Embark on a captivating weekend escape in the enchanting city of Füssen, nestled in Germany's Bavarian Alps. Discover majestic castles, tranquil lakes, and the charming allure of the Old Town for an unforgettable experience.
Here we are, thrilled to share the inaugural post of our blog with you! We've chosen to kickstart this journey with our most recent adventure, not only because the memories are still vivid but also because the destination holds a special magic we're eager to convey.
With Thomas based in Frankfurt and myself, Rafael, with a penchant for snow (though my skiing skills are debatable), we set out in search of a charming spot for a brief winter escapade. Considering our budget, we narrowed down our options to Bavaria, a region nestled in the southeastern part of Germany near the Austrian border and the scenic Tyrol region of the Alps.
While we had previously explored the northern part of Bavaria (check out our post here), we hadn't ventured as far south as Füssen and the iconic Neuschwanstein Castle (check out our post here). It felt like the perfect time to remedy that, so we quickly arranged our trip!
Nestled amidst the majestic Bavarian Alps, Füssen boasts a rich tapestry of history, charming architecture, and stunning natural beauty. As we wanted to avoid spending a lot, we decided not to rent a car for our journey, choosing instead to embark on a scenic bus ride to Füssen. This decision proved wise, as accommodations within the city come with the added perk of a Füssen Card, allowing you to take buses and some trains in the region for free and also gives some discounts to the main attractions nearby.
Arriving in Füssen after a picturesque 6-hour bus journey from Frankfurt on a Thursday morning, we were immediately struck by the town's enchanting ambiance. Its medieval streets and snowy mountain backdrop create a scene straight out of a postcard. Situated at the southern terminus of the German Romantic Road, a famous tourist route stretching from Wurzburg, Füssen welcomes travelers with open arms.
While awaiting check-in at our hostel, we took the opportunity to explore the quaint streets of the old town. A visit to the Information Center provided invaluable insights into local attractions and transportation options. The friendly staff also highlighted the benefits of the Füssen Card, which has to be activated in the tourist center after receiving it.
We were looking forward to seeing the Neuschwanstein Castle (even from afar) but unfortunately the view from Füssen is not possible since a hill gets in the way of admiring this beauty. Therefore, beholding the Neuschwanstein had to wait for the next day. In the meantime, we still had time to enjoy strolling around the colorful streets of Füssen.
The earliest recorded mention of Füssen dates back to the Roman era, when it was known as "Foetes" and served as an important waypoint along the Via Claudia Augusta, a major Roman road connecting Italy to the Danube River. The town flourished as a trading post and military outpost during this time, benefiting from its strategic location near the Alpine passes.
In the Middle Ages, Füssen emerged as a thriving market town and center of craftsmanship, particularly renowned for its production of violins and other musical instruments. The town's prosperity was further enhanced by its position along key trade routes, fostering cultural exchange and economic growth.
During the Renaissance period, Füssen experienced a cultural renaissance of its own, attracting artists, scholars, and musicians from across Europe. The town's historic Old Town district still bears the architectural imprint of this golden age, with beautifully preserved medieval buildings and charming cobblestone streets.
Throughout its history, Füssen has witnessed periods of both prosperity and adversity, enduring wars, fires, and economic challenges. However, its resilient spirit and rich cultural heritage have endured, making it a beloved destination for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the storied past of this enchanting Alpine town.
BEST THINGS TO DO
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FÜSSEN OLD TOWN
Experience the enchanting allure of Füssen's historic old town, a captivating fusion of bustling streets and peaceful hideaways waiting to be explored. Meander through the maze of cobblestone pathways, from the charming Brunnengasse to the quaint Hutergasse, each corner exuding its own unique charm. However, don't miss the iconic Reichenstrasse, known as the Main street of Füssen. Lined with picturesque buildings adorned with colorful facades, it feels like stepping into a postcard-perfect scene. As you wander through these historic streets, you'll be transported to a bygone era, where every corner reveals a glimpse of the city's rich history and vibrant culture. Take a leisurely stroll along Reichenstrasse, admiring the charming architecture and vibrant hues that adorn the buildings. Be sure to pause by the fountain, a focal point of the main street, and capture the moment with some memorable photographs.
