Welcome to Braunfels
A place to breathe easy!
More than 750 year old, this town with its beautiful sights attracts many visitors from near and far every year. Come and see our romantic old town centre, the fairy-tale castle or our pleasant spa gardens.
Officially recognized as a climatic health resort, acclaimed for its friendliness towards families, Braunfels is a highlight in several German scenic traveling routes, such as the scenic Lahn-Valley-Holiday-Route, the German Fachwerk Route with its wealth of half-timbered houses, or the "Oranjeroute" with its mementoes of Dutch history.
Culture-wise, Braunfels has much to offer to its guests and visitors: concerts, theatre, guided tours of the town and castle, festivals and markets, hiking tours and sport activities - the town as well as the surrounding countryside offer a refresshing break to old and young alike!
Situated on top of a basalt rock, the Castle in Braunfels welcomes visitors from far away. The town of Braunfels is over 750 years old and has a lot to offer - the romantic old town with its picturesque half-timbered houses, the magical fairytale castle and the magnificent gardens.
"Castellum Bruninvels" with its historic town centre was first mentioned in documents dating from the year 1246. The history of the town is closely linked with the history of the castle and the Counts and Princes of Solms-Braunfels. The old town and its historic market square with its richly decorated half-timbered houses invites you to spend a pleasant time here. They offer an attractive backdrop to various markets that take place throughout the year. Take an excursion into the past during a guided tour of this charming old town and enjoy the wide selection of food and drink offered by Braunfels gastronomy in its historic setting.
First mentioned in 1445, the building used to be a mill. Its latest and long-standing function was that of a pumping station that led to the adage that "In Braunfels, water runs uphill". After the pump system broke down in 1971, it was the local history society made up of enthusiastic volunteers who prevented its demolition and turned the ancient building into the local history museum.
The idyllic castle garden in the centre of the old city is a remarkable cultural monument. At the beginning of the 17th century Count Albrecht I. von Solms planned a terraced garden. In about 1800 it was remodelled in the style of a landscape garden, thus becoming part of the town rather than the castle. With its mix of local as well as exotic trees, the park offers an attractive setting for various cultural events. This pleasant garden spreads over several terraces and is well worth exploring.
3 km from the centre of Braunfels lies Philippstein. Its castle built in 1390 by Philippe I. from Nassau-Weilburg rises on a spur of rock (the eponymic "stein" in the name of the place) above the settlement and was built to protect the country against intrusion from neighbouring Solms-Braunfels. Up to the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) a steward lived in and looked after the castle.
Afterwards, this border fortification of the Nassau Counts fell into disrepair until members of the "Burgverein" (an association that now cares for Philippstein castle) rebuilt it with support from the municipality of Braunfels.
A system of ponds, consisting of the Big Pond, the Round and the Long Warm Ponds, and the Ice Pond, was created in the Iserbach Valley at the foot of the castle hill. Nothing is known about their original use or origin. They certainly supplied fish and watercress to the nobility, but may equally have served as hammerponds for Obermühle in times of feeble water supply. At wintertime around the turn of the century, skaters and non-skaters alike would celebrate magnificient ice festivals on the Big Pond, with paper laterns, music and hot sausages, whereas in the summer rowing boats were popular.
Over the years nature has reclaimed this hideaway. The Big Pond, fed from the Weihermühle mill-run, is a paradise for many kinds of birds and insects. The Warm Ponds lie embedded among dense trees in the Iserbach Valley. The Ice Pond on the other side of the road with its extensive bird life has become an attraction for nature enthusiasts. Close to the brewery, in a protected site, you can often see the "flying jewel", the kingfisher. The Warm Ponds, spring-fed from an intricate underground karst aquifer unique to Braunfels, do not freeze, so the kingfisher may be seen even in severe winters.
Why not take a walk through the pondlands area and enjoy the quiet enchantment of the landscape?
... by train and bus
- from Frankfurt or Kassel via Gießen to Wetzlar
- from Köln (Cologne)/Ruhr district/ Siegen via Siegen to Wetzlar
- from Koblenz/Limburg to Leun/Braunfels (RB) or Wetzlar (RE), from the ICE stop at Limburg there is a shuttle bus to take passengers to the Lahn line at Limburg.
- from Wetzlar take the bus #185 for Braunfels (Europaplatz) or the regional train (RB) for Limburg/Koblenz to Lahnbahnhof/Leun/Braunfels (4 km outside town). Some trains connect to bus route 182 for Braunfels.
