10 places to see in Kassel, Germany

8 tourist attractions in Kassel and easy excursions

Kassel, the cultural, economic and administrative center of northern Hesse, is a delightful old town in central Germany. Numerous cultural institutions have been founded here, and Kassel is known for its avant-garde “Documente,” an internationally renowned event that takes place every five years, combining both modern and contemporary styles of art. The city is home to many beautiful palaces and parks, the most famous of which, the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe , has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city itself was first mentioned in documents as early as 913 AD, and today it boasts numerous well-preserved historic buildings and museums.

See also: Where to stay in Kassel

1 Editor’s choice Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe mischahr / photo modified

The stunning Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was hailed by art historian Georg Dehio as “the most magnificent Baroque achievement in the blending of architecture and landscape”. Covering an area of two and a half square kilometers, Europe’s largest hillside park was begun in 1696 and took 150 years to complete–and it was well worth the wait. The park’s highest point is Mount Carlsberg, 526 meters high. On top of that is the stunning Monument to Hercules from which a long cascade of water plunges into the gardens far below. It’s a spectacular view, especially on summer evenings when the huge Great Fountain, the cascades and the figure of Hercules are illuminated (guided tours are available). Also of note is the Kurhessen-Therme , a series of baths designed for sports and relaxation. Please note that exploring this amazing park and its many tourist attractions requires a lot of walking, so wear suitable shoes.

2 Wilhelmshöhe Castle Museum

Wilhelmshöhe Castle Museum

Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, the 17th century palace of Wilhelmshöhe, played an important role in the history of Germany, perhaps especially as the summer residence of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Today its sumptuously decorated interior is home to the Wilhelmshöhe Castle Museum, including the magnificent Old Masters Gallery whose core is a collection of Dutch paintings, including 17 Rembrandts, 11 van Dijks and many Italian and Spanish paintings. Other highlights include a print cabinet, collections of classical and prehistoric antiquities, and displays of furniture, glass and ceramics. Guided tours and audio tours are provided.

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3 Fredericum Museum

On the northeast side of Friedrichsplatz in Kassel is the Friedericum Museum, a huge neoclassical building completed in 1779, making it one of the oldest museums in Europe. Although it is now used primarily for temporary art exhibitions-including the famous “documenta” art event held here every five years-it is well worth a visit, as are its extensive grounds. On the southeast side of Friedrichsplatz is the Staatstheater, which is used for opera, ballet and drama productions.

Address: Friedrichsplatz 18, 34117 Kassel

Official website: www.fridericianum.org

4 Karlseau Park and Orangery

Karlsau Park & Orangery

On the banks of the Fulda is Karlseau Park, a beautiful wooded park of over 400 acres. Created as a landscaped garden with many baroque features, the park is lined with many artificial lakes, fountains and canals. The main attraction of the visit is the noble Orangery, with its Planetarium and collection of scientific instruments. Also of note are the impressive Siebenbergen Flower Island and the Marble Baths, built in 1720. To the east extends the Fulda-Aue, a recreational area popular for swimming and windsurfing, as well as summer regattas.

Address: 34121 Kassel

5 Brothers Grimm

Kassel has the honor of being the hometown, at least for a few years, of the famous Grimm brothers. After graduation, brothers Jacob and Wilhelm took a job in the town library, where they did much of the research that was to become the basis for their famous folk tales. To commemorate this fact, the Brumaire Grimm Museum , with its original copies of their tales, research papers, letters, and translations in many languages.

Fans of the Brothers Grimm will also enjoy a visit to the small town of Hamelin (Hameln in German) , about 140 km north of Kassel, Piper Piper of Hamelin fairy tales. The version, written by the Brothers Grimm, is much beloved around the world and is recreated in the city center every Sunday during the summer. Also of interest here is Tündern , five kilometers south of Hameln, with a village museum with exhibits on local history, crafts and agriculture. In Hof Zeddies visitors can see the permanent Country Life exhibition organized by the Hameln Museum.

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Address: Schöne Aussicht 2, 34117 Kassel

Official website: www.grimms.de

6 Wilhelmsthal Castle

Schloss Wilhelmsthal! Koss / photo modified

About 11 kilometers northwest of Kassel, Schloss Wilhelmsthal was built by François de Cuvilles between 1753-67 as a summer residence for the Elector. It is widely considered one of the most charming Rococo palaces in Germany, with a sumptuous interior that includes a Beauty Gallery with paintings of women from this period by Johann Heinrich Tischbein. Also of note is Wilhelmsteel Park with its combination of Rococo and Baroque styles, beautiful paths and flower beds.Admission is only available for hourly tours.

Address: Wilhelmsthal Palace and Park, Calden

7 Museum of Natural History

John Lord Museum of Natural History / photo modified

Once considered the best theater in Germany – and certainly the oldest, built in 1696 – the Ottoneum is now home to the Naturkundemuseum im Ottoneum Kassel, the city’s natural history museum. Highlights include exhibits relating to the natural history of the region from the Paleozoic to the present day, as well as artifacts related to local crafts and traditions.

Address: Steinweg 2, 34117 Kassel

Official website: www.naturkundemuseum-kassel.de/museum/shortguide/index.php

8 Neue Galerie

The Neue Galerie Uwe Stock / photo updated

Kassel’s Neue Galerie (New Gallery) is a must for art lovers. Opened in 1976, its collection includes a number of contemporary paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries. Other highlights include works in Romanticist and Impressionist styles by artists such as Max Slevot and a substantial collection of German Expressionists, including numerous sculptures by Joseph Beuys.

Address: Schöne Aussicht 1, Kassel

Where to stay in Kassel for sightseeing

We recommend these comfortable hotels in Kassel, close to the city center and the UNESCO-listed Wilhelmshöhe Bergpark:

    Best Western Plus Hotel Kassel City: 4.5-star hotel, close to shopping, modern decor, French bistro, fitness center with hot tub.

Day Trips from Kassel

City of Fritzlar

Approximately 25 km southwest of Kassel on the left bank of the river Eder lies the town of Fritzlar. With approximately 450 half-timbered buildings, Fritzlar has preserved much of its medieval architecture, including the Hochzeitshaus (Brak-house), which dates back to 1580, and now a regional museum with prehistoric antiquities and a detailed history of the town. On the highest point of the city stands the 12th-century St. Peter’s Cathedral with its two towers, the crypt of which contains the late Gothic tomb of St. Wigbert, the city’s first abbot. Also of interest are the 14th century cloister, the rich Treasury, the Cathedral Museum and the Cathedral Library with its rare manuscripts from the 8th to 17th centuries.

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Hofgeismar and Sababurg.

Briar Rose Castle, Sababurg Michael Armbrecht / photo modified

About 23 km north of Kassel on the famous Deutsche Märchenstrasse (German Fairy Route) is the small town of Hofgeismar, known for its beautiful half-timbered houses and old city walls. The Romanesque and Gothic Altstädter Kirche (Old Town Church) has a beautiful passion altar dating back to 1335, and the Municipal Museum with its many historical exhibits, including silver and pottery, is located in the Town Hall. Also of interest is the small town of Sababurg, where Castle Briar Rose , best known for being the home of Sleeping Beauty from the Grimm Brothers stories.

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