When you find yourself in the Hessian town of Calden, likely coming straight from the Kassel-Calden Airport [KSF], there’s (probably) two things on your mind: Castle Wilhelmsthal and archaeology. What you’ll find is a whole lot more.
Since I brought up Castle Wilhelmsthal first, let’s start there. Don’t let the moniker castle fool you, this ain’t no medieval building. It’s a palace (built 1743), and thought to be one of the most magnificent in Germany.
Within this grandiose Rococo palace is a fantastic museum with all sorts of permanent art collections. Its gardens are on the European Garden Heritage Network (as if Germany doesn’t have enough scenic routes, right?), and to visit is free.
However, if you want to get married in the castle it will cost you. Ahh, a small price to pay for these digs. ;-)
If you’re following the archaeology side of Calden, there’s the Steinkiste von Calden. This is a megalithic grave for forty prehistoric souls (and thought to date around the 4th millennia B.C.). And the Erdwerk Calden is an archaeological site from around the third millennium B.C. Yeah, that’s pretty darn old.
Now that you’ve got these two items checked off your must-see list, here’s a chance to hike around the countryside to see the Kopfsteine, a natural basalt rock formation; or the Naturpark Habichtswald.
OK, even if you’re not into the whole “nature” thing, you’ll find something to do. On Saturdays the Observatory is open to visitors looking to gaze at the stars (8:30pm in winter, 9:30pm in summer), and the Preacher’s Cottage is a lovely building from the late 17th century (if you want to gaze at architecture instead).
Calden also has a Jewish cemetery since it had a Jewish community from as far back as the 14th century right up until the 20th century.
Calden might relish its history, but it’s also a modern day town (get a gander at its Waldschimmbad), where you’ll have come for a castle & found more.