With its snow-white limestone facade and fanciful turrets peeking out from the forested mountain tops of the Hohenschwangau valley, Neuschwanstein Castle (Schloss Neuschwanstein) could easily have been lifted from the pages of a fairy tale. In a way, it has—the German castle famously inspired Disney's Sleeping Beauty
Neuschwanstein tours can be taken from Munich, Fussen, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, or Frankfurt, and are often combined with visits to other attractions along Bavaria's Romantic Road. Many visitors choose to admire the castle from the outside only and find that the most stunning views are from the Marienbrucke Bridge. The interior, including the opulent Minstrel's Hall and the grand Byzantine Throne Room, can only be visited on a guided castle tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
Ticket lines can be long in peak season—plan ahead and book a skip-the-line tour to avoid the hassle.
Wear suitable walking shoes if you opt to walk up to the castle—the road is uphill and uneven in places.
The castle is wheelchair-accessible with buses and carriages that can bring visitors up the hill to the entrance; inside, you'll also find elevators.
Plan to spend about two hours at the castle, excluding wait times.
How to Get to Neuschwanstein Castle
The nearest town to Neuschwanstein is Hohenschwangau, about 75 miles (120 km) southwest of Munich. Buses and trains run between Hohenschwangau and the castle. From the ticket booths at the bottom of the mountain, it's a scenic 30-minute walk through the forest to reach the castle, but regular shuttle buses and romantic horse-drawn carriages also run the route in peak season.
When to Get There
Neuschwanstein is open all year round, but with up to 1.4 million annual visitors, it can get extremely busy, especially in July and August. To avoid the crowds, get there before opening at 8am or after 3pm, when most of the day-trippers have already left. The castle looks majestic at any time of year, but the snowfall of mid-winter and the colorful foliage of early fall can add an extra edge to your photos.
Visiting Bavaria's Fairytale Castles
Bavaria is home to dozens of royal castles, but the most famous were built for King Ludwig II, the "Mad King" or "Swan King." In addition to Neuschwanstein, visitors can tour the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle, Ludwig's childhood home; Herrenchiemsee, inspired by Versailles; and Linderhof Castle, another of the king's masterpieces.