

  • Reply
    Robyn
    April 6, 2018 at 2:42 am

    Thank you for the info! I look forward to my visit this June and thank to this post I will be doing it on my own! I do have a question though… someone told me that people can go swimming in the Alpsee Lake behind the castle. Is this true? And is it easy enough to find a trail that leads to the lake?

    • Reply
      Shandos
      April 6, 2018 at 2:57 am

      Thanks Robyn! When I visited in December, no-one was swimming in the Alpsee Lake (no surprises!), but looking online, it’s a popular wild swimming location. There’s no fenced areas or facilities, but it’s definitely possibly to swim in the lake. It’s easy to find – the lake is not far past the ticket office, only about 250m past the road up to Neuschwanstein Castle. The Museum of the Bavarian Kings is right next to the lake, and there’s a road leading to both the museum and the lake. Hope you have a great time in June!

  • Reply
    Karen
    June 7, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    Thank you for all this useful information! We are visiting Germany in Sept and this is one of the stops we plan on making. Is it possible to just walk around the grounds of the castle, visit the gift shop and go to Mary’s Bridge without buying a tour ticket? We don’t care much for being rushed through places but would love to go at our own pace on the outside property.

    • Reply
      Shandos
      June 8, 2018 at 3:16 am

      Karen – It’s certainly possible to visit the castle without a ticket, if you don’t want to go on an interior tour. You can visit the bridge and I’m pretty certain you can enter as far as the courtyard, from where the tours start. The main gift shop is at the end of the tour, and I’m not sure if you can enter from the exit, but there’s plenty of other gift shops in the village. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Karen
    June 9, 2018 at 9:42 am

    Thanks for replying, Shandos!

  • Reply
    PattyB
    September 25, 2018 at 3:40 am

    Hi Shandos, just want to leave a note of thanks on your blog for the great tips and advice! I followed your directions down to a T. Saved me time and money! I only missed the advance reservation because I decided last minute to go to the castle the next day so I had to line up. The earliest tour I got was 2 hours from when I got there so I had time to have lunch and explore a bit. Again, thanks and safe and fun travels!

    • Reply
      Shandos
      September 25, 2018 at 8:57 pm

      That’s great to hear! And 2 hours isn’t long to wait, once you factor in wandering around and having lunch. Enjoy the rest of your travels!

  • Reply
    Ronaldo Cimafranca Dela Cruz
    August 16, 2019 at 7:15 am

    Hello. We are planning for this castle tour and have encounter some conflicting information regarding the package of visiting the castle. We may decide of going there only by ourselves, buying our train tickets, jumping on either bus 78 or 73, and finally taking the shuttle up to close to the bridge. The 30 minutes castle tour will not be sufficient. I would rather stay outside and take pictures of the surroundings and selfies. My question is, would it be possible to reach the bridge without any castle ticket? Thank you.

    • Reply
      Shandos
      August 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm

      Ronaldo – Yes, it’s possible to visit the bridge and the rest of the exterior of the castle without a ticket. A ticket is only required for the inside tour. What most people do is spending a couple of hours in the vicinity of the castle, including taking the shuttle up (or walking) and taking photos of the exterior, with the 30-minute tour only part of this time.

  • Reply
    Cheryl
    March 15, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    We will be renting a car and driving directly from Munich to Fussen. Do you know approx. how long that will take and is there anything in between the two cities that you would recommend we stop at before the castle? Also, do you recommend visiting the other castle nearby?

    • Reply
      Shandos
      March 19, 2020 at 9:05 am

      Cheryl – It takes about 1hr 40mins to drive from Munich to Füssen, although it will vary depending on where in Munich you are located. I’m not sure about the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle – I didn’t have time to visit it on my day trip using the train, but the reviews are very positive, and I believe you can get a combined discounted ticket. Some day trips to Neuschwanstein also visit Linderhof Palace and Oberammergau, which are close by, but not actually on the way.

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