About Poellat Gorge Waterfall
The Poellat Gorge Waterfall (also Pollat Gorge Waterfall or Pöllatschlucht Wasserfall in German) should have been one of the most breathtaking waterfalls in all of Germany.
Indeed, it had the fortunate location sitting right by the world famous Neuschwanstein Castle (the very inspiration of most of the Disney castles) as well as right beneath Maria’s Bridge (Marienbrücke).
In fact, we never knew that such a combination of castle and waterfall existed until we went to Disney’s California Adventure one day.
That was when we saw an aerial view of this place in the ride Soaring Over The World.
Ever since we saw that, we just had to make it a point to come here.
Photo Restrictions at Neuschwanstein Castle
Unfortunately, getting a good view of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall was very difficult mostly because of the photo restrictions placed on tourists.
Basically, practically anywhere inside the Neuschwanstein Castle, taking pictures was not allowed.
That was a shame because the best spots to view the Poellat Gorge Waterfall with the Marienbrucke were from within the Neuschwanstein Castle looking out the windows.
The higher up the castle you go, the better the views became as obstructions became less of a problem.
The only place to “legally” take a picture of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall with the Marienbrücke was from a crowded balcony on the west side of the castle at the end of the paid tour.
However, that only yielded a very unsatisfying view of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall as it was mostly covered up by trees below it so we couldn’t see most of the roughly 30m of its total drop.
On the other hand, the views further west towards the Alpsee and the Hohenschwangau Castle backed by mountains was a decent consolation prize.
I really wished there was a better spot to view the waterfall from the south side of the castle.
However, work on completing the Neuschwanstein Castle stopped on June 13, 1886 when King Ludwig II died (under very suspicious circumstances).
That pretty much halted any further financing work on his fantasy castles so any hope of such a development happening is kaputt.
Regardless, the reduced scenic rating I’m giving to this waterfall was a direct result of the diminished ability to enjoy it given these restrictions.
Anyhow, any of the better photos we happened to take and show on this page were the result of sneaking in a photo of the waterfall after the paid part of the tour.
One was from a gift shop and another was through the window of one of the hallways on the way towards the kitchen basement and out of the castle itself.
It was difficult with a DSLR camera due to the presence of steel bars on the windows.
However, with the smaller lens on iPhones, it was definitely more feasible to do this.
The Trail into the Poellat Gorge
There was a trail going into the Poellat Gorge from the bottom, but it was closed indefinitely since before our visit in June 2018 as a result of landslides.
Drones were also prohibited so getting perhaps the best shots of the area in this manner (much like what we saw in Soaring Over The World) were also out of the question (assuming you came equipped for it to even test the authorities).
So as far as getting satisfying frontal views of the Poellat Gorge Waterfalls, the options were limited indeed for us.
However, a little over a year after our visit to the Neuschwanstein Castle, we had friends that made a visit in October 2019.
To our surprise, they managed to hike into the Poellat Gorge itself.
As a result, they shared a couple of photos of what it was like with us as well as the visitors of this website.
We can’t provide any more details about the hike itself, but the photo above was what the Poellat Gorge Waterfall would look like at the head of the gorge during the hike.
Experiencing the Neuschwanstein Castle
In any case, our visit of this waterfall pretty much boiled down to a visit of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Purchasing tickets for this very touristy attraction in advance was a must.
Once the proof of purchase was procured and redeemed for real tickets at the ticket office, then we had to do a long thirty-minute or longer hike up from the general car park area towards the foot of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
If sweating it out on an uphill hike along the road was unpalatable, there were also shuttles and horse-drawn carriages doing most of the work to get through most of the physical demands.
Then, we had to walk to the automated turnstiles where we had to wait until the time of our ticket corresponded with the time of day.
Then, we had 15 minutes to get through the turnstiles before the ticket would become invalid and the turnstiles wouldn’t let us through.
Afterwards, we then took the roughly hour-long guided tour of the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Our tour ended at a very elegant dining hall at the very top floor of the castle.
It was here that I felt the best views of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall could be obtained had we been allowed to take pictures out the windows from this room.
We were then escorted down several flights of steps before being deposited into a gift shop with more opportunities to see the Poellat Gorge Waterfall and Marienbrücke.
