Tucked away at the bottom of the Alps close to the Austrian border, the Bavarian town of Füssen in Germany looks like something from a fairytale. Hilltop castles and rows of coloured houses sit happily against the stunning backdrop of the snowy (or leafy green, depending on the time of year) peaks. The pedestrianised old town (Altstadt) is awash with authentic Bavarian architecture and cobbled streets lined with traditional cafes, restaurants, and bakeries.
Füssen is, quite clearly, a beautiful German destination, however it often gets bypassed, with visitors instead heading to nearby Schloss Neuschwanstein Castle. Whilst we 100% recommend visiting the castle, the town itself shouldn't be forgotten about, so definitely make time to explore its streets and sights.
Another of Füssen's selling points is that it's located at the southern end of the Romantic Road, one of Germany's most famous scenic drives. The route begins in Würzburg and passes through loads of picturesque stop-offs on its way to Füssen, including Medieval Rothenburg ob der Tauber, which pretty much sums up the romantic reputation of the road.
Things to see and do in Füssen
- King Ludwig's Castles - Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau - Ludwig, known by many as the 'Mad King', was a great romantic and lover of opera, French culture, and swans, which he reflected in the construction of his two lavish castles. Schloss Neuschwanstein supposedly inspired the castle from Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty, and this isn't hard to believe when you see it peeking through the mountaintops (especially with a dusting of snow). As the place where Ludwig grew up, Schloss Hohenschwangau feels more like a home than a fairytale palace, with all original furniture still positioned within its warm yellow stone walls. Although less extravagant than Neuschwanstein, Ludwig did bring his romantic flair into the castle after his father's death, adding illuminated stars to his bedroom ceiling. Both castles are located in Schwangau, a few kilometres away from Füssen.
- Museum der Stadt Füssen (the City of Füssen Museum) - Dedicated to the town's heritage as a major centre for violin and lute making, this museum is incorporated into the former St Mang Abbey, so it's a super scenic setting for its beautiful artwork, artefacts, and 17th to 19th century lutes and violins. A highlight of the museum is the beautiful painted Baroque hall - definitely an unmissable attraction in Füssen.
- Tegelbergbahn - This cable car takes you to the top of the Tegelberg Mountain, a popular spot for hang-gliders and parasailers. Don't worry, you don't have to partake in any extreme sports here, just admire the views of the Alps or hike down to the castles if you fancy (it takes two to three hours). Take the RVO bus 73 or 78 from Füssen Bahnhof to get to the cable car station.
Getting to Füssen
Füssen is located around 130 kilometres from Munich (around one hour 50 minutes in the car), and around 230 kilometres from Zurich (around two hours 50 minutes by car), and both routes are relatively straightforward to drive.
Alternatively, trains operate regularly between Munich and Füssen and take about two hours. Tickets cost around €22 each way, and some services require you to change at Buchole, but don't worry as this barely affects the journey time.