Flanked by some of Europe’s most famous castles and nestled at the base of the Alps, Fussen, Germany is no stranger to tourists — or Disney animators. Neuschwanstein inspired Walt Disney to create Magic Kingdom after all. However, Fussen’s hiking trails are mysteriously — and surprisingly — overlooked. The trails coil around the idyllic mountainside, traversing over babbling creeks and the famous Lech Gorge. It’s a landscape that’s fit for royalty (and probably explains why King Ludwig II loved the area to begin with).
A Storybook Setting
Lechfall, or Lech Waterfall, is one of the not-so-hidden treasures of Fussen. Located just outside town toward Tirol, the staircase waterfall is actually part of the much larger Lechweg Trail, which runs through two countries. The smaller, more manageable Lechfall hike overlooks the Lech Gorge, giving hikers plenty of photo opportunities along the way. Visitors that want to stay close to the sites, but still far enough away from the hoards of tourists will adore the charming inns scattered throughout the area, too.
Historians have come to identify King Ludwig II as the “fairytale king” largely due to Neuschwanstein Castle. Although he did not live to see its completion, Neuschwanstein is a testament to the King’s dreamy personality and his infatuation with medieval legends. In fact, it's just a stone’s throw away from the castle he grew up in, Hohenschwangau. You can see both incredible structures without dropping any dough or standing in the long tour lines with a hike around Lake Alpsee. For a more strenuous trip, grab a map from one of the local shops and follow one of the many marked trails surrounding Neuschwanstein.
The tree-top trail in Ziegelwies Fussen Forest Center is far from your average, run-of-the-mill hike. The wooden path rises 65 feet above the forest floor, guaranteeing explorers of all skill levels breathtaking views of the green canopy below and the mountains ahead. The four euro fee could very well be the best deal on your jaunt across Europe.