Road Trip: Driving the Fairytale Road in Germany

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Germany is the country of the Brothers Grimm. Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Sleeping Beauty are some of their most famous fairy tales. You can recapture your childhood and find inspiration in the tales of the Brothers Grimm along the Fairytale Road in Germany. And it’s one of the country’s most scenic drives, too. This scenic route offers a picturesque drive through the country and invites you to delve into the intriguing nuances of the Brothers Grimm’s storytelling. However, be prepared for an experience that may defy your preconceived expectations.

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Driving the Roads of the Brothers Grimm

But if you know anything about the originals, they are different from the ones your mother read to you before bed. They are filled with despair, angst, and death. You wouldn’t have slept well. The deep, dark forests and castles are still there to explore. But if you do, be warned, they never ended with, “and they all lived happily ever after.”

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Disney’s Adaptations 

The Landscape

I love a good road trip, but the German Fairytale Road connects the towns and landscapes. They were the muse for some of the most beloved children’s stories ever. Along the way, you can marvel at medieval villages with narrow cobblestone streets. The half-timbered houses, romantic castles, and dense woods still conjure imaginings of handsome princes, frightening witches, and merry-making dwarfs.

First, the Fairytale Road starts in the town of Hanau, the birthplace of the two brothers Jacob and Wilhelm. You can visit their home in Steinau, where they grew up, and all the cities where the Brothers Grimm studied and worked. However, you don’t have to drive the entire route. You can pick your favorite tale and explore its points of interest.

The Real Grimms Fairytales

When you dig into the real Grimm Fairytales, it hits you – these classic stories we’ve grown up with are nothing like the watered-down versions we know. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the brothers behind it all, didn’t sugarcoat a thing. Their tales aren’t the fairytales you’d expect; they’re gritty, dark, and rooted in the folk traditions of their time.

Forget the softened-up adaptations; the original Grimm Fairytales get real about human nature. These stories are a wild mix of enchantment and creepiness, with themes that cut deep into morality, justice, and the consequences of our choices. It’s like a reality check on what we thought fairytales were supposed to be.

In essence, the Grimm Brothers didn’t hold back. They gave us stories that don’t tiptoe around the harsh truths. These tales are a raw look into the core of human experience, challenging everything we thought we knew about fairytales. So, next time you crack open a Grimm Fairytale, be ready for a journey that’s a far cry from the fairytales we’ve come to expect.

I love a good road trip, don’t you? Check out our 30-day journey across the country.

A drive along Fairytale Road is a wonderful trip for the whole family. Almost all the towns you visit offer family-friendly activities. Puppet shows, storytelling events, and theater plays are performed in German, but with universal appeal. Enjoy parades, concerts, museums, and lovely statues of your favorite fabled characters.

Starting Point: Hanau, 13 miles east of Frankfurt

End Point: Bremen, 372 miles long

Highlights of the German Fairy Tale Road

Hanau: It is located less than 15 km east of Frankfurt. It is a beautiful venue to start your exploration of Fairytale Road. It’s where the Grimm brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm, started their remarkable careers.

You can visit the birthplace of the brothers, now a famous museum. The Brothers Grimm Fairytale Festival is held every year May-July. The fairy tales are performed in front of the Castle Philippsruhe. For more information, visit Or visit the marvelous baroque palace, Schloss Phillipsruhe. Take a look at the 500+ authentic personal belongings of the brothers. Some artifacts include frock coats, briefcases, books, and sketches.

Where You Should Go


Find enchantment in the town of Wilhelmsbad. Known as the Crown Prince’s Spa you can find a number of enchanting activities for the whole family. Wander through the huge park, take a spin on the period merry-go-round, or meander across the little tunnel underneath via a small suspension bridge. Take a breather or refreshing drink at one of the lovely pavilions or outdoor cafes nearby.

