Romantic Places on the Lahn: Off to Central Hesse

Romantic Places on the Lahn: Off to Central Hesse


Beautiful nature, picturesque towns with a lot of history and great viewpoints await you in the Lahn Valley. This is where part of our Places of Germany route leads before heading further south towards the Taunus. Explore the romantic places along the Lahn either via the Lahn Cycle Path or the Lahn Hiking Trail, which leads from the source of the Lahn to where it flows into the Rhine. An absolute eye-catcher in all places: the half-timbered houses so common in Central Hesse. Off you go to one of the most fascinating river valleys in Germany!

Münzenberg Castle Ruin: the “Wetterau Inkwell”

On the Münzenberg, the castle with its unmistakable silhouette can be recognised from afar. It is also known as the “Wetterau Inkwell ” because of its two rounded keep. A tour of the important Romanesque complex is well worthwhile. There are hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. There is always something exciting on the programme, especially for children. And if you’re looking for a nice hike, the “Felsenmeer am Steinberg” loop, which runs very close to the castle ruins, is worthwhile. The medium-difficulty hiking trail of about 7.5 km takes about two hours and offers a great view.

Castles & Ruins

Experience the Middle Ages in Butzbach’s Old Town

After about 10 km, you will come from the Münzenberg castle ruins to another Places of Germany favouriteButzbach with its numerous sights. Here you can marvel at the winding alleys, the picturesque half-timbered houses and the idyllic squares – perfect for romantic hours for two. With the town hall dating from 1560 and the historic fountain from 1435, Butzbach’s market square forms the lively centre of the small town. No wonder the medieval square is often called the most beautiful square in Hesse. In autumn 2023, a visit is particularly worthwhile, as a major celebration of the town’s 1250th anniversary is coming up. Numerous guided tours of Butzbach will also be offered in the anniversary year. If you want to see the picturesque town from a different perspective, you should plan a detour to the nearby Schrenzer Berg. From here you have a particularly beautiful view over Butzbach.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Connecting the old and new town: Wetzlar Alte Lahnbrücke

If you are travelling by bike, you can take the 5th stage of the Lahn Cycle Path upstream from Weilburg to Wetzlar. The distance from Butzbach to Wetzlar is approx. 20 km. A real eye-catcher in front of the silhouette of the cathedral city is the old Lahn bridge in Wetzlar. Here you can enjoy a great view of the old town and the Lahn and watch the many day trippers taking a canoe trip on the Lahn. The numerous beer gardens, wine bars and ice cream parlours near the bridge invite you to linger. Here you can round off a wonderful day’s holiday in one of the romantic places on the Lahn.

Rivers, Bridges & Lakes

Half-timbering everywhere in Wetzlar’s old town

There is much to see in Wetzlar. You can discover the partly car-free old town either on an informative guided tour or stroll through the beautiful alleys on your own. There are historic half-timbered houses or old fountains on almost every corner. You shouldn’t miss the water and light organ on the Lahn in Wetzlar. This is the world’s first permanently installed organ in flowing water and fascinates visitors with an artistic combination of coloured light, water play and matching music. You have a very special view of one of the most beautiful historic towns on the Lahn from the hilltop Kalsmunt. Here you will also find the ruins of a Staufer castle, whose tower is accessible almost all year round.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Wetzlar Cathedral: Simultaneous church with history

Particularly practical for hikers on the Lahn hiking trail: There is hiker-friendly accommodation near Wetzlar Cathedral. The cathedral itself is an extraordinary building that is one of the most popular destinations along the Lahn. In addition to the different architectural styles of the cathedral, the two altars in the nave are particularly striking. These are a symbol of the centuries-old tradition of the simultaneous church. On one of the informative guided tours you can learn more about the history of the cathedral and how it came to be used jointly by the two religious communities in 1560.

Monasteries & Churches

In the footsteps of Werther on Schillerplatz in Wetzlar

Another popular destination for both tourists and day trippers is Wetzlar’s Schiller Square. Besides the picturesque half-timbered houses and the Franciscan church with its unusual extension in the form of a school building, house no. 5 is particularly interesting. This is where Karl Wilhelm Jerusalem from Liebeskumer committed suicide in 1772 and provided Johann Wolfgang von Goethe with the inspiration for his world-famous work “The Sorrows of Young Werther”. A great hike, also for visitors with dogs, is the Wetzlar 3-tower path. The route, which has been awarded the “Quality Trail Cultural Experience”, leads around the former imperial city over a distance of about 20 km with stops at the three towers of the medieval city fortifications. The varied trail also has a lot to offer children. In addition to the towers, it leads through a cherry grove and passes numerous basalt columns that provide information about the special features of the area.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Historic old town of Braunfels

The picturesque Braunfels in Hesse is only about 16 km or a 15-minute drive away. The small town with its old half-timbered houses, small shops and the many cafés and restaurants invites you to stroll around. A highlight for families with children is the herb trail. The small mysterious path leads through the forest with many information boards where you can learn interesting facts about different herbs. A great experience for little explorers! At the end of the path is Braunfels Castle, which is well worth seeing, and the spa gardens. The Braunfels herb market is held here every spring. There are numerous stalls selling herbs, plants and perennials, including expert advice on how to care for them. You can also buy small gifts and homemade delicacies here – it’s worth a visit. A somewhat unusual excursion destination outside Braunfels an der Lahn is the Altenkrichen diabase quarry. From the viewing platform “Guck ins Loch” you have a spectacular view of the quarry, where work is still going on today.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Like something out of a fairytale: Braunfels Castle

Braunfels Castle is visible from afar with its many towers. On the top of a basalt rock, the castle sits high above the town. It has been in the family for 800 years and is still inhabited by them. Numerous guided tours tell the eventful history of one of the most romantic places on the Lahn and its development from a castle to a palace. Every year in summer, great open-air events take place in the castle courtyard and garden.

