Day 1 : Frankfurt Airport (or Frankfurt City Centre)
Pick up your Rental car (with GPS) and take the German Autobahn (highway) to Romrod Castle (about one hour from the airport). The Castle dates back to the 12th century and this is where you will stay for the first two nights at the German Fairy tale Road. From the Castle visit nearby Alsfeld with its medieval Old Town. Take time to enjoy this model European city which has preserved its medieval heritage. Here in Alsfeld, history has a presence. See the world-famous town hall. one of Germany's finest examples of half-timbered architecture; note the cubit on the left corner. Around the market square you find the Weinhaus with its former pillory, the medieval Ständerhaus and the Wedding House (Hochzeitshaus).
You may want to visit the Fairy tale House. When you step over the threshold you enter a magical world. In this half-timbered house (built in 1628) the rooms are filled with a variety of fairy tales. Hear beloved tales from days of yore in the listening room, this time told by a professional storyteller. The second floor contains a series of dolls' chambers spanning over two centuries. With only few exceptions, the parlours, kitchens and hearths displayed here are all from the Erzgebirge region. The varied chambers begin with the more recent and familiar from the 1950's and trace back to the first half of the 19th century. The parlours and particularly the hearth areas give the impression of a warm and comfortable idyll. Each represents the spirit of an era. And taken together, the collection is historical evidence of social development in the themes of childhood and childrearing in Germany.
Day 2 : Hanau and Steinau an der Strasse
Today you have a variety of places you may want to visit. You may drive to Hanau where the Brothers Grimm were born in the years 1785 and 1786. Here in Hanau is the official beginning of the German Fairytale Route. On Hanau´s market square one can see the monument reminding us of the two famous brothers. The monument stands right in front of the "Neustädter Rathaus" (Neustädter Town Hall) with its attractive sandstone façade. Have a look at the "Deutsche Goldschmiedehaus" (German gold-smith house) which is now a museum showing the tradition of the gold-smiths in Hanau. The beautiful "Schloss Philippsruhe" (Castle Philippsruhe) in the lovely historic park "Wilhelmsbad" is another favourite sight seeing spot, the park being a favourite recreation area in the Rhein-Main region, inside the castle you will find the Hanau Historic Museum as well as the "Papiertheater Museum" (Papertheater Museum). In the middle of Hanau´s Old Town there is the Marienkirche (Marienchurch), its sanctuary being the city's oldest preserved building.
You may also want to visit the city of Gelnhausen, only a short way from Hanau. Here you can visit the historic Old Town and see the ruins of an imperial fortress of emperor Barbarossa. There is also the witch-tower, built in the middle of the 15th century as a turret, it was also used as a dungeon for those unfortunate ones accused of being 'witches'. Yet another short drive takes you to the Brothers Grimm city of Steinau an der Strasse. The Brothers Grimm lived here for seven years during their childhood. The Amtshaus (office house) where they lived was already 200 years old when they moved here in 1791. Visit the picturesque Old Town, take a short walk along the old city wall and enjoy the beauty of the town's half-timbered houses. There is a little puppetry which runs daily performances based on the famous fairy tales.
Day 3 : Marburg
Today you will visit the city of Marburg on the Lahn river on your way up north. The upper town, as it is called, is pellbinding. Walk narrow and twisting alleys paved with cobblestones, past buildings that are architectural treasures. The entire castle hill has secrets in the air. Church of St. Elizabeth is the first purely Gothic church to be built in Germany was completed in less than 50 years, from 1235 – 83. It was built above the grave of St. Elizabeth. Landgrave Castle once the residence of the Landgraves of Hesse, was built on what was known as the Gisonen rocks. Today it crowns the city that bears its historical name, Marburg. Here you'll find history centuries old, with bits dating back to the 10th century. Over time, the fortress walls gave protection to all within and kept its mysteries hidden. Come and discover the castle’s secrets.
The university was founded in 1527, this was the first Protestant university in the world. Bursting with 18,000 students today, the university largely determines the city's vibrant life style. The lovely old garden is situated in the middle of Marburg, perfect for a short break and quiet relaxation. The new botanical garden on the Lahn River hills welcomes visitors with a keen interest in horticulture. A visit to the Spiegelslustturm (Emporer William's Tower) is a perfect outing. From the belvedere tower there is a splendid view of Marburg and the surrounding countryside.
The Brothers Grimm studied law in Marburg. While they were here, they began to research folk literature and recorded a variety of orally-delivered sagas, legends and fairy tales. The painter Otto Ubbelohde, born in Marburg, illustrated many of Grimm's Fairy Tales, drawing on familiar motifs from the area. You will recognise many sources of inspiration right around Marburg.
Day 4 : Day trip to Kassel
Welcome to Kassel, the heart of the fairy-tale route. Here in Kassel the Brothers Grimm lived for over thirty years, working as librarians at the Electoral Library, known now as the Fridericanum, Europe's first public museum, which today is the centre of the documenta exhibitions. Throughout the city you can enjoy a unique range of museums, top of the fairy-tale-fan's list should be the Brüder Grimm Museum in the Palais Bellevue. Do not miss the Murhardsche Bibliothek (Library) which houses the Brothers Grimm archives and is seat of the Brothers Grimm Society in Kassel. Within the beautiful Schlosspark Wilhelmshoehe there is the Lion's Castle, built in the years 1793-1806, it resembles the ruin of a mediaeval English knight's castle. Take an excursion to the Hercules monument, Kassel´s landmark, from here you have magnificent view over the city. In 1830, Jacob Grimm said: "The years I spent in Kassel were the happiest of my life", a day spent here will show you why!