FÜSSEN MEDIEVAL CASTLE
Prepare to be transported back in time as you explore the Hohes Schloss Füssen, a medieval castle that dominates the town's skyline. While it may not be as grandiose as the castles in Schwangau, Füssen Medival Castle boasts a rich history that's just waiting to be discovered. In fact, this magnificent structure was built centuries before its more famous counterparts, which explains its unique architectural style. As you wander through its hallowed halls, you'll be greeted with fascinating remnants of Roman fortifications from the 12th century. The castle is also home to the branch gallery of the Bavarian State Painting Collections, making it a must-see destination for art lovers. Make sure you take the time to explore the courtyard, where you'll find a stunning array of illusion paintings that are sure to leave you in awe.
| Opening hours |
Mon. to Fri. - from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
| Admission - 6 EUR |
ST. MANG ABBEY
The Abbey of St. Mang is a true masterpiece that was founded by St. Magnus in the first half of the 9th century. This incredible structure boasts an incredibly symmetrical Baroque design that's sure to leave you in awe, and it was all thanks to the local architect Johan Jakob Herkomer. Herkomer was one smart cookie - he received most of his education in Venice, which is why the Abbey is blessed with a stunning Italian style. But the Abbey is more than just a pretty face - it was a major center of lordship, economy, cultural and faith life, exerting a powerful influence on Füssen and the whole region.
CHURCH OF THE Holy Spirit
The Church of the Holy Spirit, completed in 1748 by architect Franz Karl Fischer, is a striking place of worship known for its colorful rococo design portraying the holy trinity. At the entrance, you'll find statues of Florian and Christopherus. Inside, the church is adorned with beautiful baroque frescoes and paintings. Don't rush — take about thirty minutes to appreciate the art and architecture.
| Opening hours |
from 8.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
| Admission - free of charge |
OTHER SIGHTS WORTH EXPLORING NEARBY
During winter travels, we often pack sandwiches or snacks to maximize daylight hours and avoid stopping for lunch, enabling us to visit more places. The area has various options depending on your time and willingness to walk. While we didn't do everything in one day, we'll present them as choices for you to consider.
Don't miss the spectacular Leechfall Waterfall during your visit! As you walk towards it, admire the stunning gorge carved by the greenish-blue water flowing from the Alps into the Lech river. The river once served as a vital route for merchandise and a power source for Füssen's industries. The Lechfall consists of a 5-stage dam ladder built in the 18th century that flows into a narrow, curvy gorge and the Forggensee Lake. Let the magic of this natural wonder enchant you!
Nestled in the picturesque Bavarian Alps, Neuschwanstein Castle reigns as the region's crown jewel, casting a spell with its fairy-tale charm. Spending a full day exploring its grandeur, we were entranced by its towering spires and ornate interiors, a testament to Bavarian royalty. As we wandered through its halls, each adorned with exquisite artwork, we marveled at the attention to detail and opulence. Stepping outside, panoramic views of the rugged mountains and lush valleys unfolded, offering a moment of serene reflection. Our day at Neuschwanstein Castle was a highlight of our Bavarian journey, leaving us with cherished memories to treasure.
| For more information about the Neuschwanstein Castle, check our post here |
TEGELBERG SKI STATION
You can easily reach Tegelberg from Füssen by taking bus 78. Tegelberg is a place where you can go skiing and there's a cable car that takes you to the top of the mountain. We had planned to ski there the next day, but because there wasn't much snow, we decided to look for another option (check our post about skiing in Austria here). Still, we wanted to see Tegelberg because it offers different views of Neuschwanstein Castle. If you have some time (we had about an hour before the next bus), you can walk on some trails at the bottom of the mountains, which is really nice. After that, we caught the next bus and got off at Schwangau Rathaus (Schwangau Town Hall). From there, we walked up Schloßstraße (Castle Street) for about 20 minutes until we reached the bus stop near the castles. This walk gave us different views of Neuschwanstein Castle and the mountains around it. Then we took the next bus back to Füssen's city center.