... by car
- from Frankfurt/Main Take autobahn A3 north for Cologne (Köln) to exit #42 (Limburg-Nord), then follow road B49 for Gießen to exit Leun/Braunfels. Turn right for Leun/Lahnbahnhof on leaving road B49, and right again for Braunfels, then follow the local traffic signs.
- from Dortmund Take autobahn A45 for Frankfurt to exit # 30 (Wetzlar-Ost), then follow road B49 for Limburg to exit Solms for Braunfels. Passing through Solms via Burgsolms and Oberndorf, follow Wetzlarer Straße into Braunfels, then follow the local traffic signs.
- from Gießen take road B49 for Wetzlar/Limburg. Leave at the Solms exit for Braunfels. Passing through Solms via Burgsolms and Oberndorf follow Wetzlarer Straße into Braunfels and then follow the local traffic signs.
... by bicycle
- from Wetzlar take Lahntalradweg (Lahn Valley Cycle Path) R7 to Burgsolms.
- from Limburg take Lahntalradweg (Lahn Valley Cycle Path) R7 to Leun-Lahnbahnhof.
From either location to Braunfels on ordinary or forest roads.
Cure, culture and leisure
The spa of Braunfels has been officially recognized as possessing a wonderful climate and outstanding air quality. There are many leisure pursuits to enable you to enjoy your stay here. We have one of the most beautiful German golf courses or you could explore the countryside and densely wooded surroundings on foot or by shank's pony - Braunfels has something for everybody.
Explore the attractive old city during an adventurous guided tour or listen to the famous late medieval doctor, Otto von Brunfels, explaining the applications for herbs growing on the wayside. Visit one of the numerous markets, the medieval spectacle and enjoy the festival concerts in our charming park. In Braunfels there are no limits to the experiences we offer throughout the year.
There will be enough help for you at the tourist information office.
A healthy climate, an attractive landscape and a wonderful little town - you instantly feel at ease in Braunfels. Braunfels is an important destination for people to enjoy a cure and healthy lifestyle. The medical institutions in Braunfels enjoy an excellent reputation. We have a specialist neurological clinic offering rehabilitation, the orthopaedic clinic and the Falkeneck hospital. Braunfels has been granted the title "Luftkurort" because of its climatically favourable position amidst densely wooded countryside on the northern edge of the Hochtaunus Nature Park region. The high purity of the air comes from the lack of industrialisation and from the abundance of woods and open countryside. The extensive walking trails, the facilities for medical treatment and open countryside, a facility to carry out a Kneipp's cure and the amazing stainless steel swimming pool offer you therapeutic alternatives to the rat race.
For more than 80 years the tourist information centre has sold "Karlssprudel" mineral water which comes from the community Leun-Biskirchen, 6km away from Braunfels. The water is considered excellent for recuperation from diseases of the intestines, stomach and malfunctions of the liver, gall bladder, kidneys, bladder and the respiratory system. Sports enthusiasts also like this water because of its well-balanced mineral content.
Active recovery in untouched countryside
The climatic spa of Braunfels offers those looking for an active break and nature lovers the opportunity to relax and enjoy some leisure time. The woods of the Westerwald and the Taunus extend as far as to the horizon and are ideal for hiking and cycling. The river Lahn is one of the nicest rivers of Germany for a trip by canoe or kayak and is full of adventures.
Hiking adventure in Braunfels
Numerous hiking trails in the Hochtaunus natural park offer a wide variety of experiences.
The new Lahn trail (Lahnwanderweg) that follows the course of the Lahn is currently being prepared together with our part of the European cultural hiking trail of the Huguenots and Waldensians ("Hugenotten-und Waldenserpfad"). This 1800km trail starts in the department of Rhone-Alpes in southern France and continues its way across Switzerland to Bad Karlshafen in the north of Hesse. You can follow in the tracks of the Hugenots and Waldensians along the historic route the Protestants took when expelled from France and follow the traces of their activities in the areas they crossed.
Hike from castle to castle. Hike from Braunfels to Weilburg and get to know the two very disparate residences.
A hiking trail with panoramic views offers you wonderful outlooks onto Braunfels castle and the neighbouring Lahn valley. The extensive network of hiking trails in the Braunfels area makes it possible for you to plan your hiking holiday whatever your preferences, a gentle stroll or something more challenging.
