A vertical shot of the Hercules monument in Wilhelmshoehe Castle Park in Kassel, Germany.

© Wirestock/Getty Images/iStockphoto


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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Fairy-Tale Road attractions

1. Löwenburg

0.73 MILES

Situated within Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, the faux-ruined 'Lion's Castle' was built between 1793 and 1801 in a 'medieval' style so ornately romantic it's…

2. Schloss Wilhelmshöhe

1.01 MILES

Erstwhile home to Kaiser Wilhelm II, Wilhelmshöhe Palace (1786–98) at the foot of Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, today houses one of Germany’s greatest art…

3. Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe

1.31 MILES

Situated 6.5km west of Kassel Hauptbahnhof, and 3km west of Kassel-Wilhelmshöhe station, in the enchanting Habichtswald nature park, this spectacular 560…

4. Museum für Sepulkralkultur

4.14 MILES

Billed as ‘a meditative space for funerary art’, this atypical museum examines attitudes to death and burial practices, and challenges western reluctance…

5. Grimmwelt

4.19 MILES

Occupying a prime position atop the Weinberg bunker in the scenic Weinbergpark, the fabulous Grimmwelt could be described as an architect-designed walk-in…

6. Neue Galerie

4.35 MILES

The restored Neue Galerie, once the town residence of Napoleon's little brother Jérôme but sadly damaged in WWII, showcases paintings and sculptures by…

7. Fridericianum

4.52 MILES

This excellent contemporary art museum hosts temporary exhibitions and symposia exploring relevant, topical themes such as the re-emergence of fascism in…

8. Documenta Halle

4.61 MILES

Built expressly to augment the Museum Fridericianum as the primary exhibition space for Kassel's quinquennial art extravaganza Documenta, the Halle hosts…