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Neuschwanstein Castle

My friend and I are traveling to Munich from Sept. 7-11th. We want to take a day trip to the Neuschwanstein castle and shop around at Oberammergau after. We were thinking about a tour, but we didn't want to be limited on our time so we thought about trying to do it ourself. Does anyone have any suggestions on how we could get their ourselves since we do not have a car? I was wondering what train is near the oberammergau area or if there is a bus that we could take from the train station? Any suggestions would help.

Posted by
18304 posts

There are buses from the Füssen Bhf to Oberammergau. Here is the schedule. They stop at Hohenschwangau, the town at the base of Neuschwanstein, a few minutes after leaving the Füssen Bahnhof. They go to the Oberammergau Bahnhof which is a short walk from the center of town. There are hourly trains from Oberammergau back to Munich.

Posted by
42 posts

Honestly, I would skip Neuschwanstein. I went to it last summer on a RS tour (which was great btw). The castle was a huge hike up to it, very crowded and by the time we finally got in, there were only like 4 rooms that were ever completed (or at least open to the public) and gift shops. It was a real tourist trap and I'm very surprised that it was part of the RS tour. The other thing is that the castle is a much more recent one, built in the 19th century. Just my 2 cents :)

D-

Posted by
8114 posts

I have never been there, but have heard from lots of other people that it is the biggest tourist trap in Germany. Have no desire to go there. Travel down to Garmisch instead. See the Zugspitz which is beautiful and there are tons of small guesthouses to stay in.

Posted by
5576 posts

I'll respectfully disagree (at least with part of this).

Yes, it's German Disneyland. Correction: actually, Disneyland is America's fake Neuschwanstein (the iconic Disney castle is based on Neuschwanstein). So yes, it's "grotesquely touristy" (to borrow Rick's phrase) - don't go expecting a private, intimate encounter. That said, it's still a pretty amazing thing to behold, even with all the crass tourist exploitation going on. Climb up to the Marienbruke and gaze across to the castle with the beautiful mountains and countryside behind it. It is indeed beautiful, and you can see why it draws the hoardes. I would agree that the castle interior is probably a bit of a letdown, but I figure you're already there, and it's worth the extra time and hassle to see the inside. I went in late September or early October, and although there were certainly some crowds, it wasn't a miserable crush. I suspect if you go at the height of the high season, it would be less attractive (then again, what isn't? should you skip the Louvre or the leaning tower of Pisa because there's going to be crowds? If crowds turn you off that much, don't go to the major sights!). Sept 7 - 11th, I'd guess the worst of the summer crowds will have abated. You can mitigate the crowds somewhat by going early (same strategy as any major sight), but that would be more difficult if you don't have your own transport. I'd consider renting a car for the day.

It's one of those iconic scenes that you've seen in a thousand photos. You look at it, and think, "wow, I can't believe I'm here". Same as the first time you see the Eiffel Tower, etc. A little surreal, but worthwhile.

Posted by
8114 posts

Well, maybe I will someday. I shouldn't condemn without first hand knowledge. Bad move on my part. Perhaps I get confused when RS says do not go to Heidelberg because it is so touristy and doesn't even write anything about it, just in case folks want to go anyway. Also Rudesheim. Yeah, there are a lot of tourists there, but the info should be given in the guidebooks I think. I think Heidleberg is gorgeous and always take family there when they visit. I guess if I lived in Bavaria I would take them to Neu Schwanstein too.

Posted by
115 posts

Personally, I can't wait to go and see it.

I think that to some people this may be a tourist trap - but to me it depends on why you want to see it.

For me, this castle has been something that I have grown up with (admittedly it was mostly from Disney) but to me it is the castle that inspires my imagination of a true fantasyland.

Kristen, while I have not been here yet (will be there at the end of October) I truly hope that your friend and yourself really enjoy it :)

Posted by
11450 posts

Well it wasn't actually that crowded ,, as you do not enter freely at all, you must enter with a ticket that has a time on it,, so only about 30 people enter it at once,, and you are accompanied by a tour guide.
I admit, if you are looking for a medievel castle experience you will be dissappointed, but, if you go to see some of the beautiful wood carvings, or the ornate tile work , you will be happy, plus the views FROM the castle are so nice.

The hike to the castle is nice too, plus you MUST walk over to the bridge.

It is a bit of " fantasyland" but it is the original
fantasy land" LOL . I don't know if I would go out of my way for it, but I enjoyed the hike and visit.

Posted by
46 posts

My family went this past June. Yes there were other tourists but it was not crowded. We stayed overnight in Fussen and took the bus to the castles the next morning. Very easy and well worth it in my opinion. In September I would think most of the crowds will be gone.

Posted by
389 posts

I disagree with everyone that states to forget seeing Neuschwanstein Castle. My husband & I also stayed overnight in Fussen (city has so much charm) and we had a car so drove over to the castle. We got there when they first opened and pretty much had the place to ourselves. We absolutely loved it. The day was beautiful and I'm sure that means alot because the pics we got were awesome. That whole area is so beautiful and walking from castle to castle was such a wonderful way to spend the better part of the day before heading to our next destination. Do go!

