Fussen, Bavaria, Germany

 

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Füssen is a quaint little town in Bavaria. Most will know it as the town the train pulls into on your way to Disney-inspiring Neuschwantein castle. Füssen is a beautiful town in its own right, with cobble stone streets, a town wall, colorful homes and cozy alleyways. Not surprisingly, it is on the Romantic Road. We wandered around the town, mostly so we wouldn’t have to board the crowded buses to Neuschwanstein. I am glad we did. Not only did we explore a beautiful town, we also discovered a back way in to Neuschwanstein Castle.

Walking along the City Wall, Fussen, Germany Walking along the City Wall, Fussen, Germany

Quaint Square in Fussen, GermanyQuaint Square in Fussen, Germany

 

Our 1.5 hour hike started along the shores of the teal blue River Lech, across the river from St. Mang’s Basilica. Looking back, I am so glad we found the hike in, it was a wonderful way to approach the castles (Neuschwanstein and Hohen­schwangau - where King Ludwig II spent his summers as a child. Admission to Hohenschwangau is not included in Castles Pass). The trailhead had a sign indicating the name of the Castle, and started behind a small wooden shed that looked like a small church. The trail was well-signed when we used it, indicating the necessary turns towards the Castles. The trail started uphill, then opened up to a walk alongside ponds and into grasslands, which we imagined King Ludwig must have wandered through as a child. From the trail, we caught our first glimpse of the two castles in the distance, back dropped against a forested mountain, very much a fairy tale view.

St. Mang's Basilica on the shores of the teal blue River Lech, across the street from trailhead to Castles

St. Mang's Basilica on the shores of the teal blue River Lech, across the street from  our trailhead to the Castles

 

Castle in the Mountains, Approaching Neuschwanstein from the trail,

Castle in the Mountains, Approaching Neuschwanstein from the trail, Fussen, Germany

 

As soon as we got to the foot of Neuschwanstein Castle, all that changed. It was a very tourist friendly place, catering to many many sightseers.  Neuschwantein Castle, also known as the castle that inspired the Disney castle, is a very popular place to visit. It is a beautiful castle inside; the tour shows the completed rooms (the castle was only 30% completed when King Ludwig passed away). It was different from other castles we had seen. We saw the king's sleeping chambers where he was ultimately arrested, the indoor grotto, the singing room and the reception area of the castle. It was a very busy destination with many other onlookers and I was not so sure I wanted to visit, but all in all, I am glad we made the trip.

Neuschwanstein Castle Up Close, near Fussen, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle Up Close, near Fussen, Germany

 

Be sure to reserve castle tickets prior to arriving. I reserved mine online about 2 weeks prior and still did not get my requested time (We went in July). Neuschwanstein Castle is included in the 14 day Bavaria Castles Pass, but if reserved online, you will need to pay 1.80 EU reservation fee per person (make sure you note that you have the Castles Pass online, and bring it with you to show at Will-Call). It was well worth it for us, as we had no wait to get the tickets. From the Ticket Center, there is about 45 minute hike uphill to the Castle. My boys opted for the bus shuttle to take us there, which I regretted almost immediately. The lines to get on the packed bus were long, and it took about 20 minutes before we boarded the bus to make the 10 minute drive to the top. (Bus tickets can be purchased on site at 2 EU per adult). The other option for going up to the castle is a horse drawn carriage. We took the horse ride down the hill (about 2 EU per person), at half the cost of going uphill. The silver lining to the many tourists that visit the area, is the many little restaurants, ice cream and souvenir stores available.

Neuschwanstein Castle, View from Marienbrucke

Neuschwanstein Castle, Famous view from Marienbrucke

 

The one advantage to taking the bus shuttle up is that it lets out at Marienbrucke – the bridge that affords the famous views of Neuschwanstein Castle. The bridge is normally a 15 minute ­uphill walk from Neuschwantein. Marienbrucke closes from time to time, so check its schedule.

From Munich Central Station (Hauptbanhof), we took the 9:03 am direct train to Füssen. Go early to get a seat, it was a standing room only train. Neuschwanstein is a very popular tour group destination. If you leave from Munich’s Pasing station, you can catch the 9am train, which a very kind local woman tells me is less crowded. However, it is not a direct train.

 

Warning: The safety of these adventures are dependent on a variety of factors including but not limited to: terrain, weather, wildlife, hiker skill level, human error, and other foreseen and unforeseen circumstances. Although care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information provided at the time of publication, we do not assume any liability for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided.  As such, we will not be held responsible for any harm, injury, and/or loss that may result. Your personal judgement on the safety of each adventure is required at all times. Please use your own discretion and be safe.

 

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