North Hessian Fairy Tale Route

North Hessian Fairy Tale Route


Idyllic river valleys, majestic mountains and historic half-timbered towns - you will find all this and much more on the German Fairytale Road in northern Hesse. In addition to our stops in Homberg (Efze) and Fritzlar on the German Half-Timbered Houses Route, our route follows in the footsteps of the Brothers Grimm on the Fairytale Route via Melsungen with its famous Bartenwetzer Bridge to the Snow White Village in Bad Wildungen and historic Frankenberg.

Perfect for excursions with children: Homberg (Efze)

Framed by a volcanic landscape lies the small half-timbered town of Homberg (Efze), which has so much to offer its visitors. Families with children in particular can do a lot here. Hohenburg Castle, which can be visited on one of the many guided tours, is perched on a hill near the town. There are even special guided tours for children, and the 217 steps up to the tower are well worth the effort. On the edge of the Knüll Mountains near Homberg (Efze) is the Knüll Wildlife Park with about 450 different animals. As befits a part of the Fairytale Route, you can also marvel at the “bad wolf” here. Another highlight of the park is the Lochbackpfad fable trail. The approx. 8 km long path leads through a romantic gorge with numerous wooden bridges, stone formations worth seeing and a fantastic panoramic view. Even children feel like hiking here.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Gothic in the market square: Homberg (Efze) St. Marien

As the scene of the “Homberg Synod” in 1526, the town church of St. Mary in Homberg (Efze) is of special significance in the history of the Reformation in Hesse. The imposing 13th-century town church rises on a high wall on the edge of the market square. Particularly impressive inside the sacred building are the window paintings and the organ. If you have packed your walking shoes, you can combine a visit to the St. Mary’s Church with a nice hike. The approximately 13 km route takes about 03:45 hours and leads via Falkenberg Castle and the Homberg town hall to the town church on the market square.

Monasteries & Churches

Bartenwetzer, Frog King & Co. at Melsungen Town Hall

The fairytale town of Melsungen is about 20 km from Homberg (Efze). Surrounded by beautiful half-timbered houses, the historic town hall is located on the market square. The best way to experience this impressive building is on a guided tour of the town. The highlight of the tour: Every 12:00 and 18:00, the figure of the Bartenwetzer comes out of the upper central tower above the clock and sharpens his beard, a kind of axe. The Markbrunnen fountain, which is very reminiscent of the Frog King’s fountain, appears just as fairytale-like. If you need a break after so many impressions, you can stop off in one of the many beer gardens near the town hall in summer.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Traces of the past at Melsung’s Bartenwetzer Bridge

The Bartenwetzer Bridge in Melsungen certainly has a permanent place on every German Fairytale Route. The stone bridge from the 16th century is clearly one of the most beautiful bridge structures in Hesse. But where does this name come from? The two Bartenwetzer statues on the bridge commemorate the town’s forestry workers who sharpened their baleen in the sandstone of the bridge. The traces of this tradition are still visible today. If you continue across the bridge, you will discover a unique bronze model of the beautiful half-timbered town.

Rivers, Bridges & Lakes

Fritzlar: Highlight of the Half-Timbered House Road Hesse

The beautiful half-timbered town of Fritzlar is about 27 km or half an hour away from Melsungen. Especially around the historic market square, the half-timbered buildings, some of which date back to the Middle Ages, are amazingly well preserved. No wonder the small town regularly attracts many visitors. Also worth seeing are the old town wall with its defence towers from the 12th to 14th centuries and the “Grey Tower“. Here it is worth visiting the exhibitions on the persecution of witches in the Middle Ages. Extra tip for campers: There are lovely camper van sites at the Grey Tower and in the Ederaue. From Fritzlar you can take a medium-difficulty cycle tour of approx. 47 km along the River Eder, the Affoldern reservoir and the Edersee dam back to Fritzlar.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Fritzlar Spitzenhäuschen: Off to the most crooked house in town

This building is certainly one of the most curious sights in Hesse: the Fritzlar Spitzenhäuschen. Built in 1415, the house is located right behind the town hall and impresses with its stability. Here, every wall and every ceiling is really crooked, but the medieval little house is still standing. The former grocer’s shop now houses the tourist information office, where you can find out about other excursion destinations in the area. An absolute must on the North Hesse Fairytale Route!

