Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle is the iconic German fairytale castle located in the Bavarian Alps near the Austrian border. Construction of Neuschwanstein castle began in 1869, and while it may not be one of Germany’s oldest castles, it is certainly one of its most fanciful AND recognizable!
Neuschwanstein Castle is not only one of the most famous castles in Germany, but one of the most visited castles in the world!
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Ultimate Neuschwanstein Castle Winter Guide
Can you visit Neuschwanstein in Winter? Yes, Neuschwanstein Castle is open in winter! In fact, Neuschwanstein and the surrounding area turn positively magical in winter. Visitors experience a virtual winter wonderland with snow covered mountains and forests, frozen alpine lakes, and picture-perfect snow globe landscapes.
Visiting Neuschwanstein castle in winter is the perfect addition to the winter wonderland trip to Germany that you’ve been dreaming of!
Note: Unfortunately, there is no guarantee of snow in the surrounding areas of Neuschwanstein in winter but historically your chances are very good!
If this is your first time heading to this iconic castle, you’ll find everything you need to know to make your visit a success in this complete guide to visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter!
arrival at the castle and getting your bearings
Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle is located in the small town of Hohenschwangau. If you’re driving, follow the signs to “Koningsschlosser” (the kings castles)
Address (Neuschwanstein Castle): Neuschwansteinstraße 20, Schwangau
Address (ticket center Hohenschwangau): Alpseestraße 12, Schwangau, Germany
parking lot information
There are 4 separate parking lots, noted on the map below. P1, P2, P3, P4
Cost: from €10.00 per day (see the website for information on parking: motorcycles, mobile homes, disabled parking, bicycles)
The official website has a helpful map.
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Neuschwanstein Castle tickets and getting up to the castle
Book in advance: To avoid long lines and possible disappointment, it is important to purchase your tickets online BEFORE arriving at the castle grounds. To be safe, plan to book your ticket as soon as you have your itinerary set.
Advance tickets purchased online can be printed or show the QR code issued with your ticket purchase at the castle entrance via smartphone or tablet.
Book advance tickets here at the official ticket office.
Didn’t get advance tickets?
If you don’t already have tickets, be sure to stop at the ticket office located in the village of Hohenschwangau before you head up to the castle. Tickets cannot be bought at the castle. There are a limited number sold daily at the ticket center, but they can sell out fast.
Current prices as of April 2023:
- Adults: 15 € (plus 2,50 € extra cost if booking online, applies to free and reduced tickets as well)
- Children: children under the age of 18 are free, however since tours are limited to a certain number of people, it is imperative that you reserve a ticket for children as well.
- Discounts available for: senior citizens from 65 years old, students, handicapped people, hotel guest card, Königscard, and groups.
Getting up to the castle
It’s a bit of a haul to get to the castle from the parking area/ticket booth. You’ll climb approximately 1.5 km up a fairly steep uphill road, motor vehicles forbidden unless prior permission is obtained. You’ll need to give yourself ample opportunity to arrive at the castle prior to your tour time, no admittance for late arrivals.
Here are your options for arriving at the castle:
- Walk: It’s about a 1.5 km, 30-40 minute walk, at a gradual incline.
- shuttle bus: shuttle buses depart from parking P4 (below Hohenschwangau Palace). Buses take you above the castle and then you will need to walk back downhill to the castle. Uphill trip 2.50 euros / downhill trip 1.50 euro / return trip 3 euros (as of 1 June 2020) purchase tickets on the bus. NOTE: BUSES DO NOT OPERATE IF THERE IS SNOW OR ICE ON THE ROADS.
- horse-drawn carriage: The horse carriage only goes part way up; you still have a short walk the remainder of the way uphill to the castle. Departure point: Hotel Müller, Alpseestraße. Price: Uphill trip 8 euros / downhill trip 4 euros (as of 1 August 2022) purchase tickets from the carriage driver. Year round.
(The easiest way: We took the bus up (less wait to be sure we made our time slot!), horse and carriage ride down, sorry not sorry! We do a LOT of walking when we travel, and I take any and all opportunities to save my legs!)
Accessibility options: The castle has accessibility options for those with mobility issues. See their page for more information.
Castle tour and opening times
Neuschwanstein Castle tour
The only way to see the inside of Neuschwanstein is by guided tour.
You’ll be given a time slot when you purchase your tickets. Again, it is important to note that you must be on time for your ticket, otherwise you will not be admitted to the castle. On our visit they had us wait outside of the castle until our time came up on the electronic board.
