We are staying a few nights in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and would like to travel over to Fussen and the castles. I just read in Rick's book that this commute can be tricky. Does anyone have any suggestions? Been there, done that? Had a hard time? We'd rather not rent a car, but we will if it just makes more sense.
Melinda, there is no train connection between Garmisch and Füssen, but there is a bus operated by Deutsche Bahn. It runs only a few times per day and journey time is 2:10hrs. The bus passes Oberammergau etc, so takes a long route. If you had a car you could take the "short" route via Austria. That way it would only take you 50 minutes to Füssen. Driving cars in Germany or Austria is just like driving in the US. Make sure you make reservation for automatic transmission if you don't feel comfortable driving stick.
The bus (9606) from GaP to Füssen is actually operated by RVO, Regional Verkehr Oberbayern (www.rvo-bus.de, in German). The URL for the schedule is rather long, so I had it reduced to www.tiny.cc/RVObus_9606.
You can use a Bayern-Ticket (€27 all day for up to five people) for this bus. But you can only use it after 9 AM. There is a bus at 9:55. It stops at Hohenschwangau, near the castle ticket kiosk at 11:54.
If you want to arrive earlier, there is a bus from GaP at 7:50, arriving at Hohenschwangau at 9:49. You can't use the Bayern-Ticket with that departure time, but RVO sells a Tages (day) Ticket for €8,50 per adult. If there are just two or three of you, that would be cheaper than the Bayern-Ticket, even for the 9:55 bus.
There are several buses returning to GaP in the afternoon. The last one leaves Hohenschwangau at 5:23 PM.