Towering on a hill at Marburg’s city centre is the Landgrave Castle. Besides the panoramic views you have over the city from up there, guided tours in summer grant an in-depth look into the past and present of the 1248 fort. Its rooms and grounds are occasionally used for film screenings and music performances.
Marburg Castle (Landgrave Castle), Marburg, Germany, +49 6421 99120
Between 1802 and 1805, the Brothers Grimm studied at Marburg University. Even though neither Jacob nor Wilhelm ever completed their degree, the city’s enchanting atmosphere has inspired many of their fairy tales. A themed pathway weaves its way through Marburg and commemorates their stories with giant sculptures at 15 stops.
The Lahn River quietly flows through Marburg, cutting the town in half. Boat rentals have canoes and rowing boats available in the summer months, but most people enjoy the warmer days by lingering on the Lahn meadows, having picnics and BBQs or snatching a shady spot at a riverside café or beer garden.
Throughout the year, between 200 and 250 events take place at the train station-turned-cultural centre Waggonhalle. Guests can expect to see everything from plays, improv, dance, circus shows, cabaret and wrestling on the agenda. Even if you’re not here to catch any of the performances, the on-site Rotkehlchen restaurant lures with fantastic food, a charming rustic interior and courtyard seating.
Marburg’s old town, or Oberstadt, sits on a hill and is as picturesque as it gets. Staircases connect the winding cobblestoned streets and alleys, which are home to quaint cafés, shops and restaurants. To this day, the historic market square is the focal point and marked by the 1512 town hall that overlooks the plaza.
Many German villages such as Rothenburg ob der Tauber give off a medieval flair with their cobblestones, ancient city walls and half-timbered houses, and Marburg isn’t stingy with historical timber-framed vistas. Stroll along Barfüßerstraße, Markt and Wettergasse for endless Instagrammable photo opportunities.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Tower soars 36 metres (118 feet) on a Lahn hillside. The tower, built between 1887 and 1890, is popular for the panoramic views of the city and the castle. A climb up the 167 steps takes you to the top. When you arrive back down shaky-legged, the café on the ground floor is a great spot to fuel up on sugary treats and coffee.
Kaiser Wilhelm Tower, Hermann-Bauer-Weg 2, Marburg, Germany, +49 6421 682129
A trip to Marburg’s hilly Oberstadt can quickly turn into a sweat-inducing venture, especially if you’re using a wheelchair or are pushing a stroller, but there’s a clever shortcut you should know about. Within seconds, a set of glass-fronted elevators takes you from Pilgrimstein in the new part of town up to the historic centre.
If you go a mere 15 kilometres (nine miles) east of Marburg, you will find the small town of Rauischholzhausen. Apart from the entertainment you get out of trying to pronounce the tongue-twisting name, the village is known for an imposing 1871 castle with large parks and gardens surrounding it. The former private estate is now used as a conference centre by Giessen University, but guided tours are available to the public.
Castle Rauischholzhausen, Schloßpark 1, Ebsdorfergrund, Germany, +49 6424 301100
Around the corner from here, the Amoeneburg Castle has been turned into ruins. Remains of the fortress walls and a tower can be visited and are worth taking a trip to in combination with lunch in the quaint town centre. Old timber-framed houses encircle the town square and offer a number of cafés and restaurants.
Founded it 1527, the Philipps University of Marburg is among the oldest in Germany and home to prestigious faculties in the fields of medicine, chemistry and psychology. Across Germany, Marburg is primarily known as a student town, which is hardly a surprise, considering that more than a third of its population is currently enrolled at the local university. The result is a lively atmosphere, good nightlife and a myriad of cafés, beer gardens and cultural events.