Best views and tips for Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle

At the latest, Disney made Neuschwanstein Castle world known. Read all about how to get a ticket, what to expect from a tour and find the best viewing points to see the castle in all its beauty.

Neuschwanstein Castle is the most famous castle in Germany and probably also one of the most known in Europe. The castle was also used by Disney as an inspiration for Cinderella’s castle and can be found on the well-known logo of the company itself.

Last summer, I decided that it was finally time to visit the famous castle on my small trip through Bavaria and therefore to cross one of my must-sees from my travel bucket list. I found the perfect viewpoint and will share all my tips with you in this blog post.

đź’ˇ Facts about Neuschwanstein Castle

The construction work of Neuschwanstein started in the summer of 1868. The castle was built for the Bavarian king Ludwig II. and was designed as the ideal knight’s castle from medieval times. Nevertheless, the latest technic was used outside as well as inside for the construction work. The castle was even fitted with hot air central heating, running water and an automatic flushing system. The king actually also had a telephone available. If I remember it right he could only call the post with it.  

The king only lived a few months inside the castle because he died in 1886 before the castle was completed. Therefore the construction work was never finished.

Tips for booking tickets

If you want to visit the castle from inside you should book your tickets already beforehand online to make sure you will be able to visit the palace. The tickets are often sold out days before, in summer even weeks before, especially if you plan on going on weekends or holidays. One ticket costs 17.50 EUR (18.60 US$) for adults and one Euro less for students, pensioners, and disabled persons as well as if you have the Gästekarte (you will get the Gästekarte in most hotels if you stay overnight, I even got it on my camping spot). If you want to bring your children make sure to also buy tickets for them, every child – even babies – need their own tickets. Tickets for children from 0 to 17 years cost 2.50 EUR (2.60 US$). The tours are available in English or German but you can also book a time frame to use an audio guide which is available in 19 different languages.

Castle Hohenschwangau

You can also combine the ticket to visit Hohenschwangau Castle and/or the Museum of the Bavarian Kings which you can find right around the corner just a few metres further at lake Alpsee. In case all tickets are already sold out during your stay, you should take a look at the online shop at eight o’clock in the morning. Sometimes you can be lucky and more tickets will be unlocked for the day. You can buy your tickets online in the official shop of Neuschwanstein.de.

In case you missed buying tickets online and you want to check the ticket centre, you can find it next to the parking slots. There is no possibility to buy any tickets at the castle. So do not make the mistake to go all the way up to the castle first.

You should plan around 45 minutes of walking from the parking slot and bus stop up to Neuschwanstein Castle. There is also the possibility to take a bus or a horse-drawn carriage but from both stops, you will need to walk a bit further to reach the entrance.

What to expect from the castle tour

Neuschwanstein Castle was opened to the public only seven weeks after the death of King Ludwig II in 1886. This is a bit ironic since it was once planned as the retreat of the king. Until today more than 1.5 million people visit the rooms of the castle every year.

The inside of Neuschwanstein Castle can be only visited with a tour. The tour itself is actually quite short. I chose a guided tour which took not even 30 minutes in total. The reason is that only 14 rooms were completed before the death of King Ludwig II. Therefore the rooms on the second floor were never finished. Anyways, the rooms which were actually finished are worth a visit.

The view from the balcony of the castle

The picture cycles on the walls are inspired by the operas of Richard Wagner. You will find his different works and the medieval legends, they are based on, in all rooms of the castle. Another recurrent theme is the swan which is shown in different statues and paintings. The swan is also part of the name of the castle itself. Neuschwanstein means literally translated “New Swan Stone” –  the German word “Schwan” is the animal swan. Also the town Schwangau itself in where you can find the palace has the animal in its name. The swan is used as a Christian symbol of purity.

I was most blown away by the Singers’ Hall and of course the grotto. The king let built his own artificial dripstone cave in his castle. It was designed by August Dirigl and had originally coloured lights and even a waterfall. The Singer’s Hall occupies the whole fourth floor in the eastern section of the palace. It was planned as a stage for theatre and musical performances but was never used in this way.  

It is not allowed to take pictures inside the castle but you can see photos of all the rooms on the official page of Neuschwanstein.

Best viewing points around

📍 Behind the castle: If you visit the Neuschwanstein make sure to also follow the path behind the castle. It is really not an insider’s tip but you will have a really nice view of the backside of the castle as well as of lake Alpsee and Hohenschwangau castle.

