10 steps from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle!

This will be a bit of a departure from the regular tale of traveling woe so common in previous posts. Maybe this could be used in the future to direct lost souls like ourselves.

You want to do a day trip from Munich. How about Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle? One way is to simply look for a tour company to take you the whole way and feed you the info you might be looking for…or, you can take on the adventure of getting yourself from Munich to the castle on a self guided mission.

Aim for that 9:51am train. We made it to the station at 9:30 and felt a little rushed in buying tickets then finding the train before departure.

Step 1. Find yourself a train. “Bayern” tickets can be purchased from the red DB machines in the Main Munich Hbf station. As of the time of this post, 29euro for up to 5 people…not sure what the single person charge was. Pick your outward and return journey, with your destination being Fussen (you may need to input Fuessen to get the accented ‘u’ to show up in the selections) and you are good.

Step 2. Note the time of departure and find your train. If you are lucky enough to be at the station with the option for a direct train from Munich Hbf to Fussen, simply find your platform. If you need to make connections, it can be a bit more challenging. There was no information clerk in the DB booth for us and we don’t speak a work of German, so a little luck and some careful observation had us go to the Munich – Memmingen train, with a change of trains in Buchloe. When in doubt about which train to get onto…follow the hoards of tour groups as this is the number one day trip out of Munich.

Step 3. Follow the hoards from train to train, then to the bus. Large groups of people will all be taking the same train and bus as you, all with various bits of information. Listen closely and you’ll hear the couple that did this trip 20 years ago, or the overly prepared 30 something’s with iPad in hand. We ended up there more on gut feel. You are never alone.

Step 4. Get on the bus. Buses are red and clearly noted in the front display as “Hohenschwangau Castles”. Pull out that Bayern train ticket and you won’t have to fork out any extra bus fare. If you do have to do the bus fare, the ask for 1.90euro. It’s always good to carry some change along anyways.

Step 5. Get off the bus and hike around the corner (about 300m) to the ticket line up. Tickets are only required if you want to tour the inside of the castles. It is free to walk up to them and stroll through any unfenced courtyards…and that may be all you need. If you absolutely need to see the inside of the castle, then line up and buy your tickets.

Step 6. Make your way up the hill. Ice cream, pretzels and beer can be used to build a little motivation for the hill climb. Busses and horse drawn carriages are also used as people movers, for a fee. We hiked it in all of 25 minutes, leaving plenty of time for pics before the tour started.

Step 7. Take our pics and do your tour of the castle. Seeing the cathedrals of France makes this new castle a little light on history and antiquities. If you are into fancy wall and ceiling paintings, along with a brief commentary…the tour is the way to go. The best photo ops are from the nearby bridge Marienbrucke, and from another viewpoint on your way to or from the bridge.

Step 8. Hike on down the hill (bus or horse if you choose), and line up for the bus. On busy days, the line for the bus can be quite long making it a little unnerving if you are desperate to catch a train. Not to worry, two busses will usually show to escort you back to the train just in time. We had all of 5 minutes to spare, and witnessed a poor lady fall flat on her face sprint for the train. Beware of the cobblestones and don’t rush!

Step 9. Get on your train, and once again mind any connections. Tour guides with larger groups are also of great assistance. A direct train back to Munchen Hbf is the easiest, and helps if you happen to fall asleep after a long day out.

Step 10. That’s it. You’ve made it back in one piece. There are no more steps, other than a tall weissbier to quench that thirst.

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