"I think there are more steps in the streets than in the houses." That is how Jacob Grimm described the half-timber hillside town of Marburg, which rises steeply from the Lahn River to the spectacular castle that crowns the hill. Many of the winding, crooked "streets" are indeed stone staircases, and several of the hillside houses have back doors five stories above the front doors. The town's famous university and its students are the main influence on its social life, which pulses through the many cafés, restaurants, and hangouts around the marketplace. The Grimms themselves studied here from 1802 to 1805.
Many of the streets are closed to traffic, and are filled with outdoor tables when the weather cooperates. There is a free elevator near the tourist-information office on Pilgrimstein that can transport you from the level of the river to the Old Town.