Those planning a city trip usually set their sights on visiting parks, museums or churches. The fact that you can also relax on a sandy beach in some Hessian cities might come as a surprise. We introduce you to four urban chill-out areas.

Marburg

Located on the Lahn River, the university town is the eighth largest city in Hesse with a good 77,000 inhabitants. Among the greatest sights are the Elisabeth Church, the Old University and the Landgrave's Castle.

Frankfurt

With a good 763,000 inhabitants, Germany's fifth-largest city is located on both sides of the Main River southeast of the Taunus Mountains. The city with its striking skyline is one of the most important international financial centers.

Offenbach

A good 130,000 inhabitants live in the independent city in the middle of the Rhine-Main region. Among the architectural highlights are the Isenburg and Rumpenheim castles.

Casting

The university town in Central Hesse has just under 90,000 inhabitants. Other cities near Gießen are Wetzlar 12 kilometers to the west and Marburg 30 kilometers to the north.

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The Aroma Lahn Beach in Marburg

Marburg's only city beach - the Aroma Lahn Beach is located below the Lahn bridge to the Anneliese Pohl Allee © Vila Vita Marburg

If you believe PHILIPP, the student magazine about the city and the university in Marburg, there are (at least) "101 things you should have done during your studies in Marburg" to fully grasp the charms of the idyllic student city. "Participate in the Marburg night marathon" is recommended there, for example, or "Take all bus lines to the end of the line once - including the 383" (wherever you get out of there ...).

About the things, which are not explicitly recommended in this Marburg Guide, however, include a visit to the Aroma Lahn Beach. The city beach is located below the Lahn bridge towards Anneliese-Pohl-Allee, a little hidden in the middle of Marburg's city center. But that can't be the reason for its omission from the list of 101 recommendations: It has become too popular in recent years with the 25,000 or so students who characterize life in charming Marburg. The suspicion suggests itself that one would rather keep this almost Mediterranean beach satellite in Hessen as a secret tip and not expose it to the rush of the quite large masses. When the weather is good, the only real sandy beach in Marburg looks so attractive, cheerful and lively with its many colorful sunshades and sunbeds - a real feel-good place. It's also good that an artistically ambitious food truck takes care of basic culinary needs in this cool chill-out area on the Lahn. Last question: Why does the city beach have such a strange name? It becomes superfluous, at the latest, when you get to the Aroma ice bar - "just a stone's throw away" - drops by, this fantastic pilgrimage site for ice connoisseurs of all ages. The Aroma Lahn Beach and the Aroma Ice Bar belong together "like ice in the sunshine"...

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The beach bar in Giessen

If the weather is nice, be sure to visit - the beach bar in Giessen © Ratthaphon Bunmi - stock.adobe.com

Is there a more beautiful place, to enjoy a drink with friends in sunny weather - or even two, three? Anyone who has ever stopped by the beach bar in Giessen will confirm: probably not. Is the Beach bar but picturesque on a fine sandy area with direct water access to the New Pond. This in turn belongs to the City park Wieseckaue, a 35-hectare park just under two kilometers from the city center. The Wieseckaue City Park wants to be, as it is described, a park for all Giessen residents. For those who feel like exercising in nature, who want to cycle through the park, try out the skate park or play boules, for example. Since 2015, however, the Wieseckaue city park has finally become a place where the long ignominiously neglected leisure genre of sun worshippers, cocktail connoisseurs and comfort chillers can be served: Since then, the beach bar in Giessen on Ringallee has been offering its guests music, sparkling drinks and classic feel-good food between fries, burgers and waffles in good weather. Just under 400 people fit into the beach club, which closes at midnight on weekdays but not until one o'clock on weekends. And at this late hour, the dreamy view out over the idyllic Neuer Teich is no different than sitting by the sea in Bella Italia or Spain.

