In the summer of 2019, I found myself back in Germany which is an amazing country which is a mixture of history and modernism; nature and big cities; it’s also a city that holds some of the most bucket list items. These was my 3rd time to Germany but my first time in Munich so I was excited to see what a smaller city was all about.
Our main reason for visiting Munich was to visit to Neuschwanstein Castle which in case you’re wondering was the castle that inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella; I was excited because this castle has been on my list for quite some time an added plus was that we got to drive through the Black Forest Mountain range in Germany. I have seen many mountain ranges throughout the US and Europe, and this is by far one of my favorites. There’s just a simplicity to all of the towns that you pass through in the black forest and such greenery that you don’t see anywhere else. The black forest is also where the famous cuckoo clocks come from.
Since I was with a small group of clients, we did a prearranged tour to Neuschwanstein Castle, in my opinion the tour option we took wasn’t worth it. I’m all about transparency here and trying to be as honest as possible. There is thing I would have done differently, and I can’t worry about the past however, I can help with someone not making the same mistakes in the future. Our first mistake was that we went to visit such a popular tourist attraction in July, which is the middle of the summer, which is the most popular travel season in Europe. It’s crowded everywhere around this time so just imagine the most popular tourist attraction in the city.
Visiting the castle isn’t as easy as one would think, and this is why I am also opposed of the pre-arranged tour. The tour in a 1-day trip from Munich which you would think is enough, however the castle is roughly 2 hours from Munich by bus. You arrive in Munich roughly around noon, the tour then gives you 3 hours to tour the area get up to the castle and then make your way back down again. There are only 2 ways up to the castle, shuttle bus or horse drawn carriage; then you have to hike the rest of the way for about 30 minutes and then tour the castle in the inside and throughout this time we also had to eat lunch because we were heading straight back to Munich. The tour tickets do not include the transfer on the way up to the castle or the tickets to enter the castle. If we would have had more time in the area, we all would have taken our time to tour the castle. But in all honesty who wants to do all of that in a rush.
Now in their defense, the shuttle buses in the middle of the summer only took about a 30 minute wait before you were on your bus, and walking down a hill isn’t as bad as walking up, in case you didn’t want to wait for the shuttle bus at the top. Now the horse drawn carriage only takes up to 8 people at a time so you can imagine the wait for that was at least 1-1.5 hours. After waiting for about 45 minutes we decided to enjoy the little town at the foot of the mountain, have a leisurely lunch and enjoy some shopping.
My only complaint was that our “free time” to tour the castle was cut too short, so it wasn’t enjoyable. However, the tour was worth it for the drive through the Black forest alone. I enjoyed that ride tremendously and maybe if I ever go back, I’d do it on my own so I can dictate my own time at the castle. That is usually my issue with pre-arranged tours, is that you can’t be as independent as you’d like and do your own thing. You’re constantly on someone else’s watch and having to be considerate for other people instead of just enjoying your time there.