Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go to Beat the Crowds
Neuschwanstein Castle is mobbed by tourists, especially during the summer months. Follow my suggestions about how and when to go to make your visit stress free.
Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go: Most Important Things to Know
- The most important thing to know about how and when to visit Neuschwanstein is to arrive when the site opens at 8:00AM (summer) or 9:00AM (winter). By 10:00, hordes of tourists and dozens of tour buses begin to arrive on site. You do not want to be there then. It’s work getting out of bed early, trust me!
- The second most important thing to know about how and when to visit Neuschwanstein is to reserve your tickets online at least a month or two (preferably earlier) in advance. The reservation process asks you which date and time that you’d like to visit, but that date and time may not be the one that you actually receive. So the earlier you reserve, the more likely you’ll get the date and time you want. You must reserve tickets at least 2 days ahead of time online, but if you wait that long, tickets may not be available, especially during the summer. So book as far in advance as possible! To make reservations, visit the reservations page by clicking here.
Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go: Picking Up Your Tickets
- You must pick up your tickets at the Ticket Center on the day of your tour no later than one hour before the entry time that you have reserved. If you don’t pick-up the tickets on time, you’ve given up your reserved time. In that case, they might give you a later entrance time, if there is one available.
- In the ticket center, go to the line for reserved tickets.
Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go: Going Up to the Castles
- From the Ticket Center, Hohenschwangau is an easy 10 minute walk.
- To get to Neuschwanstein, you have several options:
- Hike 30 minutes
- Take the shuttle bus, which departs every few minutes from the shuttle bus stop, located near the Ticket Center. The shuttle bus will drop you off at Mary’s Bridge. From there, it’s a 10 minute walk downhill to the castle.
- Take a much slower horse-drawn carriage ride up to the castle
- Be aware that if you arrive at 10:00AM or later, the shuttle bus and carriages rides may have long lines. If there’s a long line and it’s less than one hour until your entry time, you should probably do the 30 minute hike.
- Once you’re at Neuschwanstein, go into the courtyard. When your entrance time comes up on the board, push (nicely) through the crowd and go to the turnstile.
Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go: What to See
- If you want to take pictures of Neuschwanstein, the best view is from Mary’s Bridge.
- The tour of Neuschwanstein is approximately 30 minutes, and the tour group is made up of approximately 60 people. If you’re only going to tour one castle, this is the most memorable choice.
- The tour of Hohenschwangau is also 30 minutes, but the group is made up of approximately 40 people.
- If you want to tour both castles, you should do Hohenschwangau first, as it gives you a better overview of King Ludwig II’s life and his family background. You’ll be given an entry time for Hohenschwangau, and then, two hours later, another entry time for Neuschwanstein. Reserve (online) the earliest tour of the day.
- If you only want to tour Neuschwanstein, reserve (online) the first tour of the day, so you can be in and out of the site before the hordes of tourists arrive.
- Alternatively, visit Neuschwanstein and/or Hohenschwangau to take pictures only. Arrive at 8:00AM (summer), when the site opens, take the shuttle bus to Mary’s Bridge, and take your photos. When I was there at 8:00AM, we were one of the first few people on Mary’s Bridge. If you don’t have tickets, don’t bother walk up into the castle courtyard, as there’s little there to photograph.
Neuschwanstein: How and When to Go: Parking and Getting There
- Be aware that signs along the local roads refer to the castle as Konigsschlosser, not Neuschwanstein.
- Consider staying overnight in the nearby town of Fussen so that you can arrive at the castles early. Fussen is located only 10-15 minutes from the castles. See my guide “Fussen: A Guide to Your Home Base for Exploring Southern Bavaria” for more information.
- For detailed driving directions, click on the map below.
- The most convenient parking lot is located past the Ticket Center on your right.
- After parking, go to the Ticket Center immediately to pick up your tickets. See the section above.
Here are my guides to attractions that you can add to your itinerary in southern Bavaria:
- Fussen: A Guide to Your Home Base for Exploring Southern Bavaria
- Oberammergau: A Fairy Tale of a Bavarian Town
- Alpine Coaster Oberammergau: Thrills for the Entire Family
- Ettal Monastery: Stop to Stare and Stay to Shop
- Mittenwald: Bavaria’s Prettiest Alpine Village
- Zugspitze: How to Get to Germany’s Tallest Peak and What to Do There
- Wieskirche: A Little Piece of Heaven in Bavaria