Posted by
157 posts

I also agree that the castle is worth a stop. We even stayed in Hohenschangau for one night and had a view of the castle. I have been to the castle a few times and I have enjoyed it. Granted the interior is not what you might otherwise expect and it does not have the history of Versailles but I like it and encourage others to see it. The area is beautiful and the views from the castle are terrific.

Posted by
2717 posts

Hi,

While I'll say that we liked the interior of Ludwig's Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee castles better (I even like the Hohenshwangau tour better), we had to see Neuschwanstein. It's touristy, can be crowded (we went in mid Oct. and it wasn't too bad) but we're glad we took the tour and saw it. We took the bus up, which leaves you above the castle at Marienbrucke (Mary's bridge) and took the horse drawn carriage (just below Neuschwanstein) back down. It was a bit steep from marienbrucke to the castle, but we avoided any uphill walking this way.

Paul

Posted by
12040 posts

I would suggest that to make your trip to Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau a little more interesting, read up on the rather strange personality of King Ludwig II. He probably wasn't really "mad" in the psychiatric sense, but he was one of the oddest monarchs of the 1800s. The castle interiors reflect Ludwig's Romantic (capital "R", not lowercase) view of German history, his own monarchy and his obsession with the operas of Richard Wagner. Although they aren't medieval (probably a good thing, since most medieval castles today are little more than empty shells), to me, they personify the most extreme elements of 19th century German Romanticism.

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks for all the opinions. We are looking forward to it. We just hope that once we get off the train it's not too confusing to get there. Does anyone know how far Oberammergau is from the castle and what the best transportation is? We don't have a car so we will have to take a bus or something depending on how far it is.

Posted by
18304 posts

kristen,

when you get off the train in Füssen, the bus to Hohenschwangau will be on the opposite side of the parking lot outside the train station. There will probably be a lot of people going to it. If you travel to Füssen using a Bayern-Ticket, it will cover the bus as well. The bus takes about 8 minutes to Hohenschwangau and lets you off just down the hill from the ticket center.

Posted by
588 posts

I too visited the castle last year on a RS tour (which was awesome). I liked the castle but it is the views from the bridge that are spectacular. Go, enjoy, be glad you did, and you can say "been there, done that".

A word of caution: The hike up to the castle is not an easy stroll. It is UP UP UP and it is long. It is even hard walking down the hill. Take the bus up because you might be too tired to enjoy the castle tour and you still have to walk up to the bridge. The bus doesn't go to the bridge. Enjoy!

Posted by
49 posts

Does anyone know of any busses that we could take from Howenswangau to Oberamergau because we would like to go there after we visit the castle?

Posted by
12040 posts

More specifically, what information do you want?

Posted by
70 posts

Defintely worth visiting. Yes, heavily touristd but astonishingly beautiful! An architectural triumph! I recommend the hike from Feussen or at least exploring the surrounding country versus a tour of the inside of the castle. The exterior views paired with the beautiful country setting is the highlight. Enjoy!

Posted by
18304 posts

Kristen, most of the buses from Hohenschwangau to Oberammergau can be found on this schedule.

There might be some other buses. They will be found on the German Rail query page by putting in Fuessen Bahnhof and Oberammergau.

Posted by
669 posts

Jo, I find some of Rick's recommendations odd, too. I lived in Mainz for 6 years, and it's a great town, but he dismisses it and Wiesbaden (another nice real place) in the book. On the other hand, we couldn't spend more than 2 hours in St. Goar.

We are spending a night in Heidelberg, by the way. I think it's a cute town.

Posted by
8114 posts

I have been working with Americans here in Frankfurt for over 20 years and they all adore going to Heidelberg and Rudesheim. I do see a lot of comments on here about no info for northern Germany like Hamburg and Hannover. I think Frankfurt is fairly fabulous, but it is just dismissed as "nothing interesting to see there" which is just untrue. I haven't been to Mainz or Wiesbaden too much though, so can't comment on them. I put them on my things to do list. :-)

Posted by
1631 posts

Kristen, on Rick's website under "Plan your trip", click on Deutsche Bahn under "travel essentials" on the left. On the next screen under #1, go to the deutsche bahn site and input your itinerary spelling Fussen as Fuessen. The info you will get will be for trains and buses. There's bus #9606 that leaves Fussen at 12:35, goes to Echelsbucher Brucke, Rottenbuch and then leaves from there 10 min. later going towards Garmisch. One of the stops is in Oberammergau. At the bottom of the schedule, click on "details for all" and then "show intermediate stops", you'll get a listing of all the bus stops. Maybe you don't have to go back to Fussen to catch this bus. Check it out and play with it. Good luck!

