A Complete Guide to Visiting Hohenschwangau Castle

Aerial view of Hohenschwangau Castle in Germany

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Adventure to Hohenschwangau Castle

Nestled amidst the captivating landscapes of Bavaria, Germany, Hohenschwangau Castle is a hidden gem that offers visitors a glimpse into the rich history and enchanting architecture of the region.
The Hohenschwangau Castle is located directly in Hohenschwangau, a small town famously known as the “Village of Royal Castles”. The castle welcomes 300,000 visitors annually although it’s not nearly as famous as the neighboring Neuschwanstein Castle, it is still well worth the visit. Let’s go on a journey to explore the magic of Hohenschwangau Castle and its surrounding area.

A Castle with a Royal Legacy

Hohenschwangau Castle, also known as Schloss Hohenschwangau(“The High District of the Swan”) , boasts a royal legacy that dates back to the 12th century. Originally constructed by the Knights of Schwangau (Swan District), it served as a fortress guarding the vital Alpine passes. However, many wars over the centuries left the castle in ruins.

In the 19th century, it gained prominence when King Maximilian II of Bavaria acquired the castle and began its restoration. His son, the famous King Ludwig II, spent his childhood here. Inside, more than 90 wall paintings represent the history of Schwangau, as well as various medieval German romances, such as the famous Knight of the Swan. This greatly influenced King Ludwig’s love for magnificent castles and would later inspire him to create Neuschwanstein Castle.

How do I get Tickets to See the Castle?

First, keep in mind that you must book a guided tour to see the interior of the castle. Naturally, you can view the castle from the outside at no cost. If you would like to tour the inside of the castle, I highly recommend that you purchase tickets as far in advance as possible. During peak season, online tickets sell out fast.

You can purchase tickets in the online shop. Once purchased, I would print the tickets (just in case). Although you are welcome to use your phone to scan the QR code at the entrance.

If you don’t want to purchase your tickets online, you can visit the ticket office. Each day there are a certain number of tickets available. Get there early so that you have a better chance of getting the time slots you would like for the tours. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you will get your preferred time slot and be prepared for the possibility that tickets may sell out for the day. The lines may also be very long, so allow extra time to wait in line.

Combination tickets are no longer offered to tour both Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau; you must book each castle separately. It is advisable to allocate at least 2.5 hours between each castle to account for the tour and your transportation or walk to the next castle.

The Castle Interior

Many people ask, do I really need to tour the inside of the castle? I would definitely say, yes! If you traveled this far, take the time to see the inside of the castle. And dare I say, that I enjoyed seeing the inside of Hohenschwangau Castle more than the infamous Neuschwanstein Castle!? The tour will take you through many parts of the castle, such as the banquet room (Hall of Heroes and Knights), the king’s quarters, the queen’s quarters, and the music room, plus several other areas of the castle.

I loved imagining what life was like in the castle for King Ludwig and his family as we toured each room. The tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and is available in both German and English, with audio guides provided in numerous other languages. Due to the length of the tour, it is generally not recommended for children under the age of 6. I thought the castle tour was fascinating and our family enjoyed it, but it was admittedly a bit long for my toddler. My husband and I tag-teamed entertaining him so we could both engage in the tour as much as possible while being considerate to the other visitors.

Also, don’t miss the cute gift shop on your way out, and a reconstruction of what the kitchen area looked like while the royal family lived in the castle. It gives a glimpse into what life was like as the servants prepared meals and kept the castle running for the royal family and their guests. Then stroll around the castle gardens before heading back down to the village.

Please note that strollers are not allowed inside the castle, but they can be parked at the castle courtyard. Additionally, as a security measure, photography and videography inside the castle are not permitted.

The Climb: Reaching the Castle

The castle sits at the top of a hill. There is no parking directly at the castle.

