Germany Trip Plan:
Explore Medieval towns in Hesse and along the Lahn river

Germany trip plan: Explore Medieval towns in Hesse and along the Lahn river
Wetzlar old town, cathedral and Lahn Bridge, CC-Krusto
[ source: Wikipedia]

The old free imperial city of Wetzlar is picturesquely located on the Lahn River above its conjunction with the Dill. Experience the city and its surrounding valley, stroll through medieval villages and castles; enjoy a spa-day, go shopping and visit interesting museums and botanical gardens.




Note: This is a trip plan (self-driving, stay in a vacation apartment, explore on your own)
Duration: 7 days
Recommended Destination Airport: Frankfurt Airport

Trip Plan Details:

The old free imperial city of Wetzlar is picturesquely located on the Lahn River above its conjunction with the Dill. Experience the city and its surrounding valley, stroll through medieval villages and castles; enjoy a spa-day, go shopping and visit interesting museums and botanical gardens.

Embedded in the romantic Lahn valley, Wetzlar has much to offer. With its neat half-timbered houses and winding alleys it could be the backdrop of any romantic fairy tale. Wetzlar is particularly famous because for decades, the city has been a major center of the optical and precision engineering industries. Even in the cold season Wetzlar is worth a visit. The illuminated city streets, interesting museums, or the optical circuit develop its own charm. Guided winter-walks are offered every Saturday at 2 p.m. The meeting place is the fountain at the cathedral.

Cost Estimate:

We compiled some starting prices and rough estimates to help you better with your Germany trip planning.

Lodging: starting at $458 for 2 persons / 7 days
Admissions: starting at $300 for 2 persons / 7 days
Car Rental: starting at $420 / 7 days
Gas: starting at $250 / 7 days
Estimated Total Cost:2 persons, starting at $1428 / 7 days
 4 persons, starting at $1528 / 7 days

Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Day 1: Arrival
Wetzlar cathedral, GNU-Andreas Praefcke
[ source: Wikipedia]

Whether you choose a vacation apartment right in the heart of the old Wetzlar city center or prefer to stay in the surroundings, you will feel immediately home from home. A great week lies ahead of you and after moving in, you might like to explore your new neighborhood with its historical buildings, grocery shops and restaurants.


Day 2: A day in Wetzlar

Day 2: A day in Wetzlar
Old town Wetzlar, GNU-Andreas Praefcke
[ source: Wikipedia]

Explore Wetzlar's old town on foot! Your historical walk will lead you through the medieval market square, narrow lanes, romantic corners and steep steps. The extensive, undamaged remaining town center was once surrounded by a town wall with five gates and eight towers. Therein, carefully restored timbered houses can be found, forming an attractive contrast to the pretty baroque buildings from the Supreme Court of the Holy Roman Empire. With it's more than 700 years old stone Lahn Bridge and its stylistically diverse unique cathedral, it molds the distinctive picture of the old town.

Wetzlar, the city of optics! The company Leitz was created by Ernst Leitz in the year 1869. At the end of the 19th century the company had already a world-wide reputation for its quality products. At the new city hall you can see a collection of historical microscopes and learn more about the history of the Leitz Company. Otto Barnack, an employee of Leitz-Werke, developed around 1920 the first small-format camera in the world, the Leica. The Leica museum displays some of the retrieved historical pieces.

The young Goethe lived for a while in Wetzlar and regularly visited Charlotte Kestner, who resided in the Lottehaus. Visit this beautiful restored house and its exhibitions, ranging from baroque and Biedermeier furniture, paintings and graphics, to displays regarding Wetzlar's town history and a mining collection.


Day 3: University city of Gießen, Botanical Garden, Liebigmuseum and Mathematikum

Day 3: University city of Gießen, Botanical Garden, Liebigmuseum and Mathematikum
New castle in Giessen, PD-Amano1
[ source: Wikipedia]

Gießen is the city with the highest student density in Germany. With a population of approximately 74,000 inhabitants, 28,000 young people study at the local university and technical college. The extensive pedestrian zone, with the Seltersweg as the main vein, is a lively meeting place and you will enjoy ideal shopping opportunities. The Mathematikum is internationally in demand as the world's unique mathematical interactive museum. In the immediate vicinity is the Liebig Museum, as a historic center of learning absolutely worth a visit. The nationally recognized Municipal Theater is representative for a vibrant cultural life, which also offers good reasons for a visit to Gießen.

