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4 kids and they're dad standing on the path to Neuschwanstein.

Visiting Neuschwanstein with kids is a must on your family vacation to Europe. This iconic German castle is a huge crowd pleaser. Here’s what you need to know as you plan your trip to visit Neuschwanstein!

*Many thanks to the Füssen Tourism & Marketing Department for providing tickets to facilitate this post.*

Visiting Neuschwanstein with Kids

During our two week family spring break trip to Europe, another town we made sure to visit was Füssen, Germany in the Bavarian region of Allgaü. We drove in from Paris late one night and spent two nights (basically a day and a half) in Füssen. We did not have enough time to see everything, but we really enjoyed touring Neuschwanstein Castle. I highly recommend that you make it here on your family vacation to Europe!

A picture of the back of Neuschwanstein Castle.

A brief history lesson

A picture of the Disneyworld castle in the fall.

Neuschwanstein was built by Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria to look like a medieval fairy tale castle on old castle ruins. Construction started in 1869 was supposed to be finished in three years. However it was such a complex project that it still wasn’t finished when Ludwig died of suspicious causes in 1886. And sadly, it’s still not completely finished to this day. However, the parts that are finished more than make up for what isn’t! With over 1.3 million visitors a year, Neuschwanstein is the most visited castle in Germany! 

Compared to authentic medieval castles like the ruins in Heidelberg or the small castle in Tubingen, Neuschwanstein is state of the art! Your kids might be interested in the flushing toilets and central heating the castle boasts. My kids were sad to learn of the planned bathtub / swimming pool that was never built. Do you see the resemblance between Neuschwanstein and Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World? If you didn’t know it already, Neuschwanstein was the inspiration for its famous Disney counterpart. My kids were thrilled to learn that they toured the REAL Cinderella’s Castle. 

Hohenschwangau and the Bavarian Alps and lake from the Neuschwanstein Castle.

Getting to Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein is less than 2 hours away (on the A95 Autobahn) from Munich and about ten minutes from Füssen. Many visitors take a train in for the day. If you arrive via train, you’ll need to take the bus to Neuschwanstein. Get off at the Hohenschwangau stop.  If you drive, pay to park in any of the parking lots located in Hohenschwangau. {If you’re driving in Germany, make sure to read these tips!}

The Neuschwanstein castle from the side taken from the Marien Bridge.

Neuschwanstein Tour

Once you get to the Hohenschwangau area, you’ll have to walk up the mountian to the castle. If you’d prefer to ride, you can buy a ticket for a horse-drawn wagon or a bus. However you decide to get to the top, make sure you buy castle tour tickets at the Ticket Center Hohenschwangau (at the bottom of the Hohenschwangau Castle) BEFORE climbing the mountain! You can only buy tickets on the day of your visit, and the Ticket Center is the only place to get them. This is an absolute must, because if you climb all the way to the castle without your tickets, you won’t get a tour.

Exhausted children resting after the long walk to Neuschwanstein Castle.
Waiting in the courtyard for a tour of Neuschwanstein

I really recommend walking up to the castle despite any griping you may or may not hear from your children. Honestly, the walk was not as strenuous as my 13 year old would lead you to believe. But do make sure you pack snacks and water bottles to keep any griping kids moving. And let them explore! We found gorgeous flowers to admire, hills to climb, and obstacles to jump over. There are also waterfalls and stunning views of the Bavarian Alps on the path up to the castle.

Marienbrücke at Neuschwanstein

Only timed, guided tours are allowed at Neuschwanstein and your ticket will tell you what time your tour begins. Make sure to get to the castle in time for your tour. The tickets are non-refundable if you’re late! The tour lasts about 30 minutes, but you can spend a bit longer walking through the kitchens and admiring the view from the back balcony. We were in the castle for over an hour.

The Marienbrucke (Mary’s Bridge)

Food at Schloßrestaurant Neuschwanstein

Another thing you must do while you’re up at Neuschwanstein, is head on over to the Marienbrucke! It’s a great spot for pictures of the castle. While I did not like walking across this bridge because it’s REALLY HIGH, my kids thought it was awesome. I will admit to walking on it only for the pictures. 

Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein

On our way down from Neuschwanstein, we stopped in at the Schlossrestaurant Neuschwanstein for a bite to eat and a beer. When in Germany, right? Must drink all the beers. The kids enjoyed spaghetti bolognese and brats & pommes and I had a lovely salad plate. We enjoyed resting in the sun on the outdoor patio at this restaurant.

Pro Tip: Most German restaurants do not serve tap water. You can buy either sparking mineral water or still water, but they likely won’t give you tap water (Wasser vom Hahn) at all. Also, condiments like ketchup usually cost. And there’s no such thing as free refills on the soda. These are things we made sure to communicate to our US children who are used to guzzling both ketchup and soda (on the rare occasions they get soda). Because, well we’re cheap and didn’t want the added cost.

Schloss Hohenschwangau

Hohenschwangau Castle

Unlike Neuschwanstein which is owned by the Bavarian State, Hohenshwangau is a private castle still owned by the Wittelsbach royal family. It’s less crowded and doesn’t require the strenuous hike up the mountain. We didn’t have time to visit this castle on our family trip, unfortunately, but I have toured it before and think it’s worth a visit. You’ll also need to buy tickets for a timed, guided tour at the Ticket Center Hohenschwangau on the day of your visit.

Museum of Bavarian Kings

Museum of Bavarian Kings

Another interesting place to visit on the banks of the Alpsee is the Museum of Bavarian Kings. This museum chronicles the history of the royal Wittelsbach family and has an exhibit dedicated to Ludwig II. It might not be that interesting of a stop if you have small kids, but my older children did actually enjoy listening to the audio descriptions of the royals. They were interested to hear about connections to the French royals at Versailles and also the Heidelberg Castle. There are interactive exhibits for children, but only in German. Again, while I thought this was a really interesting museum, I wouldn’t recommend it if your kids are very young.

town of Fussen Germany

Don’t Miss the Town of Füssen, Germany

Finally, if you have time, I highly recommend staying in Füssen for a couple of days. There are more than enough fun things to keep your family busy in this city, the Romantic Soul of Bavaria. From boat trips on the Forggensee to a charming downtown pedestrian area, you will be glad to spend a few days Füssen! {more info on Füssen coming soon!}

Thanks again to the Füssen Tourism & Marketing Department for helping with this post. If you go to Füssen, definitely stop in their office and chat with them about your stay.

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Why you should absolutely visit Heidelberg

What you need to know about driving in Germany

Have you visited Neuschwanstein with your kids? I’d love to hear about your trip!

What you need to know about visiting Neuschwanstein with Kids!

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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  1. We stopped in Fussen for a few hours before we went to Garmisch a few years ago. I’ve always been obsessed with King Ludwig II and didn’t realize, until we were there, that there was a whole museum dedicated to him. We didn’t have enough to do anything except eat lunch, walk around, and take a ton of pictures – but now i’m wanting to go back really bad.