Poellat Gorge Waterfall

Fussen / Ostallgau District, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany

About Poellat Gorge Waterfall


Hiking Distance: at least 4km but could be up to 6km or more
Suggested Time: at least 4 hours

Date first visited: 2018-06-25
Date last visited: 2018-06-25

Waterfall Latitude: 47.55568
Waterfall Longitude: 10.74976

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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).

Ludwigs_Castles_219_06252018 - This was the most satisfying picture we have of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall and Marienbrucke though it involved sneaking in such a shot from the window of a gift shop
This was the most satisfying picture we have of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall and Marienbrucke though it involved sneaking in such a shot from the window of a gift shop

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_251_06252018 - This was the view of Marienbrücke and the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from the western balcony at the end of our Neuschwanstein Tour
This was the view of Marienbrücke and the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from the western balcony at the end of our Neuschwanstein Tour

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_346_06252018 - View of the Hohenschwangau Castle and Alpsee as seen from the western balcony at the end of our Neuschwanstein Tour
View of the Hohenschwangau Castle and Alpsee as seen from the western balcony at the end of our Neuschwanstein 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).

Ludwigs_Castles_188_06252018 - The everpresent work going on at the Neuschwanstein Castle are now due to restoration and/or enhancement as opposed to completion
The everpresent work going on at the Neuschwanstein Castle are now due to restoration and/or enhancement as opposed to completion

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_304_06252018 - Looking through a window in a non-photo-restricted corridor of Neuschwanstein Castle
Looking through a window in a non-photo-restricted corridor of Neuschwanstein Castle

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).

Ludwigs_Castles_408_06252018 - Looking down into the Poellat Gorge and the top of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from the Marienbrucke
Looking down into the Poellat Gorge and the top of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from the Marienbrucke

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.

Poellat_Gorge_ww_001_10142019 - View of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from within the Poellat Gorge itself as photographed by a friend who managed to make it here over a year after our visit
View of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from within the Poellat Gorge itself as photographed by a friend who managed to make it here over a year after our visit

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_161_06252018 - Despite the physical demands of doing the walk up to the Neuschwanstein Castle, it was still very busy
Despite the physical demands of doing the walk up to the Neuschwanstein Castle, it was still very busy

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_209_06252018 - Waiting at the turnstiles as we watched the monitors for the 15-minute window when our tickets would become valid for entry to the Neuschwanstein Castle
Waiting at the turnstiles as we watched the monitors for the 15-minute window when our tickets would become valid for entry to 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.

Ludwigs_Castles_263_06252018 - Context of the Marienbrücke side of the balcony on the far west end of the Neuschwanstein Castle
Context of the Marienbrücke side of the balcony on the far west end of the Neuschwanstein Castle

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_292_06252018 - A replica of the Neuschwanstein Castle seen between the mess hall and the last gift shop by the exit of our paid part of the castle
A replica of the Neuschwanstein Castle seen between the mess hall and the last gift shop by the exit of our paid part of the castle

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_366_06252018 - It was absolute madness on the Marienbrucke that was overcrowded with tourists mostly by volume from the tour buses
It was absolute madness on the Marienbrucke that was overcrowded with tourists mostly by volume from the tour buses

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_414_06252018 - Hiking beyond the Marienbrucke towards alternate views of the Neuschwanstein Castle
Hiking beyond the Marienbrucke towards alternate views of the Neuschwanstein Castle

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_434_06252018 - This was as high up as I went to get a view of both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangai along with Alpsee from well beyond the Marienbrucke
This was as high up as I went to get a view of both Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangai along with Alpsee from well beyond the Marienbrucke

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).

Authorities

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.

