Hiking from Neuschwanstein Castle to Austria and back

(Last Updated On: 21. October 2018)

In my article about hiking to Neuschwanstein Castle and avoid the crowds I showed you an alternative way to visit this stunning place. But as Neuschwanstein Castle is located in an area with a lot of possibilities for different kinds of activities, I’d like to show you some more things to do there, folks. For example, as Austria is a stone’s throw away from Neuschwanstein Castle, you could hike from that place to Austria and back on the same day. The only requirement is that you need to be an advanced hiker. What you will get, is an experience the most travellers and visitors of Neuschwanstein Castle won’t gain, believe me. So read on, folks and let yourself be inspired.

Hiking trail data

Lets take a closer look onto the trail data, folks. First of all, take a look onto the map.

Type: mountain hike, circular trail
Length: about 21 km (appr. 13 miles).
Level of difficulty: advanced to difficult. At least, a good endurance is strongly recommended
Duration: 7 to 8 hours, depending on your pace
Requirements: free from giddiness, hiking boots. If you have walking sticks, you should take’em with you, for the descent could be exhausting for your legs
Best time: Mai to October (before the rainy time, because it makes the ground pretty slippery and too dangerous for a hike on this trail)

Parking and starting point of the hike

You might want to park at the parking lots close to the visitors centre, because there the hike would begin. But there is a catch, for the allowed parking duration there is max. 6 hours. Not enough for this hiking trail! Thus, I recommend you to park farther away. One of the possibilities is to park about 1 km far away at the parking space of the cableway station I already mentioned in my article about hiking to Neuschwanstein Castle.

The parking fee there would cost you 4,- EUR for the whole day. In this case, you would need to add about 30 minutes to your total hiking time. Please not: the parking machine at parking place accepts only coins.

The other possibility is to look for an indentation not far away from the visitors centre (Parkstrasse, Colonmanstrasse)

The third possibility is to book a hotel room in the village Schwangau* (or better in the village Alterschrofen* which is closer to Neuschwanstein Castle) and walk from the village. In this case, your hiking time would of course increase depending on your distance from the hotel / B&B to the actual starting point.

The trail from Neuschwanstein to Autstria itself

1. The Ascent

The actual ascent begins at the visitors centre and will lead you first directly to the Neuschwanstein Castle. It will take about 20 to 30 minutes. Here you would get a chance to walk to the Mary’s bridge and make stunning pictures, before you continue your hike. But in this case you need to expect a lot of tourists standing on the bridge and making photos. In my Germany-Gallery you will finde a couple of pics I made from Neuschwanstein Castle standing on Mary’s bridge.

After you made some photos on Mary’s bridge, you need to go back the same way and at the end of the path from the bridge you need to look to the left side and look out for yellow signs with the inscription Säuling [zɔʏlɪŋ].

From here, your actual and unique experience will finally begin. For the 99% of all visitors of Neuschwanstein Castle don’t hike and actually only interested in visiting of the castle and taking some selfies on the Mary’s bridge. Thus, you will get a real edge doing this hike, folks.

For the next 30 to 40 minutes you will walk slightly uphill on a gravel road . After that you will leave this road and follow a narrow path which leads into the forest as soon as you see the next yellow sign towards Säuling.


The ascent will become steeper and this would be your first small feat of strength. At a certain point you will face a forest cabin at a fork. Here you can have a break and after that you need to take the left fork. Again, follow the inscription on the yellow sign close at the cabin “Säuling”. Don’t take the right fork! Otherwise you would walk into the wrong direction. From that point you will hike further and further upwards and reach the tree line.

The first clamber will start with an iron ladder to get over a difficult accessible place.

From that point you will hike for a while through a steep and rocky terrain. To stay on the “path”, I recommend you to look out for the red marks you will find on the rocks:

The further you walk the more you’ll be rewarded by a bombastic view over the alps, and if the weather conditons allow it, you will see the Neuschwanstein Castle from the birds view. As I was hiking this trail, it was a pretty cloudy day, so it was a bit of luck to see Neuschwanstein from time to time through a small window in the clouds.

The last exertion you will have when you reach a meadow, before the last 150 m (appr. 500 ft) of the ascent, which ends at the peak of the mountain called Säuling [zɔʏlɪŋ]. Once there, you will see the Neuschwanstein Castle and Germany on the one side. On the other side you will already face the Austrian side. At this time, you will be already walked about 3,5 to 4 hours.

2. The descent

First, walk from the peak of “Säuling” the same way back to the meadow and then follow the signs with the inscription “Säulinghaus”.

The Säulinghaus is a mountain pasture which you would reach after about 40 minutes of a downwards clamber. At the Säulinghaus, you can have the next break; you can have there some beverages and eat some typical Austrian / German meals.

After the well-earned break, you will leave the Säulinghaus, turn to the left and follow the signs “Hohenschwangau”.

Hike along the forest path towards west. I recommend you again to look out for the red marks you will find in regular intervals on the rocks.

After about 30 minutes, when you are in the forest, also look for a border sign (take a look on the picture) on the right side and follow the path. Actually, it’s just a white-blue post and you cannot miss it. But not far away at the place with the border sign, the path is a bit irritating and leads you to a dead end.

If you see the sign on the pic below, you need to look back and in a distance of about 30 m (appr. 100 ft) you will face the border sign as you see on the picture above.

From that point just follow the path slightly downward and after about 1 hour you will come back to the forest cabin you met earlier. You will reach it from the right side of the fork I mentioned earlier. That’s why it’s important to take the left fork during the ascent, folks. From that point there are another 45 minutes to Mary’s Bridge and Neuschwanstein Castle.

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