Big Cities, Parks, and Fairy Tales: Traveling Through Hessen
Situated in west-central Germany, the Hessen district has many UNESCO World Heritage sites, incredible natural wonders, and exciting big cities to explore.
Travelers should consider renting a holiday home in Hessen to better appreciate this hilly & historic region.
The biggest and most important city to visit while in Hessen is Frankfurt, which has become one of the EU’s most prosperous banking cities. But it isn’t all business in this dynamic city. You can still get a sense of Frankfurt’s past on a stroll through the historic center of the city. Here you’ll find many well-preserved buildings, some of which date back as far as the 14th century.
One popular tourist attraction in Frankfurt is called the Kaiserdom. Completed in the 14th century, this glorious Gothic cathedral was once of central importance to the Holy Roman Empire. Once you get to the Kaiserdom, climb to the top of the tower to enjoy panoramic views of Frankfurt. After you’re done touring the Kaiserdom, be sure to visit a few other Frankfurt gems include the Palmengarten, Staedel Museum, and the Senckenberg Natural History Museum.
Are you enchanted by German fairy tales? If so, then you must plan a visit to the cities of Hanau and Kassel while in Hessen. These two cities have deep connections with the famed academics who preserved dozens of iconic German fairy tales: the Brothers Grimm.
Both Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were born in Hanau in the 1780s, so it’s no surprise Hanau holds a huge Brothers Grimm Festival every year. Usually this festival takes place between June and August, so try your best to book your trip during this timeframe. If you’re not in Hanau during the festival time, then you could still visit the town’s Brothers Grimm Statue and the old Wilhelmsbad spa.
By contrast with Hanau, Kassel is much larger and has many exciting year-round attractions. The most famous attraction in Kassel is the UNESCO-recognized Bergpark Wilhelmshöe. This 550-plus acre mountainside park is one of the largest in Europe and is full of beautiful Greek and Roman statuary. Although there are impressive works of art housed in this park’s palace, the Bergpark Wilhenmshöe mainly attracts visitors who are interested in admiring the site’s waterfall.
Before leaving Kassel, be sure to make a stop at other exciting attractions like the Karlsaue State Park, the “Lion’s Castle,” and the Louis Spohr Museum. For those who want to learn about the Brothers Grimm’s time here, definitely schedule a tour of the Grimmwelt Kassel museum.
Wiesbaden, which serves as the capital of Hessen, is another beautiful city to explore in the region. Since Roman times, Wiesbaden has been praised for its soothing thermal pools. Amazingly, many of those ancient hot springs continue to welcome international tourists. Besides relaxing in Wiesbaden’s spa houses, be sure to visit this city’s many impressive parks, churches, and theatres.
A few fantastic Wiesbaden sites include the Hessisches Staatstheater, the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Elizabeth, and the Nerotal Park.
Just so you know, many people touring Wiesbaden plan a day-trip to the nearby historic city of Mainz. The most beloved attraction in this city is the Dom St. Martin, which is considered one of the oldest cathedrals in Germany. Other wonderful attractions in Mainz include the Gutenberg Museum, the Museum for Ancient Sea Travel, and St. Stephen’s Church.
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