Pinswang is a picturesque historic Alpine village in the Austrian Ausserfern region of the northern Tirol. It lies on the border with the Allgäu region of Bavaria Germany.
Pinswang is a quiet, lovely village located in the northern-most region of the Austrian Tirol known as the Ausserfern. With a population of around 430, Pinswang sits in a lush verdant Alpine valley mid-way between two major marketing towns; Reutte, located about 5 miles to the south in Austria and Füssen lying about the same distance to the northeast in Germany. Pinswang is divided into two sections, Oberpinswang and Unterpinswang. The village government, school and Church are located in Unterpinswang.
Pinswang is one of the most ancient settlements of the Ausserfern. Extensive archeological exploration by scientists from the University of Innsbruck has revealed evidence that Pinswang was inhabited as early as 1700 BC. It is also known that Pinswang was home to Celts at around 200 BC. Later, the Romans, in their march to the North, eventually reached Pinswang, and used the surrounding mountains as a stone quarry. Their Via Claudia Augustus, better known as the "Roman Road", is still used today in Pinswang as a path for pilgrims to the Ulrichskirche, the way leading to the Schloß im Loch fortification and Celtic excavation site, the starting point to the mountain route to King Ludwig's nearby castles, and as the path for visitors strolling around the town.
Written records describing Pinswang date back to the 11th century. During the Middle Ages, Pinswang functioned as a strategic control point on the border between the Tirol and Bavaria. This is evidenced by the numerous remains of fortifications that abound in this region. An example of this can be found on the Burgschrofen where one sees what has become known as the Schloß im Loch, a Festung dating from the mid-13th century that was built directly into the face of the mountain. It and the fortress that stood along the nearby Kniepass (built later during the 30 Years War) were the only major fortifications used as outposts of Castle Ehrenberg near Reutte. It is interesting to note that Ehrenberg and the other fortresses in the area were later abandoned and sold by Kaiser Joseph II in 1782.
After changing ownership several times, Pinswang was finally incorporated into the Tirol in 1313. From the 16th 'til as late as the 19th century, Pinswang was also known as a toll station; a waypoint between Austria and Germany. There were two major toll collection points, one at the Weisshaus near Füssen and the bridge over the Lech River, the other on the fortified Kniepass. There were two types of tolls collected; one toll to cross the border and the other to travel along the roads, akin to modern highway tolls.
Pinswang today remains a thriving agrarian community; a wonderful place to use as a base for exploration of the entire Ausserfern and nearby German Allgaü region. Its quiet, warm and quintessentially Tirolean Gemütlichkeit make Pinswang a much-beloved travel destination.
There are two ways to reach Pinswang by rail; either via Austrian Rail (Osterreichisches Bundesbahn – ÖBB)  to the nearby Austrian marketing town of Reutte or via Füssen; a large marketing town located directly across the border in Germany. From Reutte or Füssen, one can easily get to Pinswang via brief car, bus or taxi ride.
From Reutte, head north to Pflach and then over the Kniepass to Pinswang. From Füssen one should travel via route 189, passing the former customs building at Weisshaus on the border with Austria or via Schnellstrasse E99 (also known as Route 7) southwest through the tunnel connecting Germany and Austria. There are a gas station and a rest stop with a restaurant on the Austrian side of the tunnel where you can stop for information about Pinswang. Take the first exit after the tunnel, turn left and cross the highway (what used to be E99 (7) in Germany now turns into Schnellstrasse 79 on the Austrian side of the border) and bridge over the Lech River. Turn immediately right onto the small, winding road running parallel with the Lech River. This will take you into Unterpinswang.
Pinswang is a small enough community such that one can easily explore the village and its environs via bike or walking; a car is not necessary. There are numerous mountain and village trails as well as a country road connecting Unter- and Oberpinswang. You can walk to neighboring Musau by crossing the Lech River via the Ulrichsbrücke. You can also hike to Füssen using several routes. The ancient Roman Road (Via Claudia) runs north-south through Pinswang.
Pinswang is a most popular and inexpensive jumping off point for visits to a host of local sites. Many visitors stay in the inns or rent rooms in local homes (see SLEEP below), and from there visit the castles of Bavarian King Ludwig (Neuschwanstein and Hoheschangau) in Füssen, about a 1 to 1.5 hour walk from Pinswang. Hiking there is a most memorable experience, as you find yourself walking on lovely fairytale forest paths across the border into Germany.
Although there are no souvenir shops in Pinswang, you can purchase books, local folkmusic compact discs, videotapes and other Pinswang-related articles at the Office of the Mayor (Gemeindeamt). It is on the main road running through Pinswang, in the same building housing the town elementary school. You can purchase souvenirs and other items about the Tirol and specifically, the Ausserfern part of the Tirol in nearby Reutte.
Pinswang is the perfect cozy spot to spend one or more restful, quiet evenings. Wake up each morning to a delicious Tirolean breakfast and return that evening after a day filled with adventure. There are a two larger inns, one in Unterpinswang and one in Oberpinswang, offering comfortable beds and delicious breakfasts.
Both inns are very welcoming indeed; favored both by guests and local residents of Pinswang.