In the centre of Germany, far from the throngs of visitors, lies the fairy tale town Steinau an der Straße. This is the magical town where the collectors of some of the best loved children’s fairy stories spent their formative years. Here is where the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm spent their childhood. They collected enchanting stories such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella or Hansel and Gretel.
Steinau is situated in the Kinzig valley about 50 minutes by train from Frankfurt. You will step back in time to a fairy tale town with a street of medieval half timbered houses, a splendid renaissance castle, a puppet theatre and a magnificent town hall. The oldest house permanently inhabited dates back to 1520 and is also a private museum and well worth a visit. Almost all of Steinau's splendid attractions are within a short walk from whereever you choose to stay.
A walk along the main street, Brüder-Grimm-Strasse, allows you to soak up the atmosphere of the town. When the Brothers Grimm lived here from 1791-1798 this was the main road for travellers between the cities of Frankfurt and Leipzig.
We would recommend a visit to the House of the Brothers Grimm. The museum houses a collection of over 200 manuscripts, examples of the brothers’ work, many family portraits and artefacts. It also shows the great contribution they made to language, literature and law. Their work has been translated into 140 languages and is the most widespread literature available after the bible.
Opposite the House of the Brothers Grimm, in the former barn, a new museum presenting the history of the trade route from Frankfurt to Leipzig as well as Steinau's history up to the present day. It is well worth a visit. A short walk to the market place (Am Kumpen) leads you the town hall (Rathaus), the palace (Schloss) and the puppet theatre (Figurentheater). In the centre of the market place you find the Fairytale Fountain (Marchenbrunnen). This fountain depicts many scenes from the Grimm fairy tales. Here you also find the tourist information Office (Verkehrsbüro) where visitors are welcome and will be provided with information and leaflets to help with their queries.
The imposing renaissance palace is well worth a walk around both inside and out. The more energetic family members can also climb the castle tower which gives stunning views over the town and valley. The great hall in the castle contains an exhibition of puppets tracing the history of the puppet theatre in Steinau which has had its home here for over 80 years. Colourful puppets from India, China, Poland and other countries are on display, posters from all over the world add to the atmosphere. The puppet theatre is run by the Magersuppe family and was started by Karl Magersuppe in 1924. We recommend you to attend a performance in the puppet theatre whilst in Steinau. Sometimes more adults than children can be seen in the audience - the performances are for all those who are still children at heart.
Families with children will be attracted by Steinau's Fun Park. This park has numerous rides with Luna-Loops, trampolines, sightseeing train and other attractions.