Since we had to leave on a Sunday afternoon, we got up early to visit the nearby Forggensee Lake. You can walk to Musiktheater Füssen, which is about a 30-minute walk from the Information Center, or take bus 56 and get off at the Festspielhaus stop. Even though the weather was cloudy and our photos would have looked better with blue skies, we still enjoyed the panoramic views of the mountains and the castle. There are boat trips, bike tours, and hiking trails available at Forggensee Lake, which you can learn more about in brochures you can download here. These activities seem like great options for visiting Füssen in the summer, and we're excited to try them next time!
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
Our weekend escapade in the enchanting city of Füssen, nestled amidst the Bavarian Alps, was nothing short of magical! From exploring the medieval charm of the old town to marveling at the fairytale architecture of Neuschwanstein Castle, every moment was filled with wonder and delight. Füssen's rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality left a lasting impression on us, igniting a desire to return and uncover even more hidden treasures in this idyllic corner of Germany.
Füssen enjoys robust connectivity to other main German towns, ensuring hassle-free travel:
- By plane: Munich Airport serves as the closest air hub, providing convenient access to Füssen.
- By train: Opt for a comfortable 2-hour train journey from Munich, with tickets priced at approximately 22 EUR for a single trip. Travelers can also take advantage of the Bavarian Regional Card, offering unlimited train travel within Bavaria for a day. The card is priced at 25 EUR for the first passenger and 3 EUR for each additional passenger, providing excellent value for exploring the region.
- By bus: Experience the beauty of the Bavarian countryside on a leisurely 4-hour bus ride from Munich to Füssen. Tickets are affordably priced at around 15 EUR for a one-way trip, making it an economical and scenic travel option.
Thanks to Germany's well-developed transportation infrastructure, Füssen is easily accessible from any major city in the country. Whether you choose to arrive by plane, train, or bus, the journey to this destination promises to be as enjoyable as the destination itself.
Accommodation options in Füssen can be relatively pricey due to the limited availability of hostels. While Schwangau may appear to offer more affordable prices and proximity to the castles, we advise against staying there as it lacks the same charm and infrastructure as Füssen. During our visit, we stayed at Old Kings Hostel and spent three nights in a cozy double room for 150 EUR (or 50 EUR per night for two). This neat and tastefully decorated hostel boasts friendly staff and a prime location in one of the charming streets of the old town, just a 10-minute walk from the bus station. However, it's worth noting that the hostel does not provide kitchen facilities, and there's only one toilet and two showers available for guests.
Indulge in the diverse culinary scene that Füssen has to offer, with options ranging from traditional German fare to international delights. During our stay, we savored meals at:
- Ritter-stub'n: Immerse yourself in the rich flavors of German cuisine at this traditional restaurant, where the dishes are not only delicious but also served in generous portions.
- Restaurant Ludwigs: Delight in the traditional flavors of Bavaria at this esteemed restaurant, renowned for its authentic Bavarian dishes and welcoming ambiance.
- Pizza Pasta Americano: Satisfy your cravings for Italian flavors at this cozy pizza place, offering tasty pizzas at affordable prices.
- KYŌDAI: Immerse yourself in Japanese flavors at this unique dining spot, offering a taste of Japan in the heart of Füssen.
Whether you're seeking traditional German fare, international cuisine, or something in between, Füssen has an array of dining options to suit every palate and budget.
And now it's your turn to let us know your impressions, thoughts and also tips to visit this region of Germany. Have you already been to Füssen? We look forward to reading your comments in the section below.
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