Unfortunately, it’s not as impressive as it sounds. On arrival at our latest destination in the small German town of Füssen, Austria was in fact less than an hour’s walk away. So naturally, we checked in to our little apartment we’d be calling home for the next five days, and headed out on an evening wander to a neighbouring country.
The walk itself led us out through the sleepy little Bavarian town of Füssen, a place which featured heavily in the 1963 film The Great Escape, starring Steve McQueen. The town itself is just bursting with character. It has the most charming houses, an array of both souvenir and traditional shops, and is a hop and a skip away from some of the most dramatic and breathtaking mountains you could possibly imagine.
We weren’t in a hurry to leave the beautiful old town, but the Austrian border was a mere 2.4km away and as we’d just flown in from Madrid that morning, we could then say we’d been to three countries in one day. Nice.
Heading south, we followed the road out to Lechfall, a man-made waterfall cascading beneath a bridge. This made a good vantage point for some scenic photos of the emerald River Lech. I was keen to make the scramble down the bank to the stony beach below for some photos of a lonely swan, so we did – and after a while, followed a deer trail along the bank to join with the path marked Ländeweg on Google Maps (see here to plan your route or check out the map below).
This path led us along a quiet woodland trail, right to the Austrian border – where a small hut still stands just metres from where the border crossing (Grenzübergang) is marked. Amazingly, most of the crisp, brown leaves were still clinging fiercely to their branches as if we were still in the grasp of autumn. It was like winter had entirely missed this tree-studded area.
There is also a higher, better-marked path that you can take called Schwärzerweg, and this will still bring you to the border. However, from the lower path that we took you can still access the river easily. Thanks to this, our little jaunt past the Austrian border led us to a concrete bridge just slightly further along, and from here we watched the sun slide down behind the mountains in a new country.
The path is decently sign posted, regardless of whether you take the high route or the low route. As it was dark, we got a bit lost on the way back, and we missed the signposted turnoff back onto the main (and well-lit) road into town. The scramble back over the leafy inclines and declines in the fast-approaching night, however, was actually good fun – and we made it back into town just as the sky opened up and kindly offered us a little refreshment.
Our walk was a cracking end to a long day’s travel. If you’re ever in Füssen, be sure to wander along this beautiful forest track and cross over the border into Austria.
Also, if you’ve spent longer than us in Austria, we’d love to hear from you and what you got up to!