Hanau: The Complete Guide

Goldschmiedehaus Hanau
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Pedelecs

Hanau is a city in the state of Hesse, Germany. It is located about 25 kilometres southeast of Frankfurt and has a population of approximately 100,000 people. The city has a rich history that dates back to the 12th century. It was once the residence of the Counts of Hanau and was later ruled by the Electorate of Hesse. Hanau was also the birthplace of the famous Brothers Grimm, who collected and published many of the world’s most beloved fairy tales.

Today, Hanau is a modern and vibrant city that is known for its cultural heritage and historical landmarks. The city has a number of museums and galleries, including the Brothers Grimm Museum, the German Goldsmiths’ House, and the Hanau Art Museum. In addition to its cultural offerings, Hanau is also home to a number of beautiful parks and natural areas. One of the most popular parks is Wilhelmsbad, which features extensive gardens, fountains, and a picturesque lake.

Hanau is also a thriving economic centre, with a strong industrial and commercial sector. The city has a diverse economy that includes industries such as automotive engineering, electronics, and logistics. Overall, Hanau is a dynamic and diverse city that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, you’re sure to find plenty of things to see and do in this charming German city.

History of Hanau

Hanau has a rich and diverse history, spanning centuries and leaving its mark on the city’s appearance and way of life. The origins of Hanau can be traced back to 1143, when a castle was built on the banks of the Kinzig River. This fortified castle was expanded over time and eventually transformed into a grand palace, known as the Stadtschloss.

In the 19th century, Hanau-born Elector Wilhelm II. ordered the demolition of the oldest medieval part of the palace, despite its historical significance. Following the annexation of the Electorate of Hesse by Prussia in 1866, the palace was no longer needed as a residence for noble families, and was purchased by the city of Hanau in 1890. The various buildings were repurposed as homes and government offices, with one building serving as the mayor’s residence for a time.

In 1597, Calvinist refugees from the Spanish Netherlands and France founded the Neustadt, or “New City,” in Hanau. These refugees brought with them a wealth of capital and knowledge, and their settlement in the flourishing Neustadt attracted goldsmiths, weavers, and other craftsmen.

These events are just a few of the many that have shaped the fascinating history of Hanau, leaving an indelible imprint on the city that can still be seen and felt today.
In the early 17th century, the Dutch-Walloon double-church was erected in Hanau. Sadly, it was destroyed during WWII, leaving only the smaller Dutch section to be rebuilt. The ruins of the Walloon part were kept as a memorial.

During the Thirty Years’ War, Hanau served as the base for the Swedish Army led by General Ramsay. The city was besieged for nine months in 1635 by imperial troops under General Lamboy. The citizens suffered greatly, but the city was eventually liberated by Wilhelm V of Hesse Kassel, an ally of the Swedish king Gustav II Adolf. In remembrance of this event, Hanau holds an annual church service that has evolved into the Lamboyfest festival.

WWII inflicted massive destruction on Hanau, with only seven houses left standing in the city centre after a British air strike on March 19th, 1945. Sadly, American troops invaded only ten days later, and the war ended. A commemorative service is held annually at the main cemetery on March 19th in memory of those who lost their lives on that day.
After the war, the city underwent rapid reconstruction, with little regard for historical ruins or aesthetic appeal, as the need for living space was urgent. Consequently, only a few old buildings were restored in the 1950s and 60s.

Visiting Hanau for the first time and wondering what are the top places to see in the city? In this complete guide, I share the best things to do in Hanau on the first visit. To help you plan your trip, I have also included an interactive map and practical tips for visiting!

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9 Best places to See in Hanau

This complete guide to Hanau not only tells you about the very best sights and tourist attractions for first-time visitors to the city but also provide insights into a few of our personal favorite things to do.

This is a practical guide to visiting the best places to see in Hanau and is filled with tips and info that should answer all your questions!

Dutch-Walloon Church

Wallonisch Niederländische Kirche Hanau
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Tilman2007
The Dutch-Walloon Church in Hanau is a historic church building located in the city center of Hanau, Germany. It was built in the early 17th century as a double church for the Dutch and Walloon Protestant communities who had settled in Hanau. During World War II, the church was heavily damaged and only the smaller […]
Location: Wallonisch-Niederländische Kirche, Gärtnerstraße, Hanau, Hesse, Germany | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 1.00km
Visiting Dutch-Walloon Church

Click here to read our blog about Exploring Germany's Fairy Tale Route

Brothers Grimm National Monument

Hanau The Home Of The Storytellers Of The Brothers Grimm
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Velopilger
The Brüder-Grimm-Nationaldenkmal, or the Brothers Grimm National Monument, is a famous landmark located in the city of Hanau, Germany. It was created to honour the Brothers Grimm, who were born in Hanau in the late 18th century. The monument is situated in the city centre, on the market square, and consists of life-sized bronze statues of […]
Location: Brüder-Grimm-Denkmal, Am Markt, Hanau, Germany | Hours: 24 Hours | Price: Free | Distance: 1.10km
Visiting Brothers Grimm National Monument

Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus

Deutsches Goldschiedehaus
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Freak-Line-Community
The Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus, or German Goldsmiths’ House, is a museum and research center dedicated to the art of goldsmithing located in the city of Hanau, Germany. The museum is housed in a historic building that was once part of the Hanau Castle complex. The museum’s collection includes a wide range of objects related to the […]
Location: Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus, Altstädter Markt, Hanau, Germany | Hours: Tuesday to Sunday / Tuesday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Closed on Mondays | Price: €2.50 for adults | Website | Distance: 1.40km
Visiting Deutsches Goldschmiedehaus

Schloss Steinheim

Schloss Steinheim Ansicht
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Lumpeseggl
Schloss Steinheim (also Steinheim Castle or Kurmainzisches Schloss Steinheim), which dates back to 1222, was originally owned by the Electorate of Mainz for approximately 370 years. In the years 1808/13, extensive renovations were carried out in the classical style, which have greatly influenced the castle’s appearance today. Since 1938, the building has been serving as […]
Location: Steinheim Castle, Hanau, Germany | Hours: Saturdays & Sundays: 11 A.M. TO 5 P.M | Price: Adults: €4.00, Children Free | Website | Distance: 2.20km
Visiting Schloss Steinheim

Schloss Philippsruhe

Schloss Philippsruhe
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Rainer Lippert
Schloss Philippsruhe, or Philippsruhe Palace, was built between 1700 and 1725 for Count Philipp Reinhard near Kesselstadt as a baroque palace in the west of the city of Hanau. Its current appearance largely goes back to conversions from the Wilhelminian period : Landgrave Friedrich Wilhelm von Hessen-Rumpenheim only lived in the castle for four years […]
Location: Schlossterrasse - Schloss Philippsruhe, Philippsruher Allee, Hanau, Germany | Hours: 11am-6pm Tue-Sun | Price: adult/concession €4/3 | Website | Distance: 2.50km
Visiting Schloss Philippsruhe

Museum Grossauheim

Museum Grossauheim
CC BY-SA 3.0 / Lumpeseggl
The Großauheim Museum has been located in the former power station and historic bathhouse since 1983. In recent years, the museum has undergone extensive renovations and received a fresh direction. The exhibition area is divided into two sections, with the art exhibition opening in August 2010 in the former art nouveau bathhouse, which dates back […]
Location: Museum Großauheim Pfortenwingert 4, 63457 Hanau | Hours: Saturdays & Sundays: 11 A.M. TO 5 P.M | Website | Distance: 2.80km
Visiting Museum Grossauheim

Hessisches Puppenmuseum

Hessisches Puppenmuseum Außen
CC BY-SA 1.0 / Hessisches Puppenmuseum
The Hessisches Puppenmuseum, or Hessian Doll Museum, is located in the city of Hanau and is dedicated to the history and art of dolls. The museum was founded in 1984 and is housed in a historic building that was once part of the Hanau Castle complex. The museum’s collection includes more than 10,000 dolls, making […]
Location: Hessisches Puppen- & Spielzeugmuseum, Parkpromenade, Hanau, Germany | Hours: Tue/Wed/Thu 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m Fri/Sat/Sun and public holidays 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m | Price: Adults 3.50 euros Children and young people up to 18 years accompanied by families - Free | Distance: 4.10km
Visiting Hessisches Puppenmuseum

Wilhelmsbad, Hanau

Kurgebäude Wilhelmbad
CC BY-SA 4.0 / Freak-Line-Community
Wilhelmsbad is a large park and spa located in the city of Hanau, Germany. The park covers an area of over 160 hectares and is one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the area.  Wilhelmsbad was originally designed in the late 18th century as a pleasure park for the Landgrave Wilhelm IX of Hesse-Kassel. […]
Location: Staatspark Hanau-Wilhelmsbad Parkpromenade 7 63454 Hanau | Hours: Daily | Price: Free Entrance | Website | Distance: 4.20km
Visiting Wilhelmsbad, Hanau

Wildpark Alte Fasanerie Klein-Auheim

Wildpark Alte Fasanerie
CC BY-SA 2.0 / Infinite Ache
Wildpark Alte Fasanerie Klein-Auheim is a wildlife park located in the town of Klein-Auheim, which is part of the city of Hanau in Germany. The park covers an area of around 80 hectares and is home to various species of animals that are native to the region. The park was founded in the early 20th […]
Location: Wildpark Alte Fasanerie, Fasaneriestraße, Klein-Auheim Hanau, Germany | Hours: Opening times March to October: 9am to 6pm (park clusure is one hour later), November to February: 9am to 5pm (park closure is at 5:30pm) | Price: Entrance fee: adults 7 €, pensioners 5 €, children 3.50 €, families (2 adults plus up to 4 children) 19 € | Distance: 4.70km
Visiting Wildpark Alte Fasanerie Klein-Auheim