Day 06: We had online tickets for the 9:00 AM tour at Neuschwanstein Castle. We caught the #78 bus at the bus stop located next to the park, where our tour manager had showed us yesterday. It left at 7:26 AM. We used the bus pass our tour manager gave us, so there was no need to pay the driver. We were required to wear masks on all buses today.
The #78 bus bus took us directly to the information center at the castles complex. With our backs to the information center, we then faced right and proceeded down the sidewalk (away from the Neuschwanstein castle, which could be seen high above us).
Shortly, we passed the Ticket Center. By now, it was about 7:40 AM. The Ticket Center opened at 8:00 AM, but we had tickets, so we kept on walking. A block or so further down the street we came to the shuttle bus parking lot, located on our right, and slightly below the street level. The first shuttle bus of the day left at 8:15 AM. We paid the driver in cash: 2 euro per person one way. (Or you can pay 7 euro for round trip tickets for 2 people.)
The shuttle bus labored up the hill and dropped us off at a bus stop next to a path in the woods. Facing left, we walked downhill toward Neuschwanstein castle. A few scenic minutes later, we reached the side of the castle. We continued to follow the path as it wound its way around the castle, until bringing us to the big wooden doors in front. By this time, it was about 8:30 AM. They didn’t open the doors until almost 9:00 AM (remember, this was the first tour of the day).
The man at the door looked at our tickets and then waived us in. After a quick trip to the WC just inside the doors, we dashed across the courtyard to the display panel showing our tour number (as found on our tickets), where we scanned the code on our tickets and passed the turnstile.
Then we followed the flow of people to the door where we were allowed to enter the castle. We had to shift our backpacks to the front (like you’re carrying a baby) and wear masks.
Then we walked up several flights of stairs, until we reached the booth where they were briskly handing out audio guides as you walked by, with no instructions or chit chat. Then we continued walking forward and then up more stairs, all the time wondering why our audio guides weren’t working. (Turns out the recording doesn’t start until you are in the throne room.)
In the throne room, the recording starts. If your audio guide starts speaking Russian, like mine did, there is a well dressed employee in the throne room who can switch it to your preferred language. That employee/guide follows you from room to room.
(Our tour was on the Fourth of July and, unfortunately, we had one man who felt compelled to bend the ear of our young German guide, extolling the holiday and the American system as clearly superior to German kings like Ludwig II who would run amuck spending vast sums on questionable projects.)
The tour was over by 9:30 AM. We enjoyed a snack in the cafe before heading out and back down the trail to the shuttle bus stop.