Though reckoned among the lesser-known cities in Germany, Kassel is still a popular tourist place for several reasons. For a start, it is one of the greenest cities in the country, filled with parks and gardens. Kassel is home to the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, considered the largest park of its kind in Europe and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Secondly, the city is regarded as the capital of the German Fairy Tale Route and is closely connected to the Brothers Grimm, who spent the most remarkable period of their lives there. To pay homage to the creators of the famous fairy tale collection, Kassel recently opened a museum about them, which quickly became one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
Furthermore, Kassel is known for the documenta, one of the world's most important exhibitions of contemporary art, taking place every five years and attracting about a million of visitors from all around the globe. We’ve created this guide to highlight the best tourist spots and local gems that the city has to offer. The list also includes the best restaurants located near these top attractions in Kassel to grab a bite to eat and gain energy for the remaining route.
Image credit: Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel
Nestled in the scenery of the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, Löwenburg Castle is one of Kassel's iconic attractions. This fairy-tale-like castle was built in the early 1800s both as a retreat and a maison de plaisance for its resident, Wilhem IX. Ultimately, it became the place of his burial. The building was designed by German Neo-Classical architect, Christoph Heinrich Jussow, to resemble a semi-ruined medieval castle. The residence suffered severe damage during WWII, its reconstruction took many years and was completed in July 2022.
A part of numerous Mediterranean dishes, octopus is a delicious meal with tender and buttery flavor that melts in the mouth. Octopus can be enjoyed grilled, with pasta, in a stew or a salad.
The Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is one of the largest parks in Germany, so you might want to take a break from walking around and have something to eat. Alte Wache is a perfect place to taste the finest Italian and German specialties, and it is conveniently located in the middle of the park. Built in the 1950s, the restaurant has three rooms and a terrace area for up to 12 people called “herb garden”. Pamper yourself with such delicacies as smoked octopus with burrata cream, grilled saddle of veal and wild prawns, black Angus beef filet from the grill with pistachio cream, and homemade pasta. Enjoy authentic Italian cuisine with a cup of coffee or a glass of beer in the historic ambience of Alte Wache.
Weißensteinflügel mit Eingangsbereich, Image credit: MHK, Arno Hensmanns
Another significant sight situated in the Bergpark is the stunning Wilhelmshöhe Palace. This 17th-century Neoclassical castle served as the summer residence of the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II. The building houses several museums and collections of famous paintings, graphic arts, furniture, ceramics, and antiquities. One of the gems of the Wilhelmshöhe Castle Museum is the Old Masters Picture Gallery, which includes works by Rembrandt, Tizian, Poussin, Dürer, and Murillo. Just like Löwenburg Castle, Schloss Wilhelmshöhe was heavily bomb-damaged during the Second World War. Its center portion was almost completely destroyed and first reconstructed only in 1968-1974.
A buttery, flaky pastry with a golden crust. It is very popular for breakfast. Its texture is reached by wrapping dough with butter in layers and baking with a special technique called 'laminating'.
Situated right in the basement of Wilhelmshöhe Castle, Café Jérôme is a perfect spot for grabbing a cup of coffee with a delicious dessert while exploring the charms of the castle. There you’ll find great latte, tremendous homemade cakes, fresh croissants, tasty omelets, and a variety of snacks. If you’re in the mood for more hearty food, try penne with spicy tomato sauce or pesto, tomato chili soup, a French tart with ham and lattice, figs and honey, or spinach and feta, or flammkuchen with sour cream. Café Jérôme also has a small, cozy terrace overlooking the beauty of the park.
One of the most spectacular sights in the Bergpark are the water displays. Starting at the Hercules Monument, visitors can walk along the 250-metre-long Grand Cascade, past tumbling waterfalls and fascinating lakes down to the Great Fountain that shoots a water jet more than 50 meters high into the air. It is particularly recommended to visit the water displays on summer evenings when the figure of Hercules, the Great Fountain, and the cascades are beautifully illuminated.
