There’s more to do around the Bavarian town of Füssen than just checking out castles.
Sure, the elegant piles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are more than enough reason to make the trip down from Munich.
But they’re just a couple of cherries on one very big scenic cake.
How about following in my footsteps by exploring the magnificent Alps behind the castles?
I recommend hiking the Tegelberg (Mount Tegel).
You don’t have to be an iron man to get to the top and the scenery is superlative.
And if you don’t want to strain your poor calves at all, you can always get the ski-lift to the top of the mountain!
Make your way to the Marienbrücke (St Mary’s Bridge).
This is where to go for those quintessential postcard views of Neuschwanstein Castle, rising like a dream before a stunning landscape of lakes and countryside.
The bridge is an engineering mini-marvel in itself, having been built in 1866 suspended 100m (300ft) above the Pollat George.
Once you’ve got your pics, go back to the little landing area and turn left.
There’s quite a long, flat stretch along a country road before the track starts to ascend.
It’s pretty hard to get lost, just follow the signs directing you to Tegelberg or Tegelbergbahn and don’t stray off the track.
There’s a chance to see wildlife, especially deer, which romp around the slopes somehow without a care of plummeting off a cliff.
The track isn’t especially steep but it is quite narrow in parts so I’d recommend strapping on a good pair of hiking boots.
Between October and May there’s a good chance you’ll encounter snow on the higher trails.
It can turn parts of the track into sludge and make things quite slippery when the snow is melting.
I wouldn’t recommend hiking when it’s too cold (i.e. November to March) anyway.
It’s about 2kms (1.2mi) from the bus stop to St Mary’s Bridge. From there it’s another 6km (3.7mi) to the top of the Tegelberg.
You’ll go from a height of 830m above sea level at the car park up to about 1700m at the station near the summit.
The walk up takes about 3.5 hours at an even pace.
What’s at the top?
There’s a station with a restaurant and another little Alpine hut out the back.
Reward yourself with something nice after the long hike. I had a burger and fries – simple I know, but it was nonetheless the most rewarding meal I’d had all year!
Next to the station there’s a platform with sweeping views over the town of Füssen and a few lakes including the immense Forggensee (Lake Forggen).
The platform is also a popular launch pad for hanggliders and paragliders.
After taking a break at the station you can continue up to the summit.
It’s another couple of hundred metres past the station at 1,881m above sea level.
You can easily see it from the viewing platform.
I didn’t bother with this myself as it was already late enough in the day and my legs had had it.
If you don’t want to walk down the mountain there’s a ski-lift to take you all the way to another car park at the bottom. It costs €10 one way and presumably €20 for a return ticket.
Walking both up and down the mountain in one day would be a truly monumental undertaking, methinks.
From the base of the 'berg you can get a bus back into Füssen, and perhaps a nice, warm bath.
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