Europe

The Cheapest Way to See Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

One of the must-see sights when you are visiting Munich and Bavaria is the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein. Built by Mad King Ludwig in the late 19th century, it’s the basis for Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Located a couple of hours away from Munich, the majority of visitors pay for a day tour, sometimes also visiting a second castle. However, if you’re okay with just visiting Neuschwanstein Castle and don’t need a guide to direct you on your way, it’s very easy to organise your own Neuschwanstein Castle without tour group day-trip.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive commission if you make a purchase using the links.

🐾 Dog-friendly: While dogs aren’t allowed Neuschwanstein Castle, check out my tips for visiting with a dog at the end.

The Cost of a Train & Bus from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle

Most day trips to Neuschwanstein Castle will cost you around €50, not even including the entrance fee. Instead it’s far cheaper to just buy a Bavaria Ticket at any train station in Munich.  A Bavaria Ticket allows travel on all trains and many buses in Bavaria, all day on weekends and public holidays or after 9am on weekdays.  The cost is €25 for a single traveller, plus an extra €6 per extra traveller for up to 5 travellers in total.  So if there are two of you on the trip, the total cost is €31 for both of you. Or just €15.50 each to do the trip yourself.

How to Get to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich via Train & Bus

So how do you get to Neuschwanstein Castle via train and bus?  Firstly in Munich travel to the München Hauptbahnhof (or Hbf, the main train station).  On weekdays, direct trains to Füssen depart here each hour, at 8:53am, 9:52am, 10:53am, etc, with no reservation required. The journey is comfortable and quite picturesque as you approach the Alps. Stay on the train until it terminates in Füssen. The total time on the train is a couple of minutes over 2 hours.

(Oh, and if you’re wanting to catch that early 8:53am train on a weekday, and still use the Bavaria Ticket that doesn’t allow train journeys before 9:00am, there is a way! Additionally purchase a single trip ticket for Munich for €2.80 per adult. This will cover the part of your train journey from München Hauptbahnhof to München-Pasing, where the train then departs at 9:00am.)

The train times on weekends slightly differ, and generally involve a change of train and a longer journey time. Check out the full train timetables on the easy to use Deutsche Bahn website.

The town of Füssen

The town of Füssen

At Füssen train station, alight from the train and board one of the buses heading to either Schwangau (RVA/OVG 78) or Steingaden / Garmisch-Partenkirchen (RVA/OVG 73).  Usually one ore more buses is waiting when the train arrives. Most of the other people on the train will also be catching the same bus, but check with the driver if you are unsure. Your Bavaria Ticket will cover this bus trip too. Just show the driver your ticket.

After about 10 minutes on the bus, get off in Hohenschwangau.  Again, most of the other people on the bus will be alighting here too.  Cross the main road and head a few hundred metres along the road through Hohenschwangau to the Ticket Office. It’s located on the right hand side of the road.

What about the Munich Neuschwanstein Bus?

Flixbus have recently started offering a bus directly from Munich to Neuschwanstein. It departs the Munich Central Bus Station (close to the Hauptbahnhof) and deposits you at Schwangau (the same destination as the above local bus, close to the ticket counter). Bus fares vary between €7.90 and €19.90 for each direction, meaning the total cost could be as low as €15.80 return, cheaper than the Bavaria ticket for one person. This is a big but though: the return ticket could be as high as €39.80, far more expensive. And if there are two of you travelling together, the Bavaria ticket is only €15.50 each, which is cheaper.

It’s a simpler option, without the need to change transport,  but there are some disadvantages of this bus option:

  • Currently the Flixbus to Neuschwanstein is only offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • There is only one service each direction per day. During October, it departs Munich at 7:15am and arrives at the Castle at 9:55am, then departs the Castle at 3:45pm and arrives back in Munich at 6:35pm. (Note that the time differs depending on the month of the year.)
  • The total time you’ll spend at Neuschwanstein Castle is between 5 and 6 hours, which is a lot longer than you’re the duration you’ll need to visit just Neuschwanstein Castle, or even both Neuschwanstein Castle and the nearby Hohenschwangau Castle. You also don’t get the option to spend part of the day in Füssen.
  • Public transport to get to and from the bus station isn’t included, while it is included with the Bavaria Ticket.

Buying Neuschwanstein Castle Tickets In Advance

When it comes to tickets for tours of Neuschwanstein Castle, there are two options.  If it is high season or you are organised, it is highly recommended to book tickets in advance.  In addition to the Neuschwanstein entrance fee of €13 per adult, there is also a €1.80 reservation fee per person. But this is worth it in case the tickets are all sold out by the time you arrive or there is a very long queue.

