Guide books recommend taking a guided tour from Munich to the castle unless you are feeling adventurous. Tours are available via bus and train. Our late start elimitated the possibility of the tour option, so we took the adventurous route.
Taking the train to Fussen was easy and scenic. When we arrived at the train station, we picked up a schedule for the return trip. If you decide to go on the train unescorted (not part of a tour group) definitely do this. Especially if you arrive late in the day. The train station was closed before dark, and we ended up helping all the other adventure travellers figure out how to get back to Munich. One couple knew how to print a schedule from the automated Fahrkarten machine, and that, combined with our schedule, helped about 10 people figure out how to get back to Munich that night - by chaning trains twice. The train from Munich TO Fussen had been direct : )
And one more tip - get the Bayern ticket. It's only 30 Euro and covers up to 5 people, roundtrip!
Deutschebahn has a happy weekend ticket for 30 euros that will allow a group of 5 to travel on IRE, RE, RB, and S-bahn trains unlimitedly from noon to 3am Saturdays and Sundays. It is now much more expensive than I remember but its an idea to consider if you are more than a couple traveling on the weekends.
Thanks a lot Gary... for your reply. I'll be reaching Hohenschwangau at least an hours and half before the tour in this coming mid. April. I expect I'll have enough time walk up to the castle, taking time to soak up the surrounding before the tour starts. I may have to rush only after the tour ends. I appreciate your suggestion for taking the mini bus on the way down. -Utpal
The drive from Munich is around 90 minutes and almost as enjoyable as Fussen itself. The mountain views and flat, picturesque landscapes make the journey very pleasant. The road approaching Fussen is called (roughly translated) 'Romantic Road' and the sight of the castles overlooking the road as you approach is very memorable.
We normally drive down from the Hook, 9 hours but you can also fly to Munich/Innsbruck and hire a car. Another means of getting there is to take a train to Fussen. The station seems regularly serviced.
Car hire is handy for transport while there but the bus services, including ski buses and the train from the middle of town run with the usual German efficiency.
To visit Neuschwanstein, you do not need to go to Munich and take a tour from there, nor do you need to rent a car. We like the smaller towns rather than the big cities, so we chose to use Fussen as our base to visit the castle.
Fussen is a small town and at the end of the train line. The town itself is small enough to explore on foot and we saw it all in 1 day. The train station is in downtown. so most every hotel is within walking distance.
To get to the castles, there is a public bus that leaves from across the street from the train station. A return ticket cost 3.40 euros per person. There's also a 3km walking trail off the main road, but it was raining. The bus drops you off at the tourist booth in Hohenschwangau, which is just down the street from where you buy tickets to the castles.
We never rent cars in Europe, public transportation is easy and reliable. You can get pretty much anywhere and the journey is so relaxing!
The castle is located on the top of the mountain. And from the lowland to the castle, you can by bus or by carriage or on foot(which i think is more interesting , but unfortunately we did not have enough time to do so )
I also wanted to try carriage... but it was sooo.. cold .. so I gave it up and finally took the shuttle bus ..
Our guide bought us the round trip ticket ( I mean shuttle bus). But I was lost finally . haha :)) I could not find the bus station after visiting the castle, so i went back on foot... that was really amazing ... and actually I did not feel tired , no..not at all. And when I was returned to the lowland, our guide and other tourists were still at the bus station and waiting for the shuttle bus..
So I think if you are tired, you may go up the mountain and castle by bus or by carriage and return on foot , I could not remember the time I took , maybe 20mins or 30mins. But you will get the beautiful views accompanied with birds ,trees ,sunshine , fresh air as well ..:)
From Munich Haustbahnhof, there is a train going to Fussen. Travel time is around 2 hours and, along the way, you will be mesmerized by the Bavarian countryside. And, even if you get absorbed with the views, you will never miss Fussen, it is the end of the train line.
From Munchen, You can go Fussen directly every two hours. The train fare is expensive on working day. But, on weekend, you need only 15 euro on round trip to Fussen. If two adults, only 22 euro needed on round trip!!