Unfortunately, the gift shop workers don’t appreciate people taking pictures in the shop.
Once out of the gift shop, we were then able to walk between a theater as well as a cafe towards a columned balcony area.
By the way, that theater was of an animation playing make-believe of what might have happened had Ludwig been allowed to complete all of his fantasy castle projects.
As mentioned earlier, this balcony was the only sanctioned area to take pictures towards the Poellat Gorge Waterfall and Marienbrücke.
This balcony was also well-situated for looking further west at the Alpsee and the Schloss Hohenschwangau backed by the Bavarian Alps.
Eventually after having our fill of this part of the castle, we then went down more stairs and hallways before finally being deposited outside the Neuschwanstein Castle.
Marienbrücke Trail Description – hiking to the bridge and beyond
While many people end off their Neuschwanstein tour here, it was worth the additional 15- to 20-minute walk uphill to the Marienbrücke itself.
Once on the bridge, we had to exercise quite a bit of patience and persistence as the bridge was frequently overcrowded with people (particularly from the tour bus crowds).
The crowds dwindle significantly towards the far end of the bridge.
From atop the bridge, we were able to peer down at some upper cascades of the Pöllat Stream as well as over the top of the main waterfall further downstream.
This bridge was primarily the best place to view the Neuschwanstein Castle with the Hohenschwangau Valley in the background, which was why it was so crowded with tourists.
That said, I did manage to hike beyond the bridge and seek out higher vantage points that would reveal both castles (Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau) as well as Alpsee and the Bavarian Alps all in one shot.
But in order to pull that off, a long and steep hike requiring at least an hour round trip was necessary.
As a result of the backpack restrictions within the castles (so we had to leave most of our stuff in the car), I wasn’t able to bring enough water with me.
Therefore, I went as far as I could before returning without suffering too much from dehydration.
All told, it took us the entire day to visit both the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles as we arrived at the car parks at 8:30am and we didn’t return to the car until about 5:30pm.
This included a lunch break as well as all the walking that was involved.
I’m sure you can shave off maybe two hours by not doing the Hohenschwangau Castle tour, but if you’re already here, you mind as well check it out.
Besides, it felt less crowded and more intimate than the very touristy Neuschwanstein Castle (though it was that way for good reason).
The Poellat Gorge Waterfall resides next to the Neuschwanstein Castle touring area in the town of Füssen in the state of Bavaria (Bayern), Germany. It is administered by the Hohenschwangau government. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, you can try visiting their website.
Experiencing the Pöllat Gorge Waterfalls is pretty much synonymous with doing the Neuschwanstein Castle Tour.
Therefore, we had to park in one of several huge parking lots at the bottom of the hills supporting both the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles.
It’s hard to miss this place because there are armies of tour buses and private vehicles making their way here in addition to brown signs for “königsschlösser” (King’s Castles).
Since we made our drive from Oberkirch on the western shores of Weißee, we’ll describe our driving route from there.
So heading east on the B310 Road for about 3km, we then turned right onto Kemptener Straße.
Then we followed this street for just under 3km before taking the fourth exit at the roundabout for Glückstraße then veering right at the fork for Ottostraße.
At the next roundabout, we took the first exit before following the curve of the Luitpoldstraße before taking the first exit at the roundabout at the Denkmal Luitpold (Prinzregentenplatz).
We then followed this street east as it became the B16 (Kaiser Maximilian Platz).
Then, we continued following the signs onto the St2008 and ultimately to the Parkstraße as we’d ultimately make it to the P1 car park after around 3.6km from the Denkmal Luitpold.
Overall, this short drive took us about 15 minutes including all the traffic and traffic lights.
Note that there were other car parks that were closer than the one we ended up parking at.
However, in the grand scheme of things, an extra 300m or so of walking didn’t make too much of a difference on an all-day excursion.
For geographical context, Füssen was about 17km (under 30 minutes drive) north of Reutte, Austria, 61km (an hour drive) west of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, about 100km (about 1 hour 15 minutes drive) east of Lindau, 113km (over 90 minutes drive) northwest of Innsbruck, Austria, and 127km (over 90 minutes drive) southwest of Munich.
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