Füssen – the Romantic Soul of Bavaria
King Ludwig´s most favorit place on earth
There is a growing demand for the over 700-year-old town of Füssen – situated at the southern end of the Romantic Road and in the heart of one of the finest holiday regions in the entire Alpine region – as a destination for a weekend get-away or a city break.
The town’s charming location on the edge of the Alps is impressive: framed in by imposing high mountain peaks and an idyllic lake district, at an altitude of 800-1200 meters above sea level, thus making it Bavaria’s town at the highest elevation, the ideal starting point for visiting the royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau only four kilometers away or the Wies Church (29 km).
As if drawn by an artist’s hand, the Füssen’s medieval town center rises high above the banks of the River Lech. Different historical epochs meet here in a harmonious ensemble, whose unique flair is an invitation to go on journeys of discovery into the past or to take a look around the shops.
The High Palace, the former summer residence of the prince bishops of Augsburg and one of Swabia’s largest and best preserved late gothic castle complexes, is Füssen’s landmark, towering over a maze of narrow lanes. The living quarters once occupied by the bishops today house a branch gallery of the Bavarian State Collections of Paintings, which focuses on late gothic and Renaissance works of art from the Allgäu-Swabian and Franconian region.
In the castle courtyard the facades are adorned with illusionist paintings that delude the viewer into seeing oriels, window frames and molded corners. Below the High Palace is the magnificent baroque complex of the former Benedictine Monastery of St Mang, whose history goes back to the 8th century. In addition to the Basilica, the largest and most magnificent of the numerous baroque churches in Füssen’s medieval center, where the oldest preserved fresco in Bavaria (about 980, Reichenau School) can be viewed in the east crypt, it is in particular the Füssen Heritage Museum that is well worth seeing. The richly decorated baroque halls give an impression of the earlier prosperity of this Benedictine collegiate church. In the Anna Chapel, accessible through the museum, the Füssen Dance of Death is on view, Bavaria’s oldest Dance of Death cycle still preserved.
The museum’s own collection of valuable historical lutes and violins recalls Füssen’s position as the cradle of European lute-making, where in the 16th century the first European lute-makers’ guild was founded. Regular tours of the town, the museum and the churches as well as special tours for groups are available throughout the year.
Entertaining festivals against an historical backdrop, open-air culture on the market squares or in the courtyards and the Christmas Market, in the pre-Christmas season invest Füssen’s medieval center with a magic of a very special kind.