The Fairy-Tale Road

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Fairy-Tale Road - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Deutsches Auswandererhaus

    Located at the point where 7 million Europeans set sail for the New World, the Deutsches Auswandererhaus is made to order for history buffs and those wanting to trace their German ancestry. "Passengers" get boarding passes, wait on dimly lit docks with costumed mannequins and piles of luggage, and once onboard navigate their way through cramped and creaky sleeping and dining cabins. After being processed at Ellis Island, visitors enter the Grand Central Terminal, from where they set off to settle in different parts of the USA. Further on, there is a section of the museum dedicated to immigrants to Germany, complete with a 1930s-era German-American pub, a German deli and, a sewing workshop that represents the working environment in the early 1900s. In the annex, there is an exhibition covering the 330 years of German immigration history. At the end of the tour visitors can research their genealogy using two international databases.

    Columbusstr. 65, Bremerhaven, Bremen, 27568, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €18.50
  • 2. Dornröschenschloss

    The story goes that after Sleeping Beauty had slumbered for 100 years, the thick thorn hedge surrounding her castle suddenly burst into blossom, thereby enabling a daring prince to find a way in to lay a kiss upon her lips and reawaken her. This handsome castle hotel is said to be the inspiration for the original tale. The stony exterior of Dornröschenschloss continues to be clad in colorful roses, and its walled garden is home to an impressive collection of the flowers. Even if you don't stay the night, a drive here is scenic, as it overlooks the nearby animal park. There are ruins as well as the garden to explore for a small fee, or enjoy a coffee on the pleasant outdoor terrace with views over forest-covered hills to enjoy afterward. Every Sunday afternoon there is a reenactment of the fairy tale in the castle courtyard for hotel guests; nonguests can partake of the performance for a fee. Call ahead to request it in English. The castle is closed for renovations until 2025 but the courtyard, cafe, and performances are still running so it is still well worth visiting.

    Sababurg 12, Sababurg, Hesse, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From €4; free for hotel guests
  • 3. Fürstenberg Porcelain factory

    Germany's second-oldest porcelain factory is at Fürstenberg, 24 km (14 miles) north of Bad Karlshafen and 8 km (5 miles) south of Höxter, in a Weser Renaissance castle high above the Weser River. The crowned Gothic letter F, which serves as its trademark, is known worldwide. You'll find Fürstenberg porcelain in Bad Karlshafen and Höxter, but it's more fun to journey to the 18th-century castle itself, where production first began in 1747, and buy directly from the manufacturer. Fürstenberg and most dealers will take care of shipping arrangements and any tax refunds. Porcelain workshop visits can be booked ahead of time, and there's also a sales outlet, museum, and café. The view from the castle is a pastoral idyll, with the Weser snaking through the immaculately tended fields and woods. You can also spot cyclists on the riverside paths.

    Meinbrexener Str. 2, Fürstenberg, Lower Saxony, 37699, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €9, Closed Mon. and mid-Dec.–mid-Jan.
  • 4. Herrenhausen Palace and Gardens

    The gardens of the former Hannoverian royal summer residence are the city's showpiece, unmatched in Germany for its formal precision, with patterned walks, gardens, hedges, and chestnut trees framed by a placid moat. There is a fig garden with a collapsible shelter to protect it in winter and dining facilities behind a grotto. The mausoleum in the Berggarten houses the remains of local royalty, including those of King George I of Britain. From Easter until October there are fireworks displays and fountains play for a few hours daily (weekdays 10–noon and 3–5, weekends 10–noon and 2–5). The 17th-century palace on the grounds was completely destroyed in 1943, leaving only the fountains and stairs remaining. In 2013, a relatively faithful reconstruction replaced the castle, which now houses a museum dedicated to its history and is used frequently as an event location. Herrenhausen is outside the city, a short ride on Tram Line 4 or 5.

    Herrenhauserstr. 5, Hannover, Lower Saxony, 30419, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Museum and gardens €8 Apr.–Oct., €6 Nov.–Mar., Closed Mon.–Wed. Nov.–Mar.
  • 5. Reichsabtei Corvey

    The impressive Reichsabtei Corvey, or Schloss Corvey, is idyllically set between the wooded heights of the Solling region and the Weser River. During its 1,200-year history it has provided lodging for several Holy Roman emperors. Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1798–1874), author of the poem "Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles," worked as librarian here in the 1820s. The poem, set to music by Joseph Haydn, became the German national anthem in 1922. A garden festival takes place every year in August, and concerts are held in the church and great hall, the Kaisersaal, during the summer. Corvey is reached on an unnumbered road heading east from Höxter (3 km [2 miles]) toward the Weser. There are signposts to "Schloss Corvey."

