Schwangau has no railway station, but is served by buses connecting to Füssen, Hohenschwangau, and other nearby Alpine towns. It is the next-to-last town on the Romantic Road tourist route that terminates in Füssen.
A castrum Swangowe is attested in 1090. It was situated on the site of Neuschwanstein Castle and was owned by the Elder House of Welf. After the death of Welf VI in 1191, it fell to the Staufer dynasty, and in 1268 to the empire. The modern coat of arms is based on the one shown in the Codex Manesse as that of Hiltpolt of Schwangau (d. 1256), gules, a swan argent.