Nature at its best and world-class culture:
Welcome to the city of parks and gardens
Did you know? Kassel is Germany's fourth-greenest city! Over 63 percent of its urban area alone consists of parks and green spaces. The documenta city therefore also offers you plenty of space for recreational nature experiences and exciting tours of discovery. Whether you choose to go on an extended walk in the footsteps of the aristocracy, get some exercise by cycling or sit down for a cosy picnic in a romantic setting: Kassel has a lot to offer to nature lovers!
Green is in our nature...
The fact that Kassel has so many green oases for visitors and residents to enjoy is above all due to the city's history: it was once the capital of the landgraves and later electors of Hesse. With the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe and Karlsaue park, Kassel's landgraves created not just one but two monumental landscape parks that continue to fascinate visitors from all over the world.
You'll also find plenty of other parks and green spaces in Kassel, each with its own unique character. The former Buga national flower and gardening show grounds, for example, are perfect for more athletic leisure time activities and a refreshing dip into the river, particularly in the summer. They are located immediately opposite Karlsaue park. Park Schönfeld, with its small romantic palace and the botanical gardens, is also captivating, and right in the Kassel city centre, you'll keep on stumbling across the "7000 Oaks" which the world-famous artist Joseph Beuys had planted here during a documenta.
By the way, you'll see even more trees in the landscape that surrounds Kassel, which inspired many famous fairy tales: look forward to some excellent hiking through the dense forests that cover much of the Mittelgebirge low mountain ranges on the footsteps of the Grimm brothers. Let's go: we have compiled some tips for you on where best to enjoy "green Kassel"!
Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe: amazing views
Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe and its baroque water features became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2013. Hardly surprising, then, that it tops the list of Kassel's most famous attractions. Also right at the top is a Kassel landmark that can be seen from miles away: the Hercules monument. From up here, you can enjoy spectacular 360-degree views across the park and its impressive old trees. Descend downhill again on winding paths to Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, home to one of Germany's most important art collections. Not far from there, you'll find the Löwenburg, built to resemble a mediaeval castle – another of the many unmissable attractions the park has to offer!
Saunter through Karlsaue park
Karlsaue park near the Fulda river is the city's second extensive historic park besides the Bergpark. At 125 hectares, it is around the same size as the Principality of Monaco. With the baroque Orangerie palace as your starting point, you can saunter through the landscaped park, with man-made canals and bodies of standing water dotted about here and there, on idyllic paths just like the aristocracy once did. However, you should definitely factor in enough time for a guided tour of the Orangerie, not least because it is home to one of Europe's most magnificent relics of the baroque period: the Marmorbad, a bathroom clad entirely in marble. You can also marvel at some of the scientific instruments and curiosities collected by Landgrave Carl that are on display in the Orangerie's astronomy and physics exhibition.
Need some colour in your life?
On the southern end of Karlsaue park, you'll find a unique botanical gem: the "flower island" Siebenbergen. The man-made island was created in 1710, and is an outstanding example of garden design. It is home to more than 100 plant varieties from all over the world that offer a glorious display of colours from spring to autumn. Also close-by and worth seeing is Schwaneninsel island in the Aueteich pond, which has a small temple on it.
Romantic little palace and prickly beauties
Close to Karlsaue, you'll find another green oasis: Park Schönfeld, where you can stroll beneath ancient chestnut trees to unwind. A small palace, Schloss Schönfeld, is located in the centre of the park. It was built in 1777 and was once used as a lush summer residence by the landgraves and other aristocrats. Today, it houses a stylish gourmet restaurant. Kassel's botanical gardens are located right next to the palace. They consist of several themed gardens and also boast a cactus greenhouse.
Discovering the Bergpark together
Our exciting guided tours through the UNESCO World Heritage Site offer interesting insights into the secrets and unusual aspects of the Bergpark, Europe's largest hill park. Discover the park's botanical gems and learn how the baroque water features and other architectural highlights such as the Löwenburg were created.
"Beuys to go"
The fact that Kassel is one of the greenest cities in Germany is not only down to the aristocracy but also to the world-famous artist Joseph Beuys: on the occasion of the documenta 7 in 1982, he initiated the project "7000 Oaks" and actually planted the first seedlings himself. Many others followed that have now grown into tall oak trees that define the cityscape. Explore this unusual work of art with the aid of a dedicated audio guide – or with the recently published guidebook "Beuys to go".