Perhaps one of the most famous castles in the world, a visit inside Neuschwanstein Castle may not be what you expect.
This fairy tale castle is often referred to as the “Disney Castle,” the “Sleeping Beauty Castle, and the “Cinderella Castle,” almost everyone recognizes this Romanesque Revival Castle perched on the rocky hills of Hohenschwangau. Neuschwanstein, the name means “New Swan Castle,” and some also refer to Neuschwanstein as such.
All tourists heading to the Bavarian region of Germany have the Neuschwanstein Castle on their list of things they must see. And everyone plans to go inside Neuschwanstein Castle.
Sadly, while the exterior of Neuschwanstein Castle will take your breath away and is by far the most beautiful castle in the world, the inside is underwhelming.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria
King Ludwig II of Bavaria, known as The Mad King, built Neuschwanstein Castle as a recluse directly across from his childhood home – Hohenschwangau Castle.
Thought to be “mad” due to his behavior, Ludwig earned this title from psychiatrist Bernhard von Gudden who ultimately declared him unfit to rule in 1886. The action deemed “mad” was his over-the-top spending of himself into debt building castles, his instance of eating outside no matter the weather, and his lack of marriage.
Even though he was declared insane, he wasn’t; he was eccentric and shy.
And, if you visit any of his creations, you will see just how peculiar he was. A tour inside the Palace of Linderhof left me with a headache from the over-the-top color carnival.
The History of Neuschwanstein Castle
Inspired by visits to Wartburg Castle and Château de Pierrefonds, Ludwig, enamored by castles’ style, dreamt of his own. You will see where elements of both show up in Neuschwanstein.
Construction of Neuschwanstein Castle began in the summer of 1869. The King estimated that it would take three years to complete while it took more than sixteen. And the castle was never completed. Much of the interior remains unfinished to this day.
King Ludwig II of Bavaria died in 1886 before its completion. Shortly after, the castle opened to the public as a museum.
Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
After you have reached the top, you are immediately in awe of the castle’s sheer size. And, given it is a relatively new castle compared to others, the exterior stone is immaculate – almost like new construction. Gray, in color with hues of blue, the outside is impressive. The sheer size has a wow factor, but the details and conditions of the exterior are mind-blowing. The surface of Neuschwanstein is immaculate. It almost appears like new construction.
Finally, your tour begins.
Neuschwanstein Castle is approximately 65,000 square feet in size. The entire tour, from start to end, takes thirty-five minutes—most of which you spend climbing the towers.
The tour is a bit of a farce. You meander through halls and climb several towers to peek in on finished rooms—a total of fourteen rooms out of the two hundred.
The Singers Hall being the pièce de résistance of the tour, I was left speechless.
Singers Hall Study Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
Bedroom Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
Study Inside Neuschwanstein Castle
Are the fourteen rooms impressive? No, not at all. Not even the Throne Room. I would go as far as saying that I wish I did not go inside Neuschwanstein Castle so I could continue maintaining the images I had concocted in my imagination.
There is nothing fairytale-like, romantic, or endearing about the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle.
The rooms on view are tasteless even for the period. Richard Wagner’s operas inspired the decorations. And, while the fashion of the time, I think it’s the most over-the-top display of money poorly spent by monarchs.
Richard Wagner was Ludwig’s friend and benefactor. Ludwig dedicated Neuschwanstein to the composer.
Note: You can not take any photographs inside Neuschwanstein Castle.
Map of Neuschwanstein Castle
Getting Tickets to go inside Neuschwanstein Castle
As of 2020, the castle receives more than 1.4 million visitors annually.
You can buy a ticket on the same day. However, I strongly recommend that you purchase tickets in advance. There are a few reasons for this:
- You must take a guided tour.
- All tours run at specific times, and you will get a time slot based on availability.
- Tours often sell out way in advance.
- The lines to buy tickets are ridiculously long, even on a rainy day.
- If you are late for your allocated time, there is a high chance you will get turned away.
- You can only buy tickets up to two days in advance.
The ticket counter is located at:
Alpseestraße 12, D-87645 Hohenschwangau
Telephone +49 8362 93083-0
For Neuschwanstein Castle, it costs € 13,00 for adults plus a €2,50 service fee. Children under 18 are free.
