Hesse is a cultural German region and an individual German state. Hesse as a cultural German region includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse (Rheinhessen) in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state. Its oldest city is Mainz, located in Rhineland-Palatinate. Meanwhile, Hesse as a German state, which is the part of the larger cultural region, has an area of 21,110 square kilometres (8,150 square miles) and has a population of more than six million inhabitants. Its capital is Wiesbaden and its largest city is Frankfurt am Main. Hesse is located in west-central Germany, with the state bordering the German states of Lower Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, and North Rhine-Westphalia. Hesse’s principal cities include Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Offenbach, Hanau, Gießen, Wetzlar, and Limburg in the greater Rhine Main Area, Fulda in the east, and Kassel and Marburg an der Lahn in the north.
What to see & do
Although Hesse, particularly cities like Frankfurt, is fast-developing, the region-state remains deeply rooted in its heritage and history. It is home to unique cultural offerings, stunning architecture, and an interesting wilderness. Some of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites that you can visit in Hesse include Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe in Kasse, Europe’s largest park of its kind and well-known for its landscape architecture, among others; the popular Brothers Grimm's Children's and Household Tales, which is among the most famous and most prevalent books from German cultural history known across the world; Germany's Ancient Beech Forests, one of which is the Nationalpark Kellerwald-Edersee; Lorsch – Benedictine Abbey and Altmünster; Messel Fossil Pit; Fritz Lang’s 1926 German classic silent film, Metropolis; Roman Limes, the 550-kilometre-long and 1800-year-old Roman frontier wall that once served as a defence against the German tribes – it is now considered as the largest archaeological monument in Europe; and Upper Middle Rhine Valley. Hesse also offers excellent hiking and outdoor activities, especially in the areas of the Odenwald, Spessart, Rhön, Vogelsberg, Taunus, Westerwald, Knüllgebirge, Habichtswald and Burgwald, the valleys of the Lahn, Werra and Rhine.
How to get around within Hesse
Hesse has one of the best transportation networks in Europe. There are several trans-European and German motorways, high-speed train, and waterways lines that cross Hesse. If you’re planning to get around by car, you should know that Hesse has a dense highway network with a total of 24 motorways. A3, A5, and A7 are the internationally significant motorway routes. The busiest motorway junction in Germany (even one of the busiest in Europe) is Frankfurter Kreuz. You can avoid rush hour by using the emergency lanes on the A3 and A5 motorway in the Rhine-Main Region. If you prefer to take the train, Hesse has access to numerous major rail lines, including the high-speed lines Cologne–Frankfurt and Hanover–Würzburg. Hesse is also where the most important hub for German trains is located, the Frankfurt Central Station.
How to get there
Most of the international visitors arrive at Frankfurt International Airport, the largest in the country and the third largest airport in Europe (after London Heathrow and Paris-Charles de Gaulle) and a major hub for Lufthansa, a German carrier. Frankfurt's central station is less than 15 minutes away by subway. Some of the airlines that operate at the airport include Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Aer Lingus, Aeroflot, Air Algérie, Air Armenia, Air Berlin, Alitalia, All Nippon Airways, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Condor, Lufthansa, TUIfly, and United Airlines, among others, to several destinations within Germany and around the world including Athens, Dublin, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Algiers, Riga, Berlin, Montreal, Beijing, Madrid, Paris, Delhi, Malta, Rome, Milan, Seoul, Dallas, Miami, Vienna, Minsk, Bristol, London, Rio De Janeiro, Prague, and many more. Another way to get in is by train, via regular and high-speed InterCity (Express) trains that link Hesse to the rest of Germany, as well as to various international destinations, including Paris, Vienna, Basel, Brussels and Amsterdam.