Everything you need to know about the Fairy Tale Road in Germany

Recognize these names? Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White or Rapunzel? Well, you may or may not have known already that they were German Fairytales, but did you know that there was a fairy tale road in Germany?

Even if fairy tales aren’t your thing, the fairy tale road in Germany is something that should not be missed! Everything you imagine fairy tale towns to look like will come alive right in front of you. And it’s so magical.

If you’re not convinced yet, here is whom I think the fairy tale road in Germany is the best fit for:

  1. The road trip fanatics
  2. Families with kids
  3. People who love exploring off-the-beaten-path destinations

I personally believe that the German Fairytale Route is still considered a hidden gem and not many people know about it. So the purpose of this article is to share some FAQs and tips for visitng. Hopefully, by the end, you will be convinced to add it to your bucket list!

*Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.


What is the fairy tale road in Germany?

The the fairy tale road in Germany, also known as the German Fairytale route, is a selection of towns and locations that served as an inspiration to the Grimm Brothers. We owe the Grimm Brothers a huge thank you as they were the authors of some of the world’s most iconic fairytales.

The route is dedicated to their stories and their life. It highlights specific towns where local legends brought certain characters to life. It also highlights where the brothers travelled, lived and other defining locations for the development of their stories.

Asfled town square - one of my favourite towns on the fairy tale road in Germany


Where in Germany is it located?

The route begins in central Germany and ends in the north. It begins just outside of Frankfurt, in the town of Hanau, and it ends just outside of Hamburg, in Buxtehude. In total, it spans 600 km and includes more than 50 different places. Here is a map if you’re interested!

What is amazing about this route is that it truly brings you to the lesser-explored areas of Germany. There aren’t any major cities along the way. You will be exploring the forest, castles and towns following the footsteps of the Grimm Brothers themselves.

The timber framed houses in Fritzlar one of my favourites on the Fairytale Route


How to visit the Germany’s fairy tale road?

You can start the route from either end, it doesn’t necessarily change your experience. If you choose to start in Hanau, your closest airport would be Frankfurt. Or of course, you could also fly into Hamburg.

Of course, it is entirely possible to visit the fairy tale road by public transit however, I personally think it would be a bit challenging to do. As I said, it consists of smaller towns, running across a large portion of Germany so logistically you would need to do some planning.

My best advice would be to fly into Frankfurt or Hamburg and rent a car or even a camping car from there. I am a huge fan of road trips because of how much freedom you have. You can visit wherever you want, whenever you want. It is definitely the best way to get the most out of your experience!

PRO TIP: We have been using for our car rentals for our past few road trips and loved them! We managed to find the best deals there because they compare the cost across multiple car rental agencies so you can find the best price! Definitely recommend using them to plan your road trip!

A mini frog prince statue in Alsfeld with a timber framed house behind it


Where is a good place to base yourself?

The biggest, central town along the route is Kassel. It is actually known as the capital of the fairy tale road. So that would be your best bet if you were looking for one singular base.

However, as I mentioned, the route spans 600 km, so if your intention is to see the entire route or even most of it, basing yourself in one place wouldn’t be the most efficient way to do that. The easiest way would be to drive along the route and stop where you can.


How long do you need to visit?

The route is technically 600 km long which means you can drive the entire route in roughly 6-8 hours non-stop. But of course, you’re going to be stopping! If you were planning to complete the entire route, meaning every town and every stop on the map, they recommend that it could be done in 5-7 days.

To keep in mind: You are not obligated to complete the entire route, I personally did not! So you can adapt your road trip to your particular interests and needs. We visited for a few nights as part of a much larger road trip through Germany.

The timber-framed colourful streets of Alsfeld


Best time to visit the German Fairytale Route?

I personally visited the route during the summer and loved it. Since this route is a hidden gem (in my opinion) I don’t think you would need to worry about the summer crowds. It also isn’t necessarily a seasonal destination but I would like to mention that most festivities and festivals do take place in the summer!

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A waterfall inside Bergpark one of my favourite places in Kassel


What to do on the fairy tale road in Germany?

1. Visit Bergpark in Kassel

Outside of the Kassel city centre, there is a massive, UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage site called Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. Inside the park, there are quite a few things to see including castle ruins, a palace and a monument of Hercules. The monument of Hercules is at the highest point of the park which can be quite the climb. But there is so much to see in this 560-hectare park, it is a really nice place to spend the afternoon!

The castle ruins in side Bergpark - one of our stops on the German Fairytale Route


2. Learn about the Grimm Brothers in the Grimwelt Museum in Kassel

Kassel is known as the capital of the fairytale route mainly because this is where the Brothers Grimm studied and eventually lived for over 30 years! There is a museum dedicated to them and their work!


