We were waiting for my family (Mum, Dad, QS and GC) at Marienbrücke. What made it more interesting was that they had spent the night here at one of the hotels in Hohenschwangau. So by theory, they were supposed to be waiting for us instead of vice-versa.
Please bear in mind that the tickets are time-based
As the crowd was picking up, we finally saw a glimpse of them. A bit of frantic waving and the whole family was gathered on the Marienbrücke. We have half an hour before our first stop – Schloss Neuschwanstein. Please bear in mind that the tickets for the castles are time-based and they are also language-based. Do check their website for details. You need to time them perfectly, taking into account the photo-taking, the journey and the queue.
The distance between Marienbrücke and Schloss Neuschwanstein is a 15-minute brisk walk, most of it downhill. Halfway through the route, there is a lookout area in which you can get a nice panoramic view of Hohenschwangau below and Füssen some distance away.
“Let us gather around the courtyard, our number is not up yet,” I said. The rest of the family decided to head for the loo before continuing. The next part of the story is without pictures as cameras and video recorders are not allowed within the walls of Schloss Neuschwanstein.
“Don’t worry, they just want you to keep them in your bags,” said GC.
“I think they trust people a lot, especially when the iPhone can function as a good enough camera,” quipped QS.
Photos are not allowed of the castle interiors but they didn’t say anything about the exteriors
Tip: It is a guided tour that lasts for 40 minutes so try to position yourself near to the guide. Don’t worry, you won’t be missing anything as there are only a handful of finished rooms despite the huge complex.
Tip: Although you can’t take photos of the insides, they didn’t mention anything about taking photos of the outside scenery.
We had another hour to kill, which I think was more than enough before the start of our next tour at Schloss Hohenschwangau. We decided to take the long way down by foot. About 200-300m along the path, there is a rest stop with a viewing deck of Schloss Neuschwanstein. Further along, the family decided to quit walking since it was a pain, so they waited at the horse carriage area.
The horse drawn carriage comes with a disadvantage, it takes 6 people to fill up
“You’re going to take the carriage?” I asked.
“Yes.” came the reply.
The horse carriage comes with one disadvantage, they won’t move unless there are 6 people on board. My parents told me that one fellow visitor was so fed up of waiting, he paid the driver the remainder. Interesting.
For those who prefer to walk, please make sure you have your eyes on the road, they might be some horse poo, so look before you leap.
It took us 30 minutes to walk all the way down towards the Alpsee. If you have the time, this is also a good area to get some photos. The sun was shining down hard, we have finally hit a patch of good weather.
“Just too good,” said the wife as she packed her jacket into her backpack. “If only this was Paris,” she mumbled.
We met up with our family (again) at the entry to Hohenschwangau. Yet again, the ‘No Photo’ rule was in place and the guided tour lasted 30 minutes.
Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau Opinion
After touring both places and spending at least half a day here, I would say that this is exactly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Meaning that I would only do it once. If I were to come again, it would probably for the winter experience. Basically, if you were to get a good guidebook or that you have bought the books for both the castles, you could give the guided tours a skip. Because you are not allowed any photos, so there won’t be much that you will be bringing home, just the memories.
Visit the Marienbrücke. It is a MUST
A visit to the Marienbrücke is a MUST. Get a pair of sturdy hands or a tripod and capture that breathtaking view of the castle.
“Why is there always a but?”
The castle will always be under some sort of scaffolding for restoration works, so do check out online (Tripadvisor) for the latest news. We were lucky that the scaffolding was on the other side, facing away from the Marienbrücke.
Ticket prices for the castles are €12 each, but if you visit them both in one day, it is only €23. We had the Bavarian Museum Ticket, so we only had to pay for Schloss Hohenschwangau. There is also a Museum of the Bavarian Kings (€8.50) located at the foot of the castles, I did not visit that.
The ideal trip would most probably be an overnight stay at the hotels nearby, spend the day at both castles and then take lots of photos. Spend some time at the Alpsee and visit Füssen in the afternoon and late evening.
(to be continued)