There are a little theatre and a doll museum for the kids. Save a few pieces of bread for the hungry swans and ducks you’ll meet in the little ponds located on the park grounds. Make sure to visit the Brothers Grimm national monument erected in 1896. The statue sits in Market Square in front of the town hall.


Visit the half-timbered childhood home of the brothers, now a museum that houses a collection of over 200 manuscripts, examples of the brothers’ work, many family portraits, and artifacts. Their work lives in more than 140 languages and is the most widespread literature available after the bible.

Steinau also has a Fun Park. This park has numerous rides, with Luna-Loops, trampolines, sightseeing train, and other attractions suited for your younger adventurers. Other city attractions include a castle, Devil’s Den Caves, and Puppet Theatre, open all year, closed on Mondays.

Schwalm Region: The region along the Schwalm River is the setting for Little Red Riding Hood’s adventure. Hike through forests dark and deep. And visit the museum of Ziegenhain. You can see the traditional costumes that might have even belonged to Little Red Riding Hood and her kindly old grandmother.


The Brothers Grimm worked at the University of Göttingen. Take a stroll to the central square and look for the statue of the little goose girl. It may just be the most kissed good luck statue in the entire world.

  • In addition, the castle boasts several towers. The largest one is Grossen Turm. The tower offers a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. You can enjoy a snack in the restaurant or take a guided tour from March to December. However, the restaurant closes on Mondays.
  • Castle Sababurg: Sleeping Beauty slept for 100 years before awakened by a kiss. Spend the night in this 650-year old castle. The castle is now home to a romantic hotel, surrounded by a lush park with ancient oak trees and tall ferns. And there are theater performances in the castle’s courtyard during the summer.
  • Trendelburg: is a tranquil town on the Diemel River. The name of the town comes from local lore. According to the saga, a bolt of lightning killed Trendulan. Traces of these “cloudburst” can be found in the form of two large craters that visitors can walk around on a well-marked path.
  • Visit Rapunzel’s Tower, a medieval fortification high up on a hill is where Rapunzel let down her long braid for the prince to climb up and save her.
  • Enjoy the silhouettes of lanterns in the old town of Trendelburg.
  • You can listen to tales of actors in period costumes.

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The Pied Piper, set in the city of Hamlin. He posed as a rat catcher who lured the town’s children, and not the rats, away. As a result, the children never returned. Enjoy rodent shaped cookies while touring the Pied Piper’s house. Then marvel at the old Glockenspiel at the “Hochzeitshaus” (Wedding House) that re-enacts the legend of the Pied Piper.

Open-air performances are held every Sunday at 12 noon from May- September. You can also enjoy a humorous interpretation of the Pied Piper Musical “Rats” every Wednesday at 4:30 at the “Hochzeitshaus” (Wedding House) during the same time period.

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  1. Ayana Nell

    I’ve spent a good bit of time in Germany (Bavaria) and have never heard of this! I now have ANOTHER reason to go back to visit!!!

  2. kumamonjeng

    I have been to Germany but never done a road trip on my own and your post has inspired me to do the Fairytale Road trip. I love Grimm fairytales and those stories you mentioned are my all time favorite when I was little girl.Rothenburg ob der Tauber city look like one Colmar city in France. I love such fairy tale city.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Germany has the best roads and the best drivers. There are no ridiculously long straightaways, gentle curves and beautiful scenery– picture perfect for long road trips.

  3. Catherine Santiago Jose

    I have never been to Germany but I saw from social media how beautiful those spots and landscapes they have most especially their castles.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      Germany is a stunning country. The castles are beautiful but so are the quaint little towns, wineries and walking trails.

    1. duffelbagspouse

      She was angry, why? I remember reading them too and that might be why I’ve never overdosed on being a Disney princess and the happy endings they always

  4. Alexandra

    Wow, this seems like an incredible experience. I would love to visit here one day. Another thing to add to my never ending travel bucket list 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

    1. duffelbagspouse

      The more you know, the more you want to know. That’s a good thing, but yes, it makes the bucket list long and never completely accomplished.

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