Ever wanted to visit Rapunzel’s tower, or see the cottage of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? Maybe even spend a night in Sleeping Beauty’s castle?
All of this and more is possible on a road trip along the German Fairy Tale Route, which stretches over 600 km (373 miles) from the town of Hanau all the way to Bremen.
What is the Fairy Tale Route?
Germany is famous for being the country where fairy tales where born all thanks to the two German Brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel are only a handful of their popular fairy tales. The original book, Kinder- und Hausmärchen (known today as Grimm’s Fairy Tales), 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 – the German Fairy Tale Route.
The route revolves around the Brothers Grimm, including towns they lived and worked in as well as places linked to the fairy tales that they collected. This is the perfect road trip for those that are young at heart. Visiting the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm, and taking you through medieval towns and romantic villages, beautiful nature parks and many fairy tale attractions – this is one of our favourite road trips we have ever done.
One Week Fairy Tale Road Trip Guide
Day 1: Berlin
We started our road trip in one of our favourite German cities, Berlin. Now Berlin isn’t actually apart of the Fairy Tale Route, but we thought it would be the perfect place to begin our trip to Germany. We spent a few days here getting over our jet lag and enjoying the sites.
Where we stayed: Hotel Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof
Read more: Berlin City Guide | Everything To See & Do
Day 2: Berlin – Quedlinburg
After spending the night in Berlin we picked up our car which we hired with Driveaway Holidays, and headed to the autobahn for the very first time.
We have to admit, it did take us a little time to get used to the speeds of the autobahn – we even had delivery vans going faster than us haha! After an hour into our drive we had settled in and made our way to Quedlinburg.
Once we arrived at the quaint town of Quedlinburg it felt as thought we had stepped into the pages of a child’s fairy tale storybook. Its narrow cobblestone streets are lined with over 1300 half-timbered houses, making it the town with the most half-timbered houses in the country!
The town is quite small, and we loved spending the afternoon walking through the tiny streets and alleys. We got lost plenty of times, but these are always the moments we find those hidden gems we never would have discovered if we didn’t go for an aimless explore.
Where we stayed: Romantik Hotel am Brühl
Read more: Quick Guide to Quedlinburg
Day 3: Quedlinburg – Kassel
Göttingen is well known as being home to the University of Göttingen where the Grimm Brothers once served as professors. However, one of the most visited spots in this village is its central market square, where the statue of Gänseliesel, the little goose girl, can be found. People say that she is one of the most kissed statues anywhere in the world. It is said that the kisser is rewarded with good luck, and every year, graduates from the local university come and place a kiss upon the statue of Gänseliesel as a sign of gratitude.
We didn’t give her a kiss, but now we think we missed our chance!
We spent the afternoon climbing up the medieval castle of Trendelburg, which is said to be the setting for the tale of Rapunzel. If you visit on Sunday you may even see Rapunzel herself!
Kassel is home to GRIMMWELT a museum that looks into the lives and work of the Brothers. Here we had the pleasure to see the hand-copies of the children’s and house fairy tales from 1812-1815 with handwritten notes by the Brothers Grimm.
Where we stayed: H4 Hotel Kassel
Day 4: Kassel – Waldeck
Fritzlar was hands down our favourite stop on this road trip. Scattered with half-timbered houses and having a Marketplatz that looks like it is straight out of a Disney World theme park, it is hard to believe that this is a genuine town and not built purely as a tourist attraction.
Our Germany Fairy Tale road trip would have not been completed without spending at least one night in a castle! Perched 120 meters above the Edersee in the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, the four-star Schloss Hotel Waldeck is the perfect place to stay when driving this German route.
Waldeck Castle dates back to 11th century, lieing on a steep, wooded mountain, on the outskirts of town. Once the ancestral home and residence of the Counts of Waldeck, this beautiful fortress is now an amazing hotel.
Where we stayed: Hotel Schloss Waldeck
Read more: Staying in a German Castle
Day 5: Waldeck – Marburg
When we laid eyes on Alsfeld we both said this place could easily be made out of gingerbread! It is such an enchanting town, full of cobbled alleyways, bakeries, and timber houses. This is also said to be the town which gave the inspiration of Little Red Riding Hood, as the Brothers Grimm would come sit inside the local pub and listen to this folktale being told.
We also recommend taking a visit to the the Märchenhaus, (the Fairy Tale House), where you’ll see each room decorated with mannequins and props depicting fairy tales like “Hansel and Gretel” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”
This is the town where the Grimm brothers studied in the early 19th century. Marburg has a very youthful vibe, as it has a very high student population because of the university located there. This has resulted in the village being designed to cater for the modern student’s lifestyle, with plenty of places to shop, eat out and relax.
During our stay we had dinner at the most incredible restaurant called Bückingsgarten, located right near the castle overlooking the university town. If you are looking for a delicious German meal with an incredible view we highly recommend you come and eat here!
Where we stayed: Hotel Marburger Hof
Day 6: Marburg – Hanau
Steinau was one of the most influential villages for the Brothers Grimm, as they lived here until the age of 12. The setting is straight out of a storybook – with half-timber houses, cobblestone streets, and castles with turrets and towers.
Here you can actually visit the house where the brothers were raised. It has been converted into the Brüder Grimm Haus and Museum Steinau, showcasing the works of the brothers. Schloss Steinau is also worth a visit, overlooking the entire town in true fairy tale form.
Hanau is a very special place on the Fairy Tale Route as this was the birthplace of the Brothers. In memory, the main attraction here is the Nationaldenkmal Brüder Grimm, which is a bronze, larger-than-life statue of the famous brothers, originally erected in 1898.
We enjoyed our afternoon locating the series of sculptures that are scattered throughout the old town that depict characters from the Grimm brothers’ collections such as “Sleeping Beauty,” “Puss in Boots” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”
They even have a bakery that serve a Brother’s Grimm themed cake!
Where we stayed: PLAZA Hotel Hanau
Day 7: Hanau – Frankfurt
This is where our road trip came to an end. We dropped off our car, checked into our hotel and went and explored the city. We only had 24 hours in Frankfurt so we decided to spend the day in Römerberg which is the town square with a number of half-timbered buildings.
Where we stayed: 25hours Hotel The Goldman
READ MORE: BERLIN CITY GUIDE | EVERYTHING TO SEE & DO
A big thank you to the German Fairy Tale Route tourism board for inviting Flying The Nest to visit Germany, as always all opinions are our own.