To reach the castle, you have two options:

  • Walk 20-30 minutes. We took the 20-minute direct route and there were a lot of stairs to climb. We did this and enjoyed it! Our 2-year-old was in a carrier and my 6-year-old walked it with no problem. Be sure to take a look at all the pretty views along the way. If you would like a more scenic route, you can walk around the lake, Alpsee to the castle. This route takes about 30 minutes. You can see the route on the map here.
  • Take a horse-drawn carriage. Pick-up is in front of the ticket office. You will need to pay the driver directly. The ride lasts about 10 minutes and you are dropped off right at the castle. The carriage does not run during winter months due to weather conditions. Check the castle’s website for updates.

It is important to note that you should allow time for waiting in line for the horse-drawn carriages, especially during peak season.

What Next?

So you toured, Hohenschwangau Castle. What next? You can also tour, King Ludwigs’ famous retreat, the adjacent Neuschwanstein Castle, or, The Museum of the Bavarian Kings. Purchase tickets for these attractions online or at the ticket center on-site. The museum also sells tickets directly at its museum counters.

After exploring the sights, make sure to kick back and relax by the nearby Alpsee lake. It’s a picture-perfect spot with the Bavarian mountains as a stunning backdrop, with the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castles towering above. You’ll find benches along the lake where you can simply unwind and soak in the breathtaking views.

The Alpsee also has a popular hiking trail with a length of about 5 km. The hike is family-friendly and takes about one and a half hours. I suggest using a carrier for little ones (the path is not stroller-friendly).

You can end your walk around the Alpsee with a refreshing dip in the Alpseebad (open from May to September), or rent a boat at the Alpsee boathouse

Additionally, there are several restaurants right in the village of Hohenschwangau for you to have lunch or dinner. The area is pretty compact, so a short walk around and you will find some restaurants and some food vendor kiosks.

Make It a Stay

We stayed nearby at an Airbnb in Füssen and it was in itself the most charming town, so why not make it more than a day trip? Stroll Füssen’s cobbled streets, enjoy some Bavarian cuisine and explore other nearby attractions like Neuschwanstein Castle or take a ride on the Tegelberg cable car.

Practical Tips for Your Adventure

  • Map: Here is a map showing the ticket office, parking lots, bus stops, etc.
  • Tickets: Book your tickets online and in advance to avoid long lines. (All children must have a ticket)
  • Admission: Check the castle website for the most current fees for admission
  • Footwear: Wear comfortable shoes! There is a lot of walking, especially if you are visiting both castles.
  • Dress: Dress appropriately for the weather. Wear layers for the cold weather, a waterproof jacket for rain and snow, and cool clothing for the summer months paired with sun protection and a water bottle.
  • Timing: Arrive early to enjoy the castle and surroundings at a leisurely pace with fewer crowds. I would also allow a minimum of 4-5 hours if you are touring both castles.
  • Parking: There is approximately a €10 daily fee for cars to park. There are 4 large parking lots so parking should not be an issue, especially if you arrive early.
  • Pets: Pets are not permitted in any of the castles, museums, or transportation on site.
  • Strollers: Strollers can be parked in the castle courtyard, but strollers are not allowed inside the castle during the tour. Bring a carrier, if needed.
  • Note: During the castle tour, there are no elevators. The Hohenschwangau tour has over 90 steps that may be challenging for some.

Wow, that’s a lot of information, but I assure you, the visit is absolutely worth it. Are you prepared to start organizing your enchanting trip to Hohenschwangau Castle? Happy planning, and may your upcoming journey be packed with unforgettable moments! 🏰

As always, I am eager to hear your thoughts or comments. If something sparks your interest or if you have any questions, please share them below. And if this piece resonated with you, please consider supporting my site through Buy Me a Coffee. Your support enables me to craft more stories to share with you all. 💕

Journeying Together, Kristie

Disclaimer: Please know that while I pour my heart and soul into providing you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, the world has its way of changing. The details and insights shared here were accurate at the time of penning them down. However, in time, some specifics might shift. Always double-check before making any plans. Safe travels and warm wishes.

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