Inspiring Germany

Hesse – a region of contrasts

Frankfurt: skyline ©DZT (Francesco Carovillano)

Hesse lies at the heart of Germany and offers tourists a broad range of holiday options. Whether holidaymakers are looking for nature, culture, hiking, cycling, a spa break, a family holiday or a city break, there is something for everyone in Hesse. And it's quick and easy to get to, given that Frankfurt Airport is right in the middle of the region.

The most popular tourist destinations in Hesse are nice and varied, with the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region being the main port of call for visitors from all around the world. Culture vultures and night owls will be in their element here.

Adventures in the great outdoors are never far away, with the Taunus, Vogelsberg, Spessart and Odenwald hills just a stone's throw away from Frankfurt city centre. Top Taunus attractions include the vast Hessenpark Open-Air Museum and the Saalburg, which is the only reconstructed Roman fort in the world, not far from the Roman Limes UNESCO World Heritage Site. The foothills of the Vogelsberg hills extend far into the surrounding area and the region is also home to little spa resorts, such as Bad Salzhausen, Bad Salzschlirf and Herbstein, and two of Hesse's flagship cycle paths – the Volcano Cycle Path and the Hesse Railway Cycle Route. The Kinzigtal Valley marks the point at which the Vogelsberg and Spessart overlap. Emperor Babarossa's Imperial Palace in Gelnhausen and Hanau and the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm await visitors in the Spessart hills. The area to the west of Frankfurt merges into the Rheingau, which is part of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley UNESCO World Heritage Site that just so happens to be one of the finest wine-growing regions Germany has to offer. Wiesbaden, the capital of Hesse, also falls within the Rheingau. Here, visitors are treated to a striking historic cityscape.

To the south of the region lie the legendary Odenwald hills, the Hessische Bergstrasse wine-growing region around Heppenheim and Bensheim, and Darmstadt, a city of science and one of Germany's Art Nouveau centres.

The north of the Hesse region in particular boasts largely unspoiled natural scenery and is known as the home of the Brothers Grimm. The Kellerwald-Edersee National Park is a major highlight in the area, with its foothills joining up with Lake Edersee, one of Germany's largest reservoirs, to form a paradise for water sports fans. Mount Hohe Meissner, the home of Old Mother Frost from the Brothers Grimm fairytale, and the primeval Sababurg woods in the Reinhardswald forest are top spots for hikers. Kassel, the major city in northern Hesse and home to the documenta exhibition, has made a name for itself amongst art buffs in particular. Moving further south-west, the idyllic Lahn Valley is a hit with tourists. Historical towns like Marburg, Wetzlar, Weilburg and Limburg an der Lahn are popular destinations in the region and excellent spots for canoeing and cycling. The Rhön Mountains and the Wasserkuppe, the tallest peak in Hesse at 950 metres, stand proudly in the far east of the region. From the plateaus where there is barely a tree in sight, a magnificent view extends over the peaks and valleys, revealing Rhön as the "land of endless horizons". This really is a region of contrasts!

© HA Hessen Agentur GmbH

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