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Hohenschwangau, Germany

We spent two nights in Hohenschwangau in order to visit the castles – Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau. We arrived late afternoon after driving in from Innsbruck via Garmisch-Partenkirchen and settled into our hotel – Hotel Waldmann in Schwangau (separate review). This gave us time to walk down to the ticket office to judge the time it took and look for a place to have dinner. The walk from the cluster of hotels located just south of B17 is about 1.6km or about 20 minutes on a level (until you get in Hohenschwangau) and paved path. There is also a bus that runs between Fusen and Hohenschwangau with stops along Parkstrasse.

We pre-reserved our tours about a month out and got the closest English-language tour to our requested time. If you are traveling in the peak holiday periods, and have a tight schedule, you might want to request your reservations more than a month in advance…

Ticket pickup was a breeze in the morning. We got there early and decided to walk around the Alpsee to kill time and enjoy the quiet and fresh air.

We took the horse carriage round trip. A word of caution, the queue at the bottom of the hill is CRAZY. You might think you’re standing at the head of the queue but as soon as the carriage empties, it’s a real free-for-all with a lot of pushing and shoving to get on. We heard one story about a physical altercation that took place that afternoon. Some tourists have no manners or patience…

At both castles, once you’re at the entrance, there’s an LCD sign with the upcoming tours, by number, their entrance times. Again, the queues can be pretty unruly.

We enjoyed both tours. They each are short (35-40 minutes) and show only a portion of the castles but they are informative and interesting. I would recommend to anyone if nothing more than to check off a bucket list item.
Neuschwanstein has the added attraction of the Marienbrucke (bridge) over the Pollat River behind the castle. This is probably the best view of the castle and shouldn’t be missed unless you aren’t mobile enough to make the nearly 1km walk on hilly terrain (the trail trades 50+ meters in elevation on more than one occasion). Again, the crowd can be a bit unruly on the bridge…

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