01 of 08
Once you spot the castle from this pedestrian bridge, you will recognize this iconic view. This is Schloss Neuschwanstein at its most impressive.
Marienbrucke (or Mary’s Bridge) is suspended over Pöllatschlucht (Pollät gorge) and looks back at the castle and far-off lakes of Forggensee and Bannwaldsee. When the mist rolls in, it appears as if the castle sits on a cloud. Behind you, looking at the castle, an impressive waterfall rains down below your feet. The original bridge was constructed in 1845 by King Maximilian II and has been renovated many times throughout the years.
The bridge is reachable by an easy uphill path which takes about 15 minutes from the castle or 25 to 30 minutes to reach from Hohenschwangau. If you choose to walk, know that it is not wheelchair- or stroller-friendly, and proper footwear is necessary. Or visitors can take a shuttle up for about 2 euros per person.
As this is the undoubtedly one of the best places to photograph Neuschwanstein Castle, the down side is that it can be quite crowded. You might need to patiently wait your turn for the best spot or do some careful editing to remove unwanted elbows. To avoid crowds, the shoulder season of May, June, September, and October are best; or go early or late to avoid the midday crowds. But the castle is magical in all types of weather from stunning fall leaves to snow-capped peaks to gleaming sunshine.
Also beware that this is a fairly wobbly bridge, and visitors afraid of heights might find the trip not worth the picture.
Another note of caution is that the path and bridge are often closed in winter months because of dangerous icy conditions. Other issues, like rock slides, also may close the bridge. Consult the website for up-to-date conditions.
Location: Wanderweg Zur Bleckenau, Schwangau, 87645
02 of 08
Allgäu Hiking Trails
Most visitors make it to Marienbrück, take their picture, and walk back down. However, they're missing the opportunity to find unique angles of this legendary castle on the paths surrounding it.
The Allgäu is a destination in itself and provides everything from leisurely walks to challenging mountain climbs. Simply cross the bridge and poke through a little well-worn underbrush for a slightly different view of the castle. Continue on 120 kilometers of hiking trails that extend in both directions and are well-marked, leading all over the surrounding hills to nearby towns and destinations.
For example, the Königliche Waldwanderung (Royal Forest Walk) traverses three castles (including Neuschwanstein), three museums, and even several waterfalls.
Be aware that the hiking paths are often off-limits due to weather whenever the bridge is closed. They are also not as well-monitored so traverse the paths at your own risk.
Location: Throughout the Allgäu
03 of 08
While photos aren't allowed within the castle, it is really something to see the castle up close.
Walk between the matching gate houses with Bavarian coat of arms and examine the many details dreamed up by stage designer Christian Jank and King Ludwig himself. It is covered in fanciful towers, ornamental turrets, ornate gables, and romantic balconies. Sculptures and paintings brighten the facade, and its towers topping out at 213 feet appear downright quaint when standing right next to it. And if you do chose to enter the castle, there are incredible views of the surrounding countryside from every room.
One of the tragedies of Neuschwanstein is that the king never got to see the the castle finished. It was opened to the public in 1886, just seven weeks after the king's mysterious death.
Location: Neuschwansteinstraße 20, 87645 Schwangau
04 of 08
From the Valley
Most people spend their visit looking at the castle the whole time, but a stop in the lowlands allows you to admire the open fields and farmland at the base of the hills and truly respect the magnificence of the mountains. Neuschwanstein appears swaddled in Alpine greenery. From this perspective, you get the true scale of the mountains and the jewel of the castle.
Location: Valley below Neuschwanstein CastleContinue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
View from Hohenschwangau
Hohenschwangau is the village closest to the castle at the base of the mountains. This is a popular place to stay, as well as the nearby larger city of Füssen. From here, visitors get their first glimpses of the castle.
Peeking out of the treetops, Neuschwanstein is a promise of glamour but Schloss Hohenschwangau is also right there. Hohenschwangau Castle was King Ludwig II's childhood home. Most people walk right past it on their way to the fairy tale castle up the hill, but it is well worth a stop.
Its foundation dates back to fortress Schwangau from the 12th Century and it was miraculously undamaged during WWII. Unlike Neuschwanstein, this is a castle that was finished and lived in. Its rooms are elaborately decorated and it is much less crowded than Neuschwanstein.
Location: Alpseestraße 30, 87645 Schwangau
06 of 08
From the cable car Tegelbergbahn
A unique way to see the castle is in a cable car. The Tegelbergbahn soars through the sky at heights of up to 1,700 meters in altitude. The ride takes about 10 minutes and offers incredible views of both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles as well as the surrounding mountains.Want to share pictures to your instagram immediately? Utilize the free wifi in the cable cars.
If you would like to hike back down from the top, there are peekaboo views of the entire region. Note that trails may be closed in inclement conditions.
Location: Tegelbergstraße 33, 87645 Schwangau
07 of 08
Cruise from Forggensee
In summer a cruise runs on Forggensee, Bavaria's fifth largest lake. It provides picturesque views back at the mountain with peekaboo sightings of the castles.
Explore the sparkling lake every summer on a quick 55-minute jaunt around the southern end, or a full two-hour tour.
Location: Boats depart from Füssen Harbour (Weidachstraße 74, 87629 Füssen)
08 of 08
From the Air
For a truly one-of-a-kind look at the castle, take to the sky. Visitors can look down at the entire Allgäu region with a ride on a hot air balloon, or by helicopter, or even by parasailing
If you are traveling on a budget, the ride by helicopter is one way to beat the traffic. You can book a flight straight from Munich which lasts for about 90 minutes and shows you all the sights of the region.