Herkules

Top choice in Fairy-Tale Road

Erected between 1707 and 1717 by Landgrave Karl and declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 2013, the 8.25m-high copper Herkules statue stands atop a towering stone pyramid, atop an octagonal amphitheatre, atop an imposing hill at the western end of Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe – altogether some 600m above sea level. Perhaps more phenomenal than the statue itself is the engineering genius behind its 2.3km Wasserspiele cascade, which takes place every Wednesday, Sunday and public holiday from 1 May to 3 October.

The water begins its tumble at 2.30pm from up top, near Herkules. From there, you can walk down with the crowds via the Teufelsbrücke (Devil’s Bridge) and the Aquädukt to the Grosse Fontäne (Large Fountain) to watch the water emerge in a 50m-high jet, around 3.45pm. On the first Saturday of each month from June to September, there's also a spectacular night-time illumination – check with Kassel's tourist offices for dates. There's a visitor centre at the Herkules with further information on this genuinely colossal monument (10am to 5pm, closed Monday October to April) and plenty of parking.

Unfortunately, scaffolding from ongoing restoration works is visible around the statue itself, and likely to remain for some time.