Enjoy thriving cities, medieval towns & beautiful scenery
Hessen Germany (English name is Hesse) offers a huge scenic diversity. Discover medieval towns, health spas, rolling hills, and experience a wide range of leisure activities.
Hessen is well-known because of Europe's financial metropolis Frankfurt, and Germany's largest airport Rhein-Main. However, let me tell you that Hesse has much more to offer, for business travellers and holidaymakers as well. Even if you only have time to stay in Frankfurt, there are plenty of exciting tours to take to discover the state I call home.
Picturesque houses at the market place in Nidda
What do you want to know about Hessen Germany? Please use the quick links to jump to an area of interest.
Quick Facts of Hessen Germany
Population - Bevölkerung: 6, 045, 425 (December 2013)
Size - Fläche: 21, 114 km², it's the 7th largest state
Capital - Hauptstadt: Wiesbaden (Pop. 273, 871)
Largest City - grösste Stadt: (Pop. 701, 350)
Geography: Lowlands around Frankfurt and along the Rhine, low mountain ranges and river valleys
Highest Mountain - Wasserkuppe 950 m (3100 ft) in the Rhön History - Although settlement in Hessen goes back to the ancient tribe of the Chatti, the boundaries of modern Hesse only exist since 1945.
Regions, landscapes & attractions in Hessen
River Main at Seligenstadt
- The landscapes in Hessen are dominated by low mountain ranges.
Rhön, Taunus, Vogelsberg, and Odenwald are in the central and southern parts, while Kaufunger Wald, Kellerwald, Knüll and Hoher Meissner are in the north.
Each of these ranges has its own character. The common feature is that they are all dotted with lovely towns and villages.
- Mount Wasserkuppe in the Rhön hills is a gliding centre, the world's first gliding school opened here in 1924.
- The Vogelsberg is known as one of the largest extinct volcanic fields on earth.
- The Wetterau north of Frankfurt, and the hessisches Ried are the only lowlands in Hessen.
- Major rivers like the Main, Lahn, Fulda, Eder and Kinzig have carved lovely valleys into the mountain ranges.
- The Rhine doesn't flow through Hessen (apart from the "Old Rhine" arm in the Kühkopf Nature Reserve near Riedstadt). However, the river builds a part of Hessen's western border with Rhineland-Palatinate between Lampertheim in the south, and Lorchhausen west of Wiesbaden.
- Castle gatehouse in Friedberg
- North Hesse is fairy-tale country. The Brothers Grimm lived many years in Kassel, and collected the tales of the region.
Sababurg is known as the castle of Sleeping Beauty as it was surrounded by a 5km long and 3m high thorn hedge in the 16th century. The Hoher Meissner is said to be the home of Frau Holle.
- Leisure activities in Hessen include hiking, bicycling, fishing, watersports in summer. Skiing, especially cross-country skiing, and sledging are possible in many regions, when we have snow.
- Bicycle fans will be happy about long distance bicycle trails along the rivers. They are easy to ride and offer beautiful scenery. Motorcyclists however, enjoy the rolling hills for a pleasure ride on the weekends.
- Scenic routes in Hessen guide you to historic places, picturesque half-timbered towns and places of historic relevance. Take the fairy tale road or the idyllic road and enjoy the most unique places in Hessen.
- The Bergstrasse goes straight southwards from Darmstadt to Heidelberg and Wiesloch in Baden-Württemberg. It is a lovely drive along the foothills of the Odenwald. The road passes through lovely towns with half-timbered houses, the hills are dotted with castles and ruins.
The mild climate gives the Bergstrasse region almost an Italian flair, with almond, fig and olive trees growing here.
- Braunfels on the Lahn river
- UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Hessen:
Kloster Lorsch (Lorsch Abbey) - The famous Königshalle (Royal Hall) from the ninth century is one of the most important monuments of Carolingian architecture in Germany. Lorsch is in the south near Bensheim (Bergstrasse)
Grube Messel (Messel Pit) near Darmstadt is a former quarry with unusual well-preserved fossils telling us about the early stages of mammal evolution. Fossil Ida, said to be the missing link in human evolution, was discovered at the Messel pit in 1983.
Upper Middle Rhine valley from Bingen to Koblenz is on the UNESCO list on behalf of the whole river Rhine. The narrow Rhine valley is extremely scenic and a famous tourist attraction.
- The Hercules Monument and Waterfeatures in the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in Kassel is the newest heritage site, acknowledged for its unique cultural landscape. It was added in summer 2013.
Cities & towns in Hessen Germany
More than 30 spa towns make Hessen Germany's top spa destination. Wiesbaden and Bad Homburg are well-known, but smaller health resorts attract visitors from near and far as well.
Explore the cities and towns that are really worth a visit.
North HessenKassel - population 195, 000 - The main city in Hesse's north is known as the capital of the German Fairy Tale Road (deutsche Märchenstrasse). The Brothers Grimm lived many years in Kassel collecting fairy tales from the area.
Bad Wilhelmshöhe, the Documenta and glorious buildings from its past as a residence for princes are the main attractions.
Limburg - pop. 33, 400
This is another beautiful medieval city on the Lahn river with attractive small lanes and half-timbered houses.
The impressive cathedral, St. Georg's Dom, overlooks the old town and can be seen from far away.
Marburg - pop. 80, 600
The city on the Lahn river has the oldest protestant university in the world. The hilly upper town has a well-preserved Altstadt (old town), topped by a castle. It is an old city, however, the students keep Marburg young and alive.
Wiesbaden - pop. 276, 000
The hot springs in Wiesbaden have a long history. They were already used by Romans in the first century.
The Staatstheater (state theatre), Kurhaus, the Landtag and many other impressive mansions build the flair of our capital city.