A splendidly constructed 245 km bicycle track "Lahntalradweg" follows the Lahn from the source to its mouth. The track is fully signposted and in 2009 it received for the second time four out of five stars for the quality of the route. On the bicycle track alongside the Lahn you will come across magnificent sections of the river with gentle hills making this ideal for a relaxed cycle ride.
In the environs of Braunfels you will find numerous bicycle tracks for excursions into the immediate countryside. Those who prefer something more challenging should head for the trails in the Hochtaunus natural park. These are best explored by mountain bike.
The international association for grassroots sport/popular sport cares for a hiking trail in Braunfels with various distances. "IVV-Wanderweg 'Schloss Braunfels'". Whether you prefer to hike 5, 12 or even 21km there is something for everyone. Start at the tourist information office, from there follow the yellow signposts with blue letters showing you the way. This hiking trail is also suitable as a route for Nordic Walking.
You get further information at the Tourist-Information.
Canoe & Kayak
The Lahn is one of the most popular rivers in Germany for those wanting to travel on water. A lot of sights line the 245 km course that starts in the Rothaar Mountains and finishes in Lahnstein where it flows into the Rhine. Most of the water meadows, rich in flora and fauna, are protected as valuable natural habitat. Here you can observe grey geese, grey herons, kingfishers and lapwings in their natural habitat far from the noisy and hectic atmosphere of the lakes; so take a canoe or a kayak and enjoy the varied landscapes of the Lahn valley.
The Tourist Office can help you reserve your boat and plan your excursions on the Lahn.
The golf course at the golf club "Schloss Braunfels" offers a golf adventure. After a short stretch through dense woods the horizon widens and opens onto a view of spacious terrain with numerous ponds and the clubhouse situated in the bottom of a valley. Here you can enjoy the special atmosphere of this terrain that fits harmoniously into the hilly scenery at the edge of the Taunus Mountains.
In the centre of the golf course you will find the historic estate that now accommodates the clubhouse.
Top-class golf instructors are available to accompany you on your way to your own personal golf experience.
Swim and have fun in the water with a spectacular view of Braunfels castle.
The open air pool was completely modernised and re-constructed in 2002/2003 and caters for all types of swimmers. The open air pool has a constant water temperature of 24 degrees, measures 33 x 25 m and between 1m and 3.80m deep with 1m and 3m diving platforms.
The paddling pool with its water depth of 0 to 60 cm allows even the youngest visitor access to the water without danger. Table tennis, football goals, a beach-volleyball field, swings and all sorts of toys offer an all round experience for visitors. Lawns surrounding the swimming pool offer relaxation and sunbathing. The kiosk provides food and drinks.
Treat yourself to a relaxed day and pay a visit to the swimming pool in Braunfels.
A particular speciality are guided town tours. Town guides help you appreciate the history of the town.
Contact the tourist information to arrange your personal date for a guided tour with your group.
- Duration of the tour: About 60 minutes
- Price for a group of 30 people (german language): 60 Euro
- Price for a group of 30 people (english language): 70 Euro
- Price per further person: 2,50 Euro
- Group-maximum: 40 people
If you are a plant enthusiast, you will be keen to explore the "Otto von Brunfels Kräuterpfad", a herbal trail marked with texts and illustrations based on 16th century originals. Visitors with a knowledge of German may be intrigued by the language of Shakespeare's German contemporaries.
Individual markers are placed with herb species as they change during the year. The main section of the trail runs along below the Marstall (the Old Stables) wall with access from "In den Anlagen" avenue (parking at the foot of the castle walls) and Jahnstrasse (parking Jahnplatz).
Based on his work creating the "Kräuterpfad" (herbal trail), Wolfgang Gerster published the book "Kräuterwissen - einst und jetzt" ("Knowing herbs - then and now", Verlag Quelle & Meyer, July 2011).
For further information:
The book is available in any bookshop or the tourist office. It can also be acquired directly from the author.
The park was founded by Count Wilhelm Moritz zu Solms-Braunfels in 1704. The old forester's house at the entrance to the park that now houses a restaurant dates back to that time. In what was the prince's 55 hectare hunting area you can now stalk wild boar, mouflon, fallow and other deer with your camera. Picturesque looping trails lead you through the area that includes an ancient tree population. The animal park is open daily from 10 to 18 hours. Entrance is free.
