The Brothers Grimm collected over 200 fairytales throughout Germany that had been passed down through generations to create their famous book, “Grimm’s Fairy Tales”. Visitors to Germany can follow in the tracks of the Grimm Brothers today on the Deutsche Märchenstraße (German Fairy Tale Road) which will take them over 300 km through the most enchanting cities in Germany. Travelers may be surprised to find out along the way that Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White Cinderella, and many more characters were originally German citizens.
This list will take travelers from the birthplace of the Grimm Brothers all the way to their resting place in Berlin. The brothers traveled the country in pursuit of stories that have become the fabric of childhoods across the globe, and following in their footsteps is a treat. This fantastical German road trip is perfect for families, solo travelers with a penchant for history, and those who are still kids at heart. Here are 10 of the most captivating stops on Germany’s Fairy Tale Road.
10 Hanau Is Where The Happily Ever Afters Began
Welcome to Hanau, the birthplace of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. This storybook river hamlet is just one of many small towns in Germany that will charm travelers. Hanau is also the starting point of the Deutsche Märchenstraße. Travelers can gain in-depth knowledge of the brothers’ beginnings on tours led by wonderful costumed guides who will bring the 18th century back to life. One of the most beautiful places to visit is the Palace Philippesruhe which is fit for a fairytale princess. For those who come in the summer, Hanau is the home of the Brüder Grimm Festspiele or the Brothers Grimm Festival where every year theatrical production of the brother’s stories are performed from May-July.
9 Remember To Pack Your Glass Slippers For Steinau
The next stop on this trip is Cinderella’s hometown of Steinau. Steinau was where the Grimm Brothers moved with their parents when they were 5 and 6. Visitors can climb the stairs of Cinderella’s castle on a hunt for their very own Prince (Or Princess) Charming. Travelers also can’t miss out on visiting The Brothers Grimm House Museum where history and technology come together to create a magical experience that combines Jacob and Wilhelm’s lives, history, and famous stories. Steinau is a great place to add to any family’s itinerary to make the most out of a trip to Germany.
8 Visit Schwalmstadt But Be Careful Of The Wolves In Grandmother’s Clothing
The traditional costume of girls in the Schwalstadt region in Germany is said to be the inspiration for “Little Red Riding Hood.” Young ladies in the area would wear a red cap called a Betzel just like the sweet girl with good intentions who the big, bad wolf hunted. Jacob and Wilhelm frequented the area because their older brother Ludwig lived in a painter’s colony nearby. Travelers can hike through the nearby moody forests to feel as though they are following in the steps of Little Red.
7 Kassel Is Grimm World
The Grimm Brothers lived on and off in Kassel for 22 years before their opposition to Hanover’s king led to them hightailing it to Berlin for the rest of their lives. In Kassel, the brothers compiled the stories they gathered across the country and published their first book in 1812. Visitors to Kassel will enjoy Grimmwelt, or Grimm World, where they will learn little-known facts about the brothers from A-Z. Visitors will find out how fairytales were just one facet of Jacob and Wilhelm’s stunning accomplishments. They are known as two of the most important icons in German linguistic history.
6 Pucker Up For Göttingen
A day trip to Göttingen wouldn’t be complete without the Brothers Grimm. Jacob and Wilhem spent many years in this gorgeous village lined with wood-trimmed buildings. Between 1829 and 1837 the brothers taught at Georg-August University in Göttingen. They produced much of their work there including the third edition of “Grimm’s Children and Household Tales”. Travelers can visit the famous Gänseliesel (Little Goose Girl) statue and give her a kiss for good luck. She is said to be the most kissed girl in the world. This romantic college town is a must-see on a Brothers Grimm road trip.
5 Let Your Hair Down In Trendelburg
“Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your long hair!” That is what visitors will be calling at the high tower of Trendelburg Castle where Rapunzel let down her hair to be saved by her prince. On Sundays in this incredibly preserved German town, Rapunzel performs in the castle’s courtyard, which is exciting for travelers of all ages. A guided tour down the Lantern Path adorned with beautiful lights decorated with paper cuttings of fairytales is a highlight of a trip to Trendelburg. Travelers will hear legends and stories they might think they are totally familiar with in a special and unique way.
4 Castle Sababurg In Hofgeismar Is Great For A Bit Of Shut Eye
Travelers must keep quiet so as not to wake Sleeping Beauty in her chamber at Castle Sababurg. Sleeping Beauty’s hometown of Hofgeismar is near Trendelburg and the castle is located in the 200 km Reinhardswald Nature Park. Since 2018 the castle’s interior has been under construction, but that should not deter travelers. Visitors can enjoy the castle’s exterior as well as fairytale event programming and if they’re lucky they may spot Sleeping Beauty and her Prince strolling through the courtyard. Visitors should also take advantage of the hiking trails in the enchanting woodlands that surround the castle.
3 Hameln Is The Stuff Of Nightmares
Hameln, the birthplace of the Pied Piper legend is a spooky stop on this fairytale adventure. Every Sunday from May to September a performance is put on outside with 70 performers acting out the story of the Pied Piper who lured 130 children out of the city with his song. The children were taken to a cave and never seen again, but travelers may run into him and his gang in front of Hameln’s Wedding House, where they are now spinning statues. The Hameln Museum is also worth a visit to see its mechanical Pied Piper theater.
2 Bad Wildungen And The Seven Dwarves
Snow White’s real-life castle is called Friedrichstein and lies high upon a hill above the town of Bad Wildungen. Snow White is based on a true story that took place in a castle during the 16th century. Count Philip IV had a beautiful daughter named Margaretha who allegedly died from poisoning and centuries later the Grimm Brothers used her tragic passing as the basis for “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”. In the nearby “Snow White Village” of Bergfreiheit travelers can live out a fairytale fantasy on a tour that will take them to Snow White’s House. Throughout the year performances of the Grimm Brothers’ stories take place there as well.
1 Look Berlin Up In The Dictionary
Berlin is an unofficial stop on the Deutsche Märchenstraße that makes for a great place to say farewell to Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. After the Grimm Brothers were fired from the university in Göttingen they were awarded teaching posts at the University of Berlin. In their new home base, the Academy of Sciences gave them money to continue their various fields of research. The rest of their lives were dedicated to the study of German linguistics and literature. Jacob and Wilhelm’s final work, the German Dictionary was left unfinished at the time of their deaths but since its completion, it has become the definitive dictionary of the German language to this day. Visitors can pay homage to these magnificent brothers that changed Germany and the world forever at their graves which are located in St. Matthäus Kirchhof Cemetery in Berlin.