We bought a combo ticket for both Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle. We booked it online so that we dont have to stand in long lines and also theres a mad rush in Summer. One can see the inside of the castles only with guided tours and chances are that we might not get a time we want if we buy it directly from there. So in spite of the online booking fee, its worth it. (Though kids go free, there was a booking fee for them too. Go figure!) We drove from Zurich to Fussen which is around 3 hours and stayed there overnight. The next morning we drove to Schwangau which is 10 minutes drive and parked near the ticket office. From there, its a 10 to 15 minutes walk to the Hogenschwangau castle. Theres also a horse drawn carriage which takes you to the castle. But we used it for the Neuschwanstein Castle since its a 40 minutes uphill walk and also time was tight between the two castle tours. Its a very good idea to take the stroller for young kids.
Hohenschwangau was King Ludwig's childhood home. He built the Neuschwanstein Castle later but never completed it since he died under mysterious circumstances.(He drowned in the lake at the age of 41 along with his... wait-for-it... psychiatrist!) After the tour of the first castle, we walked back and took a carriage to go to castle no. 2. There was a long line but we did nt have to wait long since there were many carriages. The girls thoroughly enjoyed the royal ride! Neuschwanstein Castle is just breathtakingly beautiful. And what a location! After the tour, we walked to the Marienbrucke (a bridge) which is around 30 minutes walk from the castle for the fantastic view. It was totally worth hiking with the kids. Then we walked back to a restaurant near the castle and had a late lunch. (A platter of asparagus in hollandaise sauce, anyone?) Fussen is also a beautiful town and the town centre with the cobbled roads is very charming with shops and restaurants lining the street. The next day we drove to Forggensee, a beautiful lake, and did a one hour boat cruise. The views were beautiful. A perfect anniversary weekend getaway.