The third part of our 16 day road trip through Germany took us to Füssen (read part 1 and part 2 of our road trip), the end-point of the Romantic Road and the location of Germany’s most famous castle, Neuschwanstein (which you might know as the Disney castle). We decided to relax a bit here so spent 3 nights at the Ameron Resort & Spa. I’m so happy we did because after a week of constantly moving around (we never spent more than 2 nights in one place), it was nice to move at a slower pace for a few days. And honestly, Füssen was so beautiful that 3 nights and 3 full days didn’t feel like long enough!
The drive into Füssen was stunningly beautiful, and as we approached the hotel we saw Neuschwanstein castle perched atop a mountain, with taller snow-covered alps in the background, fields of grazing cows all around us, and the jingle of cow bells in the cool air. It was magical!
The Ameron Resort & Spa is situated right on Lake Alpsee, flanked by two royal castles on either side, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein. It truly couldn’t be better located. Our room had a beautiful view of the lake, with a patio and lounge chairs we would bring out onto the lawn to bathe in the afternoon sun, and watch the sun rise over the alps in the mornings. There is a gorgeous walking trail around the Alpsee that takes approximately one hour and thirty minutes. We did this one afternoon and were stunned by the beauty. The lake was crystal clear, with all different shades of vibrant blues and greens.
There aren’t too many restaurants around but we really enjoyed the different dining options offered at the hotel and had wonderful meals. We had a lovely lunch one day of flammkuchen (German style pizza, so good!) and glühwein on one of their restaurant terraces that overlooks the Alpsee. My favourite meal was for sure the night we had cheese fondue, which itself was amazing but so was the atmosphere, in a very authentic Bavarian lodge-style setting.
There is so much hiking around the hotel as well. Of course the most famous hike takes you up to see Neuschwanstein Castle. This is an easy up-hill hike from the hotel, about 40 minutes on a clearly marked trail. Make sure you go to Marienbrücke (aka Mary’s Bridge), a suspension bridge that offers an amazing view of the castle. I have heard that in non-pandemic times, this hike and bridge is packed with tourists so make sure to go first thing in the morning. That’s what we did and we were the only ones on the bridge, although we were travelling at a time when there aren’t many foreign tourists in Germany. If you cross the bridge and continue on, there is a narrow trail that leads you higher up to another view of the castle that is worth checking out as well. We got tickets to see the inside of the castle, which I would highly recommend as the interiors are beautifully ornate and you learn so much about its history and the “swan prince” who built it.
The hiking is what really draws people to Füssen, and a more serious hike should not be missed. When I say serious I don’t mean in difficulty, but rather spending a serious amount of time hiking through the alps (a half day or full day). There are many hikes of varying levels of difficulty so you can pick and choose which one suits you best. We chose to do an approximately 6 hour hike that started at the top of the gondola and wound its way down the mountain back to our hotel, with a stop at an Alpine lodge halfway for lunch. It didn’t have a name but we asked the hotel reception for a hiking map and chose the route. There is a bus you can take from the hotel to the gondola but we decided to walk (about 40 minutes) and I am so happy we did. We passed by fields of cows in the early morning light, with fresh frost on the ground and those sweet cow bells jingling all around us. We also got really lucky with weather because while we were there it was sunny skies, and just before it had snowed up in the alps. When we stepped out of the gondola we entered into winter wonderland. I was giddy and in awe. Zane and I both agreed this was one of the most beautiful day hikes we have ever done, maybe the most beautiful. It was incredible going from winter to autumn as we slowly made our way down, and we had an amazing lunch halfway at the lodge of homemade goulash and beer.
It’s hard to describe just how beautiful Füssen is, but hopefully these pictures help to give a little bit better of an idea. Our time there was unforgettable, and the natural beauty was rejuvenating and inspiring.