The following combination tickets are available:
- Kings-Ticket (Hohenschwangau castle / Neuschwanstein castle)
- Wittelsbach-Ticket (Hohenschwangau castle / Museum of the Bavarian Kings)
- Swan-Ticket (Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castle/ Museum of the Bavarian Kings)
Remember that all tours are timed when you book tickets and allow yourself enough time to get from one castle to the other.
Getting Up To The Castle
There are essentially three ways to get up to the castle entrance.
Surprisingly, we saw many walkers take this on; it seems relatively popular to walk. However, you will need to be in excellent shape. We were exhausted just from the walk at the mid-way point where the horse, carriages, and shuttle buses dropped people off.
It is not an easy hike up. And it will take you almost an hour to get to the top.
2. By horse-drawn carriage
The horse-drawn carriage does not go to the top; you will still have a five to ten-minute steep walk to the castle entrance.
Price: Uphill trip € 7,00 / downhill trip € 3,50 payable only in cash.
Purchase tickets from the carriage driver.
The carriages operate all year round and shuttle according to demand, with no fixed timetable.
You can’t make a reservation.
Independent companies operate carriage services.
3. By shuttle bus
The shuttle bus does not go all the way to the top. You will still have a five to ten-minute walk to the castle entrance.
Price: Uphill trip € 2,50 / downhill trip € 1,50 euro / round trip € 3,00
According to demand, the buses operate all year round and shuttle between Schlosshotel Lisl and Neuschwanstein Castle with no fixed timetable.
Purchase tickets on the bus.
You can’t make a reservation.
The buses do not run if there is snow or ice on the roads.
Independent companies operate the shuttle bus services.
Essentials You Will Need To Enjoy Neuschwanstein Castle
Tours To Neuschwanstein Castle
FAQ’s About Neuschwanstein Castle
Where To Stay Near Neuschwanstein Castle
Unusual facts about Neuschwanstein Castle
- Neuschwanstein Castle was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in the 19th century as a personal retreat and homage to Richard Wagner, the famous German composer.
- The castle’s design was inspired by Wagner’s operas, particularly Lohengrin and Tannhäuser, and was meant to resemble a medieval castle, complete with towers, turrets, and battlements.
- Construction of the castle began in 1869 and was never fully completed due to King Ludwig II’s death in 1886.
- The castle’s name, Neuschwanstein, translates to “New Swan Stone,” which references the name of one of Wagner’s characters, the Swan Knight.
- Despite its medieval appearance, Neuschwanstein Castle was built with modern technology, including a central heating system and running water.
- The castle was also one of the first buildings in the world to have a telephone line installed, which was a luxury at the time.
- Neuschwanstein Castle was designed with several hidden passages and secret doors, including one that led to a chapel.
- The castle’s throne room is decorated with elaborate murals depicting scenes from Wagner’s operas, as well as a 13-foot tall chandelier.
- Neuschwanstein Castle has been the inspiration for several fictional castles in movies and TV shows, including Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland and the castle in the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
What You Need to Know
- Prepare for rain; it is common.
- There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the village of Hohenschwangau.
- There is parking on-site. You must pay a nominal fee to the park, and you should expect heavy traffic.
- Photography and video inside are strictly prohibited.
If you are in Southern Germany and have your heart set on seeing the inside of Neuschwanstein Castle, go up the hill and take the tour. After all, you’ve made your way to Bavaria, so you’ve nothing but your imagination to lose.
If you can live without going inside Neuschwanstein Castle, save time and money and focus on getting a dramatic shot of the exterior, which is worth the visit alone.
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t skip Hohenschwangau Castle. It’s nowhere near as significant and undoubtedly not stunning from the outside. But it is far more interesting and has better.
Lastly, a fairytale-like town called Fussen is only a six-minute drive away or two miles away. You will enter into a circle maze of cobbled streets that hold an endless array of things to do behind this town’s castle walls.
Looking for more posts on Castles and Mansions? Start here:
- Inside Hohenschwangau Castle – The Mad Kings Childhood Home
- Linderhof Palace – King Ludwig’s Country Retreat
- Why You Should Visit Liechtenstein’s Castles
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I completely agree. The interior is tasteless. I have been twice and had the same impressions as the author each time.
