I’ve been eager to introduce my kids to the land my parents left behind— Germany, the country more Americans claim ancestry from than any other.
I wanted it to be a trip that was both fun and, dare I say, educational?! I wanted them to get a lesson in the culture, while still having a great summer trip.
One of our stops was in the city of Kassel, smack dab in the middle of Germany.
Like plenty of German towns we visited, much of Kassel was destroyed during World War II. You won’t be finding well-preserved medieval homes from the 15th century, as you will in towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Instead, Kassel is known for its parks and forests. It’s one of Germany’s greenest cities.
The incredible Wilhelmshohe mountainside park just became Germany’s 38th UNESCO world heritage site. Perched on a hill overlooking town, an immense statue of Hercules is the park showpiece. The Greek god stands guard over the park and the city.
When it’s time for a break, stop at the Hercules Cafe for traditional German kaffee and kuchen.
Now it’s time to explore other areas of this mountain park. Our kids loved hiking through the forest of Wilhelmshohe to the Lowenburg (lion’s castle).
It’s one of the many castles and castle hotels in Germany that are just wunderbar.
Where to Stay
We stayed at the InterCity Hotel in Kassel, located right next to the Kassel train station. A complimentary local public rail pass comes with your room, so there’s no need for a car. There’s a train stop at Wilhelmshohe park, making it easy to explore the sites via public transportation.
Rooms are decorated in IKEA style furnishings and unlike many of the smaller rooms you’ll find in Europe, this room had plenty of space, with a semi-private bedroom and rollaway beds for the kids.
Like most hotels and inns in Germany, InterCity Hotel’s breakfasts are unlike anything you’ll find in the United States. Massive buffets are the norm and in the land of liverwurst and frankfurters, it should come as no surprise that breakfast includes a wide variety of cold cuts and smoked sausages. Fresh bread, pretzel rolls, croissants and cheeses accompany the cured meats. You’ll also find fresh jams, cereals, fresh fruit and yogurts. You’ll also find the more American breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon, in addition to the European menu just mentioned.