Tours are provided in English and German. Audio guide tours in the following languages: Japanese, French, Spanish, Italian, Czech, Slovenian, Russian, Polish, Chinese (Mandarin), Portuguese, Hungarian, Greek, Dutch, Korean, Thai, Arabic and Hebrew.
A tour guide leads a small group of visitors through 14 rooms in the interior of the castle. The tour lasts approximately 30 minutes.
(photos are not permitted in the castle itself. Interior photos provided by Trials and Errors 2.0 CC)
The official tour ends at the gift shop and cafeteria.
After the tour visitors are welcome to tour the historic kitchen, located on the ground floor, on the ground floor, on their own.
***“Restoration Work is currently being carried out inside the Neuschwanstein Castle. Renovation work is expected to last until 2024.
Until summer 2023, the bedroom, the dressing room, the living room, and the grotto will unfortunately be closed to the public…Other main rooms such as the throne room and the singer’s hall remain unaffected by this.” -Hohenschwangau.de
Neuschwanstein Castle Winter dates: the castle is open every day of the year except the following dates:
Closed : January 1, December 24, 25, 31
Always confirm dates, times, and rates before you go.
Are not allowed in the castle but they have a storage area where you can leave them during the tour.
Neuschwanstein Castle Winter Photos and webcam
Looking to get the best view of the castle for that perfect photograph? There are several good vantage points in the area. Find them on your Google map, look for the little camera icon. Here are a few choices:
The Marienbrücke, (Mary’s Bridge) is a popular spot to get iconic views of Neuschwanstein Castle. (Closed in ice and snow for visitor safety, bridge closings do not affect access to Neuschwanstein Castle and the guided tour.)
This is a photo that we took (not a winter day) from Mary’s Bridge:
Pöllat Gorge: You will also find a viewing platform below the castle over the Pöllat Gorge, but it may be closed in winter.
Tegelberg. There are also numerous good photo opportunities of Neuschwanstein Castle from Tegelberg.
Can’t travel just yet but can’t wait to get a look of the castle? Check out the webcams around Schwangau!
Don’t miss the sunny yellow castle on the opposing hill. This smaller castle is the boyhood home of King Ludwig II. It is recommended that if you plan to visit both castles on the same day that you leave a minimum of 2.5 hours between admission times.
Getting to Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter
If you’re driving, follow the signs to “Koningsschlosser” (the kings castles).
Road conditions: one of the downsides of winter travel is the potential for hazardous road conditions. You can check current road conditions in Bayern (Bavaria) here.
- Munich109 km (1 hour 43 min)
- Innsbruck Austria114 km (1 hour 43 min)
- Stuttgart 228 km (2 hours 22 min)
- Lake Constance 131 km (1 hour 49 minutes)
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen 62 km (56 minutes)
- Ulm 130 km (1 hour 20 min)
- Memmingen Allgäu Airport (FMM) – 61 km in Memmingen
- Friedrichshafen Airport (FDH) – 94 km in Friedrichshafen
- Munich Airport (MUC) – 118 km in Munich
There is a bus stop near the parking lots. To check schedules and get detailed information about your best bus transportation options see the Rome2Rio website.
The closest train station to Neuschwanstein is in Füssen. To find the best option for train ride travel including regional trains and direct trains see the Rome2Rio website.
If you are traveling by train in Bavaria, you may be able to save money with the Bayern Ticket. What does it get you?
-Unlimited number of trips within Bavaria in one day
-Travel with up to 5 persons (small additional fee for additional passengers)
-Children up to 5 years always travel free of charge
Rather take an organized tour? Neuschwanstein is a great day trip from Munich. If driving and train/bus travel aren’t your style you can book tours from Munich (München) to Neuschwanstein with Get Your Guide. Let someone else take care of logistics for you! Group and private tours available. Here are some popular tours that include Neuschwanstein:
(all tours leave from Munich unless otherwise noted)
- Neuschwanstein Castle & Linderhof Premium Tour
- Neuschwanstein Castle Full-Day Trip
- Neuschwanstein Castle Full-Day Trip by Van
- Royal Fairytale Tour
- Neuschwanstein Castle Tour
- Kingdom of the Castles: A Day with King Ludwig
- Private Day Trip to Neuschwanstein Castle
- Neuschwanstein Private Guided Tour Packages
- Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Palaces Day Trip
- Bavarian Highlights Private Day Tour (pick up in Fussen)
how to prepare for a winter visit
Here are some helpful tips to help prepare and plan a Schloss Neuschwanstein winter trip.
best time to visit and avoid crowds
1.5 million people visit Neuschwanstein castle each year. However, winter’s blanket of snow brings a calm quietness to the area so you may find fewer crowds this time of year.