Poellat_Gorge_ww_002_10142019 - Zoomed in look at the the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from within the Poellat Gorge itself as shot by our friend Wendy in October 2019
Ludwigs_Castles_003_06242018 - Neuschwanstein Castle looking ghostly against the low clouds from the rain that hit the area on the day of our tour
Ludwigs_Castles_005_06242018 - Looking towards the Hohenschwangau Castle as we were making our way to our morning tour of that lesser-visited castle
Ludwigs_Castles_017_06242018 - More elevated look towards the Hohenschwangau Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_035_06242018 - It was raining on the day we showed up to do our pre-booked Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles tours so the Neuschwanstein Castle was appearing in the mist with a bit of a ghostly appearance
Ludwigs_Castles_039_06242018 - Once we got up to the entrance of the Schloss Hohenschwangau, we were able to look across downwards towards the neighboring mountains shrouded in low rain clouds
Ludwigs_Castles_041_06242018 - Walking up to the Schloss Hohenschwangau so we can do the morning part of our pre-booked tour of it
Ludwigs_Castles_045_06242018 - Looking up towards the Hohenschwangau Castle before going into our morning tour
Ludwigs_Castles_051_06242018 - Looking towards the entrance to the Schloss Hohenschwangau
Ludwigs_Castles_055_06242018 - Some ornate fountain in the gardens surrounding the Hohenschwangau Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_057_06242018 - Looking in the distance towards what I thought was a trail in seemingly inaccessible parts of the cliffs across the way from Hohenschwangau Castle, but the guide said they were meant for rockfall or avalanche control
Ludwigs_Castles_084_06242018 - Looking towards the Neuschwanstein Castle from the Hohenschwangau Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_101_06242018 - Looking right up one side of the Hohenschwangau Castle while we waited to get through the automated turnstile for our morning tour
Ludwigs_Castles_108_06242018 - Even though this automated timed turnstile was for the Schloss Hohenschwangau, the Schloss Neuschwanstein had the same efficient system to manage the flow of tourist traffic
Ludwigs_Castles_116_06252018 - After our Hohenschwangau Castle Tour, we got this look back at the attractive castle from its garden
Ludwigs_Castles_132_06252018 - Looking towards the a re-created mess hall of the Hohenschwangau Castle, which was one of the few parts where you can take pictures within the castle
Ludwigs_Castles_136_06252018 - Descending back down the steps to leave the Schloss Hohenschwangau and start the long ascent for the Schloss Neuschwanstein
Ludwigs_Castles_144_06252018 - Looking towards the Neuschwanstein Castle after having a lunch as we started to walk up to this castle for our afternoon tour
Ludwigs_Castles_151_06252018 - Looking back at the Hohenschwangau Castle as we started our walk up to the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_520_06252018 - This was the road we had to hike up in order to reach the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_157_06252018 - This was one of the side waterfalls that spilled besides the road leading up to the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_162_06252018 - At around two-thirds the way up to Neuschwanstein Castle, there was this little area of shuttle stops and cafes
Ludwigs_Castles_163_06252018 - Looking towards people queuing up to ride one of the horse-drawn carriages up to the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_168_06252018 - It was possible to have a meal or snack in this little 'village' on the way up to the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_176_06252018 - Looking back at the Neuschwanstein Castle as we continued our climb up to its entrance
Ludwigs_Castles_182_06252018 - Context of our continuing ascent up to the Schloss Neuschwanstein beyond the cafes
Ludwigs_Castles_194_06252018 - Looking towards the Hohenschwangau Valley from an overlook before the entrance to the Schloss Neuschwanstein
Ludwigs_Castles_212_06252018 - Now we had to wait for our pre-determined time to get through the turnstile and into the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_213_06252018 - Walking one of the hallways in the Neuschwanstein Castle before they started enforcing the no photo policy
Ludwigs_Castles_222_06252018 - Partial view of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from the gift shop after the guided tour of Neuschwanstein Castle was over
Ludwigs_Castles_228_06252018 - Looking towards Alpsee and the Hohenschwangau Castle from the west balcony of the Neuschwanstein Castle while storm clouds were still lingering in the mid-afternoon of our visit
Ludwigs_Castles_249_06252018 - This was the disappointing view of the Poellat Gorge Waterfall from the balcony on the west face of the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_253_06252018 - Focused look at some kind of spring or side waterfall within the Poellat Gorge as seen from the west balcony of the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_254_06252018 - Context of the Marienbrucke with the Poellat Gorge Waterfall barely visible from the west balcony of Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_256_06252018 - Another contextual look at the Marienbrucke with the Poellat Gorge Waterfall as seen from the west balcony of the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_257_06252018 - Showing the context of the pillars and the ornate west balcony of Neuschwanstein Castle with the Marienbrucke and the barely-visible Poellat Gorge Waterfall
