Take a trip to the majestic Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis to find the hidden town of Idstein. On the banks of meandering brooks and surrounded by low mountains and great forests, this historic settlement will whisk you back in time.
The old town has a high concentration of colorful and lavish half-timbered 17th century buildings decorated with the Hessian Fachwerk style. In its medieval town center, you will find plenty of crooked streets and steep roads overlooked by towering houses.
The main town runs along a steep ridge with two waterways running down each side. These brooks finally meet at the north end of the ridge where the castle crowns the steep craggy prominence. This building complex also houses Idstein’s famous landmark, the Witches Tower!
This oddly shaped Hexenturm proudly rises from within the castle walls and is, in fact, the keep itself. It is only 12 meters in diameter, yet the walls are at least three meters thick!
The tower is the town’s oldest standing building. At 42-feet high, it can be seen from the streets of the old town, serving as a reminder of the region’s violent past.
The town was also on the front line when the Romans conquered the region. The Limes defenses separated the civilized world from the Germanic tribes with a series of towers, banks and ditches.
Istein was on the wrong side of the perimeter. Traces of the Limes and many original and reconstructed towers still dot the local landscape.
These days, the residents are far more relaxed. They host a whole calender of events throughout the year to celebrate their heritage.
Among the town’s well received events is the annual Wine Festival (being so close to the Rheingau). There is also the Witches Market for local handicrafts and historic celebration.
You can enjoy live music events, too, including the Monkey Jump concerts in local pubs and restaurants. Or check out the very popular three-day summer Jazz Festival.
Idstein is surrounded on all sides by two extensive Nature Parks, the Rhein-Taunus and Hochtaunus. They cover the whole southwestern corner of Hesse.