From a fairy-tale palace towering over the Rhine River to one of Germany’s oldest forts, there are a number of impressive medieval castles to explore outside Frankfurt and they each make for a great day trip destination. Here are a few of the best.
As the birthplace of fairy-tale maestros the Brothers Grimm and the start of the German Fairy-Tale Road; Hanau is every bit the storybook town. With its half-timbered buildings, Baroque palaces and parks, and backdrop of forested hills—it’s easy to see where the Grimms’ sourced their inspiration.
Hanau is easy to explore on foot and a half-day walking tour is enough to take in the highlights. Start at the central Marktplatz, with its colourfully painted buildings and 19th-century bronze statue of the Brothers Grimm. Pay a visit to the German Goldsmith’s House, housed in the half-timbered Town Hall, to learn more about the city’s goldsmith history; stroll along the riverside to the Philippsruhe Castle, now home to the Hanau Historical Museum; then cross the river to explore the medieval Old Town of Steinheim.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Hanau is a must-visit stop along Germany’s Fairy-Tale Road and a popular choice for a day trip from Frankfurt.
- Be sure to sample local drink, Apfelwein (apple wine), while in town—the wine taverns of Steinheim are the best place to try it.
- Most of Hanau’s sights are easily accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
Bad Nauheim is located 16 miles (25 kilometers) east of Frankfurt or about a 30-minute drive. Regular S-bahn trains run from Frankfurt to Hanau, and take just 20 minutes.
When to Get There
Hanau’s farmer’s market, held on Marktplatz each Wednesday and Saturday, is one of the most popular in Hesse and a big draw for both locals and travelers. The annual Brothers Grimm Festival (august) is a popular event for fans of the writing duo, and it’s an atmospheric time to visit the town.
Germany’s Fairy-Tale Road
Hanau marks the beginning of the German Fairy-Tale Road, a 373-mile (600-kilometer) driving route that follows the journey of the Brothers Grimm all the way to Bremen and links many of the places featured in their celebrated tales. Stop at Sleeping Beauty’s castle; visit the Brothers Grimm Museum in Steinau; see Rapunzel’s Tower at Trendelburg Castle; and stroll around historic Hamelin, the home of the Pied Piper. It’s most atmospheric (and crowded) in August, when festivals, street performers, and fairy-tale reenactors entertain the crowds.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Hanau?
What else should I know about attractions in Frankfurt?
- Frankfurt Zoo (Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt)
- Old Sachsenhausen
- Iron Bridge (Eiserner Steg)
- Frankfurt City Hall (Romer)
- Römerberg Square
- Frankfurt Cathedral (Frankfurter Dom)
- St. Paul's Church (Paulskirche)
- Goethe House & Museum (Goethehaus)
- German Film Museum (Deutsches Filmmuseum)
- Städel Museum (Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie)
- Frankfurt Main Tower
- Old Opera House (Alte Oper)