Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle Day Tour Guide in Summer
Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein are two of the most glamorous and magical castles that you can find not just Shwangau, Bayern. Today we’ll give you some useful tips and information on how to have the best Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle Day Tour.
Neuschwanstein Castle frequently suggested to as the most beautiful castle in the world. It is practically saturated with fairy tale romance. It is known for it is the inspired castle model of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty.
Indeed, the castle looks unreal, with its soaring turrets and dark dungeons, perched on steep rocks against the backdrop of the majestic Bavarian Alps.
It welcomes almost 1.5 million visitors per year, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. As of 2008, the total number of visitors was more than 60 million.
On the other hand, Hohenschwangau Castle has an undeniably beautiful sight of the castle from Marienbrücke. It is nestled deep in lush green valleys.
It features ornate salons and ballrooms, and especially the scenes depicting Lohengrin, the Knight of the Swan, and a lot more.
I’m pretty confident that this Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle Day Tour Guide, will help you out so much on your tour of Bavarian castles.
History of Neuschwanstein Castle
During the domination of Prussia in 1866 king Ludwig II was forced to accept the defeat of his country. Since he is no longer a sovereign ruler he created his alternative world.
Neuschwanstein Castle was started by the king in 1869. However, he never completed the castle. According to the history of this majestic castle, king Ludwig II wanted to revere and imitate a monument from medieval culture and kingship.
He visited the Wartburg in 1867 and asked his architect to produce designs and drawing of the ornamentation. The idea behind this “New Swan Castle” (Neuschwanstein) is not only inspired by Wartburg, in particular, the Palas, and building ornamentation.
But also the stage sets for ‘Lohengrin’ and ‘Tannhauser’.
He eventually builds the castle, the Gateway building, and furnish in medieval styles but equipped with what at the time was the latest technology.
The Gateway was completed in 1873 and the rooms of the Palas on 1884. Ludwig II was destined never to see his “New Swan Castle” without scaffolding.
Neuschwanstein has become of the well-known castles in the world. It is the most valuable work of the historicism and the embodiment of German idealism.
History of Hohenschwangau Castle
Hohenschwangau Castle, known as the childhood home of the Bavarian King Ludwig II. Maybe best known as the castle next to the world-famous Neuschwanstein Castle.
It was known as a fortress in the 12th century until it was own by the King Maximillian II of Bavaria. Father to Ludwig, Maximillian gained possession of the ruins in 1832. And one year later had set about restoring it to its former greatness.
Hohenschwangau became the summer residence for the King, his wife Marie of Prussia and their two sons. Ludwig, (the later King Ludwig II of Bavaria) and Otto (the later King Otto I of Bavaria).
The young princes spent many years of their adolescence here. Queen Marie who loved to hike in the mountains created an alpine garden with plants gathered from all over the alps.
Ludwig succeeded to the throne after his father died, moving into his father’s room in the castle. As Ludwig never married, his mother Marie was able to continue living on her floor during the summer months.
Miraculously, it suffered no damage during either of the world wars and remains in pristine condition. Each year, more than 300,000 guests come to experience the glory and fantasy of this Bavarian masterpiece.
How to Get to Neuschwanstein Castle
The easiest way to reach Neuschwanstein Castle is by car and drive from either Munich or your initial city to depart. From Munich to Schwangau village it takes around two hours.
If you’re visiting Füssen then it’s pretty easy, only 6 kilometers drive which naturally would take you 6 minutes. It’s also possible to go by train to Füssen and take a bus to the castle.
From the ticket center, there are only 3 ways to get to Neuschwanstein Castle. By foot, shuttle bus, or by horse carriage. For the ideal Neuschwanstein Castle day tour, hope on to the shuttle bus for a cheaper and better ride.
After reaching Schwangau village you can choose to walk from the ticketing office up to the castle. The walk is quite steep, thus, it’s recommendable to use your sports shoes or running shoes. It takes between 30-40 minutes.