Towns, Villages & Squares

Record holder Fritzlar Old Town Hall

The Old Town Hall in Fritzlar is unusual in several respects. It is not located on the town’s market square, as is usually the case, but opposite the cathedral and close to the homes of former collegiate clergymen. In addition, it has served as the official seat of the Fritzlar town council since 1109, making it officially the oldest official residence in Germany. On the ground floor there are still the court halls, where not only the court days were held but also the wine stored in the town hall cellar was sold. A short detour to this historic building as part of a city tour of Fritzlar is definitely worthwhile.

Towns, Villages & Squares

“Basilica minor” Fritzlar Cathedral

As part of an easy walking tour from the Rosen & Greberturm to the Bleichturm, you can make a stop at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Fritzlar. As the route only takes about one and a half hours, you can easily do it with your dog. The former monastery church is designed in the Romanesque architectural style and has held the papal title of “Basilica minor” since 2004. A short visit inside the cathedral is definitely worthwhile. On the cathedral square you will find a bronze sculpture of Boniface, the former bishop of Mainz, Utrecht. You should not miss this sight in the beautiful half-timbered town in Hesse.

Monasteries & Churches

Welcome to the Snow White Village of Bad Wildungen

A highlight on the German Fairytale Route map is clearly the Snow White Village in Bad Wildungen. Just 16 km from Fritzlar, in the Bergfreiheit district, you will find an excursion destination that is particularly popular with families and school groups: the Snow White House. In this lovingly designed house, the fairy tale and its connection to the Snow White village of Bad Wildungen is shown. A prince’s daughter lived at Friedrichstein Castle and was poisoned at a young age. In addition, children called dwarfs used to work in the mine who appeared to be senile. These two stories were combined by the Brothers Grimm and used as the basis for their famous fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. If you are looking for some togetherness, you can take a romantic walk along the Edersee or stroll through the spa gardens of Bad Wildungen. In the Brunnenallee (Avenue) you will find impressive Art Nouveau and Wilhelminian villas as well as Bad Wildungen’s Nymph and Kurschatten fountains – the most popular photo motifs in the town.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Panoramic view from the Bad Wildung town church

In the heart of Bad Wildungen is another Places of Germany sightseeing tip – the Bad Wildung town church. The imposing sacred building is impressive even from afar. If you want to explore the church on your own, you will be surprised at first by the comparatively simple interior design. But a guided tour is worthwhile. Apart from the tombs of the counts of Waldeck, the well-preserved altarpiece from 1403 is also worth seeing. Here, the life of Jesus Christ is impressively depicted in a total of 12 pictures. Outside the church, roses planted on the town church wall commemorate the victims of the Bad Wildung witch trials from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Monasteries & Churches

Frankenberg Old Town: On the Trail of Hansel and Gretel

From Bad Wildungen you can reach one of the most beautiful half-timbered towns in Hesse – Frankenberg an der Eder – in about half an hour. Once you have marvelled at the historic buildings and visited the Gothic Church of Our Lady, you can go on fairytale hiking or cycling tours outside the town. Castle ruins, moors and mysterious forests give the impression of being in the middle of a fairytale. No wonder the famous fairytale illustrator Otto Ubbelohde often pursued his work here. You will even find a real witch’s cottage along the Hansel and Gretel cycle path.

Family tip: On the Wald-Wichtel-Paradies circular trail in nearby Rengershausen, children can experience nature up close.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Frankenberg town hall – piggyback figures on the North Hesse Fairytale Route.

In addition to the historic half-timbered buildings on Obermarkt and Untermarkt, the Gothic town hall in Frankenberg’s old town is particularly worth seeing, located pretty much exactly between the two squares. Not only the total of 10 turrets are eye-catchers, but also the two “piggyback figures“. The striking wooden figures are located above the entrance to the town hall and are reminiscent of musicians. You can learn more about the historic town hall and the picturesque half-timbered town on one of the free guided tours, which are offered every Saturday at 10:30 from April to October. Another insider tip is the country women’s market, which takes place on Saturdays at the same time in the Rathausschirn on Obermarkt. Just stroll through and try the many delicacies.

Towns, Villages & Squares

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