In 2009, the Botanical Garden celebrated its 400 years anniversary, and is therefore the oldest garden of its kind on the original site. Situated in the city center, the nearly 3 acres garden with its interesting flora and many old trees, is a green oasis of tranquility for those seeking relaxation in the lunch break, walkers and romantic couples. Numerous benches set in sun and shade, invite you for relaxation and contemplation of the colorful blooms of rare exotic plants. Watch the comical squirrels, which may like a special treat from you. Especially during the summer months, tours are offered and Botanical concerts are enjoyed by the many visitors. The Old Castle, with its restaurant adjacent to the Botanical Garden, offers an idyllic view of the Botanical Garden. Traditional market days are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays near the Old Castle.

Upcoming event: Between April 24th and July 18th, 2010, the Dinos come to Gießen. With approximately 60 life-size models, the exhibition Giants of the Prehistoric will transform the city into a primeval paradise. Whether in the pedestrian streets, in parks and gardens, or on the streets and squares - the dinos are to impress and inspire small and large dinosaur fans from near and far.


Day 4: Medieval Butzbach and the Landgrafenschloss

Day 4: Medieval Butzbach and the Landgrafenschloss
Butzbach market square, GNU-Mischa L.
[ source: Wikipedia]

Butzbach is a town in the Wetteraukreis district in Hesse, approx.10 miles south of Gießen and 22 miles north of Frankfurt am Main. Butzbach is often called the Pearl of Wetterau. First the Romans came, followed by Germanic tribes and already around the 14th century Butzbach was surrounded by walls, towers and ditches, a well-fortified town whose main industry was the production of woolen cloth and linen cloth. Go on an enjoyable walk through the historic town center, starting at the market square with its impressive, half timbered town hall.

The Landgrafenschloss, landgraves' castle, was the former city castle of the lords of Falkenstein around 1321-1418, then the seat of the family of Eppstein-Königstein, the archbishop of Mainz, including the Hessian Landgrave's castle-palace. Landgrave Philip of Hesse-Butzbach, 1609-1643, generously built the castle as a residence once again, and later is was the seat of the Landgrave's widow. Around 1818 or 1824 the castle was converted into barracks. The United States Army was also home here until 1990 and now the Landgrafenschloss is utilized by the city council.

In case the weather is not so good, how about a visit to the Laguna Aßlar, a thermal brine pool and state-of-the-art facilities! From the swimming pool to the Crazy Light slide, a children's area throughout the thermal area, a spa and sauna area and the cuisine on offer, there are lots of fun and variety for you and your family.


Day 5: Herborn, the Hessian Rothenburg

Day 5: Herborn, the Hessian Rothenburg
Herborn Dill-Tower, GNU-Oliver Abels
[ source: Wikipedia]

Between the foothills of the Rothaargebirge on one side and those of the Westerwald on the other side, lies the town of Herborn. It is also called the Pearl of the Dilltal the Hessian Rothenburg. The traditional small town is not so well known, but the half-timbered houses here are genuine and not, as in the Frankish Rothenburg, only rebuilt after the 2nd world war. The old town center has a coherent ensemble of over 400 half-timbered houses to offer. The chances of being welcomed with music are relatively high in Herborn, because it is a musician village. About 40 bands have devoted themselves to playing music. In the Middle Ages, Herborn was at the intersection of two important trade routes. Already in the 13th Century, it possessed municipal rights and its own jurisdiction. The carvings, decorations and ornaments on the half-timbered houses testify to the hey days of the merchant- and craft-gilds. In 1584 a university was founded here, representing a reformed school model which soon had European wide reputation. The building of the former High School houses now a small museum.


