I took a third trip to Neuschwanstein in November 2004.
Really, of all the trips I made to Neuschwanstein,
Hohenschwangau, and the Bavarian Alps, the weather on this
particular day was simply perfect for hiking and sightseeing.
We drove into town and parked in Parking Lot D in the
center of town. We could see
Schloss Neuschwanstein perched up on the hill above the
parking lot. We weren't in
the mood to take any castle tours, so we didn't even bother stopping
by the ticket center. We slipped on our hiking
shoes and did the quick hike up to Hohenschwangau
via the trail that takes you
by the Alpsee.
The skies were clear, the temperature was
nice and cool, but not cold, and the leaves were in full color.
It was beautiful.
When we arrived in the Hohenschwangau courtyard, we spent
several minutes relaxing by the swan fountain and taking pictures of
Neuschwanstein, which we could see on the facing hillside. We
then took the stairs on the east side of the
castle down the hillside straight into the middle of town. I
had never taken this route, and it was nicely shaded and pleasantly
devoid of any crowd.
We then caught the mini bus from the Hotel
List on the east side of the village up to
the Jugend bus stop on a steep hill above Neuschwanstein. We
hiked down to the castle and took pictures in the castle courtyard
before heading back up the steep hill to the Marienbrücke bridge.
This bridge is a real treat for those who make the short 10 minute
hike up the steep hill above the castle. I had of course seen
the bridge on my previous trips, but I had never made it to the
steel and wood structure behind the castle.
The bridge spans a deep gorge and gives visitors a spectacular view
of the castle. We continued across the bridge and hiked the
barely visible trail up the next hillside.
Now this hill is the true destination for those seeking beautiful
panoramas, a little bit of quiet, and great pictures of
Neuschwanstein. If you climb to the top of this hill, you will
actually be above the castle taking pictures down on its south side.
I had seen pictures of the south side of the castle before, and I
had always assumed that the photographer (because of the angle
looking down on the castle) was in a helicopter. I was wrong.
Climbing this hillside behind the castle will let you take amazing
pictures of Neuschwanstein and of the surrounding countryside.
WARNING: This hike behind the castle is of medium intensity and is
not suitable for the elderly or small children. Much of the
terrain is steep and some scrambling is involved.
Overall, this was a
fantastic trip. The cool weather was perfect for hiking, the
clear blue skies served as the perfect backdrop for the beautiful
alpine scenery, and the colorful leaves added ample color to the
already breathtaking view.