Weilburg - a gem on the Lahn
The town of Weilburg with its impressive baroque residence is only 10 km away from Braunfels. This old city and castle were founded on a rock high above the Lahn. Besides the castle with its orangery and the castle garden there are many more attractions such as the old city, the animal park, an exhibition of the terracotta army of the first emperor of China. A particular experience is a canoe trip through the only navigable tunnel in Germany that was built between 1844 and 1847.
The terracotta army of the first emperor of China - an exhibition on the Lahn
One of the most amazing finds in archaeological history was the terracotta army of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huangdi (259 - 210 BC) in Xi An. More than 300 terracotta soldiers, 24 horses, six chariots, two imperial harnessed teams in bronze, weapons, antiques, jars and bowls, paintings and many more things can be seen in the exhibition.
Wetzlar, the town of the German author Goethe and of the optical industry
In Wetzlar history and the future meet. In 1712 when the town was the seat of the superior Court of Justice, Goethe met Charlotte Buff who became his wife. This visit so impressed this trainee in jurisprudence that it formed the basis of his famous novel "Die Leiden des jungen Werther". The Superior Court of Justice and the Lottehause are not the only sights that are worth a visit. There are also the outdoor optical route and the "Viseum". Wetzlar has a long tradition in optics and precision mechanics. The first 35 mm camera was developed and produced here. Today Leica is still renowned as a brand for excellence in photography. For a different experience pay a visit to the "Dunkelkaufhaus" where sniffing, touching and feeling rather than sight excite your senses.
A world of adventures underground - The Grube Fortuna Mine
There is a long history of mining iron ore in the Lahn-Dill region. Over 2000 years ago the Celts were already mining the raw material in this region. The importance of mining increased with the coming of industrialisation and at one time there were more than 210 iron ore mines. In 1983 the last working mine "Fortuna" closed bringing to an end the rich tradition of iron ore mining in Hesse. The Fortuna mine is regarded as a national industrial monument - former miners act as tour guides offering you an experience of the work underground and introducing you to some of the secrets of mining.
Kubach Crystal Cave
The crystals in this cave are supposed to be unique in Germany. The cave system came into being during the Pleistocene era. Up to now only a small part of the whole cave system had been opened and explored. Countless crystals and stalactites glitter in the light as experts give a 45 minute guided tour explaining the formation and development of the cave.
Throughout the year cultural events, markets and festival attract many people to Braunfels. You will find a selection of the most important events and a calendar showing all events of the year on this website and we hope to welcome you soon to our town.
On this website we inform you about the upcoming program.
Every summer the courtyard of the castle becomes the stage for beautiful operas. Excellent artists, fine acoustics and the unique setting of the castle ensure high-ranking performances and a unique cultural experience.
Tickets are obtainable from the tourist office.
The Wine Festival in June is a hot tip. You can enjoy tarte flambee and selected wines under the lime trees in the park while listening to live music.
Summer time is open air theatre time!
Young and old can enjoy exciting and amusing theatre performances every year in June, July and August on the open-air stage in Bonbaden.
Braunfels stages many markets and festivals for our visitors and the locals.
About five weeks before Easter the popular Easter Egg Market in the Haus des Gastes heralds the arrival of spring. Stalls offer Easter decorations, pottery and toys. Many exhibitors offer insights into how their wares are produced, they explain the use and the many varied traditional processes for decorating eggs for Easter and pass on tips for you to try them yourself.
In May in the park is a Herb Market. Herbs, herbaceous plants, spices, teas and soaps can be found here. The exhibitors, both local and specially selected from elsewhere, offer goods and produce from their own workshops and gardens, much of it handmade.
The Wine Festival in June is a hot tip. You can enjoy tarte flambee and selected wines under the lime trees in the park while listening to live music.
Towards the end of the summer holidays there is a Mill Festival organised at the local museum. All sorts of food and drinks as well as other attractions await visitors. Entrance to the museum is free of charge.
At the end of September local restaurateurs and shopkeepers invite you to the City Festival in the market square to enjoy live music, fashion shows etc. On the Sunday many shops are open and interesting offers for both young and old draw people to the town centre.
In November there is a market for handmade products in the Haus des Gastes. Many exhibitors show you their work and explain their various techniques.
On the second weekend in Advent the old town glitters with in its pre-Christmas decorations and welcomes you to the Christmas Market (Christnikelsmarkt). Many exhibitors offer hand-made articles for sale. The whole market square is filled with the scent of German lebkuchen, hot, spiced wine and the aroma of roasted almonds, getting you into the mood for Christmas.