Fairy tales come to life in Germany, quite literally.
The country’s ‘Fairy Tale route’, a lovely 600 kilometre stretch, is out of the pages of your favourite storybooks. It follows the footsteps of Brothers Grimm and their celebrated tales like Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood, Pied Piper of Hameln and more, which were inspired by real places along the route.
Strewn with castles and cathedrals, picturesque villages and beautiful countrysides, the Fairy Tale Route will transport you back to your childhood where the worlds of reality and fiction converge.
Begin the unique adventure at Hanau, a half hour drive from Frankfurt. Give yourself a week to take a leisurely road trip all the way to Bremen, from where you can catch a flight connecting you right back to Frankfurt.
You can choose from multiple route options en route based on your personal interests. Chalk a leisurely path, traversing through deep forests and fable wonderlands. Immerse yourself in a myriad mix of medieval towns and rustic villages, cobblestone paths, highlands, riversides and eight nature parks including the Hessian Spessart Nature Park, Hoher Vogelsberg Nature Park and the Kellerwald-Edersee Nature Park.
Hanau, the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm, gets you right in the groove. It has a series of historic attractions such as the national monument at the marketplace, the Brothers Grimm Theatre Festival, Philippsruhe Palace with Grimm section and a lifelike fairytale sculpture trail. There on, simply follow clearly-marked signposts and pick the stops you want along the route. At Steinau, you can visit the childhood home of the two brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The area ahead, stretching from Alsfeld to Fritzlar, is known as Little Red Riding Hood land. Abundant with beautiful forests and lakes, it also has the Fairy Tale House and the House of Little Red Riding Hood. Further down the trail is Bad Wildungen, which is Snow White’s village. Tucked in this delightful village is a museum dedicated to this wonderful tale as well as Snow White’s presumed home.
An interesting option is the Sleeping Beauty route that passes through the mystical wooded hills of Reinhardswald. This route, named after the 650-year old Sababurg castle, is believed to be the home of Princess Aurora of the Sleeping Beauty tale. Moreover, if you would like to feel like royalty, you can even spend a night at the castle that is now a romantic hotel. The path from Fürstenberg to Bremen brings you to the town of Hameln where the famous story of The Pied Piper of Hameln took place. Take a trip to the rat catchers house, gorge on mouse shaped cookies, and watch the old Glockenspiel (clock) as you time travel back to the folklore! At the Northern end of the route is Bremen, one of the largest cities in Germany, where the town musicians await you.
While it is hard to pick-and-choose between these picture perfect towns, there are few places that you won’t want to miss. This includes the picturesque town of Kassel, which is also the capital of the Fairy Tale Route and a prominent European art hub. The Brothers Grimm spent thirty years of their life here. Today, the place preciously safeguards the original Children’s and Household Tales (known today as Grimm’s Fairy Tales), first published in 1812. It also hosts world art exhibitions and Christmas markets. On the other hand, the city of Polle is known for romantic open air stage at the castle ruin which hosts the Cinderella Theatre Festival. The timber framed houses of Wolfhagen and Waldeck will have you travelling back in time with their charm, while the historic village of Helsa is every hiker’s delight. A swim or a boat ride in the postcard-perfect Kellerwald-Edersee Nature Park makes for a fun family activity. For those who prefer a quiet stroll, the idyllic choice would be the park’s lush beech forests which are also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Of course, the visit is incomplete without a trip to the medieval castle of Trendelburg, where Rapunzel let down her golden tresses.
Apart from its historic locales, the route offers plenty of fun experiences, including open-air plays, festivals, puppet theatres, exhibits and medieval dinners throughout the year. Popular activities include the annual Brothers Grimm festivals hosted by the towns of Hanau and Kassel and fairy tales that are regularly performed at Bad Wildungen, home of the legend of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The music by the well at Bodenwerder and the spectacular musical ‘RATS’ based on the story of Pied Piper in Hameln (end May to beginning September) are sure to leave you in awe.
The best part about the Fairy Tale Route is that while it may transport you to faraway lands, it is actually very convenient to reach. With Lufthansa flights connecting Frankfurt to four Indian gateways – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai – it is truly just one hop away. And with Lufthansa, you not only fly their best aircrafts from India, you get the added benefit of FlyNet to ensure you can stay connected in the international skies. You can also enjoy an Indian Non-Vegetarian (HNML) or Indian Vegetarian Meal (AVML) on its entire intercontinental network, along-with special Masala Tea from Chaayos on its India-Germany flights. What’s more, the inflight entertainment offers a wide selection of movies in Hindi as well as regional Indian languages, along with games and content for kids. And its advanced online booking portal LH.com is a veritable one-stop shop for your travel planning, including last minute changes, excess baggage, sports baggage, special meals, hotel bookings, car rentals and more!
A dream beginning to explore a world of dreams. As they say on the German Fairy Tale Route, some fairy tales come true!
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is a part time dreamer and a full time writer. She believes that a place is its people and seeks out sunsets, the ocean and the stars on her travels.
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