The general rule for avoiding the worst crowds at popular tourist attractions are:
- Visit early morning or late in the day (i.e., the first or last tour of the day)
- Weekdays are often less crowded than weekends.
- Travel in the shoulder or off season: Summer months are peak season / high season, spring and fall are considered shoulder seasons, and winter months are off season in Germany (outside of the Christmas market season.)
What to wear and what to bring
Plan for winter weather conditions by dressing appropriately. Winter in Bavaria can be very cold with temperatures dropping below freezing levels.
How to dress for the cold packing tips: LAYERS are key, but winter layers can be bulky. If you are traveling in Germany in winter, you’ll want to pack as light as possible. (I’ll be using this list later this year when I pack for the Christmas Markets in Europe!)
Pack light, stay warm tips:
- Layering is the key to keeping warm without the bulk. Layers can take you from indoors to outdoors and back again. I like fleece base layers like CuddlDuds for outdoor activities.
- Fleece lined jeans, big thumbs up!
- One pair of waterproof snow boots for outdoor activities, plus lightweight insulated boots (bonus if they are waterproof too!)
- Fleece neck gaiters, wear it as a scarf or pull it up over your face to keep it warm!
- PACKABLE down, layer them over a light fleece jacket to stay toasty warm without the bulk.
- Waterproof pants (comfortable and warm) snow pants are bulky and unless you are skiing you probably don’t need them.
- Wool socks and wool glove liners (double the heat insulation!) and something to keep your head warm.
- Hand warmers
Stay on top of things. Snowfall and severe weather in winter can impact accessibility on roads leading up to the castle or even delay tours if there is too much ice on paths surrounding the castle. Check weather conditions before you head out for your Neuschwanstein Castle tour.
average temperatures in Hohenschwangau in winter:
|average high||average low|
|December||38° F||23° F|
|January||37° F||21° F|
|February||38° F||22° F|
For information on average snow levels in the valley surrounding Neuschwanstein Castle in winter see the Skiiinfo.de website.
Where to eat
There are several places to eat near the souvenir shops and ticket center. Other options include the cafe inside the castle, Cafe-Bistro at Neuschwanstein Castle and about halfway down the hill (near where you’ll find the horse and carriages waiting to take people down the hill) is an Imbiss and a sit-down restaurant, Neuschwanstein Castle Restaurant GmbH & Co. KG.
Where to Stay
There are many hotels in the vicinity, you can search them here on booking.com (use the map view!) We had a rental car, so we actually stayed in Fussen, just a 5 minute drive away. Here are some stand out accommodations in the area: (prices based on double occupancy)
AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa
The gorgeous AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa sits on Lake Alpsee in the shadow of Neuschwanstein Castle. Prices start at $193 per night, 8.8 guest rating.
book it here on booking.com!
This simply adorable fairytale cottage is just a 2 minute walk from Neuschwanstein Castle and offers views of the Bavarian Alps. Book early, this property is popular! Prices starting at $199 per night, 7.7 guest rating.
book it here on booking.com!
This cute hotel is located right in the thick of things, just a 1 minute walk to the castle ticket center. (The Horse and Carriages leave from out front of the hotel.) Prices starting at $189 per night, 8.8 guest rating.
book it here on booking.com!
Yet another option with breathtaking views of Neuschwanstein Castle and also only a 1 minute walk to the ticket center.
book it here on booking.com!
More winter activities
Looking for other attractions and activities to fill out your Schloss Neuschwanstein winter itinerary? There are lots of things to do here in winter! After your castle tour try one of these:
Hiking in Winter
There are many hiking trails in the area that are accessible in winter. Hikers are treated to snow-covered forests, snow white meadows and frozen lakes. You’ll find a map and list of winter hikes here.
Note of caution: Official winter hikes are marked with magenta-colored signs, stick to the official winter hikes and the trails in the valleys. Due to the snow and weather conditions, it can quickly become dangerous at higher altitudes.
There’s a picturesque little lake, surrounded by mountains, at the base of the castles. Alpsee lake has a walking path that circles the lake and can be done in 1.5 hours (clockwise is less strenuous.)
