The Top Things to Do in Hanau, Germany
Schloss Philippsruhe | © Dennis David Auger / WikiCommons
Though Hanau is known as the hometown of Brothers Grimm, the siblings who weaved magical fairy tales and taught us to dream, it’s also home to beautiful Baroque and Renaissance architecture that simply begs to be photographed – not to mention museums and nature spots that are guaranteed to show families a good time. Here’s your ultimate guide.
Start off a tour of Hanau by visiting the statue of the Brothers Grimm
, whose magical stories have enchanted billions of children around the world. After all, you are in the hometown of the beloved Brothers! The design for the statue was picked by Wilhelm Grimm’s son from a series of competition entries, as he felt that it best reflected the spirit of his father and uncle. The statue shows Wilhelm Grimm seated with an open book on his lap, and his brother Jacob standing over him, both in serious contemplation. It’s easy to imagine that they were in the middle of discussing yet another fairy tale that would come to be loved for generations afterwards. This monument is situated in the main market square of Hanau.
Back in the early 18th century, a park and spa complex grew in this region around a spring whose water was believed to be medicinal. Later it was found that the spring water was nothing special, and gradually the spa gave way to a center for recreation and relaxation. The former spa buildings in Hanau
today house restaurants and cafes. Other landmarks in the square include the Comoedienhaus theater, a castle, a doll museum (more on that later) and a beautifully-preserved revolving carousel from 1780 (Historisches Karussell).
Hessisches Puppenmuseum, located in the Wilhelmsbad complex, has been a favorite family destination since 1983. The museum’s extensive collection of dolls, puppets and toys, ranging from historic to modern times, delights young and old alike, while visitors can also expect to learn how the process of doll-making has changed over the years. Also, thanks to a partnership with a similar project in Japan, you also get to see Japanese toys in Hessisches Puppenmuseum.
The beautiful Baroque Schloss Philippsruhe was built in 1701 as a royal summer residence, and is set in an enchanting location by the River Main in the midst of lush greenery. The ground floor of the castle houses exhibits pertaining to the history and culture of Hanau
. The The beletage
(or main floor) stuns visitors with original lavish furniture, fittings, pottery and paintings. The palace park, with its pond and fountain, towering trees and basalt rock formations, is a delightful place to spend a few hours, especially when the weather is nice.
Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus, gracing the old market square of Hanau, has a facade as beautiful as its interior is interesting. This Renaissance building has a stunningly photogenic gabled, half-timbered structure that was reconstructed to resemble the original structure as closely as possible after it suffered serious damage during World War II
. The Rathaus (town hall) housed in Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus is the headquarters for the German Society of Goldsmiths, and exhibits beautiful specimens of Hanau’s goldsmith and silversmith heritage.
Wildpark Alte Fasanerie Klein-Auheim
Spread over 100 hectares and wrapped in looming trees, Wildpark Alte Fasanerie Klein-Auheim is perfect for nature lovers. As many as 40 Central and Northern European animal species call this park home, including many that are native to Germany. Visitor here can take in deer, lynx, wild cats, bisons, wild boars, polar wolves and more. The park also has around 15 km (9.3 miles) of marked hiking trails.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, the old market square of Hanau buzzes with activity and chatter as the weekly market is set up. More than hundred stalls vie for attention with everything from fresh produce to gorgeous flowers, through to herbs, meats and cheese. You can even grab some snacks
as you take a break from shopping. This market is really a big deal for Hanau locals, and attracts shoppers from surrounding cities as well.