    - 05271 - 168–168

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12; abbey church €4, Closed Nov.–mid-Apr.
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  • 6. Schloss und Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

    The magnificent grounds of the 18th-century Schloss and the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, at the western edge of Kassel, are said to be Europe's largest hill park. If you have time, plan to spend an entire day at this UNESCO World Heritage site, exploring its wonderful gardens, water features, museums, and castle. Wear good walking shoes and bring some water if you want to hike all the way up to the giant statue of Hercules that crowns the hilltop. The Wilhelmshöher Park was laid out as a baroque park in the early 18th century, its elegant lawns separating the city from the thick woods of the Habichtswald (Hawk Forest). Schloss Wilhelmshöhe was added between 1786 and 1798. The great palace stands at the end of the 5-km-long (3-mile-long) Wilhelmshöher Allée, an avenue that runs straight as an arrow from one side of the city to the other. Kassel's leading art gallery and the state art collection lie within Schloss Wilhelmshöhe as part of the Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel. Its collection includes 11 Rembrandts, as well as outstanding works by Rubens, Hals, Jordaens, Van Dyck, Dürer, Altdorfer, Cranach, and Baldung Grien. The giant 18th-century statue of Hercules that crowns the Wilhelmshöhe heights is an astonishing sight. You can climb the stairs of the statue's castlelike base—and the statue itself (you can only mount the statue from April to October)—for a rewarding look over the entire city. At 2:30 pm on Sunday and Wednesday from May through September, water gushes from a fountain beneath the statue, rushes down a series of cascades to the foot of the hill, and ends its precipitous journey in a 175-foot-high jet of water. A café lies a short walk from the statue.

    Schlosspark 1, Kassel, Hesse, 34131, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Park free; a day ticket €6 includes entry to Hercules and Octagon, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe and Löwenburg castle, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, Hercules and Octagon: closed Mon.
  • 7. Schnoorviertel

    Stroll through the narrow streets of this idyllic district, a jumble of houses, taverns, and shops. This is Bremen's oldest district, dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries. The neighborhood is fashionable among artists and craftspeople, who have restored the tiny cottages to serve as galleries and workshops. Other buildings have been converted into popular antiques shops, cafés, and pubs. The area's definitely a great source for souvenirs, with incredibly specialized stores selling porcelain dolls, teddy bears, African jewelry, and smoking pipes, among many other things. There's even a year-round Christmas store.

    Bremen, Bremen, Germany
  • 8. Stadtschloss

    The city's grandest example of baroque design is the immense Stadtschloss, formerly the residence of the prince-bishops. The Fürstensaal (Princes' Hall), on the second floor, provides a breathtaking display of baroque decorative artistry, with ceiling paintings by the 18th-century Bavarian artist Melchior Steidl, and fabric-clad walls. The palace also has permanent displays of fine Fulda porcelain. Also worth seeing is the Spiegelsaal, with its many tastefully arranged mirrors. Pause at the windows of the Grünes Zimmer (Green Chamber) to take in the view across the palace park to the Orangery, a large garden with summer-flowering shrubs and plants.

    Schlossstr. 1
    - 0661 - 102–1814

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €3.50, Closed Mon.
  • 9. Wilhelm Busch Museum

    This section of the Georgenpalais, near Herrenhausen, is devoted to the works of cartoonists and caricaturists with an emphasis on Wilhelm Busch, the "godfather of the comic strip," whose original drawings and effects are on display. More than a century ago, Busch (1832–1908) wrote and illustrated a popular children's book, Max und Moritz, which tells the story of two boys who mixed gunpowder into the village tailor's pipe tobacco and, with fishing lines down the chimney, filched roasting chickens off the fire. The first American comic strip, The Katzenjammer Kids (1897), drew not only on Busch's naughty boys (they even spoke with a German accent) but also on his loose cartoon style.

    Georgengarten 1
    - 0511 - 1699–9999

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6, Closed Mon.
  • 10. Altes Rathaus

    It took nearly 100 years, starting in 1410, to build this gabled brick edifice that once contained a merchants' hall and an apothecary. In 1844 it was restored to the style of about 1500, with exceptional Gothic gables and an ornamental frieze. The facade's fired-clay frieze depicts coats of arms and representations of princes, and a medieval game similar to arm wrestling using only the fingers. This marvelous picture above the outer right arched window in the Schmiedestrasse can only be seen by following the "red line" around the Old Town Hall. Inside is a modern interior with boutiques and a restaurant.

    Karmarschstr. 42, Hannover, Lower Saxony, 30159, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 11. Altes Rathaus

    The Old Town Hall was begun in the 13th century and houses a completely preserved Gothic heating system in the part-medieval, part-Renaissance building. The tourist information office is on the first floor.

