Neuschwanstein Castle Day trip from Munich - Is it worth it?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Admit it – as cheesy as they are, everyone loves a fairytale. So, when it came to planning our itinerary for Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle fell squarely under the 'must-see' category. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the castle not only boasts of its own interesting back story but was also the inspiration behind Disney's iconic castle in Cinderella as well as Sleeping Beauty. But, as it turned out I wasn't the only one on the quest for my 'damsel in distress' moment. The two-hour train ride from Munich was swamped with equally enthusiastic travellers. The visuals of people squashing themselves into, around and underneath seats should have really acted as a warning for what was to come but I was too busy capturing pictures of the hilarious scenes whilst also scouting for a seat myself to think about what would happen when we got there. 

With the expectations set at an all-time high, you can imagine my disappointment when we saw 'SOLD OUT' written across a picture of Schloss Neuschwanstein. I'm not exaggerating when I say it was the stuff of nightmares. Dejected, we decided to settle for the other castle in the complex Schloss Hohenschwangau. It was beautiful too but of course no match for the main star of the show. But like every classic fairy-tale, after the heart ache comes the good stuff. After standing in the freezing cold weather for what felt like an eternity, we landed at the ticket window expecting to be given tickets to only Hohenschwangau. But imagine our delight when the kind ticket lady whispered that she happened to have four tickets to Neuschwanstein too! Obviously all this drama could have been  easily avoided if I had pre-booked the tickets online (yes, you can, so please do!) and not underestimated Neuschwanstein's popularity. 

Now to actually get to the castle you have the following options: a horse cart, a bus ride  or approximately half an hour on foot to get to Mary's Bridge, the point from where you can capture Neuschwanstein Castle perched atop a cliff in all its glory. Being the fitness junkies that we are (please sense sarcasm), we opted for the bus ride. Again the queue for the bus was extremely long and when we finally made it to the dropping point, the tour time was too close so we had to leave Mary's Bridge for later. To get to the castle gates for  a tour is another 15 minute walk with stunning views of Hohenschwangau along the way. We partially walked, occasionally ran but only to miss the tour by 1 minute. Thankfully though, they put us on the last tour which was another 1 hour wait. 

We did finally get to do the tour of the castle. The tour is something I'd recommend since the castle's owner was quite a character and learning about his eccentricities as you stroll through was a fun experience. Unlike Austria's delicate and elaborate palaces, Neushwanstein was imposing and sturdy. Also it makes the 4 hour return trip from Munich more worth it. 

The best view however wasn't from inside the castle walls but from Mary's Bridge, the dropping point for buses. The bridge is suspended high in the Bavarian mountains so it might not be your thing if you have a fear of heights. If you make it through – the view is stunning to say the least. The castle looks magnificent surrounded by snow-capped mountains anon top of a lush bed of trees. 

Yes, it was cold and tiring but the view was definitely worth it. This Europe vacation involved castles, palaces and forts with beautiful decorations and great views but Neuschwanstein definitely stood out due to its unique placement and external fairytale architecture. 

Despite the hour-long queue, the jam-packed trains and freezing walk up to the castle – the trip truly felt like my very own princess moment. If only I had dressed for the occasion -- in a billowing gown instead of five layers of chunky thermals and jackets! 

Links à la Mode, March 8th, 2018

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  1. Neuschwanstein castle - my favorite dreaming! Very beautiful castle.. beautiful photos!!!

  2. Such gorgeous landscapes and infused with such culture. Defiantly looks like it was well worth it :)