Ludwigs_Castles_272_06252018 - Broad view looking west towards Schloss Hohenschwangau and Alpsee from the west balcony of Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_288_06252018 - The kitchen was one of the few places we could take pictures inside the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_294_06252018 - Another look back at the Neuschwanstein mess hall at the end of our paid tour
Ludwigs_Castles_359_06252018 - Following the crowds and walking up towards the Marienbrucke after we got back out of the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_362_06252018 - About to join the madness on the Marienbrucke
Ludwigs_Castles_367_06252018 - Looking right at one of the cascades upstream from the main Poellat Gorge Waterfall whilst standing on the Marienbrucke
Ludwigs_Castles_375_06252018 - This was the money shot of the Schloss Neuschwanstein from the Marienbrucke that everyone was after
Ludwigs_Castles_409_06252018 - Contextual view of the Schloss Neuschwanstein and the Hohenschwangau Valley behind it as seen from Marienbrucke
Ludwigs_Castles_416_06252018 - An alternate broadside view of the Neuschwanstein Castle from beyond the Marienbrucke
Ludwigs_Castles_424_06252018 - Contextual look at both Neuschwanstein Castle and Hohenschwangau Castle with Alpsee and Hohenschwangau Valley as I had gone high up the trail beyond Marienbrucke
Ludwigs_Castles_432_06252018 - This was as high up as I was willing to go in order to experience this panorama of both the Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein Castles along with the lakes and the valley in the background
Ludwigs_Castles_470_06252018 - Back at the broadside view of the Neuschwanstein Castle as the weather continued to improve and I rejoined Julie and Tahia after my sweaty out-and-back climb for the all-encompassing view of everything
Ludwigs_Castles_485_06252018 - Looking back down at a pair of waterfalls upstream of the main Poellat Gorge Waterfall from the Marienbrucke
Ludwigs_Castles_500_06252018 - Looking towards the far end of the Marienbrucke as the crowds were considerably more dispersed towards this end
Ludwigs_Castles_503_06252018 - Julie and Tahia taking a more 'scenic' route back down towards the parking areas beneath the Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau Castles
Ludwigs_Castles_505_06252018 - We weren't totally alone on this walk, but as you can see, it was considerably quieter along this route than the one we had taken earlier to get up to the Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_507_06252018 - Looking at the bottom end of the trail that we had taken on the way down from Neuschwanstein Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_509_06252018 - Looking back at the trail we had taken to get down from Neuschwanstein Castle, which was considerably quieter and more like a typical trail
Ludwigs_Castles_511_06252018 - Descending back down to the town at the foot of the Hohenschwangau Castle
Ludwigs_Castles_551_06252018 - Last look at the Neuschwanstein Castle backed by a rocky mountain at the conclusion of our long day of touring Ludwig's famous castles

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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).

Ludwigs_Castles_563_06252018 - Neuschwanstein Castle looms high over the car park areas at the foot of the hills and mountains
Neuschwanstein Castle looms high over the car park areas at the foot of the hills and mountains

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).

Ludwigs_Castles_010_06242018 - Looking towards one of the closer car parks beneath the Hohenschwangau Castle
Looking towards one of the closer car parks beneath the Hohenschwangau Castle

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.

Ludwigs_Castles_095_06242018 - Looking down at the context of another one of the car parks closer to the shores of Alpsee as seen from Hohenschwangau Castle
Looking down at the context of another one of the car parks closer to the shores of Alpsee as seen from Hohenschwangau Castle

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.

Brief video showing a very partial view of the falls from the only public viewing area from the castle on some balcony


Sweep from the Marienbrucke revealing the waterfalls way down below as well as the Neuschwanstein Castle


Deliberate top down sweep from beneath the Marienbrucke as seen by our friend Wendy who gave us this video and proved that they were able to do it when it was closed when we did it.

Tagged with: poellat gorge, neuschwanstein, hohenschwangau, ludwig 2, bavaria, germany, waterfall, marienbrucke, fussen, marys bridge, pollat gorge, pollatschlucht, poellatschlucht



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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