Germany is the country of fairy tales. Some of the most well-known tales today are from famous Germans like the Brothers Grimm. Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel, and the Bremen Town Musicians are among their most famous fairy tales and are still beloved. The original book, Kinder- und Hausmärchen, was edited and published by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in 1812.
Today, you can visit the settings of these wonderful fables along the Deutsche Märchenstraße (German Fairy Tale Road). The scenic route is a history lesson of the brothers, bringing you to their childhood home in Steinau to the cities where the Brothers Grimm studied and worked. Along the way you can marvel at medieval villages with narrow cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses, romantic, ivy-covered castles, and dense woods where you can still conjure up princes, witches, and dwarfs.
The road itself was distinguished as an attraction fairly recently in 1975. Since that time, millions of people have flocked to the route with the Verein Deutsche Märchenstraße society, headquartered in Kassel, maintaining information on stops and attractions. Here you can find the highlights of the route with our guide to the Fairy Tale Road in Germany.
A Fairy Tale Vacation for the Whole Family
A drive along Fairy Tale Road is a wonderful trip for the whole family. Almost all the towns you visit offer family-friendly activities, such as puppet shows, storytelling events, and theater plays (most in German, but easy to follow for anyone), parades, concerts, fairy tale museums, historic Christmas markets, and lovely statues of your favorite fairy tale characters.
Highlights of the German Fairy Tale Road
- Steinau: Visit the half-timbered Museum of the Brothers Grimm where Jacob and Wilhelm grew up, then stroll through the picturesque old town of Steinau.
- Schwalm Region: The region along the Schwalm River is the setting for Little Red Riding Hood's adventures. Hike through forests dark and deep, and visit the museum of Ziegenhain where you can see the traditional costumes that might have even belonged to Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother.
- Kassel: In 2015, GRIMM WORLD was opened here and explores all things Grimm.
- Göttingen: The Brothers Grimm worked at the University of Göttingen. Visit the central square of the romantic old town and look for the statue of the little goose girl - some say it's the most kissed statue in the world. You should kiss it too - for luck!
- Trendelburg: Climb up to the medieval castle of Trendelburg, which was the setting for the tale of Rapunzel. From one of these towers, she let down her long blond hair so the prince could climb up and save her - or so the story goes.
- Castle Sababurg: This 650-year old castle was where Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years before a kiss brought her. back to life. You too can spend the night here as the castle is now home to a romantic hotel, surrounded by a lush park with ancient oak trees and tall ferns. In summer, there are theater performances in the castle's courtyard.
- Hamelin: The picturesque town of Hamelin was the setting for the folk tale of the Pied Piper, a rat catcher who lured the town's children away, never to be seen again. Visit the rat catchers house, enjoy the cute rodent shaped cookies from the local bakeries, and marvel at the old Glockenspiel (clock) at the Hochzeitshaus (Wedding House) that reenacts the legend of the Pied Piper.
- Bremen: The city of Bremen is the last stop on the Fairy Tale Road and home of the Bremen town musicians, the witty animals that outsmarted the thieves. Visit their statue on the central town square.
Travel Essentials for the Fairy Tale Road
- Website: www.deutsche-maerchenstrasse.com/en/
- 370 miles long (600 kilometres), with 50 towns and cities along the route
- Starting Point: Hanau, 13 miles east of Frankfurt
- End Point: Bremen
- Getting There: Fly to Frankfurt International Airport
- Getting Around: The best way to experience the Fairy Tale Road is by car and you can get a rental car at the Frankfurt Airport. Take the Autobahn A66 to Hanau, the starting point of the Fairy Tale Road, and from there just follow the signposts with the heart-shaped head of a fairy-like creature for your route.
- Time to Take: Ideally a week to see the best of the sights, although this can be shortened or lengthened
- Fairy Tale Road Map