Idyllic rivers, unspoiled nature, fiery relics: Central Hesse could hardly be more varied. The region offers many resources that residents and guests use respectfully. Land and people do not merely coexist - it is the sustainable treatment of nature that makes life here so special. We'll tell you here which landscapes are waiting to enchant you.
The Lahn meanders through the country for 245 kilometers and also flows through Central Hesse. The river shows its different facets: sometimes very calm, then again dynamic, rarely straight. Just like life.
Thus, both the river and its surroundings appeal to very different types of vacationers. At the top, of course, are the sporty recreation seekers. Because the best way to get to know the Lahn is from a canoe. From Marburg to its mouth, the Lahn is paddleable - and there are many exciting sections that make a tour varied.
The Lahn Valley is at least as popular with hikers and cyclists. Various routes lead through the wild nature of the region, the river remains a constant companion along the way. Everyday life recedes into the distance, the only thing that counts is the connection between man and nature. The thoughts come to rest, while the body recovers thanks to exercise and plenty of fresh air. Refreshment is promised by many bubbling springs in the region. Since ancient times, the Lahn Valley has been known for its mineral waters. One highlight is the Gertrudis fountain in Biskirchen: Here, healing water rises from the depths.
Culture seekers will also be happy in the Lahn Valley. Many a defiant castle passes by from the water, and a stop or rest is recommended in many places. Besides Marburg, Limburg, Wetzlar, Giessen and Diez also have many cultural treasures. In the old towns of these places, quaint half-timbered houses line up, the marketplaces are idyllic, and there is much to learn and explore in the museums of the region. And time and again, the people's connection with the river is palpable - as, for example, at the Lahnfenster in Giessen. An established "fish ladder" allows migratory fish to swim upstream to their spawning grounds. And through the Lahnfenster, visitors can admire the underwater world at this fish-rich site while dry. Other cultural highlights of the region we have here compiled.
While water dominates in the Lahn Valley, it is fire in the Vogelsberg district. No, not an actively blazing fire, but rather a relic of the fiery past. Volcanoes were active here 15 to 18 million years ago, and their massive eruptions gave the region its present appearance. Huge masses of magma came to the surface and changed the landscape. While the Vogelsberg today appears green again, the remains of volcanic activity are clearly visible.
Partly 700 meters thick volcanic rock covers the ground. And so the local flora has adapted to the conditions. Plants that feel at home on basalt soils grow here - a special feature of the area. The picture that emerges is diverse: orchard meadows next to fields, separated by dry stone walls that our ancestors laboriously erected from rocks lying around. A fascinating mosaic-like landscape and a delight for the eye.
And this is not the only evidence that the country and its people have come together. Throughout the Vogelsberg region, churches, houses and streets made of basalt can be found in the town centers. A wonderful liaison of nature and culture.
The Vogelsberg district is especially popular with hikers. There are many elevations waiting for them, some of them are former volcanic vents. From the top, there are magnificent views of the unspoiled nature. If you want to experience culture, head for one of the towns that have developed on the vents over the years. These include, for example, Ulrichstein, 600 meters above sea level, the highest rural town in all of Hesse. From the Schlossberg, the view stretches far and wide - and the nearby castle ruins complete the picture!
The Hessian Rhön is a picture-book example of how man and nature can be harmoniously united. Settlement is sparse, leaving plenty of space that both people and nature and the native animal species use in an exemplary manner.
One symbol of symbiosis is the Rhön sheep. In the 1970s, there were only a few specimens of the species left, and the animal was dramatically threatened with extinction. Fortunately, a few tradition-conscious shepherds began to reintroduce the sheep to the region. Today there are about 4000 Rhön sheep. Not enough for an all-clear, but the Rhön sheep is coming back. It just fits perfectly in this region, it belongs here. The Rhön is the "land of open distances" - so it is the natural task of the Rhön sheep to protect the areas from bush encroachment in order to preserve the vastness of the landscape. And they do this passionately.
Good stewardship of natural resources is also important to the tourism industry. This is evident, for example, in the Wasserkuppe vacation village. The cozy wooden houses stand 910 meters high on the mountain, and a fabulous view is guaranteed thanks to panoramic windows and a large veranda. Night owls book a star park house - an exclusive accommodation in the vacation village whose roof can be opened so that you can enjoy the view of the starry sky in the warmth. Very romantic! What is particularly charming about the houses in the vacation village is that a lot of emphasis was placed on sustainability. Only local companies were commissioned for the construction, heating is provided by the village's own combined heat and power plant (supplemented by district heating), and a 450-square-meter photovoltaic system supplies the houses with electricity. This is an exemplary use of regional and natural resources, which is why the Wasserkuppe vacation village has already received the Hessian Tourism Award twice.
Cover photo: Central Hesse - sometimes rugged, sometimes lovely, but always beautiful © Hessen-Agentur_Blofield
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