When you reach the bus parking area, walk until Queen Mary’s Bridge viewpoint. (Additional 10-15 minutes walk)
By Shuttle Bus
From the ticketing office, the shuttle bus area is about 2 minutes walk. (At the “Alpsee” parking area P4 (below Hohenschwangau Castle)) You’ll have to pay 2.50 euros per ride or 1.5 euros for the downhill trip.
It will take you to the parking lot, which is a short walk from the entrance. The shuttle bus also travels to Queen Mary’s Bridge. Personally, for this Neuschwanstein Castle day tour guide, this one is the most recommendable way to reach the castle.
For those who want to experience a Cinderella-style, take a horse and carriage up the mountain for 3.50 euros. You’ll, however, have to wait in a rather long line for the ride.
The carriage ride ends outside a gift shop and restaurant slightly downhill from the Neuschwanstein castle.
How to Get to Hohenschwangau Castle
There are two ways to reach the Hohenschwangau Castle. It’s either by horse-drawn carriage or on foot.
By Horse Carriage
The carriage-stop valley is located in front of the Ticket Center, super easy for access. The duration of the ride would rich 10 minutes, and the carriage-stops directly at the Hohenschwangau castle.
The uphill trip would cost you more expensive 4.50 euros, while 2 euros for the downhill trip. Horse carriage transfer to Hohenschwangau castle is only available in summer.
You can also reach Hohenschwangau Castle on foot. The respective paths are signposted so don’t worry you won’t get lost. The approximate walking time uphill from the Ticket Center to Hohenschwangau Castle would be up to 20 minutes depending on your speed.
What to see in Hohenschwangau
For sure you’ll ask me for some photos of the interior of the castle, but unfortunately, all photos and videos are not allowed during the tour guided visit. For this Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle Day Tour Guide, I’ll only tell you some of the best features of these castles.
The Hall of the Heroes
The largest room in Hohenschwangau Castle is the banquet hall, which is also called ‘the hall of the heroes’ The paintings show different scenes of the Wilkina Saga and its hero Dietrich von Bern.
The oriental room used to be the bedroom of Queen Mary, the mother of King Ludwig II. King Maximilian II had this room furnished after the return of his journey through Turkey and Greece.
This room served King Maximilian II. and King Ludwig II. as a dressing room. But it was King Ludwig II. music room as well. The piano, which is to be seen here, was probably the one, the famous composer Richard Wagner used to play when he visited Hohenschwangau Castle.
The ‘Tasso-room’ was the bedroom of the kings. King Ludwig II. had something extraordinary installed in this room. There is a starry sky with illuminable stars and moon, integrated into the ceiling.
Berchta-room was the writing room of Queen Mary. Surrounded by beautiful panted ornaments, the murals tell the Bavarian version of the legend about the birth of Charlemagne.
What to see in Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein means ‘New Swan Stone’ The name of the castle derives from one of Wagner’s opera’s character. The Swan Knight.
The most prominent aspect of the castle, which is the highest tower in the castle, it stands at 213 feet. While the medieval castle looks majestic and spectacular from outside. It looks precisely enchanting from inside.
The operatic glory of this castle remains even after the death of its creator. Munich’s Bavarian State Opera’s chief set designer played a major role in drafting the castle’s architectural plans.
Considering the woodwork in Ludwig’s Bedchamber alone required 4 1/2 years to carve. One of its carved murals is devoted to the doomed romance of Tristan and Isolde.
In the Singer’s Hall (Sängerhalle), the life of Parsifal is rendered in marble frescoes nearly covering the castle’s fourth floor.
The most emotional feature of the Swan Castle. However, is one that’s missing. Ludwig’s Throne Room, situated behind a door opposite the castle’s entrance vestibule.
It is a stunning display with cathedral-like red porphyry columns. A white marble stairway leads to the throne itself. The Throne Room is one of the 63 unfinished rooms of Neuschwanstein.