📍 Marienbrücke (Mary’s bridge): Marienbrücke is only a 15-minute walk from Neuschwanstein Castle. There is also a bus you can take from the parking slot to go up. The bridge itself is very popular and often crowded. It can happen that you have to wait around 30-45 minutes to visit it if you come during the high season. If you want to avoid the crowds come in the morning before or in the evening after the opening hours. I visited the bridge around 6 pm in the summer. It was way less full and in the end, I had the bridge almost to myself. The view is just perfect. You stand right upon the Pöllat gorge with the castle right in front of you.

The bridge can be closed during winter because of bad weather conditions such as ice and snow. You can check it beforehand online on the page Hohenschwangau.de.

đź“Ť Close to MarienbrĂĽcke: Also MarienbrĂĽcke itself is a beautiful photo motive. If you follow the middle path from the bus stop you will have a quite nice view to see MarienbrĂĽcke and the castle without too many people around. There is even a sign that shows you the way.

📍 Your own personal spot: If you want to have a stunning view of the castle without tourists, you should just follow the way up the mountains and use them for a beautiful view down. When I visited Neuschwanstein Castle at midday in summer, the line of people visiting Marienbrücke was endlessly long so I hiked further uphill. There I had the view just for my own. The spot is not really a secret since you can find it on google maps but since you need to walk around 20 minutes upward you won’t see too many people. Follow the spot on google maps and enjoy your own beautiful view. But please take care to not go too close to the edge. Safety always comes first and should be more important than any nice view and photo.

🚌 How to reach the castles by public transport
If you want to travel by public transport you can use a train to FĂĽssen (for example from Munich central station) and from there a bus (bus number 9606 or 78) which brings you to the parking spot and ticket centre of the castles. The bus stop is called Hohenschwangau Neuschwanstein Castles, Schwangau. You can find all connections and buy tickets on bahn.com.

You have read the blog post Best views and tips for Neuschwanstein Castle on My Travel Journal-Blog.

My personal highlights and tips for Sintra

Palace of Pena

Ceilings of bird paintings, feeling like Alice and falling in love with palaces covered in sugar icing. This totally sounds like Sintra. If you also love palaces, castles, and mysterious gardens, Sintra is just perfect for you. Read about my personal highlights and get some tips for your own trip.

Sintra is around 25 km (15.5 miles) away from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital and therefore a perfect choice for a day or even a weekend trip. The beautiful town is full of palaces, gardens, parks and castles. I only had a day in Sintra and chose to visit the Portuguese renaissance Palácio Nacional de Sintra (Sintra National Palace), the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira and the romanticist Palácio Nacional da Pena (Pena National Palace).

đź’ˇ Information about Sintra
Sintra is a small town with a bit less than 30,000 inhabitants (status 2011) and full of colourful palaces, intricate gardens, and ostentatious mansions. It is part of the Greater Lisbon region and is located on the Portuguese Riviera. The town also belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since it is located in the hills and mountains of Serra de Sintra, the weather is more pleasant in summer. This fact determined the nobility of different centuries to build their summer residences in Sintra. But the town was also a popular travel destination for wealthy artists in the 19th century who built expensive villas in the town.

❗️ Tip: How to buy tickets
Of course, every sight has also its own ticket office. If you visit Sintra in the high season, it can be also worth it to buy your tickets beforehand online or at the ticket machine in front of the tourist information, next to the train station. There are different entrance fees for adults and children plus most attractions also offer an extra family ticket

Palácio Nacional de Sintra – The royal summer residence
Palácio Nacional de Sintra

The Sintra National Palace is not only directly located in the historic city centre but also counts as the town’s landmark. Especially prominent are its two white towers. It is the best-preserved medieval residence and was used as a royal summer residence from the early 15th till the late 19th century.
I especially loved the colourful walls with the typical Portuguese tiles (called Azulejos) and wild patterns of animals, as well as the ceilings covered in golden ornaments, decorated with birds such as swans and magpies. The rooms are beautifully arranged and give a nice feeling of the life of the royal families of Portugal. The palace shows a lot of different artistic influences such as Gothic, Renaissance, plus Portuguese tiles as their own artistic styles which were affected by the Mudéjar art, an Islamic artistic influence. The entrance cost me 10 € (10.60 US$).



