Nature, Activity, Recreation: Romanticism in Germany – Towns and cities in the Allgaeu


Allgäu Marketing GmbH
Allgäuer Straße 1
87435 Kempten
Tel: +49 (0)8321 8004-569
Fax +49 (0)8321 8004-469
[email protected]


The Allgäu in the south of Germany has excellent transport links. The region is easily accessible from the rest of Germany by rail and on the Allgäu Express from Munich. Visitors can travel to the region by air via Munich, Ulm and Friedrichshafen airports, which have flights anything from once a week to several times a day from all major German cities. The Allgäu is also easily accessible by car.

Towns in the Allgäu- amidst Germany’s highest peaks

The countryside of the Allgäu region in south-west Bavaria is dominated by the majestic Alps, the highest mountains within Europe, and numerous lakes. From east to west, the Allgäu includes parts of the Ammergebirge mountains, the Allgäu Alps and Bregenz Forest. The ten highest peaks of the Allgäu Alps – all around 2,600 metres high – are situated around Oberstdorf. The landscape of the region is dominated by hills, forests, meadows and lakes and dotted with romantic little towns, often dating back to the Middle Ages, and idyllic villages with churches with pointed steeples and typical houses with exteriors clad in wooden shingles. The Allgäu is also famous around the world for its typical Alpine picture postcard views.

Neuschwanstein Castle – a fairytale come true
No trip to the Allgäu would be complete without a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle. Sitting in splendour overlooking Pöllat gorge in the district of Schwangau near Füssen, Neuschwanstein Castle is considered the epitome of a fairytale castle. One of the most famous of the castles built by the legendary King Ludwig II of Bavaria, it is one of the bestknown tourist attractions in Germany. The fairytale castle in Walt Disney’s Cinderella was based on it. Its architecture and interior furnishings are a prime example of the romantic historicism of the 19th century. Close by is Hohenschwangau Castle, which is equal to Neuschwanstein Castle in terms of its splendour. Ludwig’s father, Crown Prince Maximilian of Bavaria, had the ruins of this castle restored in the neo-Gothic style in 1832 – 1836. This is where Kind Ludwig II spent his youth. In the valley directly below the castle, are an idyllic Alpine lake and Schwansee park, which was originally part of the castle estate and is now a conservation area.

Kempten – it all began with the Romans
Kempten, the largest town in the Allgäu, is one of the oldest towns in Germany. It has a history stretching back 2,000 years to Roman times. In those days, the town was known as Cambodunum. You can visit the historical remains of the original town in an archaeological park. This Roman heritage still lends the town a mediterranean feel in the summer. On mild evenings, the Rathausplatz square is reminiscent of an Italian piazza. The magnificent Residence in Kempten was founded as a Benedictine abbey in around 750 and destroyed in the Thirty Years’ War. Prince abbot Roman Giel von Gielsberg had the church and palace rebuilt from 1652 onwards to create the first monumental rococo monastery complex in Germany.

Urban gems in the Allgäu – small but steeped in history
A tour of the Allgäu will take you to a number of fascinating small towns with historic centres such as Memmingen, Kaufbeuren and Wangen. The first declarations of human rights in the Twelve Articles of the Black Forest were read out in 1525 in Memmingen. Today, a number of other buildings such as the Parishaus and Hermansbau, an 18th century baroque building, still bear witness to the wealth of merchants at this time. Also not to be missed is the Siebendächerhaus (house with seven roofs), which was once used by tanners as a place to dry their animal furs and hides. With its historic old quarter with four mighty towers, town walls and Fünfknopfturm tower, Kaufbeuren is also well worth a visit. Other attractions include the Church of St. Blasius with its Jörg Lederer altar and St. Martin’s Church.

An animal spectacular
Autumn is a great time of year to visit the Allgäu as it is the time of the Viehscheid cattle drive. In the summer, the cattle and their young are kept up in the mountain pastures. In the autumn, around 30,000 animals are brought back down into the valleys from the mountain meadows – led by the decorated head cow – and handed back to their owners on Scheidplatz square. The Viehscheid cattle drive is a centuries-old tradition that is celebrated in the valley with brass bands and a fair.

The home of Allgäu mountain cheese
Allgäu mountain cheese is popular all over the world. The long cheese-maturing process in the Allgäu is due to the nature of the landscape. With long winters and short vegetation periods as well as a lack of arable land, the Alpine region only allows for grassland farming. For this reason, it is mainly cattle and dairy farming that have been carried out here right up to the present day. Another delicious regional speciality that you’ll find on nearly every German restaurant’s menu is käsespätzle (cheese noodles). Other typical treats including Bavarian sauerkraut crullers and mostküchle (apple dumplings) are almost exclusively available in the Allgäu. The Allgäu also has a long tradition of beer brewing. There a number of small, old-established private breweries whose produce is only available for sale in the region.


Tradition and history

  • Ottobeuren abbey and basilica
  • Irsee Abbey
  • Swabian farm museum in Illerbeuren
  • Viehscheid cattle drive: when a total of 30,000 cattle are brought down from the mountain pastures in the second half of September in various places around the Allgäu
  • Alemannic carnival
  • Holy Blood Festival in Bad Wurzach: the second-largest procession of riders in central Europe

Hospitality and gastronomy

  • Lower Allgäu, the area with the most rivers and streams in the Allgäu with many trout farms
  • West Allgäu Cheese Route
  • 16 recognised health resorts and 49 “Wellvital” hotels
  • Wellness in the Allgäu: hay treatments and beer baths

Romanticism and charm

  • Weddings on Nebelhorn mountain (at 2,200 metres), at Kronburg Castle or at the farm museum in Illerbeuren
  • Romantic Road
  • Kempten Spring Jazz Festival
  • Concerts at Neuschwanstein Castle

Countryside and scenery

  • Breitachklamm gorge, the deepest rocky gorge in Europe
  • Starzlachklamm gorge
  • Allgäu High Alps nature conservation area (Bad Hindelang and Oberstdorf mountains with golden eagles)
  • Gottesacker Plateau on Mount Hoher Ifen: extensive karst landscape at an altitude of 2,220 metres