This route travels through much of Hessen and takes you to some of Germany's most treasured sights. You will visit numerous picturesque medieval towns, such as Frankenberg, Rüdesheim, Hirschorn am Neckar and Büdingen, with their romantic half-timbered homes and narrow alleyways. As you travel through the Lahn and Rhein valleys, many viewpoints will offer a priceless view of the many castles and beautiful landscape around you. Please visit www.hessen-tourismus.de.
This route takes you through the landmarks of the millennia-old history of Hessen, from the Celts to Charles the Great and from the first kings to the last emperors. The route begins in the Hessen capital of Wiesbaden, stops in the Carolingian Royal Hall of Lorsch, goes all the way to the Northern spa town of Bad Arolsen, goes through the historical university town of Marburg and halts in Weilburg, the formal royal seat. For more information, visit www.hessen-tourismus.de.
St. Boniface Route
In these days of 24/7 hyper-connectivity, it is sometimes necessary to simply slow down and reflect on inner values. One way to achieve this is to hike along the historical Boniface Route, which winds 172 kilometers from the baroque Fulda cathedral to the Mainz cathedral. Along the way, this historic route stops at cloisters, monasteries and churches, as well as other cultural highlights and beautiful landscapes. The hiking trail is relatively flat and well marked with multilingual signs. It typically takes 7-9 days to hike the entire route, but you can also start anywhere along the route: in the Rhein-Main region perhaps the easiest place to start is in Eschborn. The trail is maintained by a non-profit organization and there is a comprehensive website at www.bonifatius-route.de.
Mountains, castles, woods and wines characterize the Bergstraße tourist route, where the almond blossom is in flower while the last snow still lies on the slopes of the Odenwald. The Bergstraße, which leads from Darmstadt to Heidelberg, is a paradise for walkers, canoeists and outdoors enthusiasts. Excellent wines are grown on the protected mountain slopes. Zwingenberg, Bensheim and Heppenheim are the best-known "Pearls of the Bergstraße" along the route. The ruins of the Frankenstein castle are where the English writer Mary Shelley found inspiration for her novel Frankenstein and where modern-day Halloween parties are held. In fact, nearly every city of import along the Bergstraße has its own mountain fortress (Weinheim even has two). Apart from the incredible view, nearly all of them have a restaurant serving food and some of the best Riesling in Germany. www.diebergstrasse.de.
The German Fairytale Route
Thanks to the Brothers Grimm, who lived and worked in Hanau, Hessen has a close association with fairy tales. Maybe it was the deserted forest of Kaufungen, where Hansel and Gretel lost their way? Didn't Little Red Riding Hood come from Schwalm, where all unmarried women once wore red bonnets? And wasn't the Dornröschenschloss Sababurg, in the heart of the expansive forest of Rheinhard, the ideal place for Sleeping Beauty to slumber for 100 years? To discover romantic destinations, castles and half-timbered houses, travel the German Fairy Tale Route through much of Hessen. www.deutsche-maerchenstrasse.de.
Climate Route The global climate is changing, but what's the best way to make the general public aware of this "inconvenient truth?" As part of an innovative project, a series of stations have been installed along the Main River entitled the Climate Route (Klimaroute). Designed by the well-known Offenbach Academy of Art and Design (HfG), these installations entertain, surprise and teach important environmental issues as they relate to the Main River but also within a larger European context. One installation, for example, is a sculpture of wooden planks arranged as if dislocated by a flood. Actually, it's a park bench, with an information panel about the flooding in Iceland and how this relates to climate change. For more information about the project, visit www.klimaroute.de.
Route of Industrial Culture RheinMain
A unique project was created in 2006 to highlight the region's industrial heritage. Over 700 significant industrial sites were identified, including Aventis/Infraserv at the former Hoechst facility, MAN Roland in Offenbach, Heraeus in Hanau, Schott in Mainz, Opel in Rüsselsheim and Dyckerhoff in Wiesbaden. Each summer an extensive series of tours and open house events are organized to provide an insight into the past, present and future of industry in FrankfurtRheinMain. For more information, consult www.route-der-industriekultur-rhein-main.de.
Culture of the Region The Frankfurt-Rhein-Main region is so strongerse, that it is often difficult to get a grasp of the many cultural offerings. One of the few organizations providing a comprehensive overview is KulturRegion FrankfurtRheinMain, a nonprofit organization of 32 different cities. The KulturRegion coordinates programs for historical castles (Burgen, Schlösser und Paläste), parks and gardens (GartenRheinMain), and industrial heritage sites (Route der Industriekultur). The latter project offers the opportunity to visit industrial sites (historical, derelict or still manufacturing), take sightseeing tours by boat, train, bike or foot during the "Open Days of Industrial Culture", and also plans a six-day Festival of Industrial Culture each summer. In addition, the KulturRegion publishes programs for Open Air Festivals in castles of the region (Festspielsommer) and a selection of temporary exhibitions in the FrankfurtRheinMain area (Museen und Sonderausstellungen). For more information, please consult: www.krfrm.de
Wine Discovery Route The Weinerlebnisweg (Wine Discovery Route) in upper Rheingau is an 18-kilometer walking/cycling route that winds through the vineyards of Hochheim, Massenheim, Wicker and Kostheim. There are 35 stops along the way with multilingual information signs that explain the history and tradition of this wine-growing region. Each year in May, the vineyards also open their doors during the Wine Discovery Festival to offer internationally acclaimed wine, food and family-friendly activities. For more information, consult the website www.kulturland-rheingau.de