My husband’s from Frankfurt, so we go to Hessen a lot! Every time we go, a part of me comes alive. The German countryside is one of my favorite places and I’m always itching to see cute little towns and try something new from the local bakeries like fresh-baked Streusel Stückchen. Mmm!
So far, we’ve developed a habit of flying into the Frankfurt airport and then Googling nearby towns to visit in Hessen. I love finding new charming places where I can simply roam around and be in awe at every corner of the cobble-stoned streets. If you enjoy admiring traditional German timber buildings (Fachwerk), exploring narrow European streets, or seeing historic sites, you’ll certainly love a few or all of these Hessen towns!
Introducing the Hessen Day Trips Guide — where to go and photos that really show off what these charming towns look like.
Kronberg sits on a hill overlooking Frankfurt. It was perfect for a pleasant spring day in April. The trees were blooming and there was even a little carnival in town when we were there! We parked near the Rathaus and walked uphill to Burg Kronberg. They were serving hot German food and the castle was open. We bought our tickets and set off to explore.
I really enjoyed my time in Limburg! We walked around the entire town, from the Limburg Cathedral to the Old Lahn Bridge and around. (TIP: Walk past the Old Lahn to another less exciting bridge to get some nice photos of the Old Lahn Bridge and the Limburg Cathedral like the one below.) It was rainy when we were there, but it lessened the crowds and it was just warm enough to still feel nice. They had one of those metal tables with etchings of the town and its historic sites. We used that to guide ourselves around as we meandered our way between the traditional lumber buildings. That was my favorite part, besides finding the view of the cathedral and the bridge.
Wetzlar was such a fun and easy German town to travel to. They had ample parking right by the Lahn and the bridge you see pictured below. From there, we simply walked up and around the city. We happened upon the Wetzlar Cathedral almost immediately and found really interesting, historic sites in that area. The Lottehaus, for example, was a short walk to the side of the cathedral. It was the home of Charlotte Buff. She is said to have inspired Goethe’s first book. The combination of the Fachwerk architecture, the flowing river and the city that slowly inclines, created an easy-going, beautiful day trip in Wetzlar.
Bad Nauheim was a surprising diversion from the usual towns we see in Germany. It’s home to where Elvis stayed during the his military service. Plus, its Gradierbau Inhalatorium is an unusual sight — a graduation tower used to produce salt that is also used as a form of therapy. Individuals pay to sit or walk through the inside of the the walls. The increase in salinity is supposed to help with relaxation and respiratory problems. We didn’t pay to go inside the Gradierbau, but we could still smell the salt and see the structure up close. They have a large park full of these structures. The city center close to where Elvis lived has shops and ice cream parlours.
We went to Weisbaden during the holidays and I was so impressed! There was a ferris wheel that they managed to fit in the middle of the city, despite its narrow cobble-stoned streets. They even had an ice skating rink, ample shopping, and lights strung throughout the city.
I almost forgot to include Bad Homburg on the list! I go there so often that consequently, it didn’t stand out, but Bad Homburg was one of the first small German towns that I ever went to! Bad Homburg is adorable! It has shopping, spas and parks amidst its bright, colorful town. I really enjoy eating out at traditional restaurants in Bad Homburg. Oh and they have a German gummy bear shop. I get the Rentier (reindeer) candy every single time. If you’re interested in history and culture, you can tour the castle, which was a family home unbelievably. You can also simply walk around the castle grounds without paying a ticket for a guided tour.
I hope you’ll find this guide helpful as you decide which towns to visit in Hessen! There are so many things to do near Frankfurt, and in my opinion, the smaller towns have a lot more character and history, without the crowds. Unfortunately, a large portion of Frankfurt was destroyed during World War 2 so the amount of historic sites in good condition are lacking. Don’t be weary of making a trip there, though. The rest of the state of Hessen has so much to offer. I hope you’ll love Hessen as much as I do!
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