Hesse is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. The capital of Hesse is Wiesbaden, the largest city in the federal state is Frankfurt am Main. Because the state is not too far from the Netherlands, it is a popular holiday destination for many Dutch people. Most come here to enjoy the beautiful nature or to relax in one of the many spas that can be found here. There are several nature parks here, most of which are free to visit. Some of these parks have been placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Frankfurt is seen as the economic center of Hesse and Germany. The city is home to the most important German stock exchange, the Deutscher Aktienindex (DAX). Other major cities in Hesse are Kassel, Darmstadt and Offenbach am Main. Several authentic small villages can be found in the hilly landscape of Hesse. Most of these villages still have some of the typical half-timbered houses.
Top 10 Things to Do in Hesse
#1. Frankfurt am Main
According to CLOTHESBLISS, Frankfurt am Main is the largest city in the federal state of Hesse and economically the most important. Usually the name of the city is abbreviated to Frankfurt. More than 600,000 people live here, but on an average working day there are on average almost a million people in the city. Frankfurt is considered the financial center of Germany. In addition to the beautiful old half-timbered houses of St. Paul’s Church, the Frankfurt Cathedral and the Alte Oper, there are many skyscrapers in the city. Due to this, Frankfurt has been nicknamed Mainhattan. The tallest skyscraper is 259 meters high. There are several shopping streets in the center of the city.
Castle Dillenburg Castle was built in the mid-13th century by the then Count of Nassau near the town of Dillenburg. William of Orange was born here in 1533, also known in the Netherlands as Willem de Zwijger and Father of the Fatherland. He would spend the first 11 years of his life here. Not much remains of the original castle after it was destroyed by the French during the Seven Years’ War. The Willemstoren was built on this site in the 19th century in memory of William of Orange. The Orange-Nassau Museum is now located in this tower.
The state of Hesse is known for its many spas. They can be found here in all shapes and sizes. From ultramodern buildings with the latest gadgets to old baroque castles with the grandeur of a bygone era, they can all be found here. The largest spa in Europe can be found near the town of Bad Wildungen.
Wiesbaden is the capital of the federal state of Hesse and is located in its southwest. Wiesbaden is located on the right bank of the Rhine. The city is best known for its thermal baths and the hot spring that is located in the city at the Kurhaus. About 1 million tourists come to Wiesbaden every year. The Marktkirche and the Neues Rathaus are among the most beautiful buildings in the city. The most popular shopping streets in Wiesbaden are Kirchgasse and Langgasse. Those looking for a little more luxury should head to Wilhelmstrae.
Since 1955, the Documenta exhibition has been held in Kassel every five years. It is regarded worldwide as the most important exhibition of contemporary visual art in the world. The most important location of this exhibition is the Fridericianum, but the works of art are distributed over 6 other locations, including some parks. The 2007 edition had a budget of approximately 20 million and attracted just over 650,000 spectators.
#6. Wilhelmshöher Park
The Wilhelmshöher Park in Kassel is the largest mountain park in Europe and one of the largest in the world. At the end of the 17th century, the construction of the park was started, which lasted about 150 years. This has resulted in a park with international allure. Especially because of the beautiful buildings such as Wilhelmshöhe Castle and Löwenburg that are located in the park. The most famous building in the park is probably the Hercules. This 71 meter high castle with the large cascade below it is seen as the symbol of Kassel. Every Wednesday, Sunday or public holiday in the summer months, the many fountains of the park can be admired in all their glory.
#7. Kellerwald-Edersee National Park
In the north of Hesse lies the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park, which is partially on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The park is located in the northern part of the Kellerwald middle mountain range east of the town of Bad-Wildungen. The largest part of this park consists of beech forest. Several walking and cycling routes run through the park. In total there are more than 150 kilometers of windel route in the Kellerwald-Edersee National Park. The highest mountain in this park is the Traddelkopf with 626 meters.
For many of the tourists who come to the state of Hesse, walking is one of the main goals. There are many hiking trails through the region. In total there are 7 important hiking areas in the region. All these hiking areas have their own character. The difficulty of the various walks here mainly depends on the amount of hills in the area concerned. The Uplandsteig, the Lahntal and the Vogelsberg are just a few examples of popular hiking areas in Hesse.
#9. Winter sports
In some places, such as Willingen, Feldberg and Diemelsee, winter sports are possible in Hesse. However, don’t expect kilometers of long slopes here, but all the shorter slopes together are good for more than a hundred kilometers of skiing fun. There are also several cross-country skiing trails in the region. The size of the ski areas is very dependent on the amount of precipitation that falls in the winter months. With almost 800 meters the Vogelsberg is one of the highest ski areas in Hesse.
#10. Frankfurter sausages
Germany is sometimes called the land of sausages. The state of Hesse is perhaps the best example of this. The most famous export product of this region is the Frankfurter sausage. These sausages are indispensable here, almost on every corner of the state there is a sausage stall. At these stalls you can eat the most delicious sausage sandwiches with sauerkraut, curry and mustard or just a sausage from the hand with some curry. These sausages are available in supermarkets in all shapes and sizes. It will take you a few weeks to try all kinds. In the rest of the world, the Frankfurter sausage is better known as the hot dog.