Day 6: Medieval Limburg and St. George cathedral

Day 6: Medieval Limburg and St. George cathedral
Cathedral Limburg, GNU-DannyBusch
[ source: Wikipedia]

Limburg on the Lahn, along the German Framework route, has truly a well preserved medieval town center, which is fully protected as such. The half-timbered buildings with their rich, often figurative carvings originate from the 13th to18th Century. Among them is also one of the oldest half-timbered houses in Germany. Built in 1296, inestimable values were discovered here and preserved for later generations.

The St. George cathedral is a masterpiece of the late Rhine-Romanesque style and was probably built by Count Henry of Nassau from around 1206. Between 1975 and 1991 extensive restorations of the interior took place; and led to an artistic sensation. It took several years to uncover the many, complex colorful Romanesque frescoes, originated from the 13th century. Thus Limburg has a treasure that is unique in Europe!


Day 7: Departure

Day 7: Departure
Forum shopping center, CC-Karl Udo Gerth
[ source: Wikipedia]

We are sure; you had plenty of time to indulge in local food, which is best described as a cross-over cuisine. The Hessian cuisine is hearty and adventurous, which might seem a bit strange in the beginning. Hesse's classic dishes include Handkäs' mit Musik, a unique kind of cheese, and of cause the Frankfurter Kranz, a yummy cake. The Hessian signature drink is a concoction of apples and other fruits, world wide known as Cider. The Riesling wine from the Rheingau is a culinary sensation and known far beyond the borders of Hesse, a perfect gift to bring back home from your vacation in beautiful Germany.


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Where to Stay?

We feature nice vacation rentals and holiday apartments in destinations that are part of this trip plan. Click on a picture of the destination below where you would like to stay, then browse the vacation apartments, pick one you like, and fill out the Check Availability form with your desired travel dates. If you would like to stay in different locations please submit multiple inquiries, specifying the desired travel dates for each vacation apartment where you would like to stay. We will back to you with a free quote quickly (typically within 1-2 business days.)

Butzbach

Butzbach
[ source: Flickr ]

Butzbach is a town in the Wetteraukreis district in Hesse, Germany. It is located approx. 16 km south of Gießen and 35 km north of Frankfurt am Main. If you like the outdoors, hiking and exploring nature, then the town of Butzbach should be on top of…  [ + ] More Details

Related: Butzbach Vacation Rentals


Giessen

Giessen
[ source: Flickr ]

Gießen is a town in the German federal state (Bundesland) of Hessen, capital of both the district of Gießen and the administrative region of Gießen. The population is approximately 71,000, with roughly 22,000 university students.  [ + ] More Details

Related: Giessen Vacation Rentals


Herborn

Herborn
[ source: Flickr ]

Herborn is a historic town on the Dill in the Lahn-Dill district of Hesse in Germany. Before World War I, it was granted its own title as Nassauisches Rothenburg. Scenic attractions include its half-timbered houses.   [ + ] More Details

Related: Herborn Vacation Rentals


Limburg an der Lahn

Limburg an der Lahn
[ source: Flickr ]

Limburg an der Lahn, Hesse, is scenically located in the Slate Mountains. It is a rich agricultural area, and the Lahn River winds its way through the center of the town. Limburg is a rare example of a town that has a complete set of nearly undamaged…  [ + ] More Details

Related: Limburg an der Lahn Vacation Rentals


Wetzlar

Wetzlar
[ source: Flickr ]

Wetzlar, in central Hesse, features an amazingly well-preserved and restored Old Town (Altstadt), with historic plazas, a 13th century Cathedral (Dom), and scores of historic houses. The tightly woven ensemble of the Altstadt with its half-timbered houses…  [ + ] More Details

Related: Wetzlar Vacation Rentals



How to maximize your savings and spend less during your Germany vacation?

You can cut down your vacation costs significantly by following these simple rules:

  • Instead of eating out in restaurants most of the time your vacation rental apartment comes with a fully equipped kitchen. By preparing your breakfast and dinner yourself you can save lots of money, but you can also live a more authentic Germany vacation by trying out local foods and recipes. (see some German recipe suggestions.)
  • Use public transportation instead of a rental car. We provide you with links and details on how to get around using public transportation. Check out the corresponding Live Like a German travel guide for more details.

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