Extra tip for campers: At the foot of Braunfels Castle there is a beautiful campsite with camper van pitches. The Braunfels open-air swimming pool, the old town and a Kneipp facility with barefoot path are all nearby. Not quite as impressive, but no less interesting, is the nearby Philippstein Castle. It was built in 1390 as protection against the then owners of Braunfels Castle and was a ruin for a long time. Since 1975, the castle has been gradually restored and can now be visited. If you leave a deposit and pay a castle fee of one euro, you will receive the key to climb the castle tower.


Back to the Ice Age: Weilburg Old Town

Another insider tip for holidays in Germany is Weilburg on the Lahn. From Braunfels you can take the 12th stage of the Lahnwanderweg to Weilburg. This medium-difficulty route of just under 18 km takes a little over 6 hours.

There is a lot to see in the town itself: The Weilburg ship tunnel is particularly exciting. As the oldest and longest ship tunnel still navigable today, it runs for 195 metres under the Mühlberg, where the town is located. A great destination, also for a day trip, is Weilburg’s crystal cave. The cave with its 350-million-year-old limestone was formed during the last ice age and is unique in Germany. Very impressive are the show caves at a height of 30 metres and the cave museum with minerals and fossils.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Jewel on the Lahn: Weilburg Castle

If you are looking for a sight off the beaten trackWeilburg Castle is just the right address. You can explore the very well preserved building on a guided tour. These are also available for groups of just 2 visitors! Concerts are also held regularly in the beautiful Weilburg Castle garden. The castle can be reached in just a few minutes on foot from the nearby caravan park directly on the Lahn. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on the grounds. Opposite Weilburg Castle, on the banks of the Lahn, you will find another highlight of the town: the “Little Nice” recreation area. There is a sunbathing lawn, a large beach area, a chill-out area and a beer garden to relax in. The viewing platforms on boardwalks that extend into the Lahn are also great.


Medieval cathedral city – Limburg Old Town

The famous cathedral town of Limburg on the Lahn is 23 km or 22 minutes away from Weilburg. If you are travelling by bike, you will find several bed and bike accommodations in the town. If you stroll through the beautiful old town, you will immediately realise why Limburg is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the half-timbered region of the Middle Rhine. The small shops, quaint inns and historic half-timbered houses lend the medieval old town a very special flair. It’s no coincidence that Limburg is an official stop on the Half-Timbered Houses Route. You can easily explore the old town on foot or book a guided tour at the tourist information office to learn more about Limburg’s history.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Impressive Limburg Cathedral

With its seven towers, it is the city’s landmark: Limburg Cathedral. From the old town, you walk up the Domberg to the stately house of worship with its elaborate baroque paintings. Anyone expecting a similarly designed interior with such a magnificent exterior will be surprised. The interior of the cathedral, which you can explore on one of the many cathedral tours, appears very simple and sober. Much less well known is Limburg Castle, which lies just behind the cathedral. Here, the inner courtyard, the residential tower with chapel and the hall with round arches are particularly worth seeing.

Monasteries & Churches

Bad Camberg Old Town: Chapel of the Cross, Kneipp and many hiking trails

22 km from Limburg you reach another beautiful place that we can absolutely recommend for holidays in Germany: Bad Camberg in the Taunus. Highlights of the time-honoured spa town are the Kneipp spa park with a Kneipp circuit, a herb garden, water games and the famous Kneipp spa Bad Camberg. Also worth seeing in the old town are the Kreuzkapelle (Chapel of the Cross) dating from 1682, the well-preserved Obertor and Untertort towers and the Amthof building, one of the longest half-timbered buildings in Germany. If you are in the Taunus for hiking, you should not miss the hiking trail with the 14 stations of the Kreuzweg. Here you have a great view over the Golden Grund into the Limburg Basin and up to the mountains of the Hochtaunun.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Explore the history of half-timbered houses in the old town of Idstein

We continue along our route in the Taunus for approx. 14 km to Idstein. The picturesque old town is part of the German Half-Timbered House Route. During a walk through the beautiful alleys, you can experience four centuries of Idstein’s half-timbered history. The houses are often richly decorated and together form an idyllic ensemble. Cyclists will find many beautiful tours just outside Idstein in the Taunus. One particularly challenging route leads over approx. 36 km to Eppstein Castle. But beware: some of the climbs are so steep that you have to push your bike in the meantime.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Historic Centre: Idstein King Adolf Square

Anyone who takes a look at Idstein’s old town cannot miss Idstein King Adolf Square. Particularly well known here is the Killingerhaus, which is located opposite Idstein’s town hall and fits in perfectly with the historical ambience of König-Adolf-Platz. With its carved wooden details, the building worth seeing is Idstein’s most elaborate half-timbered house. Today it houses the town’s tourist information office. In the immediate vicinity you will also find Idstein’s oldest inn, “Zum Löwen”, dating from 1590.

Exciting: In 1928, a valuable hoard of coins dating back to 1370 was found here.

Towns, Villages & Squares

Eye-catcher of the town: Idstein Crooked House

The town’s most popular photo motif certainly has two house numbers: Idstein Crooked House. The four-storey building in Rodegasse 1 and 3 was built in 1725 in the tradition of North Hessian merchants’ and craftsmen’s houses. The crookedness of the façade was the result of a reconstruction in the 18th century, when larger and higher rooms were to be created by removing the diagonal bracing. As a result, the timber frame shifted so much that the façade is now crooked. A real highlight in this half-timbered town worth seeing.

Towns, Villages & Squares

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