Salad is a dish made with vegetables and greens like lettuce, kale or spinach with the addition of a dressing. It is usually served cold. Sometimes it can contain eggs, meat, and seafood.
After such a strenuous walk, everyone needs to be refreshed and re-energized. Restaurant Gutshof is an excellent place to rest your legs after descending from the Herkules Monument and indulge in a broad variety of culinary offerings. Here, you’ll find such delicacies as Swiss sausage salad served with Lyoner and sweet onions, salmon trout filet fried in butter with a green pepper crust and Riesling cream, a selection of medallions with cream-mushrooms and seasonal vegetables, as well as Fillet and Rump steaks. Rustic style, warm colors, and a lot of wood used in the interior create a warm and cozy ambience in the restaurant. You can also enjoy a glass of beer or wine at an outdoor terrace or beer garden with picturesque views.
Fridericianum Fassade (Image credit: Nils Klinger)
One of the oldest public museums in Europe, the Fridericianum was built in 1779 and currently displays a huge collection of contemporary art. It has served as a central exhibition venue for all the documenta art festivals since 1955. By the 20th century, the museum housed an impressive gathering of all sorts of subjects, including vases, weapons, books, coins, and bronze and marble copies of antique statues. However, in 1913 all exhibits, except for the library, were transferred to other museums in Germany and the Fridericianum started functioning only as a state library. Its impressive collection of books containing over 350,000 items was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War, and the surviving books were moved into the Kassel University Library.
Prawns are delicious, whether stir fried, tossed through pasta, cooked in spicy curry, or placed in salads. Prawns can be served on their own, as a side dish, an appetizer or a snack.
Just steps away from the Fridericianum you can find a great place serving contemporary Italian cuisine and exquisite wines. Squid grilled with garlic, cuttlefish with tomato sauce, chili, and garlic, homemade Calabrian sausage grilled on fennel salad, turkey, shrimp, or arugula salad, veal rolls with scamorza, pasta with prawns, Gorgonzola cheese, or tomato sauce, and bruschettas. The restaurant boasts an impressive collection of wines from selected winemakers, and you can always get an excellent piece of advice on wine selection. During the summertime, the guests of the restaurant can enjoy their meal in the open air on a small, cozy terrace in the heart of the old town.
Surely everyone knows the tales of the Brothers Grimm. Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Hansel and Gretel are among the most renowned folk tales published by the brothers. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm lived and worked in Kassel for quite a long period of time, and to pay tribute to their influential work, the city opened a modern museum dedicated to the famous fairy tale collectors. The Grimmwelt Kassel has over 20 exhibition rooms that include the original copies of books, 14 paper dioramas showing the history of the German dictionary, and interactive elements. Additionally, the museum hosts a variety of events for all ages throughout the year.
Gnocchi are small Italian dumplings made of wheat flour, eggs and cooked potatoes. The ingredients are mixed, rolled into logs, cut into small pieces and then boiled. Optionally, pumpkin and spinach can be added to the mixture. The dish appeared in the 16th century when potatoes were imported from America.
Only a stone's throw away from the famous Grimm Museum you’ll find an awesome place to enjoy a relaxed meal. Humboldt1a is located in a charming historic building of a magnificent Art Nouveau villa on the Kassel vineyard. In addition to the dining room with bright and airy interior, the restaurant has a spacious terrace with 50 seats. You can go for filet of Iberian pork served with green asparagus, veal cordon bleu, rumpsteak, beef broth, ricotta gnocchi, or a stunning seasonal salad with goat cheese, honey, thyme, and roasted seeds. In addition, the restaurant has an extensive wine list from local and international producers.
Located in the heart of Germany, Kassel is known for its stunning castles, beautiful parks, museums, and modern exhibitions. The city also has a lot to offer when it comes to culinary delights. We hope our guide has provided you all the information you need to make your visit to Kassel as pleasant as possible! Have you been to Germany or planning to visit it soon? If so, share your thoughts with us below!