It is located on the banks of the Lech river. The River Lech flows into the Forggensee. Füssen's coat of arm shows a triskelion (three legs). It is a sister city to Helen, Georgia (USA).
It had been a settlement in Roman times on the Via Claudia Augusta, a road that leads southwards to northern Italy and northwards to the former regional capital of the Roman province called Raetia, the capital of which was Augusta Vindelicum today's Augsburg. The original name of Füssen was "Foetes", or "Foetibus", which derives from Latin "Fauces", meaning "gorge", probably referring to the Lech gorge. In Late Antiquity Fuessen was the home of a part of the Legio III Italica, which was stationed there to guard the important trade route over the Alps.
The "Hohes Schloss" (High Castle), the former summer residence of the prince bishops of Augsburg and one of Bavaria's largest and best preserved late Gothic castle complexes, is Füssen's landmark. Today the castle houses a branch gallery of the Bavarian State Collections of Paintings, which focuses on late Gothic and Renaissance works of art. Below the Hohes Schloss is the Baroque complex of the former Benedictine monastery of St. Mang, whose history goes back to the 9th century.
Fuessen is the highest town of Bavaria (808 m above sea level). The famous castles of Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau are located near the town; travellers by rail change on to buses 73/78 at Füssen railway station. Richard Wagner the famous German composer, used to come to Fuessen by rail when he visited King Ludwig II. The town is also familiar to travellers as the terminus of the Romantic road. Steve McQueen's motorcycle stunts and many other scenes in The Great Escape were filmed in and around the town. During World War II, a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located in the town.