Quinta da Regaleira – The mysterious garden
Quinta da Regaleira
The Initiation Well

Quinta da Regaleira is a big property with a palace, a chapel, and a huge garden around with different wells, fountains, grottoes, small lakes, and towers. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland, exploring the park with its labyrinthine ways which are in between even under the earth. Of course, gardeners take care of the park but it still felt a bit feral (in a positive way) with all of the strong colours of the plants and trees. I absolutely loved it. To me, this place was truly magical. Already the palace or I would maybe call it a villa is a bit extraordinary. It was built in Gothic style and decorated with many ornaments, pinnacles, and gargoyles. Also, the rooms inside are extensively decorated, I especially liked the wooden ceilings.
Another highlight was to see the Initiation well, which is located in the middle of the park. If you go down the stairs you will find a tunnel you can follow to also find the Unfinished well. Both of them never served water sources but were actually used for rites. I paid 10 € (10.60 US$) to visit the whole garden including the palace.

Palácio Nacional da Pena – The colourful palace
Palácio Nacional da Pena

Pena National Palace is probably Sintra’s most visited site and part of the Seven Wonders of Portugal, voted by its inhabitants a few years ago. To me, it looked made out of sugar icing with its gaudy and popping colours. The palace itself is influenced by many different styles mainly Romanticism, but also Gothic, Manueline, Islamic, and Renaissance. The palace is surrounded by a huge park which takes some time to explore. Pena Nacional Palace is located in the Serra de Sintra and offers, therefore, a beautiful view over the town and to the Castelo dos Mouros (Moorish Castle). I was lucky enough to see a stunning sundown at the castle which brought even a bigger facet of lights.
You can also visit the rooms of the palace which offer as well colourful patterns, and tiles combined with wooden furniture. I paid a 14 € (15 US$) entrance fee including visiting the inside of the palace. If you only buy a ticket for outside it will be almost 50% cheaper, the ticket costs 7.5 € (8 US$).

🚌 How to reach Sintra
Question number one I asked myself is how to get to Sintra. The easiest way is to take a train from Lisbon. You can eighter way take the train from the station Rossio or Oriente. You can buy the tickets directly on the ticket machine at the station. In 2021, I paid 2.30€ (2.50 US$) one way. The ride takes approximately 45 minutes and the trains usually are going at least twice per hour.
There is also a bus going to Sintra but it takes more time. Going by car is not recommended because the streets of the town are very narrow and there are just a few parking spots in the town itself.  
The view of the Castelo dos Mouros from the Palácio Nacional da Pena
🚌 How to get around Sintra
Sintra is not too big, you can easily walk from the train station to the centre and even continue from there to the further palaces. There is also a bus, especially for tourists, which is therefore also a bit pricy (in 2021 it cost almost 7€ which equals 7.40 US$). Usually, it is more a question of time and your personal fitness level whether you want to take the bus or do a longer trip on foot. From the train station to the Palácio Nacional da Pena which is one of the furthest of the famous palaces, you will walk around 1-1.5 hours but almost the whole way is uphill since the palace as well as the Castelo dos Mauros (Castle of the Moors) is in the mountains of Serra de Sintra. But at least the Palácio Nacional de Sintra and the gardens of Quinta da Regaleira are easily accessible by walking without going up.

My short conclusion: Is it worth it to visit Sintra?

This question is easy to answer: Yes! I loved my day trip to Sintra and was even a bit sad I had not enough time to stay another day. In my opinion, all the sights I visited were worth their money.
Depending on the count of the hours you will spend in Sintra, you should already think beforehand about which sights you want to visit and plan enough time for each. Keep the distances in mind, whether you take the bus or want to walk, some time for lunch, and of course the opening hours. With three sights my day was already completely filled. But you should also ask yourself if you are the kind of traveller who wants to visit palaces for more than one day in a row.

In general, the most common sights to visit are Palácio Nacional da Pena, Castelo dos Mouros, Palácio Nacional de Sintra and of course Quinta da Regaleira. But Sintra and the area around have way more to offer. This can be also nice if you do not like to have too many other tourists around you. You can visit more palaces as the Palácio de Monserrate, Palácio de Seteais or Vila Sassetti. Or if you have a car you can drive to the 7 km (4.35 miles) distant Franciscan monastery Das Convento dos Capuchos. If you plan more time around Palácio Nacional da Pena you can follow the different hiking trails or visit the highest point of Sintra’s mountains Cruz Alta.

You have read the blog post My personal highlights and tips for Sintra on My Travel Journal-Blog.