Day 5 : Sleeping Beauty Castle Sababurg and Trendelburg
The Sleeping Beauty Castle Sababurg: Once upon a time... there was a good landgrave. Not for the courtly hunt but for his interest in natural history, Willem IV established a zoological garden at the Sababurg in 1571. Today, you can observe 450 animals of 80 different species at Sababurg Zoological Garden. In the near-by ancient forest, you may enjoy a hike under head-high ferns, 650-year-old oak trees and mighty beech trees. Already in 1907, this area was declared a nature preserve.
On your way to Petershagen Palace you will visit the Castles Sababurg and Trendelburg. Sababurg fairytale castle of Brothers Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty was founded in 1334 by the Archbishop of Mainz under the name of Zappenborgk to protect the pilgrims on their way to the nearby holy site of Gottsbüren. There, in the heart of Reinhardswald Forest, the Landgraves of Hesse erected a splendid hunting seat on the foundation walls of the original structure in 1490. In the early 19th century, the castle was abandoned as a residence. The building complex rapidly fell into disrepair, converting to a wild romantic state.
In the 19th century after the publication of the Brothers Grimm’s Fairy Tales, people imagined this to be the place where the Sleeping Beauty tale must have happened: The ‘sleeping’ castle, entwined with ivy and deeply hidden in the Reinhardswald Forest, surrounded by a high wall that was said to have been the impenetrable thorn hedge... Around 100 years later, the long sleep was over and the castle was kissed awake and restored for visitors. Nowadays, the building complex includes a hotel, a restaurant and café, a civil registry office and the SabaBurg Theatre. With the medieval castle garden, herb and vegetable garden, ascent of the tower and the romantic flair of decay, the castle is a place of discovery, with added charm during the rose season from end of May through August.
Attraction: Performance by Sleeping Beauty and the prince, presenting a version of their tale:
- Every Sunday from April to October at 4.30pm (English version)
- Every Saturday from April to October at 4.00pm meet Count Reinhard in person.
Drive on to nearby Trendelburg. The tranquil town of Trendelburg lies on the quaint Diemel River which empties into the Weser River at Bad Karlshafen. A sandstone cliff juts out into the Diemel valley and forces the river to flow around it in a large bend... What adult doesn't recall the shivering excitement of this magical world? For children living it for the first time, a unique experience! The fortress and town of Trendelburg are the scene of oft-told fairy tales and myths. According to the saga, the name giver of the fortress, "Trendula" was killed by lightening out in an open field. Traces of this lightning hit can be seen in the so-called "cloudbursts", two deep craters which visitors can circle around on a walking path. The conspicuous Rapunzel Tower in the medieval fortifications high up on the hill is a landmark from afar. Rapunzel is letting down her long braid for the prince to climb up. Fairytale lanterns with cut-out silhouettes of Grimm fairy tales and sagas of the Reinhard Forest decorate the Old Town of Trendelburg.
Day 6 : Hamelin
And who is responsible for the towns fame? Of course the "Rattenfänger von Hameln", the "Pied Piper of Hamelin"! For centuries now, the "Pied Piper" has been the town's landmark, quite often especially during the summer there are open air plays showing the somewhat sad story of the loss of Hamelin´s children. Visit Hamelin's beautifully restored Old Town, which is also quite unique as the historic Old Town is still to be seen almost uninterrupted by modern buildings on the main roads. There are a great number of historic stone- and timber-framed-buildings to be seen, many of them build in Renaissance style, such as the "Rattenfängerhaus" (Piet Piper house), the "Dempterhaus" and the "Hochzeitshaus" (wedding-house). The town offers quite a few "Pied Piper" guided tours, taking you to the famous spots and historic locations out of which the fairy-tale evolved. Explore this very charming town, and who knows, in some narrow cobblestone alley maybe you'll also hear the sound of a flute, resounding from afar.
The Glaserlebniswelt (Glass Adventure World) of the Glassworks Hameln was created in the historic Pulverturm [(Gun)powder Tower]. In the lobby, you get information on the 6,000-year-old history of glass as work material. Here you are at the heart of the Glass Adventure World – the glassworks and glass engraving shop where you can watch the glassblowers at work every day. The Münster is the oldest church in Hameln. Services have been held here for over 1,000 years. The Münster is open every day from 9am to 6pm.
Day 7 : Bremen
Today take a drive to Bremen, the heart of North West Germany and home to the famous Bremen Town Musicians. The city's Town Hall with its Renaissance architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with the statue of the "Roland" on the Bremer marketplace and the famous bronze display of the Bremen Town Musicians on the Town Hall's western side it is an incomparable tourist attraction. Whoever wants to meet them personally has come to the right place. Here in the Hanseatic city the town musicians tell their own story - live, large as life, open air und free. From May to September every Sunday at 12 noon in the Cathedral courtyard, city centre. Then there is the "Mühle am Wall"(mill) which is the last mill left out of originally eight which were once built on the wall of the inner city. The mill was used up until 1950, today it is used as a café. Visit the "Schnorr", the towns oldest living quarters, and do not miss "Böttcherstrasse", Bremen's "secret main road".
Day 8 : German Emigration Center
Today you visit the German Emigration Center. In 2007 the German Emigration Center was very honored on receiving a special award. The „emotional presentation of history through the use of theatrical stagings and the academic approach to the topic of emigration“ were decisive for the bestowing of the „European Museum of the Year Award 2007“ to the German Emigration Center.
Today your tour ends. You may extend your stay in Bremerhaven or return your car at any AVIS station in Germany (e.g. Hamburg or Frankfurt airport, Berlin - needs to be chosen at the time of the booking).
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