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Niddastrand in Frankfurt

An almost Caribbean atmosphere awaits you at Beach Club Niddastrand © DisobeyArt - stock.adobe.com

When things come together, that do not belong together at first sight, this does not always have to be bad news: The Beach Club Niddastrand in Frankfurt's Nied district, for example, promises its visitors relaxation from everyday life in a Caribbean atmosphere. In fact, however, the beach bar, which is quite popular in the Rhine-Main region, is located neither in the catchment area of sea-like waters nor even of Caribbean palm beaches. Even the banks of the Nidda - the 90-kilometer-long river, only 18 kilometers of which lie within Frankfurt's city limits - are still some 300 meters away from the beach club itself - out of sight. Nevertheless, the Nidda beach has established itself primly on an area of heaped-up sand on an equestrian farm, the Georgshof, just under 10 kilometers from Frankfurt's city center. The Nidda floodplain itself is part of a local recreation area with signposted cycle paths and many opportunities for joggers, skaters, anglers and walkers. Plus, for some years now, also for people who want to take it a bit easier on sunny days in a beach bar, gladly also in the horizontal: The Niddastrand open-air gastronomy with its sandy area piled up between stables and polo field and the colorful deck chairs has been a success story for many years. Yet the beach bar is regarded more as a cozy getaway for the whole family than as a hip beach club frequented by loud music and a dazzling party crowd. But just how popular it is among the Frankfurt population became apparent when it was to be closed following a change of ownership of the Georgshof: protests quickly formed, and successfully. Now the Niddastrand has a future again - and the Caribbean in Frankfurt has a home again ...

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Main Tower & Port 2 in Offenbach

The Main Tower is a popular stop for paddlers and canoeists © Roland Lösel/mainturm

When it grows up, it will certainly show ocean anchors the way ... You have to have goals. Until that time comes, the chic red and white striped Main Tower at the boat landing in Offenbach-Bürgel continues to serve as a port of call for thirsty and hungry visitors on the banks of the Main. It has established itself as a popular destination for families, cyclists and day-trippers of all ages on the riverbank. The motto: create a vacation atmosphere as close to the city as possible. The special feature of the Main Tower is, in addition to its exposed location on the water: no alcohol is served there, family-friendly, cheerful and as peaceful as possible is the aim at this place. Bonus: The lounge chairs provided will not be rented out, but will be provided free of charge. Sporty minds are also catered for: SUP boards, canoes and kayaks can be rented directly at the Main Tower. And because the lighthouse concept at the pier works so well, there's now an offshoot: the Main Tower at the harbor. On the sun deck there, there's plenty of seating near the water in addition to the usual gastronomic offerings. Bonus: The location at the end of the harbor square provides a fine view over the harbor basin and the harbor steps.

Have you ever been in a mix of "Art place, petting zoo, concert venue, café, art-house cinema, recreation area and house club"? Then it's time to take a look at the Port 2 a cultural center in Offenbach run by the non-profit "Verein suesswasser e.V - Kunst und Kultur im Hafen Offenbach". By the way, the description at the beginning comes from the operators themselves. What is clear is that this is a very special, thoroughly political place that aims to strengthen democratic, tolerant structures. It was financed predominantly by its fans through a crowdfunding campaign after the usage contract for the original Hafen 2, a brick locomotive shed of the former Hafenbahn, expired. The new building 800 meters down the Main has since become a fixture on Offenbach's culture & relaxation scene. From theater performances and live concerts to harbor cinema, everything is imaginable here, including extensive relaxation in the idyllic location directly on the water, of course.

Cover photo: Summer beach feeling in the middle of the city of Marburg - the Aroma Lahn Beach © Vila Vita Marburg

In collaboration with Hesse tourism

Hiking through quiet low mountain ranges, old beech forests or orchards, paddling on the Lahn, looking at the most beautiful medieval half-timbered houses and soaking up the atmosphere of historic spas - Hessen makes romantic souls happy all around. But gourmets also get their money's worth on wine hikes, in Hessian butcher shops and with "Handkäs mit Musik", a pickled cheese. Reasons for a Vacation in Hesse there are enough!

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