Where are the best views of Neuschwanstein Castle?
I’m not a huge Disney fan, but I’ve always dreamed of visiting Neuschwanstein Castle – a fairytale fortress in the heart of the Bavarian Alps. Not only is the castle one of the most objectively beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen, it’s also nestled amongst rolling mountains and trees that make it look even more picturesque. In May 2023, I finally made the trip there, and it was every bit as magical as I’d hoped for.
Lots of people visit Neuschwanstein Castle as a day trip from Munich, but I wanted some time to enjoy the views away from the crowds, so I booked a hotel in Schwangau, where you could walk to the castle within 30-40 minutes. I wasn’t expecting there to be hiking trails leading to the castle right behind the hotel, though, with fields full of wildflowers as far as the eye could see.
I felt completely safe the whole time I was visiting the area – even though there were times when I was out in the wilderness with only a few cows for company – so I was shocked to read about the horrific attack on two young women who, like me, went in search of the best views of Neuschwanstein Castle. By all accounts, this was an isolated incident, and the perpetrator was an American tourist, but I’d encourage everyone to stick to established routes and hiking trails, even though I was guilty of wandering off the beaten track a few times myself.
Where are the best front-facing views of Neuschwanstein Castle?
It’s incredibly hard to find a front-facing view of Neuschwanstein Castle in all of its glory (i.e. one where you can see the whole castle with mountains and lakes in the background). I quickly realised that the pictures you see online were most likely taken by a drone, or by people who were intrepid enough to climb one of the mountains opposite the castle.
I also felt like the locals were (in some cases literally) gate-keeping the best views. Every time I found a path that appeared to lead to an amazing view, there was some kind of obstacle in the way, and I didn’t want to crawl under barbed wire, straddle an electric fence, or get arrested for trespassing.
Still, I was more than happy with the views I did manage to see and, with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of my favourite, accessible views of Neuschwanstein Castle, and where I found them.
For the best views of Neuschwanstein from a distance, visit the hiking trails running directly off a road called Schloßstraße in Schwangau
I had these well-paved trails completely to myself in the early morning and late evening – there weren’t even any locals about. If you don’t mind hiking in a relatively remote area (although it isn’t too far away from civilisation), it’s an ideal opportunity to snap some pictures without any crowds – especially if you have a telephoto lens on your phone/camera so you can zoom in a bit more than I was able to.
Just make sure you wear some waterproof hiking boots and long trousers because chances are, you’ll be walking on wet grass, and there are quite a few leeches around.
As an added bonus, Schloßstraße runs directly parallel to Colomanstraße, where you can take a quick detour to visit the Church of St Coloman.
For the best up-close views of Neuschwanstein Castle, visit the viewing platform at the castle itself
I’m stating the obvious here, but walking up to the castle gives you some of the best, unobstructed views. It’s a steep, uphill walk of about 30-40 minutes, so you might want to take the shuttle bus from the car park at the bottom of the hill if you’re not feeling up to it (there were moments where I wished I had, although I did notice that even the bus stopped short of the castle and there was still some uphill hiking involved). If you really want to live the Disney dream, you can even hire a horse and carriage to take you most of the way, although those poor horses looked like they were putting in a hard day’s work, and I didn’t want to add to their misery.
It’s all worth it when you round the corner and see Neuschwanstein Castle up close for the first time, though – although it’s so imposing when you’re standing right in front of it, you’ll have to settle for photographing it from lots of different angles, because it’s difficult to fit it all into one picture.
I loved this shot I took from the viewing platform at the side of the castle. I went back twice – once on a sunny day, and once on a rainy day, and you can see how it changed the mood.
For the iconic view of Neuschwanstein Castle, visit Queen Mary’s Bridge (Marienbrucke)
Marienbrucke is the viewpoint that everyone flocks to and it’s easy to see why. It’s the perfect location to get an unobstructed side-view of Neuschwanstein Castle and take in the beauty of the surrounding area. I’ve heard horror stories about how crowded it gets during the height of summer, but in early May at 9am, there was plenty of room for everyone to linger as long as they wanted to – I even had the bridge to myself at one point, although admittedly not for long.
The path that leads from Neuschwanstein to the Marienbrucke bridge is signposted and easy to follow. Most people will be heading in the same direction so, if in doubt, just follow the crowd. Along the way, if you glance back towards Neuschwanstein, you’ll see some stunning glimpses of the castle’s turrets through the trees. This panoramic view of nearby Hohenschwangau Castle is a real treat, too:
For the best aerial and overall views of Neuschwanstein Castle, visit the Tegelberg cable car and surrounding trails
My favourite views of Neuschwanstein Castle were from the Telgelberg cable car and the surrounding area. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming when I boarded the Tegelbergbahn, which whisks you high into the mountains and gives you a stunning view of Neuschwanstein Castle on the way up and down. If you’re staying in Fussen or Schwangau, bus number 78 will take you directly to the cable car station, but I was able to walk there in about 40 minutes from where I was staying. Just make sure you stand on the right-hand side of the cable car as you board it to get the best views. Even without a telephoto lens, I managed to snap this picture on the way up:
It’s also worth noting, although you can’t see Neuschwanstein from the top of the cable car station, the views in the immediate vicinity are breathtaking. I would have loved to go exploring, but the surrounding trails were still covered in thick snow and ice. I still felt like I got my money’s worth with these views, though:
You’ll also be able to watch paragliders soaring above you and landing on the field next to the cable car station.
Tegelberg offers some of the loveliest walks I’ve ever been on, all of which have fantastic views of Neuschwanstein Castle away from the crowds (in fact, I barely saw anyone at all!) You can either head to the right/around the back of the cable car station and down the trail that starts from there, or you can take the trail before you reach the main car park, where you’ll be walking next to a crystal-clear, picture-perfect stream. I discovered this trail by chance, just by following the sound of water. Whichever route you opt for (I did both on different days, but I suspect they’d eventually meet in the middle), all you can hear are birds singing, cowbells ringing in the distance, and the gentle rush of water. If I was the type of person to practice mindfulness, this would be the ideal place to do it.
So there you have it – my favourite views in and around Neuschwanstein Castle.