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This German Castle Is the Inspiration Behind the One at Disneyland

Germany Insider Guides
by Morgane Croissant Aug 2, 2023

There are around 25,000 castles, palaces, and mansions in Germany, but there’s one that clearly stands out from the crowd: Neuschwanstein Castle. With its white facade and its graceful turrets, the 19th-century fairytale castle sits on top of a rock ledge over a gorge in the Bavarian Alps, dominating the landscape. Since 1886, a few weeks after the castle’s commissioner, Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, died, visitors have been able to visit the extravagant edifice that inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Today, 1.4 million people come from just about every corner of the globe to see the castle — inside and out.

Where is Neuschwanstein Castle?

Neuschwanstein Castle is located in southern Germany, in the state of Bavaria. The castle is less than 80 miles from the city of Munich and is very close to the border with Austria (seven miles, i.e. a 20-minute drive).

The castle’s exact address is: Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau, Germany

How to get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich?

You can easily take public transport from Munich Central Station (München Hbf) to the village of Schwangau, where the castle is located. The trip usually involves at least one train and one bus connection and takes between two and three hours. The trains and buses to travel from Munich to the castle are frequent and won’t cost you more than $40. Consult Deutsche Bahn’s website to plan a smooth trip — all the options are there if you enter “Munich” as your departure station and “Neuschwanstein Castles, Schwangau” as your arrival station. If you’re traveling by train and bus, plan to stay one night and a couple of days in the area around the castle to make the most of it.

If you’d rather not have to deal with train and bus connections, you can opt to travel by bus with Flixbus from Munich all the way to the castle. It is cheaper than the train and takes less than two hours.

If you decide to drive from Munich, you’ll get to the castle in less than two hours — the trip is less than 80-mile long.

If you prefer to leave the planning to professionals, known that some tour operators, such as Viator or Get Your Guide, offer day trips from Munich to the castle and back.

At what time does Neuschwanstein Castle open and close?

View of Neuschwanstein Castle

Photo: canadastock/Shutterstock

The castle can only be visited as part of a guided tour. From April 1 to October 15, guided tours of the castle start at 9 AM and end at 6 PM, daily. From October 16 to March 31, guided tours of the castle start at 10 AM and end at 4 PM, every day. The tour lasts 30 minutes, but you are allowed to visit the ground around the castle before or after, and without the need for a guide.

The castle is closed to visitors on December 24, 25, 31, and January 1.

Is it possible to visit Neuschwanstein Castle in winter?

Yes, the castle is open in winter. From October 16 to March 31, the 30-minute-long guided tours of the castle start at 10 AM and end at 4 PM, every day. The castle is only closed four days per year: December 24, 25, 31, and January 1.

No matter what season you choose to visit the castle, it will leave you in awe, but a little snow does add a layer of beauty to the already-stunning edifice and surrounding landscape.

What’s it like inside Neuschwanstein Castle?

Every visitor who wants to see what the castle looks like inside must take a 30-minute-long guided tour that takes you through 14 impressive rooms, including the Throne Hall, the historic kitchen, and the famous grotto. For more details, consult the map of the tour.

How long does it take to visit Neuschwanstein Castle?

The guided tour of the castle, which is mandatory if you want to access its interior, lasts 30 minutes. You can explore the grounds around the castle at your own pace throughout the day. Budget half a day or more to make the most of your visit.

How to get tickets to Neuschwanstein Castle?

It is recommended to purchase your ticket online on the official website in advance to ensure that you get to visit on the day you want — tickets sell fast. You will book your preferred guided tour at the same time as you purchase your ticket.

Ticket for adults cost $19.20 (17.50 €); accompanied children under the age of 18 pay $2.75 (2.50 €).

Do not be late for your guided tour. If you miss the start of the tour, you won’t be able to join and may not be able to visit inside the castle at all that day.

When was Neuschwanstein Castle built? By whom?

The castle’s construction started in 1869 and its commissioner, Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, moved in in 1884. The castle was never completed, however.

Who lived in Neuschwanstein Castle?

Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, lived in the castle for a total of six months on and off between 1884 when he moved in, and 1886 when he died by drowning himself. The castle opened to visitors only seven weeks after his death.

How to pronounce Neuschwanstein Castle?

Neuschwanstein is pronounce as follows: noy – shvaan – stine

In German, Neuschwanstein Castle is Schloss Neuschwanstein.

Seven facts about Neuschwanstein Castle

  • Ludwig II, who became King of Bavaria in 1864, grew up in Hohenschwangau Castle, a fantasy castle located nearby Neuschwanstein Castle and built by his father Maximilian II. Both castles can be visited on the same day.
  • Ludwig II was nicknamed “Mad King Ludwig” and “the Fairytale king” due to his obsession over the building of eccentric castles and the consequent reckless spending that nearly bankrupted the state of Bavaria.
  • When it was built, the castle had all the modern amenities, including running water, central heating, and connections to telephone lines.
  • Ludwig II built three fairytale castled in his lifetime: Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, and Herrenchiemsee, all three of which can be visited today.
  • Neuschwanstein Castle was the inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle in Fantasyland in Disneyland Park, California.
  • Mary’s bridge or Marienbrücke, originally built across Pöllat Gorge right behind the castle in 1845 by commission of King Maximilian II (Ludwig’s father), offers the best view of Neuschwanstein Castle. The bridge is open to the public.
  • Around 1.4 million people visit the castle every year.

Can you stay in Neuschwanstein Castle?

You cannot stay in Neuschwanstein Castle, but there are plenty of accommodation options around the castle for you to have a wonderful stay in Bavaria.

Where to stay near Neuschwanstein Castle?

We hope you love the hotels we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.

AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa

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Located on the shore of Lake Alpsee, in between Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles, AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa is a four-star property of 136 rooms. AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa is only 14 minutes on foot from Hohenschwangau and 18 minutes from Neuschwanstein, making it one of the best places to stay for those who wish to take their time to visit both castles and explore the surrounding area. Despite the historic building in which it is hosted, the hotel is a modern one, with contemporary decor and amenities, like a spa with an indoor pool and several saunas, a fitness center, several restaurants, and a terrace and a garden with excellent views on the castles. AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa offers a free self-serve breakfast.

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Hotel Müller Hohenschwangau

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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The Hotel Müller Hohenschwangau is a highly-rated, three-star property located 11 minutes on foot from Hohenschwangau and 20 minutes from Neuschwanstein — perfect for those who wish to be next door to all the attractions. While the building is traditionally Bavarian from the outside, inside, it’s modern with sparse touches of traditional decor. While there are only 40 rooms, guests can enjoy the cuisine of two different on-site restaurants and one bar. Breakfast is included at this property, and there is a souvenir shop for you to buy all the Bavarian knick-knacks you’ve ever dreamed of.

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Villa Ludwig Suite Hotel & Chalet

Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia
Photo: Expedia

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With only 18 suites, the four-star Villa Ludwig Suite Hotel & Chalet is a great place to stay for those seeking somewhere quiet and intimate. The property is only 23 minutes on foot from the castle, allowing guests to avoid rushing to get to the area’s biggest attraction. There is a spa on site, equipped with a sauna and steam room, and offering a variety of body and facial treatments. There is no restaurant in the hotel but there is a bar and breakfast is available.

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