Day 4 of our 9 day trip to Munich in the fall
Currently on the train towards Fussen this morning so trying to get things set up. I’ll try to finish it on our way back!
From Munich to Füssen
This morning was a bit of a challenge to wake up considering I had a massive headache before I slept. Luckily I was okay waking up but still very tired.
We agreed to meet in the lobby at 9AM. For breakfast we just picked up what we could find in the train station. Desperate for veggies we found this soup, salad and sandwich place and bought a pita, wrap and side salad for lunch.
The Bayern tickets were super easy to get on the machines and costed us a total of 38+30 EUR for all 8 of us.
The first train we could take was 9:51AM out to Füssen because the Bayern ticket only allows you to take trains after 9AM on weekdays.
We arrived in Füssen at around noon and once off the train we hurried to the bus to take us up. I think it was bus 78? The busses were waiting right around the back side of the station.
Once we got off I went up to the ticket office to pick up our tickets. At this time of the year the normal line wasn’t that long but I was still glad we did our reservations online beforehand so that we would be able to guarantee the tour slot times we wanted.
After that we had quite a bit of extra time so we just walked around the base area a bit for souvenir shops.
Ed and Emily decided to take the horse carriage up to Hohenschwangau for 4 EUR while we took a short 15 minute route up to the top. The horse carriage guy asks for your reservation time so he actually stalled until the very end to see if he could grab more tourists. In the end though it was just those two coming up. While waiting for them we took some photos along the way and around the castle. We also had time to eat our lunches that we bought in the morning.
They have a pretty sophisticated system for ticketing as it is completely unmanned. When the time comes, your tour number shows up and you just scan your own ticket and it lets you in. Our tour slot was the 1:55PM one. Once you’re in the waiting zone the tour guide eventually shows up and the tour begins. It was pretty interesting to learn about this castle which I don’t think I had done my previous trip here. The rooms were quite small but there was a lot of good back story and history to everything. She was able to point out the stories behind the wall paintings, hidden doors and the eccentric designs adds by König von Ludwig II after his father died. The tour took only around 35 minutes so it goes by really quickly.
After Hohenschwangau we walked our way down and were treated with beautiful fall colors along the pathway and a great view of Lake Alpsee. We took a lot of funny portrait shots along the way. The immense fog really gave it a unique character that really surprised me.
From there we found our shuttle bus stop to take us up to Neuschwanstein. For 1.20 EUR each we got a ride all the way up which would have take 40 minutes of walking uphill. We wanted round trip tickets but after he looked at our 4:10PM time slot he said we wouldn’t make the last 4:45PM bus.
The unfortunate part of today was really the weather. Usually you can see the castle from the base and more importantly the Mary’s Bridge but when we got there all we saw was a wall of mist and cloud. Fail. We then walked around to the castle only to find out its doing some major renovations to the castle exterior. What was exposed could be seen up close but you really didn’t get a great wide angle view of everything. All you got was one tower or a part of the wall. All the photos I took here were crap so don’t expect much.
Timing wise everything was perfect because after taking some photos at the front gate, it was close to 4:05PM. Again there was the automated system and once 4:10 came around we scanned ourselves in. The crappy part was that a huge Korean tour group was with us and I was worried they’d be annoying but that turned out okay.
The tour inside was very interesting despite being my second time. Everything is so intricately designed and almost fantasy-like. He really wanted this to be a castle true to the medieval times and based on many of the old tales. He built in tons of crazy things like his bedroom file with Tristan and Isolde references, the first phone in Bavaria, real running water, a room made to look like a cave and this crazy chapel/church room with Byzantine styling. This king literally left nothing back and went all out. Crazy. Truly a wonder to see. After the tour you understand how much money this must’ve cost the kingdom. No wonder he was forced to relinquish the throne. Sad thing is he only lived in this incomplete castle for only half a year before he died.
We walked back down after and took a shortcut to Parking Lot 3 so it was only around 20 minutes. We waited for the local bus that took us back to the Füssen train station. There was a bit of extra time to kill before the 6:06PM train so I went to the post office machine to buy some stamps, mailed one Neuschwanstein postcard and went to Netto to make a quick 5 minute grocery run before rushing back just in time for the train.
The train bright us back to Munich by about 8:00PM. It was dark by 6:30PM. I started off the ride blogging up until this point and then once I finished, I quickly passed out. The attendant that checked our tickets must’ve turned up the heat or something because it was so nice and toasty- perfect for a nap.
Once back at the main train station we subwayed back to Marienplatz and walked to our dinner restaurant called Haxnbauer. This place was known for its pork knuckles so I thought it’d be good to try since it is more of a Munich thing. Good thing we had reservations at this place because it was pretty packed when we showed up at 8:30PM. We ended up ordering two pork knuckles and one veal knuckle for all 8 of us. Oh my god even though it seemed reasonable at first it was way too much meat towards the end. Thanks to Jeff we were able to finish a lot more but man it’s just so heavy. I don’t know how these Germans survive on this diet. Do they even poo at all? The server Robert said that a “strong German” table can typically handle 3 pork and 2 veal knuckles. Insane! We came out fully bloated with pork knuckles and beer. Anyways the meat is actually quite tasty. My first thought after tasting the veal first was just how tasty the meat was throughout. The flavour just seeped all the way though. The veal was also the more tender one of the two.
After dinner we took the subway back to Hauptbahnhof. Emily and Mari got some tea at McDonalds as everything else around Munich seemed to be closed. I got a McSundae as they called it for a Euro.
At the main platform area there was a Starbucks still open to our surprise so I bought a tea there so that we could use the wifi inside. The signal was terrible and kept booting me off but I was able to check a few things and upload blogs Day 2 and 3.
Tips & Tricks
- Bayern Ticket- This ticket is probably the best bang for buck because it gives you unlimited rides on the Bahn system anywhere in Bavaria and even the busses say in Füssen. If you’re travelling with a big group they have tickets up to 5 people. For a group of 8 we simply bought a package ticket for 5 and then 3 for a total of 68 EUR. Individual round trip tickets would be costed 29.99 euros each so this was clearly a steal. The only stipulation is that on weekdays you can only use it on trains after 9AM and in general you can only take the local train options and not the faster ICE trains (search on Bahn.com but click local transportation check box). Super money saver and not sure why you’d travel in Bavaria on train without it.
- Ticket reservations for Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein – The website is TBD. Simple but make your reservations online beforehand so you get to space out the two castle tots the way you want to to maximize the day like we did. During high season this can also save you a lot of time. I can see you saving more than half the time if you do reservations instead of the normal line. No brainer.
- For people with doubts it’s definitely possible to do a day trip from Munch to Füssen if all you want to see are the two castles. Wasn’t particularly rushed and we got to see everything we wanted to (I guess the fog did make us move through it all faster)
- Beer and “lemonade”- what an awesome discovery even for non beer drinkers. Delicious, sweet and light. Nice combination
- Forgot my address book for this trip. Dammit. Always bring the address book!
- Meet up at 9AM
- Breakfast at the train station
- 9:51-11:45AM train to Füssen
- Bus into Füssen
- Pick up reservation tickets
- Walk around and take pictures
- 1:55PM tour of Hohenschwangau
- 4:10PM tour of Neuschwanstein
- 5:40PM bus from base of the castles bak to Füssen train station
- 6:06 train back to Munich
- Dinner at Haxnbauer for pork and veal knuckles
- Wifi hunting
- Back to Maratim Munich Hotel for the evening
Check out the Next Day
To read about my adventures in back in Munich and our sombre visit to Dachau Concentration Camp, check out Day 5 – Munich – Dachau.