Bavaria is known for its fairytale castles and enchanting palaces. The castles in Germany are endless, but there are definitely a couple that stand out. One of our favorite days while in Munich was taking a day trip to visit Neuschwanstein Castle, Oberammergau, and Linderhof Palace. These places are not only dreamy, but the landscapes you get to see while driving there are breathtaking. Keep reading for the overview of our day trip and why you should opt for a small group tour than going to Neuschwanstein Castle on your own.
How To Get To Neuschwanstein Castle From Munich
Kam arranged for us to take a small tour luxury bus with only 20 seats. Instead of coordinating the travel ourselves and having to worry about transportation and tickets, it was totally worth to splurge on this. Plus the smaller group was so much better. There were also snacks, drinks, and they even had an espresso machine. The full day-trip (10.5 hours) from Munich included the beautiful castles of Ludwig II, King of Bavaria: Neuschwanstein Castle and Linderhof Palace.
Don’t Miss Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge)
We arrived early and had some time to kill before our tour, so we hiked up to Mary’s Bridge. This is the best vantage point of the castle and just a short hike up a paved walkway. The bridge was packed with people and we had to line up for our turn. It was hard to take a photo at first, but eventually, crowds left and we got our shot and a clear view of the castle. There is a path past the bridge you can take to see the castle from an even better view, but when we went that path was closed off. In the winter when there is a lot of snow, Marienbrücke is usually closed.
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle With A Small Group Tour
Located in the Bavarian Alps bordering with Austria, Neuschwanstein Castle was built in the 19th century and is one of the most recognized castles in the world. With its whimsical and fairytale-like design, it is said that Neuschwanstein was the inspiration behind the Disney Castle. The castle of Neuschwanstein is a real life masterpiece that took Ludwig II of Bavaria 24 years of his life and most of his fortune to build. The interiors of the palace are so majestic but unfortunately, only a selected few are open to public. Enriched with history, elaborate frescoes, along with the finest furnishings, walking through the castle is such an experience. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside the castle, but it gives you the chance to really pay attention to the audio guide and take in the beauty of the interior design.
PRO TIP: The walk up to Neuschwanstein castle is about 30 minutes uphill from where the parking lot and ticket center is. If you are not part of a tour, you need to grab your tickets before you head up to the Castle. The ticket centre is at the town and not at the Castle. On our way down after the tour of Neuschwanstein Castle, Kamiran and I took the horse carriage. It was sooo fun and totally recommend than walking down.
Where to Eat While Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
Lunch at Hohenschwangau
The only time to eat in the town of Hohenschwangau. After touring the castle we had about an hour to grab some lunch on our own before departing on the bus for Oberammergau. Kam and I took the horse carriage down to town and it was the best experience ever. I highly recommend. Lunch was not included in our tour and by the time Kam and I got to the local store all the sandwiches were gone. With a limited time eating at a restaurant is also impossible, since service is slow. I highly recommend you pack something like sandwiches and snacks, and have a picnic by the beautiful alpine lake.
Short Stop in Oberammergau
Oberammergau is the epitome of Bavaria’s cultural beauty with its detailed air painting murals, immaculate wood carvings and the floral pots decorating every building’s facade. It is a little quaint town nestled in the Bavarian Alps about a two-hour drive from Munich. We only had 40 minutes in Oberammergau, and it wasn’t enough time to take in all the beauty. Oberammergau is also well-known for hosting Passion Play (an epic open-air production portraying Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection) every decade since 1634. When visiting Oberammergau, just be prepared to bump into crowds because this is a popular spot for Bavarian Castles tours to do a quick stop.
Our final stop was Linderhof Palace. Linderhof gives you a glimpse into the glamorous lifestyle Ludwig the II had. Being a huge fan of Louis XIV of France, it is said that Linderhof Palace is an imitation of the Palace of Versailles in France. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to take photos inside, but you will be amazed by its extravagance. I wish more time would be given to explore the Baroque-style formal gardens of the palace and walk up the Cascade. The view looked amazing from up there.
What to Know About Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle
- Wear comfortable shoes. There is lots of walking.
- Arrive at the bus stop 15 minutes before departure to grab good seats in the bus.
- The tour guide on the bus is not the tour guide in the Castles. When you get to each castle you will be given tickets and taken in with a large group. Audio guides will also be given to you. Linderhof had a guide that did all the talking.
- It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the ticket center to Neuschwanstein, uphill. OR you can take the bus to Mary’s Bridge and then walk down to the Castle (much more bearable).
Best Time to Visit Neuschwanstein Castle
It really depends. I have been both end of summer (September) and in the winter (December) and both times had their pros and cons. During September, the weather is lovely which allows you to walk around comfortably. But the crowds are still crazy busy which also kind of takes away from enjoying and taking in the view to its fullest. When I went in the winter, there were hardly any crowds, but you couldn’t take leisurely walks unless you were dressed very well. BUT the castle was covered in snow and it looked so beautiful.
Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle is a great day trip from Munich. We loved the relaxing scenic luxury ride through the Bavarian Alps, and spending our day exploring the Ludwig’s residences and the fairytale life he has created for himself, but also very sad history behind his demise.