While in Munich, we would like to visit the Neushwanstein Castle. Should we book a tour before we go to Munich or should we plan to take the train (already have eurail passes) to the castle and then buy the tickets for a castle tour?
When are you going? It is never unreasonable to book tickets in advanced, but probably only necessary during the summer or over holidays. Just don't arrive too late in the day.
I had to refer to Rick's info because it has been too many years ago that we were there (1991 our first trip to Europe and traveled by train). It looks like the train stops at Fussen then you have to take a bus from there. Rick suggests either calling ahead for a reservation or arrive by 8:00 am if you want to visit some of the other sights in the area. Check his book for more details. And don't forget to hike up to Mary's Bridge after touring the castle.
You can reserve tickets to the castles via their website at specific times. That's all I would suggest reserving ahead of time. Actually I would really recommend that you just go to this beautiful area and spend at least a night.
I think I would opt for a tour from Munich (no waiting in lines). Do hike up to Mary's Bridge for spectacular views. I took the tram/bus up to the castle which lets you off so you can walk to Mary's Bridge and then the remaining way to the castle. We did this because it is quite a hike up to the castle. No buses go directly to the castle. We walked down which was strenuous on a different set of muscles.
You might have a look at Radius Tours, as they offer trips to Neuschwanstein Castle. They take care of all the transportation arrangements, make the reservations for the "offical" Castle tour and provide a brief introductory tour of the history of the Castles. This includes a stop at the Bridge which overlooks Neuschwanstein.
If you decide to book a tour, you might mention that you're travelling with a Railpass as there may be a discount?
I really enjoyed their tour and would certainly recommend it. They also provide tours of Dachau, as well as Walking Tours in Munich. Check the web site for details and costs.
If you are going after the beginning of June check the train schedule at bahn.de. They are doing maintanance on the rail like to Fuessen and the rail trip is 2.5-3 hours instead of the normal 2 hours.
I want to do the castle individually but with the rail times I may look for a tour that takes you on a bus.
I would suggest the same thing as many other people already have, book online. We were able to surpass the huge line up and go directly to the booth to pick up the tickets. It was much faster and you can plan your day around your tour.
My husband and I thought Mary's Bridge was the best part of Neushwanstein, the views are amazing!
Would you consider renting a car? We visited Schloss Liinderhoff one day and Neuschwnastein another, staying a night in Fussen. The driving in the area is very quiet and easy. We did not have a reservation. We arrived about 9 in the morning, had no trouble parking. The ticket line was short. The same was true at both castles. That was in July.
According to the Bahn website, the only track work on that line will be from May 3-17, 2009. Except for that time (which is almost half over), traffic on the line to Füssen should be normal.
Take a train, not a tour.
Hello Linda. In my opinion, the most enjoyable way to visit Neushwanstein castle is to stay overnight, two nights, at a hotel in Fussen or at a small place located near the castle. If you will go on a day trip to Neushwanstein from Munich, I guess going in a tour bus could be satisfactory. But I agree with Lee : I recommend riding in a train from Munich to Fussen, and return. The bus ride between the Fussen train station and the Neushwanstein ticket office is very quick and easy. Buy your tickets for Neushwanstein at an internet website, two or three weeks before you go to Germany. Doing that, your guided tour through Neushwanstein (mandatory) can be at the time that you choose. Ride on a carriage pulled by two horses on the approach road up the hill to the Neushwanstein parking lot. Taxi cars are not allowed there, for castle visitors. After walking through the castle, go back to the main road (on a carriage, or walking), and ride in a bus to the nearby Tegelberg Bahn -- that is the cable gondola that goes up the mountain to an elevation of 5000 feet above Sea level, for a good view of Bavaria. And ride in a bus to the Fussen train station. For your guided tour in Neushwanstein castle, I think a guide talking in English is not necessary. My guide there was a German woman talking in English, talking fast. Her German accent was so strong, I could not hear what she was saying. It is not necessary for the guides to say anything there. They herd people through the castle, it is like herding cattle : a group of 20 people starts every ten minutes. But I am glad I went there. I think going up to the bridge is not important, in a day trip from Munich, but it can be done : ride in the shuttle bus up to the bridge, walk down to the castle, ride in a carriage pulled by horses down hill to the main road, if you have time to wait for a carriage.
If you really wanted to see one or both castles (Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein) at Hohenschwangau, AND Linderhof, take a morning train out to Oberammergau. When you get to Oberammergau, check into a hotel for the night, then take the bus (20 min) to Linderhof. Spend the day in Linderhof and return to Oberammergau for the night. The next morning, take the bus (8:30 or 10:38) from Oberammergau to Hohenschwangau (the bus stops at Hohenschwangau, near the ticket kiosk, at 9:49 or 11:54). After seeing the castles, return by train to Munich.
Since you will only be gone one night, you can leave most of your luggage at the hotel in Munich or check it at the left luggage room at the Munich Hbf and just take a change of clothes in a day bag. You can check it at the castles before the tours or at the tourist office across the road from the Hohenschwangau bus stop.
You could do that trip for as little as €56 (2 Bayern-Tickets) for up to five people, less than the cost of a tour or renting a car. The Bayern-Ticket is valid for all of the regional trains and also for the RVO (Regionalverkehr Oberbayern) buses to/from Linderhof and from Oberammergau to Füssen. You can buy the second day's Bayern-Ticket from the automat at the Bahnhof/Busbahnhof in Oberammergau. If you want to leave on the 8:30 bus from Oberammergau, you can also buy tickets from Oberammergau to Echelsbacher Brücke from the bus driver; that will cover your travel until 9 AM.
Despite what was said earlier about the rail line construction being over by June (and I can't speak German, so couldn't read the link), I had noticed that if you check train times Munich-Fussen for May (e.g. next week) it's a 2-hour trip. If you check the same route for June or July, it's a 2.5-3 hour trip.
So maybe the construction is going to be all finished by May 29, but I don't think I'd bet the farm.
Hmm. What you actually see is a change in the schedule, which is something they do twice a year, in December and June, although usually not this significantly. Although the time from Munich to Füssen is now greater, 2h27min vs 2h 04min for instance for the 9 o'clock train out of Munich, it's due to a change of trains (20 min in Kaufbeuren).
"We never would have figured this out without the tour."
That's not true of most people.
"They were doing construction on the tracks and we had to get off the train and take a shuttle bus to Fussen." That's a pretty standard procedure during periods of track repair. It's usually well announced.
My wife and I just returned from Munich 2 days ago and we took Mike's Bike Tour of the castle. This was great for many reasons, but the most important one at the time is the train to Fussen from Munich does not run right now. They were doing construction on the tracks and we had to get off the train and take a shuttle bus to Fussen. We never would have figured this out without the tour. Also, with the tour we we taken on the gorge walk which was awesome. It was about 80 euro for the both of us, but it was well worth it. The tour guide Brad is also an excellent magician and highly entertaining. Enjoy
I spent a night at suzannes B+B in Fussen. Was at the castle ticket window by 0830 (10 minutes on a bus from downtown) had a 2min wait to buy a ticket and you can choose one or both castles. If you do both and Marys bridge it can be done in an easy 5 hours. You can spend the afternoon in Ruette and hike up to an old castle. If you decide to stay another day Suzanne will sit down with you and give you a driving map to see Linderhof,Weiskirche and Obberamergau all in one days easy beautiful drive. Have a great trip