Book Neuschwanstein Castle online tickets here. Bookings must be done at least 2 days in advance.  Credit card details are required to reserve a ticket, but are only used if you are a no-show. Make sure you arrive at the Ticket Office at least 1 hour in advance of your tour, then pay for the tickets in cash or with credit card.  Cancellations are permitted up to 2 hours before the tour.

Buying Neuschwanstein Castle Tickets on the Day

If you haven’t booked in advance for tickets, you will need to join a queue and select a tour. Available tours displayed on the boards above the ticket counters.  Tours are offered every 5 minutes in either German or English, with audio guides for other languages.  The Neuschwanstein Castle ticket price is €13 per adult (children under 18 free) and can be paid for on credit card or in cash.  It you’re worried about missing out on a ticket, it’s best to catch an earlier train. Plus for a shorter queue it’s worthwhile hurrying after you leave the bus, so you’re not lined up behind everyone else on the bus.  Don’t forget to buy a ticket down in the village, as they’re not available up at the castle!

Climbing the Hill to Neuschwanstein Castle

Once you have your ticket in hand, the cheapest option to get to Neuschwanstein Castle is to walk up the hill to the castle.  Whilst it is steep, the 1.5km climb is no issues if you’re used to walking (and will probably be quicker than the 30-40 minutes listed).  Alternatively, a shuttle bus (€1.80 uphill, €1 downhill, €2.60 return trip) or horse and cart ride (€6 uphill, €3 downhill) can take you most the way. Although there is still a short distance to walk (with the shorter walk from the end of the horse and cart ride).

The Tour of Neuschwanstein Castle

Courtyard of Neuschwanstein Castle

Courtyard of Neuschwanstein Castle

Your actual tour of Neuschwanstein Castle begins from the interior courtyard. There is still probably a delay until your tour time, so fill in time by visiting the Marienbrücke and taking photos from the popular look-out (see the top photo), then wander around the outside of Neuschwanstein Castle and the interior courtyard.

If your wait is even longer, it may be worthwhile having lunch first.  There are multiple options down in the village (either sit down inside or simple take-away options outside). Alternatively, the restaurant just below the castle where the horse and card ride terminates is actually good value.

When it’s almost time for your tour, make sure you are waiting at the tour gate in time. Five minutes before the start time, the electronic board will update to display your tour number. Your ticket now allows you through the turnstile into the queueing area.  Promptly on time, your tour will then enter the castle.  The guided tour lasts 35 minutes, although you can spend extra time wandering through the souvenir shops and old kitchens at the end of the tour.  Strictly no photos are allowed, and there’s no free time to wander around by yourself.

Returning to Munich from Neuschwanstein Castle

To return to Munich, follow your journey in reverse.  Return to the main road to catch the bus, then climb aboard a train at Füssen. Trains again depart each hour.  If you have extra free time, it is well worthwhile wandering around the historic centre of this beautiful town. Check out the time of return trains at the Deutsche Bahn website.

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle with a Dog

While dogs aren’t allowed inside the castle at Neuschwanstein (or in the shuttle bus), it’s still possible to visit the outside of Neuschwanstein Castle with your dog. Dogs are allowed on the train (either free in a container or pay for an extra traveller on the Bavaria Ticket) and on the local bus, then on the walking path up to the castle and to the Marienbrücke lookout spot. If there’s two of you and you want to head inside, buy tickets to two different tours at least 45 minutes apart.

Prefer to be accompanied by a guide and skip the ticket queue? Check out the prices and availability of this small-group day tour offered through Viator.

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Angelia Meyer
    March 3, 2016 at 1:12 am

    This is so helpful! I was going to book a tour with Viator for our trip this Summer, this just saved me a lot of money.

    One question, however. Are the busses/trains to Füssen operated by DB Bahn (I assume so, but just checking)? I did not get us a Bavaria Pass, but I did get us a German Rail Pass that is good through all of Germany on any mode of transportation operated by DB Bahn.

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      March 3, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Yes, the train to Fussen is operated by DB Bahn. Enjoy your trip!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Correll
    May 23, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Thank you so much for this great information. I went to Germany last month and this article saved money and also gave me the confidence to go on my own. It was a wonderful day!!! In group tours it’s 5 minutes here, 10 there, who cares what you love or hate. My day was so relaxing. I stood on the porch of the castle (it’s accessed from inside the castle just past the gift shop and tea room, don’t miss it, it’s after the tour as you exit the castle!!!) with the most amazing view for almost an hour! Stopped and had tea just outside the castle and enjoyed the view from that direction. I also stopped for a late lunch in a little restaurant on the way down the hill and had traditional Goulash that was delicious! One of my most enjoyable days spent on any vacation. Thank you!!!

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      May 24, 2016 at 7:52 am

      Thank you so much Elizabeth! I’m glad to hear you had a wonderful time there, it’s such an amazing castle!

