The Bavarian town of Füssen is as charming as it gets. It lies at the foot of the Alps and is the southern point of Germany’s famous Romantic Road. Since the nearby castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are the highlights of many German itineraries, it is no wonder that Füssen is extremely popular among travelers visiting the south of Germany. Although most people use it as a base to explore the fairytale castles of Ludwig II’s fame, Füssen has enough attractions to make its visitors linger longer than planned.
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A pretty, pretty Bavarian town
The old town or the Altstadt is extremely pretty with a very interesting town hall and there are quite a few good Bavarian Brauhaus and restaurants. Füssen itself has a beautiful setting on the River Lech at the southwest end of the broad Forggensee. The Austrian border is close by and the town is crowned by the impressive buildings of the former Benedictine abbey of St Mang. Even though we did not stay at Füssen during our Allgau trip, we visited this town nearly every day. I loved strolling around the cobbled streets of the old town and people watching while enjoying a hearty regional dish.
The heritage of Füssen
Füssen’s roots date back to the Roman era when a settlement developed on the Via Claudia Augusta, a road leading south to northern Italy and north to Augusta Vindelicum (now Augsburg), the former regional capital of the Roman province of Raetia. Füssen’s original name was “Foetes”, or “Foetibus”, which was derived from the Latin “Fauces”, meaning “gorge”, probably referring to the Lech Gorge. In the 8th century, the Swiss monk Magnus laid the foundation for the Benedictine Abbey St. Mang. At the end of the 11th century that the name Fuzin first appeared. It became later Fiessen or Füssen. This name probably referred to the town’s location at the foot of the mountain (Füße meaning “feet” in German). The town’s coat of arms has three feet and there are several local legends about the meaning of the three feet.
Things to do in Füssen
In my opinion, it is a town that is definitely worth visiting, and here are ten fabulous things to do in Füssen.
- Walk around the old town – The old town or the Altstadt of Füssen is very photogenic. It has a lively atmosphere and quiet alleyways with charming squares and colourful buildings. It is the perfect place to wander around, get lost, and people-watch from one of the quaint cafes.
- Shoot the Instaworthy main street – The main street of Füssen is lined with colourful traditional old houses. The mountain in the background adds to the beauty and it is one of the highlights of the town. Arrive early for that perfect shot.
- Climb up to the St Mang’s Abbey – This Benedictine abbey is home to the oldest fresco in Germany, dating to the year 980. Originally founded by a hermit and his brother, the Benedictine monastery became one of the most powerful institutions in a politically and socially complex area before being deconsecrated by Napoleon in 1802.
- Visit the High Castle – The medieval castle of Füssen is right next to St Mang’s Abbey. It is also known as the Hohes Schloß, or High Castle. The interior of the castle offers a quick history of building styles from the 15th to 19th centuries. There are some excellent Gothic wooden ceilings in the Knight’s Room.
- Admire the Church of the Holy Spirit – This small place of worship stands in the middle of the old town and is rather beautiful. It has an impressively colorful rococo facade and the church was built in 1748 by the hand of the architect Franz Karl Fischer. The interiors boast impressive baroque frescoes and paintings.
- Eat some schneeballentraüm and kasespatzle – Füssen has some very good regional restaurants and imbiss – cheap diners. Take some time to sample some regional specialties like schneeballentraüm, kasespatzle, currywurst, etc.
- Visit the nearby castles – The two most famous castles in Germany – Neuschwanstein, and Hohenschwangau – are just four kilometers away and can be reached on foot via a series of trails, public transport, and guided tours.
- Enjoy some nature at Lechfall – This spot is the perfect place for a getaway from the city. It is a stepped waterfall that is very picturesque and is just20 minutes walk through a park from the Füssen train station.
- Go to the violin and lute museum – The Museum der Stadt Füssen or the City of Füssen Museum showcases the town’s history as a major center for violin and lute making. The spruce in the neighbouring forests makes beautifully resonant instruments, plus the town is on the medieval trade routes to various musical cities in Italy and Austria.
- The photogenic Alat Lake – This is one of the most beautiful natural attractions of Füssen. It is 4.5 km from the city and a great place to relax.
How to reach
The closest airport is Munich. From there, one can reach Füssen by bus and train.
By bus: 4 hours and around 15 EUR one way.
By train: 2 hours and around 22 EUR one way. It makes sense to buy a Bavarian Regional Card that allows you to travel by train in Bavaria as much as you want for a whole day for 25 EUR for the first passenger and only 3 EUR per additional passenger.
|First / last flight
|By train Munich-Füssen
|03:17 / 20:44
|2.5 – 4 hours
|24,20 – 37,50 €
|Füssen ZOB or Füssen Pulverturm
|08: 15 /
|2.5 – 3 hours
|3 flights per day
|12.60 – 19 €
It should also be noted that you can get here on your own or in rented vehicles. In this case, it is worth using the A7 autobahn and the federal roads B310, B17, B16, and B179 (the latter comes from Austria).
Where to stay
Accommodation in Füssen is quite expensive and the luxury lovers can splurge on the famous Hirsch Hotel.
Fun facts about Füssen
- Füssen is the endpoint of the famous “Romantic Road” of Germany.
- On the riverbank, Lech starred in an advertisement for Milka chocolates.
- A cow is the main symbol of the city. Postcards with the image of joyful cows, as well as cowbells, are sold in every souvenir shop. Moreover, the bas-relief of this animal can be seen even in the central city square.
- The most unusual theater of Füssen stands on the shore of about. Forggensee. Instead of the traditional backstage, it has a glass backdrop that goes directly to the lake, which, with the onset of darkness, is illuminated by powerful spotlights.
- The coat of arms of Füssen is a golden shield against which 3 running legs are painted. The exact origin of this symbol remains unknown, but most historians connect it with the ancient Roman road, which passed through the Alps and played the role of a large trade route.
- There are many pubs, cafes, and eateries in the city, but most tourists deliberately look for the Gasthof “KRONE”, a theme restaurant decorated in the style of medieval chivalry. It is customary to eat with hands, wiping dirty fingers on huge paper bibs.
- Füssen’s first name is Foetibus (from the word “leg”, warped to German). Over the 400-year history of the city, it has changed 5 more times. First it was Fozen, then Fozin, then Fuozzen, then Füzzen and finally Füssen.
P.S – This blog post is part of the series called the Cologne Diaries, which highlights a new theme, emotion, and beauty of an expat life in Cologne. For more exotic fun, check out my Cairo Chronicles in the Expat Life category.
Follow the rest of the Germany travel series
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- BREITENBERG MOUNTAIN TOBOGGANING TRIP
- TEGELBERG MOUNTAIN DAY TRIP
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- BAVARIA ON MY PLATE
RESPONSIBLE TRAVELING-BECAUSE I CARE