There are ample opportunities in the area for winter sports and outdoor adventures which include skiing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, Tobogganing/ sledding / sledging, and snowboarding.
Here are three areas where you can do most of these activities and more!
- Breitenberg Mountain has the region’s longest toboggan run (4 miles) is at Breitenberg Mountain.
- Tegelberg, has views of Neuschwanstein and is your closest option, located just 4 km from the king’s castles.
- Schwangau aktiv has outdoor ice-skating opportunities.
- For indoor ice-skating check the BUNDESLEISTUNGSZENTRUM (FEDERAL INTENSIVE TRAINING CENTRE) website.
Museums are a great place to get inside and warm up a bit in the winter months. There are two notable ones in the area:
The Museum of the Bavarian Kings
The Museum of the Bavarian Kings is in the Grand Hotel “Alpenrose” which occupies a picturesque setting at the base of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Learn the history of King Ludwig II and one of Europe’s oldest dynasties.
The Fussen heritage museum is located in a former baroque-style Benedictine Abbey. The monastery dates back to 750 and is one of the oldest north of the Alps. The building, containing various art and artifacts, is quite stunning both inside and out.
Germany is downright enchanting during the Christmas season. The German Christmas markets draw crowds from all over the world! If you happen to be visiting during this special time of year you may be interested in the following:
Füssen’s Advent Market is held on the first two weekends of advent in December in the festively illuminated monastery courtyard of St Mang. The medieval buildings in Füssen are an atmospheric backdrop for the market.
Christmas time in Germany is magically lit! If you are visiting during the Christmas season stroll the romantically lit streets of the towns in this area.
Horse drawn sleigh rides
The Kotz family offers sleigh rides and carriage rides. Take a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride though fairytale winter landscapes and across snow covered meadows. Located just 5 km from the king’s castles.
They also offer transportation to the deer feedings (below) and an evening torchlit ride!
Feeding the red deer.
Warm up at the spa or thermal baths!
The best way to warm up a wintery chill is a day at the spa! Many of these have views of Neuschwanstein Castle.
- Hotel Sommer (services available to non-guests)
- Kristall Therme-Schwangau
- AMERON Neuschwanstein Alpsee Resort & Spa
King Ludwig II of Bavaria and Walt Disney
King Ludwig II
The fairytale Neuschwanstein Castle was dreamed to life by one of Germany’s most famous historical figures, King Ludwig II, King of Bavaria, also known as the Swan King, or Märchenkönig (‘the Fairytale King’).
Ludwig named his castle New Hohenschwangau Castle (it wasn’t until after his death that the castle was renamed Neuschwanstein after the beloved Swan King. (Schwan is German for Swan)
Ludwig was a romantic, and sadly tragic figure. He is often referred to as Mad King Ludwig, perhaps an unfair distinction. He was eccentric, yes, “mad”? less likely. Sadly, Ludwig met an early and mysterious death. Read about his fascinating story here!
Disney fans may recognize Neuschwanstein from one of their favorite animated classic Disney films. The famous Bavarian Castle was an inspiration for not only one but TWO Disney castles! Sleeping Beauty’s castle and Cinderella’s castles both bear a resemblance to Neuschwanstein. You can see life size versions at the parks, the Sleeping Beauty Castle is located at Disneyland in Anaheim California, the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida.
Is Neuschwanstein worth visiting?
Yes! Here’s why a trip to Neuschwanstein Castle is worth adding to your itinerary:
- it’s one of Germany’s most iconic sites
- beautiful and alluring architecture
- it has a fascinating and tragic story
- there’s a second worthwhile castle just a short walk away (Hohenschwangau)
- the eye-catching opulent interiors of both castles!
- many fun things to do in the area, you can easily spend a whole day, or maybe three!
- its location surrounded by picturesque mountains
- The castle, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and evergreen trees heavily laden with snow, is enchanting any time of the year but winter is magical.
What are you waiting for? Plan your winter trip to Neuschwanstein now!
Other articles you may be interested in:
- The Most Beautiful Medieval Towns in Germany, take a trip back to the Middle Ages!
- Burg Eltz Castle, Germany’s second famous? definitely another of Germany’s beautiful castles!
Traveling? Before you travel, protect your investment with “cancel for any reason” trip insurance. Did you know that pandemics, as well as a LONG list of other situations aren’t covered by most trip insurance policies? MOST of these scenarios are covered when you purchase a “cancel for any reason” policy! Shop for one at Travel Insurance.com!
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