Since I have been living here for the last 3 years, it just seems natural to start my blog with a post about this fairytale town. I first came here in the Autumn of 2014 while on a small vacation in Germany. At the time I was staying at a friend’s house and he was my tour guide through the country. I was obviously targeting the big destinations like Frankfurt and the only reason I ever came to Marburg was because of a meeting this friend of mine had. So, I went along with him. What I didn’t know then was, that Marburg will play much bigger role in my life. I fell in love with the town and few months later, when I was presented with the opportunity to start a job there, I did not hesitate even for a moment.
Getting to Marburg.
Marburg is situated in the province Hessen, in the middle of Germany, an hour drive north from Frankfurt. It is easy to reach the town no matter what means of transport you choose. If you are coming by train form Frankfurt it takes less than an hour to get here and it costs around 16 euros. It will take you about the same time if you decide to drive from Frankfurt. Since Frankfurt International is the closest airport, chances are you will be coming from there.
Top 10 things to do in Marburg
1. The Brothers Grimm path
The Brothers Grimm path is probably one of the main historical landmarks in Marburg. It is pretty much what you might think- a path through town to commemorate the life and work of the brothers, enticed with fairytale figures from their stories. Since the brothers lived in Marburg during their studies, they have been inspired to a great extent from the town architecture and atmosphere while writing their children stories. So, when I mentioned earlier that Marburg is a fairytale town, I meant it quite literal. The path will take you through 16 points and is 1.7 km long, which takes about 2 hours to complete it. It leads through the most central points of the town, so most of the followings are situated along this path.
2. The town hall clock tower.
Yes, I am not lying to you. This is one of the must-sees in Marburg. On top of the clock you will find a rooster made of metal, with its wings flapping on every hour. And not surprisingly every time it flaps exactly as many times as the arms on the clock show. Keeping that in mind, make sure you are there shortly before 12, so you can enjoy it the most.
3. Go up to the castle and its gardens
The next landmark in Marburg is the castle. It is situated on the very top of the central hill, around which the whole town is build. There are few paths you can take to go to the castle and only one of them will get you there with a car. For the rest it is pure hiking. It might be exhausting and a bit of a challenge to get there but believe me, it is definitely worth it. The view from the terrace in front of the castle will take your breath away (if you had any left after the stair climb, that is). There is also a museum inside the castle that changes its exhibits throughout the year so even if you’ve been there before, you might come across something new this time. Also, make sure to check for its opening hours, since it works with an unusual schedule.
While at the top of the hill, you might want to stop at the Camera Obscura. As the name already suggests, it is in a small dark round room with a table in the middle on which the surroundings of the castle are projected. It is only open for 2 hours a day, only on the weekends and only if the weather is good. But there is a very good reason for this – it is run by volunteers. In summer time you might also enjoy the gardens of the castle with its wide green areas and the flower beds. They are also a home to the Open-Air cinema as well as to some concerts and outside events like 3 Tage Marburg (3 Days Marburg).
4. Take a paddle boat on the Lahn
What a better way to cool down in the hot weather and to enjoy the natural formation of the river Lahn and its valley than taking a paddle boat or a kayak down the river. This is an opportunity many people take advantage of, since it is not too expensive and is, let’s face it, pure fun. The boat renting costs about 10 euros for an hour, but prices might have change since last I checked. Make sure to take some bread with you on the boat, because the river is the natural habitat of many ducks and few swans, and they are used to being fed and being around people.
5. A walk along the Lahn
Another way to observe the Lahn and enjoy its nature is by taking a walk along the river. There are bike and pedestrian paths on both banks of the river and they would take you almost through the whole town. Don’t forget to take a blanket and couple of sandwiches so you can enjoy a romantic picnic, or even play some sports with friends.
6. Visit St. Elizabeth’s Church
St. Elizabeth’s Church is one of the most spectacular buildings in Marburg. It is one of the first purely Gothic churches in Germany, and with its architecture it sets the tone for the development of other churches and the town itself in Medieval style, preserved until today. You can freely enter the church and take a look from the inside and if you are lucky enough you might even hear the organ playing.
7. The botanical gardens
That’s right – gardens in plural, because there are two of them – the old botanical garden and the new one. The old garden is right in the middle of the town and is completely open for everyone to visit it without any restrictions. The new is a bit further out from the center. It is maintained by the university, which explains the small entrance fee of 4 euro. Here you can find open areas with many different plant families, native and not for this region, as well as few greenhouses, which are home of some exotic plans from around the world.
8. Have a nice dinner in one of the many restaurants in Oberstadt
This is one of the must-do things in town. The Oberstadt (Upper town) or with other words the city center has numerous small restaurants, each of them charming with its own unique atmosphere and with very pleasant and helpful staff. You can find anything from traditional German cuisine, to Italian, Spanish, American, Greek and even Swedish kitchen. And not only you have a diverse choice, but it will also cost you very little.
9. Visit the Lutheran St. Marien’s parish Church and its terrace
This Gothic church is the oldest parish church in Marburg. It has a distinguish tower, which is visible from far away. In front of the church is situated a very wide terrace with stunning view from above the city. You are able to see from it the Lahn valley and the opposing hills with their colorful houses and neighborhoods. Another view it uncovers is the rooftops of the Oberstadt with their proximity to each other and their many and various shapes.
10. Hiking up to Spiegelslustturm and enjoy the view of Marburg.
Another high ground landmark for Marburg is the Spiegelslustturm (Kaiser- Wilhelm-Tower). It is located on the top of a hill on the east side of Marburg, overlooking the town. Its panoramic view has made it a popular destination for many tourists. A short half an hour hike from the city center to the top would be the most adventurous and pleasant way to reach it. Once up there, you can enjoy the vista from a small café in the base of the tower or go to the restaurant another 300m south from it.