Amidst beautiful, green natural scenery, just a few minutes from Neuschwanstein and the neighbouring castle of Hohenschwangau, Bavaria’s highest town, Füssen, lies on the shores of the Alpine River Lech. It marks the convergence of popular tourism routes such as the Romantic Road, the German Alpine Road and the Trans-Alpine Via Claudia Augusta. Up above, the Hohe Schloss, or High Castle, sits in majesty with its richly coloured illusionist paintings.
In the romantic streets of Füssen old town, medieval town houses sit alongside impressive Baroque churches. In summer, the many street cafés lend the old town district an almost Italian flair. Beautiful views can be enjoyed not only from the towers of the Hohe Schloss but also from boat trips on Lake Forggensee – including Neuschwanstein Castle against an Alpine backdrop.
Aristocratic Bavaria - a landscape rich in royal nostalgiaTraces of the Bavarian kings abound in Füssen. The Hohe Schloss above the old town, the former summer residence of the Bishops of Augsburg, was due to be woken from its slumber in the 19th century and turned into a residence for Crown Prince Maximilian, father of the Fairy Tale King, Ludwig II. But things took a different turn: on a journey through the Alps, Maximilian came across the ruins of Schwanstein Castle and had his castle, Hohenschwangau, built there, just a few kilometres from Füssen.
A royal dream – The Allgäu on both sides of the River Lech, between wild mountains and idyllic lakes – this was the favourite retreat of the Bavarian Fairy Tale King Ludwig II, where he could escape from the everyday life of government in Munich. Here he turned his dreams into reality with Neuschwanstein Castle.
See & Experience:The view from Neuschwanstein Castle extends far out into the countryside. Standing on the balcony of the throne room on a castle tour, you can see why Ludwig II chose this particular location for his “Holy Grail”. The lush green of the forest is interspersed with the glittering waters of the Alpsee and Schwansee lakes, and between them in warm yellow, Hohenschwangau Castle, Ludwig’s childhood paradise. Beyond the Kalvarienberg mountain, the silhouette of Füssen comes into view, while further to the east it is possible to glimpse Lake Forggensee and Lake Bannwaldsee. The gently undulating pre-Alpine landscape at the foot of the majestic peaks give the impression of extensive parkland.
The royal family always had strong ties to Füssen. Maximilian and his wife Marie sponsored the construction of the Way of the Cross on Füssen’s Kalvarienberg and the eternal light in the chapel on the summit was positioned such that it could be seen at night from Hohenschwangau Castle. Ludwig himself, in the year of his death in 1886, took part in the traditional Good Friday procession up the Kalvarienberg. When his mother Marie died in Hohenschwangau in 1889, her body was transported from the station at Füssen to Munich - the first journey on the newly-built railway line. Prince Regent Luitpold and other members of the Bavarian royal family later enjoyed travelling by train and then rode in their carriages through the narrow, winding streets of Füssen to the Theresienbrücke, in those days the only bridge across the Lech, on their way to Hohenschwangau.
Musical Füssen – More than 2000 years of history have left their mark on this town. Directly below the Hohe Schloss lies the magnificent Baroque complex of the former Benedictine monastery of St. Mang. Its history stretches back to the times of St. Magnus in the 8th century. As well as the Baroque basilica, which stands on medieval foundations and has some of the oldest frescoes in Bavaria in its east crypt (approx. 980, Reichenauer school), within the abbey complex the Museum of Füssen is particularly worthy of a visit. Here, visitors are guided through a world of Bavarian Baroque with its exuberant decoration and lively colours: Imperial hall, library, colloquium and chapter house - the richly decorated rooms give some indication of the former wealth of the Benedictine monastery. Valuable historical lutes and violins are a further highlight of the museum and remind visitors of Füssen’s role as the cradle of European lute making.
"Ludwig² - the musical"
Here again the focus is on the life and death of the Bavarian Fairy Tale King Ludwig II. It remains a mystery to this day, and one that enthrals people worldwide. His life is steeped in legend and full of puzzles and contradictions, but also brimming with romance and fantasy, offering plenty of material for a moving yet gripping musical - Ludwig². Here you can find all dates and information.
Events:Christmas market in Füssen | 2nd and 3rd weekends of Advent
Away from the hectic pre-Christmas shopping in the big cities, Advent here is celebrated with a small but delightful Christmas market set against a historic backdrop. It’s the perfect place to stroll around looking for Christmas decorations, wood carvings, hand-made soaps and many other gift ideas.