We hopped in the car, after a lazy, drawn-out breakfast at the village café, and wended our way from the Swiss border through the Austrian Tirol to Füssen, Germany. Füssen may be known to you because it is the location of King Ludwig’s Disneyesque castle, Neuschwanstein. It’s a touristy place, but for good reason – it’s a magical setting right at the foot of the Alps, and in winter it looks like the setting of a storybook. In fact, it probably is the setting of a storybook... Well, that’s certainly how it felt looking at the majestic castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau from the vantage point of a rooftop spa across a snowy field (so much better than fighting off the crowds of Japanese and American tourists that swarm the castle grounds).
I’ve written about German thermal spas before. They take a bit of getting used to – the co-ed nudity and the slightly torturous Aufguss practices – but once you embrace it, it’s a wonderful thing. In fact, while we were relaxing, first in a sauna with a panoramic view of the mountains and the castles, and then later in a rooftop healing pool with the sun slowing setting in the background and the mountains glowing with soft evening light, my friend Melissa sighed in extreme contentment and expressed what we were all feeling: life in Munich is amazing, mostly because we have places like this practically on our doorstep. In fact, my brain immediately jumped ahead to how I could stop off at this spa regularly on my way home from skiing… It’s totally doable, right? I could leave the ski resort at like 4PM, and then an hour later I’d be at the spa, two hours of saunas and soaking, and then on my way back to Munich. I think this is my new winter ski agenda. Oh, and we even found a great little roadside Italian restaurant on the drive back between Füssen and Munich. This is just sounding better and better, isn’t it?
The Königliche Kristall-Therme in Füssen (actually, it’s in Schwangau, but that’s practically the same thing) has now moved up to first place on my list of favorite German thermal spas. It’s smaller than Therme Erding, but still has a wide variety of saunas and pools. And the location couldn’t be better. I reiterate… views of snow-capped mountains, snowy fields, and magical castles. In fact, a really great day trip from Munich would be to combine a day exploring the castles with a visit to the spa. Oh, and one of my little tricks for Neuschwanstein is that it’s actually a cool place to visit after dark, when the castle is closed and all the tourists have gone home. You can still hike up the trail to the castle and see it from the outside (which is way better than the inside anyway – a lot of people actually express disappointment about the inside, because the castle was never finished and only a few rooms can be visited). But make sure to bring a flashlight, as the path is not lit up and you're going to need to exercise vigilance to avoid stepping in any of the steaming piles of shit, which happen to be everywhere, as during opening hours horse-drawn carriages carry passengers up to the castle. As always, you can rely on me for practical tips like that. That's what I'm here for!
Open daily 9AM to 10PM, Fridays and Saturdays until 11PM
Thermal Bath + Sauna (you want to choose this option because the sauna zone is the best part of the complex)
2 Hours: 15.50 Euros
4 Hours: 21.90 Euros
Day Pass: 27.10 Euros
Discounts for children and students under 16 year old.