Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge, aka Pöllat Bridge) located in the municipality of Schwangau, not far from Füssen, is a bridge across Pöllat gorge. It is situated right behind and in clear line of sight of Castle Neuschwanstein. The bridge was named after Queen Marie.
In 1845, King Maximilian II ordered a wooden footbridge to be built across Pöllat gorge. This bridge was constructed using traditional timber construction and most likely turned out to be not very stable, since it already had to be renewed after only a few years. In order to increase the bridge’s stability, a structure consisting of three layers of beams and lateral support beams was chosen. The resulting building, stretching to 35 meters in length, however, did not offer an aesthetically pleasing sight.
Precisely this was King Ludwig II’s reason to have this footbridge replaced by a filigree iron structure in 1866, by the Gustavsburg workshops of Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Nürnberg, Klett & Comp., which is nowadays known as M.A.N.. During the construction of Marienbrücke, a completely new method of construction was successfully tested: At an altitude of 90 meters above Pöllat cascade, the girders were erected from the anchorings in the rock on either side by pre-constructing the individual support frames, without requiring further supportive braces.
In 1984, the bridge was restored and the girders had to be renewed. The barristers, however, are still the original ones used in 1866.
In early August 2015, the bridge was temporarily closed for visitors, due to restoration work on the anchorings in the rock. Damaged anchorings were repaired, and the coatings of the iron structure and the wooden floorboards were renewed. The costs for this renovation amounted to approximately 650,000 euros. On 04 August 2016, the district administrator of the rural district of Ostallgäu and Bavarian Chancellor of the Exchequer Markus Söder officially declared Marienbrücke re-opened.
Source: Translation from German https://de.wikipedia.org.
The nearest parking lot to reach Mary’s bridge is P4 directly underneath Hohenschwangau castle (near the Alpsee). From there you can walk uphill (aprox. 45 minutes to the bridge) or you can take the shuttle bus (stopps near the bridge). The costs are € 2.50 per person for uphill and € 3.00 for a roundtrip.
Please note, that the shuttle bus operates according to demand of the visitors, but without schedule.
In the summer season:
First departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Marienbrücke: at 8.00 am
Last departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Marienbrücke: at 5.30 pm
Last transfer downhill from Neuschwanstein Castle/ Marienbrücke: at 6.45 pm
In the winter season (in suitable weather conditions - no ice and no snow):
First departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Marienbrücke: at 9.00 am
Last departure uphill to Neuschwanstein Castle/ Marienbrücke: at 3.30 pm
Last transfer downhill from Neuschwanstein Castle/ Marienbrücke: at 5.00 pm
From the final destination bus stop there is a 5 minutes’ walk to reach the Mary’s bridge and 15 minutes’ walk to reach the Neuschwanstein castle.
If you want to get inside Neuschwanstein castle (guided tour) after visiting the Mary’s bridge, please buy the castle tickets in the Ticket Center, before you take the shuttle bus to the Mary’s bridge. Otherwise you have to go back to the valley to get the tickets for the Neuschwanstein castle. You do not have to buy a ticket if you want to see only the outside of the castle. The courtyard of the castle is free to visit without tickets.
Marienbrücke (Mary’s Bridge) is an independent structure that offers a great view of Neuschwanstein Castle and a beautiful photo opportunity. In Winter, due to ice and snow, and for safety reasons, access to the bridge is unfortunately unavailable. Access to Neuschwanstein castle and the guided tours inside are, however, not restricted.
Note: The way to Neuschwanstein Castle does not lead over Mary’s bridge. Neuschwanstein castle can be visited throughout the year and in any weather conditions.