"Take me to your bed," croaks the nasty frog. The fact that he is kissed is probably the biggest mistake in the Grimm fairy tale. For the Frog King is saved because the princess throws him against the wall. But who still believes in Prince Charming today? One wonders, and yet there remains a glimmer of hope alongside the doubt.
Even in the digital age, no one has to love toads, be eaten by a bad wolf or poisoned by an envious queen to feel enchanted. No one has to get lost in the dark woods to track down fairy tales. On the German Fairy Tale Road, travellers can safely trace the lives of the two brothers and meet some of the inhabitants of their realm of legends and fairy tales in the flesh.
The route with around 60 stations leads over 600 kilometers from Hanau to Bremen.
Type of route: Holiday route
Themes: Brothers Grimm, fairy tales, sagas, legends
Start / finish: Hanau / Bremen
Length: 540 or 1,040 km depending on the variant
Federal states: Hesse, Thuringia, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Bremen
Holiday regions: Spessart, Vogelsberg, Hessisches Bergland, Waldecker Land , Reinhardswald, Geo-Naturpark Frau-Holle-Land, Eichsfeld, Weser Uplands, Central Weser, Bremen and the surrounding area
The visitors at the foot of the Brothers Grimm National Monument on the market square ask themselves again and again which of the two universal scholars takes which position of the six and a half meter high double statue. Because according to a legend widespread in Hanau, Jacob and Wilhelm secretly swap places at midnight. If you don't want to lie in wait for the "witch's hour": Wilhelm Grimm is sitting, Jacob Grimm is standing.
On the fairy tale path that leads across the city center of Hanau, there are 10 sculptures on selected fairy tale depictions, such as King Thrushbeard, little brother and sister, Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, little table and Puss in Boots.
The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tale Festival takes place annually from May to July / August in the amphitheater adjacent to the Schloss Philippsruhe park. In memory of the Brothers Grimm, sons of the city of Hanau, various fairy tales from their collections are dramatized and staged here.
The father Philipp Wilhelm Grimm, himself born in Steinau in 1751, had been transferred here. Before he had worked in Hanau as court court advocate or city and country clerk and now held the position of landgrave bailiff for the offices of Steinau and Schlüchtern. The town of Steinau an der Straße, as the former seat of the Upper County of Hanau, was equipped with stately architecture and corresponding administrative buildings, and thus became his place of residence from 1791 onwards. The family moved into the office building, which was built in 1562, where rooms for everyday life were available on the ground floor and the father had his office on the upper floor.
Since 1998 a museum has been set up in this historic building, the Brothers Grimm House in Steinau, which deals with the life, work and impact of the Brothers Grimm with its exhibitions. Of course, the focus is on childhood and youth in the region and a special cabinet is dedicated to the graphic work of Ludwig Emil Grimm, but the entire upper floor presents the fairy tale in its European context.
Visit the Alsfeld fairytale house and the dollhouse exhibition. A journey into the world of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and into bygone times of our mothers and grandmothers. Let yourself be enchanted by the exhibits and listen to the fairy tales in an enchanting atmosphere. You should definitely not miss the dollhouse floor!
You should definitely book an evening tour with the night watchman through the alleys of Alsfeld. To spice up the tour, encounters with the executioner or the gravedigger can be booked.
Or take part in the fairy tale tour. On this special old town tour, you will visit fairytale-like places and squares where the city guide will tell you about various Alsfeld fairy tales, legends and sagas in a magnificent robe. The participants of this tour learn why there is a Trillergässchen, what the Teufelsburg was all about and why the Alsfeld storks once avoided their nest.
The places of remembrance of the Brothers Grimm have also been largely preserved in Marburg an der Lahn. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm lived here together with the businessman Heckmann in the half-timbered house, which is still completely preserved today, in Barfüßerstraße 35 on the corner of Wendelgasse.
The unique location of Marburg seduces the guests of the university town to an unforgettable stay between Elisabeth church and castle, between river and mountain. Whether to relax on the banks of the Lahn, to experience the old town or to stop at the castle gate, Marburg offers delightful insights and views at 100 meters above sea level.
The now legendary Grimm-Dich-Path attracts fairy-tale characters at lofty heights on houses, stairs and walls to climb through the historic old town up to the castle with a height difference of 109 meters. The idea, which was implemented for the first time in 2009 by the Culture Service, was awarded the Hessian Tourism Prize in the same year and is still a very special experience that encourages young and old to participate to the greatest possible extent.
Bad Wildungen is simply "fairy tale": in the Berg Freiheit district, the idyllic Snow White village in the Kellerwald, and at Friedrichstein Castle, traces of the world's most famous fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs" can be found.
A special feature of the original miners' settlement in Berg Freiheit were the so-called "one-room houses". Their floor area was only about 20 square meters and next to the kitchen there was only one living room and bedroom for the miners. Nowhere else are such miners' houses - as they are also described in the Snow White fairy tale - known. The residents of Berg Freiheit lovingly restored the Snow White House with the aim of creating a living museum and meeting place for young and old. The house has been open regularly since spring 2004 and events such as fairy tale readings and special events (including children's birthdays) take place there. At the end of 2017, a further development of the Snow White House took place in order to take all guests even more into the fairytale adventure world.
You should also not miss a visit to Waldeck Castle, which was built in the 11th century. This is about 15 minutes by car from Bad Wildungen am Edersee.
The Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales arrive in the present day in the Grimmwelt Kassel. Artistically, medially and interactively, this newly created experience space conveys the fascinating life, work and work of the Brothers Grimm. Many fairy tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were collected on site in southern Hesse. The Grimmwelt has been providing detailed information on this since 2015. The exhibits include personal copies of the Grimms' children's and house tales, with handwritten notes by the two brothers.
Tip: Very close to the Grimmwelt is the Brüder-Grimm-Platz with a monument to these important sons of the city. Right next to it, in the gate guard, the two once lived.
Löwenburg: there is an artificial castle ruin in the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. Landgrave Wilhelm IX. expressly wanted a ruin, as this was more romantic and emotional than an ordinary castle. Possibly this desire for romance came from the fact that he used the Löwenburg primarily as a pleasure palace and residence for his lover.
Wilhelmshöhe Castle is located in the middle of the Wilhelmshöhe Mountain Park. Landgrave Wilhelm IX. had it built between 1768 and 1798. Originally the round building consisted of three separate wings, later these were connected to each other. The result was so convincing that in addition to the landgraves, the German imperial families also used the castle as a summer residence. The castle is now a museum.
The "Sleeping Beauty Castle Sababurg" is a magnet for guests from near and far. It is said to have served as a template for the Grimm fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty". Sleeping Beauty can still be seen live here on selected days.
Along the German Fairy Tale Route is one of the most famous sights. Together with the adjacent Sababurg Zoo, it forms one of the most popular attractions in the Reinhardswald Nature Park.
The Sababurg was built in 1334 to protect the pilgrims from the nearby pilgrimage site Gottsbüren, at that time still under the name Zapfenburg. It also served as a border fortress, as the Mainz diocese at that time bordered both the diocese of Paderborn and the Landgraviate of Hesse and the Duchy of Braunschweig. After various disputes, the castle came into the possession of Hesse in 1462. From 1490, Landgrave Wilhelm I had the complex expanded and converted into a hunting lodge, before it was occupied by Catholic troops and heavily damaged by Field Marshal Tilly during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). After that, the castle fell into disrepair and was entwined by a long, meter-high hedge of thorns.
This may also be the reason why she served as a template for the Greek fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty and has since been called "Sleeping Beauty Castle“ in the folk.
Trendelburg Castle with the 38 m high keep dominates the townscape of the small town of Trendelburg in the Kassel district in northern Hesse. It was built on a steep ridge above the Diemel valley, surrounded by the moat and the castle wall.
The Rapunzel Tower is unmistakable in the medieval castle complex high on the mountain. Rapunzel lets down her braid for the prince here.
Fairy tale lanterns with paper cutouts from the Grimm fairy tales and legends of the Reinhardswald stand in the old town of Trendelburg. According to legend, the namesake of the castle "Trendula" was struck by lightning in an open field. Today the traces of lightning can be seen as “cloudbursts”, two deep craters that the visitor can go around on a path.
Also worth visiting are the Stammen Castle (which is now a day care facility of the private retirement home), the steeple of the Infirmary Church and the Wülmersen moated castle.
How could the children's excerpt from 1284 have happened in Hameln? And what role did the rats actually play in this? In the Hamelin Museum you will find answers to many questions that the historically documented legend of the Pied Piper still raises today. But not only the pied piper will seduce you in the Museum Hameln, but also the history of his city, which is told there in an exciting way.
The old town tour, which leads you in the footsteps of the pied piper, is also highly recommended. This leads you along all the culturally important buildings and sights of the beautiful old town of Hameln. At about the level of Osterstraße 15 you will come across the statue of the Pied Piper. It stands nicely on a fountain and invites you with the neighboring houses to take a great souvenir photo for Hameln. You can view the map of the city tour with the link below.
You should definitely make a short detour to Hämelschenburg Castle. The beautiful moated castle is a major work of the Weser renaissance of fairytale beauty, located in the Weserbergland between Hameln and Bad Pyrmont.
The old donkey is to be slaughtered. Therefore, he flees and wants to become a town musician in Bremen. On the way he meets a dog, a cat and a rooster one after the other. The three are already old and should also die. They follow the donkey and want to become town musicians too. On their way they come to a forest and decide to spend the night there. However, they discover a robber's house there, frighten and drive away the robbers by standing on top of each other in front of the window and breaking in with loud "singing". The animals sit down at the table and take over the house as a night camp. A robber who finds out later in the night whether the house can be re-entered will be chased away once more by the animals and thus for good. The Bremen Town Musicians like the house so much that they don't want to leave and stay there.
Of course, a souvenir photo with the statue of the Bremen Town Musicians in front of the town hall is a must. Then a visit to the Schnoorviertel is worthwhile: the Schnoor is a medieval Gängeviertel in the old town of Bremen and probably the oldest settlement center. The quarter owes its name to the old ship craft. The corridors between the houses were often related to professions or objects: there was an area in which ropes and ropes were made (Schnoor = cord), and an adjacent area in which wire and anchor chains were made (Wieren = wire) . Numerous houses from the 17th and 18th centuries are still preserved and give a romantic impression of life in earlier times.
Bremen is the worthy end to the German Fairy Tale Route.
Deutsche Märchenstraße e.V.
GERMAN FAIRY TALE ROUTE