Everything you need to know about visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter
So, you are planning to visit Germany between December and March. And now you are wondering about visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter. Is it worth it? How does it look like? Anything important you need to know?
Schloss Neuschwanstein is certainly one of the best day trips from Munich. But about when it snow? In this travel guide, I will show you exactly what visiting the famous fairy tale castle built by King Ludwig II. feels like in winter.
I wrote a separate article on how to get to Neuschwanstein Castle, so the focus in this article is solely on special things you need to know when visiting in winter.
If you are still looking for the best Neuschwanstein Castle tours, then either book this tour to Neuschwanstein castle (I tested it again recently and it’s still very well organized & good) or the luxury version of the same tour company (mainly much bigger seats, free snacks, and drinks).
Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article
Schloss Neuschwanstein in winter – what you need to know
First, let’s talk about the weather a bit. Neuschwanstein Castle is located right at the foot of a mountain in the middle of the German Alps. It’s a bit colder here than in the rest of the country and snow can occur between October and April, though usually winter is limited to January, February, and March. In some year’s we’ve had snow until April and in 2020 there were altogether only 2 days with snow so far. Winters have been getting much warmer in the past couple of years.
The castle that inspired Disney’s Sleeping beauty castle is also Bavaria’s most visited tourist attraction. Winter is the low season and typically speaking, you’ll only experience a tenth (and even less) of the crowds than in July or August. So visiting Neuschwanstein castle in winter really has some welcome positive sides. You won’t have it all by yourself, but you won’t have to fight to take a picture either.
In summer, the tickets to go inside frequently sell out early in the morning, and in winter, you usually don’t have this problem at all. December, when a lot of tourists come to visit Germany’s famous Christmas markets, things are considerably busier, but still, nothing compared to summer.
Now, if you take a closer look at a picture of the iconic castle, then you will soon notice it is located on a hill. You can either walk, take a shuttle bus or a horse carriage to get there. No matter what you decide for, you’ll have to walk the last 500 meters. Now, here’s the problem – in winter the road can be quite slippery, so maybe leave your flip flops at home and bring some proper winter shoes.
The regular shuttle buses, however, don’t operate in winter. If walking is a bit of a problem, you have to take the horse carriage (4,50€ up). Bring cash. Also, don’t forget to wear warm clothes. It can get very chilly in Bavaria in winter and the hike up is mostly in the shadows where it is usually a couple of degrees colder yet.
Other than that, the business continues as regular in winter. There are still daily tours to Neuschwanstein Castle from the central station (book this tour, I tested it personally and can really recommend it) and all the shops and hotels operate normally.
With one very important exception: The famous Marienbrücke (Bridge of our lady) is by far the best photo spot where all the pictures the classic panorama of the castle were taken. This bridge is closed in winter – at least as long as there is snow and ice because it is too dangerous. You check this website for daily information.
You should also know that the sun is playing a bit of Hide-and-Seek in December and January. It simply doesn’t reach that high and is frequently hidden behind the Tegelberg mountain. So, things will look a bit more gloomy. The only times when the sun hits the castle is actually early morning (around 10 am) and in the afternoon (after around 2:30 pm). In February the problem is less pronounced, which makes March the best month to experience the winter in Neuschwanstein Castle. Here is a list of the best photography spots in Neuschwanstein Castle and how to get there.
The earlier you are at the castle the better. Most tours arrive around noon, which is already less than ideal, but with a little bit of photoshop magic, you can make things happen (see picture above).
Now, admittedly I included some stunning pictures of a snow-dusted castle on this website. But I want to stress the fact that it doesn’t look like that every day in winter. In fact, there are maybe 3 days per winter where it looks like that – the rest it is either foggy, snowing, dull and grey or even raining.
I have the luxury to look at the weather forecast and time my visit just right. BUT if you are staying for a couple of days in Munich (here is a 3-day itinerary for Munich) you can at least try to time your visit for the day with the best weather.
So, Is it worth visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter?
Personally speaking, winter is my favorite time to visit the castle. No big crowds, it is easy to buy tickets, hotels are much cheaper, and there is the chance to see that magical moment when fresh snow reflects the sunshine. Of course, you can have bad luck, but Neuschwanstein Castle is so beautiful, it will even be amazing on the most dreary day in April. Besides, it will look the same inside no matter the weather.
I also love the train ride in winter. Those last couple of kilometers close before Füssen is nothing short of magical. Here is a post on how to get to Neuschwanstein Castle by train. Taking the train will be cheaper, while a tour will grant you the luxury of visiting Linderhof palace as well.