The romantic old town of Füssen

town hall in Füssenformer Monestary St Mang in the old town of Füssencity centre of Füssensouthern end of the Romantic Road in Füssen

The over 700-year-old town of Füssen, at the southern end of the Romantic Road and in the heart of one of the finest holiday regions in the entire Alps, is in ever greater demand as a destination for a weekend break or a cities tour.

The attractive location of the town on the edge of the Alps never fails to captivate visitors: framed by the imposing high mountain peaks and an idyllic lake landscape, 800-1200 m above sea level, making it the town in Bavaria at the highest altitude, the ideal starting-point for trips to the royal castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau, only 4 km away, or the Wies Church, 29 km.

As if drawn by an artist's hand, Füssen's historical Old Town towers over the banks of the River Lech. Different historical epochs meet here in a harmonious ensemble, its unique ambience inviting you to go on a journey of discovery into the past or take a leisurely look around the shops. Over the labyrinth of medieval lanes rises, as a landmark, the High Palace, the former summer residence of the Lord Bishops of Augsburg and one of the largest and best preserved late-gothic castle complexes in Swabia. What used to be the bishops' living rooms today houses a branch of the State Collection of Paintings, with their emphasis on late gothic and Renaissance works of art from the Allgäu-Swabian and Franconian regions. In the palace courtyard, the façades are adorned with impressive, 500-year-old trompe-l'œils, which delude the viewer into believing that the oriels, window frames and embossing on the corners are genuine.

Below the High Palace is the magnificent baroque complex of the former St Mang's Benedictine Monastery, whose history goes back to the 8th century. Beside the basilica, the largest and most impressive of the numerous baroque churches in Füssen's Old Town, which can boast Bavaria's oldest preserved fresco (around 980, Reichenau School) in its medieval eastern crypt, the Füssen Heritage Museum inside the monastery grounds is well worth a visit. The richly decorated baroque rooms give us some idea of the former wealth of this Benedictine foundation. In the Anna Chapel, accessible through the museum, the Füssen Death Dance, the oldest death dance cycle still preserved in Bavaria, is on view. The museum's own collection of valuable historical lutes and violins recalls Füssen's position as the cradle of lute-making in Europe, where in the 16th century the first European lute-makers' guild was founded.

Regular conducted tours of the town, museum and churches as well as special tours for groups are offered throughout the year. High-spirited festivals against a historical backdrop, culture outdoors on the old market places or in the courtyards and the Christmas Market during Advent lend a very special magic to Füssen's Old Town.

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