Well said Sara :) Nikki
I feel so sorry for you you have no idea what you’re talkin about! And please folks don’t believe this nerd. I’ve been to New Schwan Stein castle every time I’ve been to Germany and believe me I can’t even count! I was born over there my mom was from Germany and my descendants are all from Germany. This guy is just jealous or woman or whoever the hell wrote this segment. This is a mad author
Romona – TROLL ON. You can’t even spell it so how is anyone going to take you seriously – idiot.
I was there in 1972 while while I was in the army The view of the castle and its surroundings are breathtaking back in those days they didn’t have a tour Bush for a horse drawn carriage take you up the hill the walk itself is worth the view don’t waste the money goes inside
Wow, I would have loved to have seen it back then, I bet it was way less commercial. I agree it’s a stunning view when you get up there:) Nikki
I firmly, respectfully disagree with your assessment. I find the interior to be indicative of the rich mystery of Bavaria, and seeing the Wagnerian operas played out in decor is a Teutonophile’s dream! The throne room was breathtaking for me, and I found knowing the story of King Ludwig’s fanaticism and dream-like existence made the storied monument even more fascinating. Definitely worth the trip, and the views from both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are worth every stair and steep incline you have to endure. Just out of curiosity, what were you expecting? Cheers!
No problem and I am glad you disagree – we all see things differently :) It is a rich mystery of Bavaria and it’s stunning. For me, only from the outside:) I do love King Ludwig’s story but his taste is off-key for me even given the time period. I was hoping for more taste vs. excess but all of us have different expectations. Thank you for sharing your perspective. Nikki
Ah yes I can see that. He was living in his own mind which was a fairytale… Excess was definitely his preference. Happy (and safe!) travels!
Yes – he sure was:) Have you seen Linderhof Palace? Same thing and you can see how he took that style with him to Neuschwanstein. Happy travels to you too… Nikki
A bit harsh. I can understand bring somewhat disappointed if you didn’t know it wasn’t finished, but the finished rooms are beautiful.
I can see why you read it as harsh:) It all comes down to taste and this one was not for me at all – the inside that is. I thought the exterior was magnificent. I did know before going that it was never finished, but I did not like the finished rooms. I also did not like the decorations at his palace either. So, maybe I just don’t like Ludwigs taste:) Nikki
My wife and I hiked all the way to the castle in less than an hour in 2013 because all the transportation was full. My wife had a broken bone in her foot and had to wear a boot on this European trip. The hike will definitely get ones attention. Wonderful experience. The grounds at Linderhof are beautiful and as we were leaving Linderhof we were greeted with a group of Corvettes from a German Corvette club.
Wow – your wife hiked up there with a broken bone in her foot? That is some dedication! I don’t know I could have. How cool that you got to see the German Corvette Club 0 good for you:) Nikki
Nikki, you should not discourage people from visiting inside this castle just because you don’t appreciate it!
The wait in 1989 with my young son & daighter was well worth the climb, & wait!
I’m not discouraging anyone from anything, simply stating my opinion. You don’t have to agree:) I believe in being authentic, I don’t just tell everyone everything is fantastic if I don’t think it is. I am glad you enjoyed your visit and thought it was worth it:) Nikki
I have to totally disagree. I have been there 3 times and I will see it again. Of course it’s not finished but it’s still spectacular. Linderhof is special but nothing like this Castle.
I hear you:) Lots of people love it. I did like the outside, but not the inside. Nikki
I have wanted to visit here since I first saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when it came out. When I was young (in the 60’s) I used to collect postcards and had one from here. It’s still on my bucket list.
I had this one on my list for years! It’s beautiful on the outside for sure, the inside a tad odd. I preferred Hohenschwangau Castle :) Nikki
We tried to go to Neuschwanstein, but got there and the lines were insane! We still got to see it from afar, but I’d love to go someday when it’s not so crazy packed.
You got off lucky! We went twice (due to not booking tickets) and there is nothing inside worth the climb. Seriously, the outside is one of the most stunning – the inside the worst I’ve paid to see :)
We went and walked up the whole way. Had to stop and rest several times. I remember thinking how small the rooms were. I thought they would be large and grand however it was a beautiful place. Not all rooms were opened to the public.
Wow, I am impressed! I think if we did the walk up the stairs inside would have killed us :) Nikki