  • Reply
    John
    June 19, 2016 at 11:33 pm

    Thanks for you worthy information!
    I have some questions 😀
    Did you visit the castle on a weekend or a weekday?
    Because I was planning to go on Monday (11th July). It means that if I buy “Bavaria ticket”, I need to take the train which departs at 9:53 and arrives at 12:18 to Hohenschwangau.
    Given this, What time should I reserve online my ticket?

    How many time did you spend there approximately? I would like to know, a what time should I return to Munich 🙂

    Thanks!

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      June 23, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Hi John, thanks for leaving a question! I visited on a weekend, which meant I caught a far earlier train and left buying a ticket until I arrived. (It was also early December outside of peak time.)

      I’d book a ticket at least 1 hour after you arrive. You’ll need to leave time to walk or bus up the hill, which takes at least 30 minutes. And the tour starts exactly on time – no latecomers permitted! If anything, book even later and have lunch while filling in time – there’s plenty of restaurants and snack stands.

      I probably ended up spending around 3 hours in total, including wandering around the site (make sure you visit the bridge nearby for the best views), taking the tour and having lunch.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. Happy travels!
      Shandos

  • Reply
    Maddie
    July 28, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    Is the Bavaria ticket good for only 1 day or is it good for our whole trip? (we will be there for 4 days)

  • Reply
    Robin
    August 23, 2017 at 5:54 am

    Thnx for the usefull info.
    We Will be visiting the castte next month but are not intrested in the castle tour.
    But we wanna take the bus. Where do you buy the bustickets? also is the ticketoffice with the long queu or at a seperate place?

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      August 24, 2017 at 5:04 am

      Hi Robin,
      If you’ve caught the train using a Bavaria ticket, the bus ride from Füssen to the castle (Hohenschwangau) is included in the price. Otherwise, I believe you buy the bus ticket off the bus driver. The ticket office with the long queue is at Hohenschwangau, with tickets for the castle.
      Thanks for the questions,
      Shandos

  • Reply
    Christina
    October 21, 2017 at 9:39 pm

    Wow ! This is brilliant information. I am going to do this trip next week. However, I have a fear of German trains because I heard that you can be caught out with things like ensuring you validate tickets etc. I am going to start out before 9am, so will buy a single ticket to cover me up to 9am as well as the Bavaria Ticket. Do I need to stamp or validate any tickets, please?

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      October 21, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      Christina, that’s great to hear! I loved the castle and hope you have a magical time visiting. With the single ticket, you’ll need to validate it. However, with the Bavaria ticket, it depends on what type of machine you buy it from. If you have had to specify the date and it is printed on the ticket, there is no need to validate. Otherwise, validate the ticket. If I’m in doubt, I usually check if my ticket fits in the validator machine – if it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t need to be validated.

  • Reply
    Alex
    October 23, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    Thank you so much! This article literally covered everything I needed to get to the castle on my own, even being my first time in Germany. Thank you thank you!

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      October 24, 2017 at 1:00 am

      Alex – that’s awesome to hear, thanks for sharing! I hope you had better weather than the rain and cold today in Poland.

  • Reply
    Ana
    October 28, 2017 at 10:19 am

    Hi. I have my trip covered to füssen by the Eurail pass but I was wondering how much would cost the bus ticket from there to hohenschwangau? Thanks in advance.

  • Reply
    Sergio
    October 29, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Hi!
    We plan to go in April 2018.
    Question! Is there a way to go to Switzerland from Fuesen or is it better/Cheaper just to go back to Munich?

    Also, when you book. a ticket for the castle online, do you have to do the tour at a specific time or can you go at any hour during that day you bought the ticket for?

    • Reply
      sjcleaver
      November 4, 2017 at 3:55 am

      Sergio – sorry for the delay in replying!

      Yes, it’s possible to travel from Fuessen directly to Switzerland via train, without returning all the way to Munich. Looking at the train timetable, you travel about halfway back to Munich and change trains in Buchloe. It’s about 4.75hr on the train from Fuessen to Zurich, or less if you’re only travelling to St Gallen in the east of Switzerland. It’s definitely a worthwhile saving of time, although the ticket price is likely to be similar.

      When booking a ticket for the castle online, it’s for a specific time, not just a day. When booking the tickets, you specify your preferred tour time. In your confirmation email, it will list your actual tour time (which could differ, depending on availability). It’s later possible to change your time, subject to availability.

      Also, from next year the rules are changing slightly and you need to pick up your tickets at least 90 minutes before the time, not 60 minutes. And when you see the military precision with which they start each tour (with a digital clock ticking down the time), you’ll understand that they will enforce the times strictly (plus gain an appreciation for their organisational efficiency!)

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