The Experience

Take a trip through the land immortalized by the Brothers Grimm. In the gnarled forests and half-timbered cottages, you can still conjure up wicked witches, fairies, wizards, dwarfs, and goblins. The Grimm brothers were the earliest scholars of their country’s folklore; they traveled to far-flung corners of Germany in the early 19th century to record the tales they heard. Today, you can follow the Fairy Tale Road, a 370-mile route from Hanau, near Frankfurt, where the brothers were born, to Bremen, where the “Bremen Town Musicians” lived. The route goes through some of the prettiest medieval villages in the country. Come along and immerse yourself in the magical world created by the Brother’s themselves.


  • 1 Night Frankfurt
  • 2 Nights Kassel
  • 1 Night Bremen
  • 5-Day Compact Manual Car Rental
  • Road Map and Suggested Driving Itinerary
  • Daily Breakfast

Day 1 ~ Arrive Frankfurt:
Check into your hotel and enjoy a coffee and a German pastry at a local cafe. Although Frankfurt was heavily bombed in World War II, there is a lot of the old here – though mostly rebuilt. Head for the Rumerberg, the heart of the old city where Charlemagne once erected his fort. Visit the Rumer, with its Imperial Hall, exhibiting a portrait gallery of German emperors. Nearby is the Goethe Haus, former home of Germany’s most famous writer. Follow footsteps of Goethe and wander for at least 2 hours in the Altstadt (Old Town). For lunch, we’d recommend King Kamehameha Suite, a neoclassical villa that is a bar, cafe, and restaurant during the day. In the afternoon, see the impressive array of European paintings from various schools in the Städel Museum. If time remains, explore the Liebieghaus, one of the great sculpture galleries of Europe. (Accommodations, Frankfurt)

Day 2 ~ Frankfurt to Kassel:
Pick up your rental car and leave Frankfurt in the morning and drive to the town of Hanau. It was in here that Jakob (1785-1863) and Wilhelm (1786-1859) Grimm were born. Appropriately, the Fairy Tale Road starts at a monument to the storytelling brothers at Neustadter Marktplatz. The memorial, erected in 1896. From Hanau, go to Gelnhausen, where the remains of the Imperial Palace evoke memories of the emperor, Friedrich Barbarossa, and his lover, the beautiful Gela. Barbarossa constructed the castle here on an island in the 12th century. Continue to Steinau an der Strasse, where the Brothers Grimm spent their carefree youth. Visit the Amtshaus, the Renaissance palace, and see a performance at the fairy-tale puppet theater. Half-timbered buildings line cobblestone streets, and the surrounding woods might have been the home of Snow White. In the center of the main square is a memorial fountain honoring the Brothers. Continue north to Fulda, noted for its baroque architecture, as exemplified by the Bishops’ Palace on Schlossstrasse, overlooking the city. Northeast of Fulda is Lauterbach. (In one of the Grimms’ tales, the Little Scalawag loses his sock in Lauterbach.) The town is known for its medieval half-timbered houses and its two castles. Follow the route along the Schwalm River, which the Germans call Rotkäppchenland, or Little Red Riding Hood country. Signs point to Neustadt, with its circular tower, from which Rapunzel might have let down her golden tresses. Continue north to Kassel, where you’ll spend two nights. (Breakfast, Frankfurt; Accommodations, Kassel)

Day 3 ~ Kassel:
Relax and enjoy your day in Kassel. The Waldeck region and the Reinhards Forest around Kassel were the birthplace of many legends about witches, sleeping princesses, strange beasts, and magic spells. These tales had a profound influence on the Grimm brothers, who lived in Kassel from 1798 to 1830. The Brüder Grimm Museum here contains letters, portraits, and mementos of the Brothers Grimm. Nearby Kassel is Münden where The Fulda and Werra rivers meet. In the town center are some 700 half-timbered houses built in many styles. Also in Münden is the tombstone of the much-maligned Doctor Eisenbart (a Grimm character), who is remembered every year at a folk festival. Six miles north of Münden, in the village of Veckerhagen, go left and follow the signs to Sababurg. Right outside the village of Sababurg lies a park and castle said to be the setting of the Sleeping Beauty legend. You’ll almost start to believe the tale when you see the Italianate turrets of the castle. The park is said to be the oldest zoological garden in the world. (Breakfast & Accommodations, Kassel)

Day 4 ~ Kassel to Bremen:
Stop in the picturesque little villages along your way to Hameln. Immortalized by the Brothers Grimm, and even Goethe and Robert Browning, this is the setting for the famous Pied Piper folk tale. The Pied Piper, of course, is the world’s most famous rat-catcher, and in an act of revenge, lured the children of the village away with his magic flute. It’s a romantic old town that invites a day’s exploration. Rat figures in every conceivable form are for sale in the local shops. Explore and take in such attractions as the Rattenfängerhaus (Rat-Catcher’s House), where you can also order lunch. Shop for souvenirs and absorb the atmosphere. Continue on to Bremen, a UNESCO town with open air performances by the Bremen Town Musicians. You can spend the day exploring its many attractions. Begin at the Marktplatz, the heart of town and the main square. Wander at leisure, taking in such attractions as a 16th-century guild hall, and the Haus der Burgerschaft, home of Bremen’s Parliament. The town’s cathedral is Dom St. Petri. You can also visit its Focke-Museum, one of the best regional museums of Germany. Call on its Rathaus (Town Hall), take in some shopping, and walk the rampart promenade in the early evening like a local! (Breakfast, Kassel; Accommodations, Bremen)

Day 5 ~ Depart Bremen:

After your breakfast you are ready for your next adventure. (Breakfast, Bremen)

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