    Markt 9, Göttingen, Lower Saxony, 37073, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sun. Nov.–Mar.
  • 12. Brüder Grimm Haus and Museum Steinau

    Occupying both the house where the Brothers Grimm lived for much of their childhoods as well as the house's old barn, the Brüder Grimm Haus and Museum Steinau are fun and engaging museums. Featuring a reconstruction of the family's old kitchen, the brothers' former house also displays old personal possessions such as letters and reading glasses, and has an upper floor divided into nine rooms with interactive displays that celebrate the Grimms' stories and other fairy tales from around Europe. Across a small courtyard, the town's museum documents what life was like on the old trade route that ran through Steinau, incorporating into its exhibits a coach, inn signs, milestones, and the type of pistol travelers used to defend themselves from bandits.

    Brüder-Grimm-Str. 80, Steinau an der Strasse, Hesse, 36396, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6
  • 13. Brüder Grimm Nationaldenkmal

    Hanau's main attraction can be reached only on foot. The bronze memorial, erected in 1898, is a larger-than-life-size statue of the brothers, one seated, the other leaning on his chair, the two of them pondering an open book.


    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 14. Cathedral Museum

    The Cathedral treasury contains a document bearing St. Boniface's writing, along with several other treasures, including Lucas Cranach the Elder's fine 16th-century painting Christ and the Adulteress.

    Dompl. 2, Fulda, Hesse, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €3, Closed Mon. and mid-Jan.–mid-Feb.
  • 15. Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse

    In case you don't get enough half-timber on the Fairy-Tale Road there is also the German Half-Timber Road (Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse), with lots more storybook architecture. A map and brochure can be obtained from the Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse.

    Propstei Johannesberg, Fulda, Hesse, 36041, Germany
  • 16. Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum

    The country's largest and most fascinating maritime museum, the Deutsches Schifffahrtsmuseum, includes a harbor, open from April through October, that shelters seven old trading ships as well as a separate submarine-turned-technology-museum.

    Hans-Scharoun-Pl. 1, Bremerhaven, Bremen, 27568, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €10, Museum closed Mon. mid-Nov.–mid-Mar. Ships closed mid-Nov.–mid-Mar
  • 17. Devil's Cave (Tropfsteinhöhle)

    On this half-hour tour through a 2½-million-year-old cave on the outskirts of Steinau, you may stumble upon sleeping bats as you explore the unique geological formations, including stalactites and stalagmites that reach up to 82 feet (25 meters) high and 36 feet (11 meters) in circumference as well as a so-called chapel room with ceilings up to 26 feet (8 meters) tall.

    Mooshecke 1
    - 06663 - 96310

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4, Closed Mon.–Thurs. and Oct.–mid-Apr.
  • 18. Dom zu Fulda

    Fulda's 18th-century cathedral, an impressive baroque building with an ornate interior, has two tall spires and stands on the other side of the broad boulevard that borders the palace park. The basilica accommodated the ever-growing number of pilgrims who converged on Fulda to pray at the grave of the martyred St. Boniface, the "Apostle of the Germans." A black alabaster bas-relief depicting his death marks the martyr's grave in the crypt.

    Dompl. 1, Fulda, Hesse, 36037, Germany
  • 19. Elisabethkirche

    Marburg's most important building is the Elisabethkirche, which marks the burial site of St. Elizabeth (1207–31), the town's favorite daughter. She was a Hungarian princess, betrothed at age 4 and married at 14 to a member of the nobility, Ludwig IV of Thuringia. In 1228, when her husband died in the Sixth Crusade, she gave up all worldly pursuits. She moved to Marburg, founded a hospital, gave her wealth to the poor, and spent the rest of her very short life (she died at the age of 24) in poverty, caring for the sick and the aged. She is largely responsible for what Marburg became. Because of her selflessness she was made a saint four years after her death. The Teutonic Knights built the Elisabethkirche, which quickly became a pilgrimage site, enabling the city to prosper. You can visit the shrine in the sacristy that once contained her bones, a masterpiece of the goldsmith's art. The church is a veritable museum of religious art, full of statues and frescoes. Walking tours of Marburg begin at the church on Saturday at 3, year-round. Tours inside the church are held Monday to Friday at 3 from April to October, and Sunday shortly after Mass (around 11:15). Due to major renovations of the interior the guided tours may be restricted until 2024.

    Elisabethstr. 1, Marburg, Hesse, 35037, Germany

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €2.70; tours €5
  • 20. Gänseliesel

    The statue of Gänseliesel, the little Goose Girl of German folklore, stands in Göttingen's central market square. The girl, according to the story, was a princess who was forced to trade places with a peasant, and the statue shows her carrying her geese and smiling shyly into the waters of a fountain. The students of Göttingen gave her a ceremonial role: traditionally, graduates who earn a doctorate bestow a kiss of thanks upon Gänseliesel. Göttingen's citizens say she's the most kissed girl in the world.

    Markt 9

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free

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