3. Walk around Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Hofgeismar

Hofgeismar is Sleeping Beauty’s town which just so happens to be located in Reinhardswald Nature Park. There are tonnes of hikes and other outdoor activity options to check out as well! Sababurg Dörnröschenschloss or Sleeping Beauty’s Castle is another popular spot along the Fairytale Route, where at times you may be able to run into Sleeping Beauty and her prince around the castle grounds!

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4. Wander around Fritzlar

Fritzlar was a highlight of our visit. I found it to be very authentic, filled with timber-framed houses and a beautiful village to explore. Now this isn’t a town that is directly related to the Grimm Fairytales, however, it is a town from the middle ages and is definitely worth the visit. You can read more about the town’s history here!

Snacking in Fritzlar


5. Stay in Rapunzel’s tower in Trendleberg

The tower of Trendleberg’s fortress is said to be Rapunzel’s Tower. On Sundays, Rapunzel herself makes an appearance in the tower and gives a short performance! There’s even a hotel inside!


6. Visit Snow White’s Castle in Bad Wildungen

The Friedrichstein Palace is also known as Snow White’s Castle. The former count who lived in the castle, his daughter died young from eating a poisoned apple, which of course was the inspiration for this beloved fairytale. In the town of Bad Wildungen, you can also find Snow White’s Village and a former copper mine. When I visited this area, I will admit, it was a little bit difficult to navigate and to find where we were going. It wasn’t as clearly marked as I was hoping for but we made it work and stumbled upon statues of the seven dwarves.

The Seven Dwarves in Snow White's Village - one of the stops along the Germany Fairytale route


7. Hanau – Grimm Brothers’ birthplace

Hanau is the birthplace of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and is the official starting point of the fairy tale route in Germany. The particular spot it begins is at the statue of the brothers in Hanau’s Market Square.


8. Pop into the Fairytale House in Alsfeld

Alsfeld was another highlight for me and was probably my favourite stop from our visit along the fairytale route. There are more than 400 timber-framed houses in this town and it is the historic home of Little Red Riding Hood. The brothers were inspired by the red caps the locals would wear in Alsfeld. In town, there is also a museum dedicated to their stories where there are often live readings. The museum also has the most important doll-house collection in Germany.

The view from inside the fairytale house in Alsfeld


9. Visit the home of the Pied Piper in Hameln

The Pied Piper of Hameln is another classic story from the Grimm Brothers. The city was plagued with rats and with the help of the Pied Piper he got rid of them by playing his flute. When he was refused payment, he turned against the town and with his flute he entranced the children of the town to follow him and they were never seen again. This legend is definitely a darker tale but is one of the spots on the fairytale route that has lots of events. You can read about them here!


10. Check out their events and experiences

One thing I particularly love about the fairytale route is how involved everyone gets! I’ve seen listed online that there are live readings, guided tours, festivals, exhibitions and so many other activities to check out. This might be very intriguing especially if you are travelling with kids. I will admit, the Fairytale Route website is a little difficult to navigate, however, you can find the calendar of events here!

Little Red Riding Hood's home in Alsfeld


Tips for visiting 

📍 Aren’t interested in visiting all of the towns? These were our favourites! Fritzlar and Alsfeld were by far my favourite stops that we made on the route. They are super authentic and charming, you really do feel like you are walking into a fairytale. Parking was easy, and there were plenty of restaurants so they are really great spots from our experience.

📖 Choose the spots you want to visit and plan your road trip accordingly. When I visited the fairytale route, I didn’t necessarily need nor did I have the time to visit every single town and stop along the way. So to plan for our visit, I read up on the German Fairytale Route website and chose the spots that interested me the most. They have tonnes of information online about the various stops, how they’re related to the fairytales including different events that might be taking place.

🅿️ You might need a parking pass. In many of these small, local towns we noticed that there was a blue parking pass displayed on people’s dashboard. We asked around and even though they arent a necessity but we got one just in case from a local convenience store. You display the time you park your car in case police are checking the meters. It seems like they rely on the honour system, but the pass was only a few euros so we got one to be safe!


Planning your road trip yet?

I hope by now you have scribbled the German Fairytale Route onto your bucket list somewhere. It truly was a magical and underrated area of Germany that deserves more attention! You can’t get any more authentic than seeing towns filled with traditional timber-framed houses.

Even though I wasn’t able to visit the entire route, I really enjoyed visiting this part of Germany and I highly recommend doing the same. Finding specific destinations based on your interests and making them fit into your itinerary was what worked best for us. And visiting even SOME of these smaller villages and supporting local businesses is better than nothing right!?

My visit along the German Fairytale route was part of a much larger road trip through Germany, France and Luxembourg. You can read more about this road trip in my Budget Breakdown article!

Need help planning your road trip? I offer personalized travel planning services! I’ve helped clients choose their honeymoon destination, provided a list of local recommendations and looked over a client’s itinerary with them. You can find out more about these services on my Thatch page!

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Caity Zagar

Travel Planner & Blogger

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