Last Updated on 31/01/2023
Perhaps you do not know what it is called and where it is located. But the view of Neuschwanstein castle is almost certainly familiar to you – from puzzles or from the Disney cartoon “Sleeping Beauty”. It was impossible to be in Munich and not to visit Schwangau.
In this part about two castles, Alpsee and Schwangau in the winter. In the part 2 about attraction arond Neuschwanstein.
Ludwig II of Bavaria, an unusual, creative person who lived in his own world and completely unsuitable for the role of ruler, left several castles of varying degrees of completion in Bavaria. The Bavarian government (which, of course, it does not admit for anything) removed its king for this discrepancy to the throne. For whatever reason he died, it is clear that his death was not natural.
But over the hundred years that have passed since then, Bavaria has paid back a hundredfold all the money spent by the king on the creation of the scenery for his imaginary world. By the way, he spent from his wallet. The number of tourists is enorm. In order to avoid this endless stream and not spoil all your pleasure, it is better to spend here at least one night and go to the castle in the morning.
How to get to Neuschwanstein castle
How to get to Neuschwanstein castle from Munich
From Munich main station, the train to Füssen is direct or with a change in Buchloe. Next take bus 73 (78, 9651 or 9606) to Hohenschwangau.
A Bavarian ticket is valid for the entire route (including buses). If you go to the castle for one day in the morning from Munich until 9 am, then it is cheaper to buy a Bavarian ticket + a ticket to the station where you will be at 9 am on schedule. To do this, click on the train number in the Internet timetable (for example, RB 57344). And you get a detailed route (RB 57344 will be at 9 o’clock at the Biessenhofen station). This combination will save € 8 over a regular round-trip ticket and will allow you to travel in Munich for free the rest of the day.
The ticket to the castle can only be bought at the box office in Hohenschwangau (i.e. below, not near the castle). It is located just up the road from the bus stop. Packs of tourist buses start to gather from about 10.30-11 o’clock. In summer, the ticket office opens from 8 o’clock, the castle – from 9. Until 9 o’clock there are, in general, very few people and you can buy a ticket almost without queuing. The number of the tour and its time are large printed on the ticket. When you go up to the castle, you will see in several places scoreboards indicating the time and queue number.
The castle can be reached by carriage, small bus, and best of all on foot (about 30 minutes). Guided tours in German and English, but you can also tell at the box office that you need an audio guide (in different languages).
The best thing about a castle is, of course, its appearance. It looks exactly the way we usually imagine knightly castles and real knightly castles may not have looked like.
It is built on a rather steep hill and overlooks the beautiful Alpsee lake. The backdrop to this scene is also great – the Tegelberg and Säuling mountains are very close, and beyond the lake there are other alpine peaks. I often suspected that many images of the castle were embellished and corrected, they are so fabulous. But the reality is quite consistent with the images. The castle is illuminated at night. And in the morning, like a mirage, it floats out of the fog, which seems to be common here.
Inside the castle, by the time of King Ludwig’s death, few rooms were completed, so the tour is short (about 30 minutes). Individuals are united in a German or English group and are taken with a guide, you cannot walk separately. You need to take the audio guide yourself, it is issued at the entrance free of charge.
It seemed to me that it was worth being inside, although each tourist has his own opinion on this matter and someone thinks that there is nothing to see there. You can look the interiors on the website www.neuschwanstein.de.
Don’t forget to climb up to Marienbrücke. This bridge over a deep gorge was named after Ludwig’s mother who ordered its construction. There is a beautiful view of the castle from there. True, by 11 o’clock 2-3 bus groups are already jostling there. Which causes unpleasant thoughts about rotten supports, metal fatigue, etc.
Hohenschwangau Castle is a knight’s castle rebuilt from ruins by Ludwig’s father. Ludwig spent his childhood in it. Hohenschwangau castle is located on a hill above the bus stop. The ticket for the excursion inside is sold at the same box office, there are also audio guides. The inside is less interesting than in Neuschwanstein, in my opinion.
Do not forget to at least go to the Alpsee. This lake in a hollow between steep hills changes its color from emerald-milky to black with a metallic sheen. It is best to go around the lake on foot, it will take at least an hour and a half.
The lake only seems small. We unknowingly decided to go around it on bicycles clockwise. The asphalt disappeared (the asphalt road to Austria runs to the right of the lake), the road became steeper and steeper, the lake and the footpath farther and farther … As a result, we walked most of the road along the footpath with bicycles in hand.
Most of the footpath goes along the coast. Where there are steep cliffs and it is impossible to walk near the water, bridges are built into the cliff. Only near the Hohenschwangau castle, the road rises steeply and then descends back to the lake.
Schwangau and Neuschwanstein in winter
Of course, I prefer the mountains in summer. But we have to admit that Schwangau is beautiful at any time of the year. Frequent fogs here make the forest amazingly beautiful. Let’s not be original – the stereotyped expression “winter’s tale” is the most appropriate.
Just like in summer, it is worth spending a few days in Schwangau. You can choose between
- downhill skiing – from Tegelberg
- and cross-country skiing on a special track
- or go down the mountain on a sled (very extreme entertainment).
Skis can be rented from the ski lifts or in the village.
Ski slopes are also open in neighboring villages and towns. If you have a car, a good option is Nesselwang (about 15 km). In addition, there is an ice rink in Füssen.
After skating and walking in the cold, it is worth going to the thermal bath (Königliche Kristall-Therme) in Schwangau. A ticket to Therme gives a small discount on the Tegelberg lifts and vice versa, a ticket to the lifts gives a discount to Therme.