Posted by
11 posts

We just got back from there. I can't help you on transportation b/c we had a car but wanted to give my two cents worth. I think it's well worth the trip. Neuschwanstein, Garmish and Oberammergau are all worth the visit. Make your reservations for Neuschmanstein online in advance though. You will save yourself from standing in a very long line! I would also recommend from Munich that you drive through Andechs Monastery. Great food and beer!

Posted by
49 posts

If you reserve your ticket online, do you have to know a specific time that you will go? I was debating about whether to do that online. I just didn't know if I should since we will be taking a train and if something happens (late arrival) than I'm at a loss.

Posted by
171 posts

I have read all the posts about the castle and am so surprised by the amt. of people that call it a tourist trap. I found Neuschwanstein just lovely.
We went to the castle on June 12th of this year. I didn't think it was overcrowded. The walk up wasn't bad at all...about a 40 min walk. We took the tour inside. We certainly saw many more than 2 rooms. We walked over to the bridge and had a spectacular view of Neuschwanstein and the surrounding area.
I think it was well worth it.

Posted by
49 posts

So I'm trying to look at the bus schedules from the suggested site and I can not figure out how to read it. Can anyone help me figure out how to read the bus schedules? Are the numbers the different times they leave and then the names on the left side the stops they stop at? Thanks for the help!!

Posted by
116 posts

Kristen - numbers like this: 13:45 would be a departure time, city names next to it would be where it stops, numbers like: 345 would be the bus line number. Departure times will always be in 'military time' format. Hope that helps.

Scrap what the others say about the stuff you want to do - if you've been looking forward to it and have done your homework, then you will likely enjoy it. Happy trails! =)

Posted by
18304 posts

I think the reason that they want you to pick up your tickets that far in advance, at least for Neuschwanstein, is that it is a bit of a trek up the hill to the castle, and least half an hour for most people.

I was there a few years ago on a weekday in September and crowds were definitely not a problem.

Posted by
18304 posts

Kirsten, as long as you get to the station on time, you are much more likely to be on time to Hohenschwangau by train than by car. The trains are pretty punctual in Germany, but with a car there are many chances (traffic, getting lost) for delay.

As for the RVO bus schelule, if that is what you are viewing, yes, the names down the LH side are the stops; the times are in hour.min format (8.32 is 8:32). It's just like any bus schedule I've ever seen in this country.

If you are having problems with something specific, send me a PM (private message).

Posted by
18304 posts

I would not normally expect crowds to be a problem on a weekend in September, but I don't think anyone could promise you anything without asking everyone in Europe if they plan to be there that day. As you probably saw on the ticket website, that day is the day of the traditional Alpabtrieb, the driving of the cattle from their alpine pastures into the valley for the winter.

Pay cash for your ticket (I always have), then you won't have to worry about if they take plastic. But, since they take CCs on line, I would assume they do at the center, too.

As for a scheduled of tours, they probably have scheduled "slots", but these are assigned to languages as need be, so no one can tell you a schedule for English tours. If no other English speakers show up that day, you might find English tours few and far between, but that probably won't happen.

But, the best way to assure answers to all your questions is to book online. Then they will take your CC# and give you an assigned time, and you won't have to worry about the crowds. Better yet, as fussy as you appear to be, call them. The number is on the website. That way you can argue with them about the time.

Posted by
12040 posts

"The wonderful vista viewed from Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau had been around long before Ludwig II and his ancestors reconstructed the the two castles. The thing about Neuschwanstein is that it was constructed long after the age of the absolute monarchs. Ludwig II was a little bit late in the game to build Neuschwanstein and many other enchanting castles to leave his mark as a "great" monarch. His castles are his babies; they represent his dreams, ambitions, frustrations and melancholies of him as the de-facto "last" monarch of the Wittelsbach Dynasty."

As I wrote earlier, Neuschwanstein is much more interesting if you learn something about King Ludwig, Wagner and their era before touring.

Posted by
115 posts

Hi, When we were in the area staying at Fussen also, one day we decided to go to all 3 castles of Ludwigs, including Linderhof. that was our favorite. The views from Neuschwanastein was outstanding, and the hike great. Of course we did have a car, but we figured we might not be back thi way again. We loved Linderhoff.....

Posted by
221 posts

Kristen, I think this is one of the must sees and yes it can be touristy. I went the first week of November and my son and I and two Italian guys were the only ones on the tour! We did a day tour by bus from Munich and it was nice for someone else to do the work and get us there, we drove by Oberammagau (sp) and the tour bus driver gave us some history. we did one little stop for shopping. It was a very nice day. the hike up to the castle is very steep and would not be suitable for anyone with mobility problems. having said all that, you shouldn't miss it.

Posted by
70 posts

Neuschwanstein, while touristy is worth a visit in my view. It is an achitectural marvel and unlike anything that you have likely seen. I will recommend not taking the tour though. The more impressive sights are of the exterior and the surrounding country. A trail across the walking bridge allows for excellent birdseye views of the castle.