When you tell your friends that you are off to Darmstadt, it’s very likely they’ll ask, “Where on earth is that?” But they’ll soon add Darmstadt to their bucket list when they see your selfies with the absolutely stunning Mathildenhoehe in the background. And that’s just one of Darmstad’s many attractions. Let’s take a look.
Though Hessisches Landesmuseum houses an extensive collection of artwork, it is more famous for its natural history exhibits. Here, you can see fossils excavated in Messel Pit, a quarry near Frankfurt am Main, as well as the remains of a gigantic American mastodon.
Waldspirale is the last and among the most celebrated works of Austrian artist and architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who designed a series of unique buildings across Germany and Austria. The building symbolizes the intricate connection between human beings and nature. To that effect, its wavy terrace is crowned by a whole forest of beech, maple and lime. The building also houses a cafe and a bar.
Zoo Vivarium is the perfect destination for families. It is not just another zoo but has emerged as a significant institute of conservation by adopting numerous national and international breeding programs, including that of endangered European macaques. This zoo is home to over 2,000 creatures, including several rare and exotic ones. The animals can be observed going about their daily lives in their almost-natural habitat. The chance to pet little African goats is of special appeal to children.
Parc de Rosenhöhe is a gorgeous oasis right in the midst of the city. Locals come here to take a break from the bustle of city life among a sea of roses, water lilies and other beautiful flowers. Additionally, a stroll through the park will take you past several interesting landmarks, including the striking Löwentor guarding the park entrance, a picturesque teahouse with a golden roof and intricate paintings, a mausoleum and chapels, a Spanish tower, the neo-classical palace Pförtnerhäusche, a lovely herb garden and more.
The 4.5 hectare Botanical Gardens maintained by the Darmstadt University of Technology is any botany enthusiast’s dream come true and yet another great place to bond with nature. The garden is home to a whopping 9,000 plant species, including a range of rare examples housed in an arboretum. Don’t miss the heather, greenhouses and alpine garden when you visit.
For a city, Darmstadt has a really impressive green feel. Herrngarten, the largest and oldest park in Darmstadt, is another pristine oasis where you can feel one with nature. This is the locals’ favorite spot to hang out with friends, have a picnic, barbecue or simply laze and stroll around. When you are here, look for the tomb of Landgrave Caroline, the veteran monument, the Goethe monument and the memorial stone for Princess Elisabeth. In warmer months, the park hosts concerts in its music pavilions.
Bioversum Kranichstein, a museum housed in Schloss Kranichstein, has a wonderful program to help you understand various aspects of nature and the environment. The tours, workshops and trails, which encourage touching and experimentation, are designed to be engaging for the younger members of your family too. Schloss Kranichstein enjoys a picturesque location in the midst of thick beech forest, a perfect setting for a nature museum.
Luisenplatz was once the political center of the Grand Duchy of Hesse and housed the Old Palace (the residence of the Grand Duke), the Kollegiengebäude (the seat of government) and the Ständehaus (seat of the Landtag). Today, the Luisencenter (housing the town hall) stands in place of the palace. The most important landmark here is the Ludwigsmonument, erected in 1841 in honor of Grand Duke Ludewig I. Several administration buildings are also located here and events are often hosted in this square.
If you happen to be one of those millions of people who love trains, you are guaranteed a great few hours at Darmstadt-Kranichstein Railway Museum. It boasts an admirable collection of locomotives, including steam locomotives, a rack railway steam engine, diesel locomotives, electric engines, Austrian locomotives, and more. Alongside, exhibits like train signals, steam engine boilers, driver’s cabs and more, deepen your technical understanding about the working of trains.