A wonderful day trip to take from Munich is the two-hour train journey down towards the Liechtenstein/Austrian border to visit Neuschwanstein Castle. I had been interested in seeing the marvelous structure since first glancing at enticing photos on Pinterest, and with our three-day weekend in Munich, it seemed the perfect opportunity to see the castle.
From Munich, the trip is long, but very easy. Our hostel, Euro Youth Hotel is located right in the city center, near Munich’s Hauptbanhof (Hbf) central station. From there, a train to to the city of Füssen leaves about every hour. I would recommend leaving no later than 11a.m. to make it to the city and have adequate time to hike around and see the sights before the last entry at 5pm. We bought the Bayern ticket, which was 14 euro per person for an entire day of travel, and it included the bus fare to the town of Hohenschwangau which sits at the base of the castle.
The stop for bus 78 to make the journey from the train station to the town is right next to the station and leaves frequently, it is clearly marked with the destinations being “castles”.
The journey to the town itself is rather beautiful, out of the windows of the train one can see the vast expanse of German countryside, and as we got closer and closer to the castle, the outline of the mountains that comprise the border of Germany.
In the town, we bought our tickets for the castle tour and grabbed refreshments for the hike we would have to make upward to reach the castle. The tickets were 9 euro for Adult admission to just Neuschwanstein and 8 with a student ID. The other castle, Hohenschwangau, is located closer to the ticket offices and one can tour both castles for a discounted bundled rate, but we didn’t know if we would have the time or energy to manage both in one day.
There is no bus up to the base of the castle, the hike is about 30 minutes from the ticket office or there is a horse drawn carriage option. With our beer and glühwein in hand, we made the leisurely hike onward and upward on a paved trail through a forest. We passed by other visitors, beautiful vistas of the valley below, and enchanting frosted foliage.
Once we arrived at the plaza near the castle, there was sufficient time for us to grab a late lunch before our tour. At first I was hesitant to try the restaurant Zur-Neven-Burg right outside the castle, assuming it would have absurd tourist prices, but once we were seated and browsed the menu, I was very pleasantly surprised at the reasonable prices for everything on the menu.
After lunch, despite being full to the brim from rich spaetzl and minced pork with mushrooms and our massive beers, we topped it all off with some QuarkBalls (I laughed too) which were just balls of fried dough topped with powdered sugar, from a vendor right outside the restaurant.
Then it was off to snap some photos, take our tour and make our way back down to catch the train back home. Equally as stunning as the castle was the view of the surrounding terrain and the valley below, making the whole experience, from train to hike to tour, a beautiful one.