How to Avoid the Crowds at Neuschwanstein
First of all, you can purchase your tickets in advance. By doing this, you will avoid the lines and the long waits. At midday, Neuschwanstein can still feel like a real chaotic place. But at least you have your tour reserved.
Since online reservation is currently not available, I suggest you go early at the ticketing office of Schwangau. Guided tours start at 9:00 am in summer. So better be at the ticketing office from 8:00 am or earlier if you’d like to be the first line.
In July and August (school vacation in EU), tours can sell out by the early afternoon. Avoid this by advance reserving your tickets. Hence, it’s advisable to visit on a weekday since crowds are lower on weekdays than weekends. Make sure to visit Neuschwanstein during offseason.
The best months would be from May, June, and October. This period is considered as the low seasons (lowest crowds ) that you may have the castle almost all to yourself plus the weather is pretty comfortable.
Things to Know Before You Visit
- Photography and video are not allowed inside.
- Entry into the castle is only possible via one of the Neuschwanstein Castle tours.
- It’s possible to reserve tickets beforehand.
The Best Spots to take Photos of Neuschwanstein
I would recommend you to bring your photography gears beforehand. It’s super useful when it comes to taking photos. I have myself up to 85mm lens for zooming and macro purposes which helps me a lot during the visit.
Anywhere within the village of Schwangau, you can effortlessly find a great spot to take your Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castle postcard photo with the Alps backdrop.
As I’ve mentioned from the top, from the parking lot of the shuttle bus. Take the walking path on the right from there and follow signs for Mary’s bridge. This is the place to take that iconic photo of Neuschwanstein.
I would say, it’s a very vivid and open place to get the view of the castle with the valley behind it. But at the same time, you cannot experiment a lot since you’re taking photos from a bridge which can limit your angle.
Note that the Bridge can close during periods of bad weather such as snowfall during the winter months.
Other suggested Spots
Pollat Gorge – For higher-up views of the castle, cross Mary’s bridge and continue on the hiking trails into the woods.
From the Tegelberg Cable Car – For extensive views of the alps, valley, and castle in the distance, consider taking the Tegelberg cable car up the mountain.
St. Coloman Church of Schwangau – If you’re well equipped with huge lenses, then this spot is perfect for you. I strongly suggest taking photos during sunrise and sunset.
Note some of these trails (Pollat Gorge) are closed due to rockfall, so check the Neuschwanstein Castle website if there are any unexpected changes.
Essential Information on Guided Tours
Now the last and essential element of this Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle Day Tour Guide is about the guided tours.
You should know that visiting the two castles is only possible within a guided tour. The guided tour takes about 30-35minutes.
Unfortunately, there is no elevator in Hohenschwangau Castle. During the tour, you will have to go upstairs 90 steps to the second floor.
Admission fee is both 13 euros for each castle, however, if you opt to visit these two castles, don’t forget to combine your tickets. In the end, you’ll end up paying 23 euros for two guided tours.
Guided tours are offered daily from:
10.00 a.m. – 4.00 p.m. (Winter opening times) and
9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m. (Summer opening times)
with limited capacity.
Neuschwanstein Castle is closed on January 1st, December 24th, 25th, and 31st. Hohenschwangau, on the other hand, is closed on December 24th and January 1st.
The Guided Tour offers
• German and English speaking guide
• Portable audio guide device: French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Hungarian, Czech, Polish, Russian, Japanese, Mandarin, and Korean.
For handicap visitors and wheelchair users, there is a possibility to join a regular guided tour by elevator.
The elevator in Neuschwanstein Castle is generally available once every hour for 1 disabled person or 1 person in a wheelchair (+ 1 person in company). This service is depending on availability.
You can reserve the elevator in advance. Make sure to visit Neuschwanstein official site for more information.
Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castle Day Tour Guide