On Sundays it’s time to get out of Dodge. Well, in this case, “Dodge” would be the Hessian spa & Kneipp town of Neukirchen im Knüllgebirge.
You never quite know where I’m going with openings like these, huh?
Every Sunday (and occasionally on Saturdays too) there’s bus service to outlying towns and cities like Fritzlar, Heidelbeg, Marburg, and the UNESCO city of Weimar. Oh yeah, and nearby spa towns like Bad Hersfeld and Bad Wildungen are also on the itinerary.
The other five to six days of the week are spent on the simple pleasures of sightseeing around Neukirchen — starting with the Nikolaikirche. It’s been a Protestant church since the Reformation, but it’s been around since 1142. The 36-meter high tower is Neukirchen’s landmark, and a popular location for weddings.
Nikolai isn’t the only medieval church. So if you’re on a quest to see as many as you possibly can, you’ll want to add the church in the Christerode neighborhood and the church in the Hauptschwenda neighborhood to the itinerary (the latter being famous for its 16th century artwork).
Since we’re on the subject of the Middle Ages, you might want to join the guided Evening Tour. It highlights much of Neukirchen’s medieval history — and even includes a night climb of the Nikolai Tower.
Other historical sites in Neukirchen would be the Heimatmuseum, whose exhibits even include prehistoric artifacts, the old Backhaus (Bake House) where the stone ovens are still operational, and a bunch of half-timbered houses (the oldest built in 1598).
A daytime guided tour (Fridays at 3pm) will make sure you see all this and more.
History and folklore kind of go hand-in-hand, so be sure to see the Fairytale House. Who doesn’t like hearing all about Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel?
You know what else people like hearing about? Festivals and Markets. The Weekly Market is every Tuesday (8am-1pm), whereas the Marktbrunnenfest (Market Fountain Festival) is in August, the Tulpenfest (Tulip Festival) is in March, and the Pfingstkirmes takes place during Pentecost (that’s about 50 days after Easter). Finally, the obligatory Weinachtsmarkt takes place in December.
Oh, almost time to catch that Sunday bus — just enough time to take in a stroll along all the sculptures at the spa park — a perfect last place before getting out of Dodge. ;-)