This winter, I finally got to explore Neuschwanstein Castle near the town of Füssen in Southwest Bavaria, Germany with my mom. It was our last day after two weeks of traveling before heading back to Madrid. This iconic castle was the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, one of my favorite places to visit! The castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II in the late 19th century. It is a Romanesque Revival palace with more than 1.3 million people visiting each year.
Tips for going in winter.
- Get there early.
- I thought because we were going in winter and not summer, there would be less tourists. I was wrong. We got there before noon and still needed to purchase our tickets. The lines to purchase tickets were pretty unorganized when we got there and the wait time was about an hour. You can only purchase your tickets there or reserve them a couple days in advance online for an additional fee. It’s best to get there as early as possible if you want to go inside either of the castles. Neuschwanstein castle is the most popular castle to visit but you can also visit Hohenschwagau Castle.
- Wear appropriate clothes.
- This should be pretty obvious for the winter months. If you can tell by the pictures, there was a lot of snow that we had to walk through. Like the Minnesotan I am, I dressed appropriately. Winter jacket, boots, hat and gloves I was all set for the day. I don’t know what other people were thinking. I saw a lot of people wearing tennis shoes (okay, fine) but then I saw some people wearing slip on shoes like flats with socks, and nothing else! I don’t know how they managed up and down that hill without their feet freezing. Be smart, people.
- Be prepared to hike.
- The bus to the top doesn’t run in the winter so your only options are to walk or take the horse carriage. We decided to walk which wasn’t bad, just felt like it took forever. You have to pay to take the horse carriage and sometimes you can be waiting for over an hour. I had a friend that visited the castle the same day (even though we didn’t realize until a couple weeks later) and she took the horse carriage to the top, saying afterwards she should have just walked. We did stop halfway up to grab some lunch and warm up since we had time before our entrance time to the castle.
- Don’t pay to go into the castle.
- My mom visited Neuschwanstein castle a few summers ago and tried to tell me that we didn’t need to go inside the castle. I’m one of those people that if I’m there, I want to see everything (or as much) as I can, so I decided that we would go into the castle. The inside was cool, but it wasn’t amazing. When you buy your tickets at the bottom, you’re given a time you can enter the castle and then you enter with a group. The only way to enter the castle is by a guided visit. You also can’t take pictures inside the castle.
- Do jump the fence to the bridge.
- Now I don’t necessarily like breaking rules but this one just had to be done. From the castle, you can see a bridge and from this bridge, you get AMAZING views of the castle. We had asked how to get there because we saw people walking across it, but were told it was closed. I was so disappointed because that was something I was looking forward to seeing the most. After exiting the castle, we saw people jumping the fence to the path that led to the bridge. We thought about it for a minute and decided it wasn’t meant to be and started walking down the hill. It took me less than ten seconds to realize I needed to at least try. Everyone else was doing it and no one was stoping them, so my mom and I very carefully jumped the fence to the bridge. The path itself was just fine and the views were totally worth it. After talking with others who had been in the winter, I found out that they too jumped the fence. Sometimes, you just need to ignore the signs for the perfect view.
We had a great time at Neuschwanstein. Despite all the walking up hill and the cold, it was the perfect way to end our two week trip through Germany and Austria. Until next time, Neuschwanstein.