Via Claudia Augusta: Part 2 Landsberg am Lech to Füssen

Published on:  | Last updated: 24 April 2017

Cyclists on the Via Claudia near the Forggensee

Cyclists on the Via Claudia near the Forggensee

At a glance

Distance

74 kilometres

Difficulty/​terrain

Easy, although the terrain gets a bit more hilly as you approach the Forggensee.

Traffic

Predominantly on traffic-free cycleways.

Surfaces

Mainly on surfaced roads or cycleways. Note that there is a stretch of unsur­faced cycleway near Roßhaupten and the Forggensee.

The Via Claudia near Roßhaupten looking towards the Forggensee

The Via Claudia near Roßhaupten looking towards the Forggensee

Overview

In this section you are now getting closer to the Alps, and the views of the mountains open up. The wheat­fields give way to alpine meadows and lakes.The main highlights are the beautiful Forggensee (lake) and the town of Füssen on the border with Austria.

Options

The Via Claudia connects with the Forggensee Runde, which, as you've probably guessed is a cycle route round the Forggensee lake. The Via Claudia heads for Füssen on the western side of the lake, but you can also follow the Forggensee Runde down the eastern side via Schwangau.

Map and altitude profile

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Distances

Distances
Landsberg am Lech - Lechbruck am See 53 kms
Lechbruck am See - Füssen 21 kms
View of the Forggensee from Ulli's cafe

View of the Forggensee from Ulli's Cafe

Route description

Epfach

If you've been thinking 'so what about the Roman road?' now's your moment. As you come into Epfach look out on your right-hand side for a stretch of the old road. This is one of only two sections that are visible.

Epfach was the old Roman colony of Abodiacum built at the junction between the Via Claudia and the road between Bregenz and Salzburg. Its most famous son is Claudius Paternus Clementianus who rose to become a high-ranking official in the roman empire (among other post he was governor of Sardegna). There's also a museum in Epfach.

Lechbruck Am See

The Via Claudia continues south from Epfach, through the outskirts of Schongau, to Lechbruck am See on the Lechsee. The Lechsee is beautiful, but a little bit upstaged by the larger Forggensee a little further on. Both lakes are man-made —the result of the damming of the Lech in 1954. The Forggensee is used as a giant reservoir to regulate the flow to the downstream hydro-electric dams. According to Wikipedia (de.wikipedia.org), when the water is low you can see a stretch of the old road. Picture:   A section of the Via Claudia across the Forggensee. (Photo source: Wikimedia Commons).

Look out for the Via Claudia Augusta Kunst Park as you come out onto the road near Roßhaupten.

Via Claudia Kunst Park near Roßhaupten - Römer und Kelten by Josef Walk

Via Claudia Kunst Park near Roßhaupten - Römer und Kelten by Josef Walk

Schloss Neuschwanstein and Schloss Hohenschwangau

Most tourists coming to Füssen are coming to see the Schloss Neuschwanstein (Neuschwanstein Castle) and the nearby Schloss Hohenschwangau (Hohenschwangau castle).

The castles were two of the pet projects of King Ludwig of Bavaria and were financed by the king personally, but in doing so he ran up huge debts and eventually provoked a sovereign debt crisis in which his ministers plotted to have him declared insane and ended with his death in mysterious circum­stances. For more about the castles see: en.wikipedia.org: Neuschwanstein Castle and en.wikipedia.org: Hohenschwangau Castle.

The Schloss Neuschwanstein near Schwangau. Photo by Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons

Visiting the castles

The castle receives 1.4 million visitors a year and in summer there are 6,000 a day. You can only buy tickets from the ticket office on the day. You can reserve tickets online at hohenschwangau.de, but you need to reserve the day before, if not before.

The castles are about 5 kilometres off the Via Claudia route (the D9 cycle route passes closer). My advice would be that if you want to see the castles it means staying a couple of nights in Füssen or around the Forggensee. While you're in the area you might also do the Forggensee Runde which (as you've probably already guessed) goes round the Forggensee.

I decided that I would give the castles a miss. As the song goes, it was just too darn hot.

Füssen: Franziskanergasse

Füssen: Franziskanergasse

Füssen

Füssen is very pretty , but very touristy, and there are parts that are teetering on tacky. The VCA route bypasses the city centre which is mainly a pedes­trian-only zone . I think it is worth a short detour - even if you have to push your bike through the pedes­trian zone. To my mind the nicest parts were off the main drag and towards the the Kloster Sankt Mang (en.wikipedia.org: Sankt Mang Abbey Füssen) on the southern side of the city centre. As well as the Kloster itself there's the richly decorated Heilig Geist Spitalkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost).

Füssen: Heilig-Geist- Spitalkirche

Füssen: Heilig-Geist- Spitalkirche

I don't have any regrets about missing the castles but I am kicking myself for missing the Füssener Totentanz in the Annakapelle. The totentanz is a danse macabre (dance of death): the theme is that death comes to everyone and the series of painting starts with depic­tions of Death coming for the Pope and for the King and ends with  Death coming for the painter himself).

Coming out of Füssen don't miss the Lechfall a man-made waterfall built at the end of the 18th century. There's a viewing platform, and a footbridge over the falls.

The Lechfall at Füssen

The Lechfall at Füssen. Photo source Wikimedia Commons

More information

Places to stay

Hotels and B&Bs etc

fuessen.de: Radgastgeber. A listing of hotels etc that are certified bike-friendly under the ADFC's Bett und Bike scheme. You can also use the Bett und Bike search page to generate pdf lists of accom­mod­ation or lists of gps waypoints.

In Rieden am Forggensee there's the Radlerhof am Forggensee

Hostels

There are two hostels in Füssen: the Jugendherberge Füssen and the independent Old Kings Füssen Design Hostel.

  Hostels map:  VCA-FT-hostels-mapshow map in overlay    |  VCA-FT-hostels-map  show map in new window   

Campsites

I stayed at the Via Claudia Camping on the Lechsee. It's a nice site with places for tents overlooking the lake. There are a also couple of sites on the route on the shore of the Forggensee: the Campingplatz Seewang and the Camping Magdalena. There are another three campsites on the other side of the lake around Schwangau, which would be worth consid­ering if you plan on visiting the castles or spending more time in Füssen.

  Campsites map:  VCA-FT-campsites-mapshow map in overlay    |  VCA-FT-campsites-map  show map in new window   

Transport and services

Bike shops on this section of the route

If you know of other bike shops, or you spot a mistake, please let me know.

Cyclists riding past the Radlerhof am Forggensee

Cyclists riding past the Radlerhof am Forggensee

Transport connections

South of Landsberg there are only two train stations: at Schongau and Füssen.

Resources

Tourist information sites

Cycling sites

Restaurant sign: Apfelstrudel Vanille eis ('Truck Stop' near Denklingen)

Restaurant sign: Apfelstrudel Vanille eis ('Truck Stop' near Denklingen)

Articles in this series

Get in touch

Please get in touch if you find any errors in the information, or if there’s anything, good or bad, that you’d want other cyclists to know.


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