The best part of living in Kaiserslautern is the opportunity to get out and see Europe. I always tell people that I love Kaiserslautern because it is an easy drive to Holland, Belgium, Luxemburg, France, and Switzerland. Also, don’t forget all the amazing attractions and festivals in our host country. However, I’m always amazed at how little some people know about our host city. Kaiserslautern is more than little America. There are so many ways to have an authentic German experience right here in town!
There’s all sorts of reasons to have a Kaiserslautern Staycation. Maybe it’s because traveling can be expensive, and you are saving your cash for your next vacation. Maybe you just moved to the area, and the idea of traveling while you have boxes everywhere makes you feel uneasy. Maybe you just want to recoup from a long trip by doing something easy this weekend.
I’ll share my favorite things to do in Kaiserslautern over several posts. Of course, we haven’t done everything, so don’t hesitate to tell me your favorite things to do in our host city! Also note, this post-series is covering the Kaiserslautern area, so don’t be all up in arms when you see things to do in Ramstein and Landstuhl.
A perfect way to develop your bucket list for anywhere you visit, is to see how attractions rank on a travel app. For everything I list, I’ll try to let you know how it ranks on well known sites such as TripAdvisor or Google Maps.
#1- Gartenschau Kaiserslautern
Ranked #1 of 38 on TripAdvisor, the Gartenschau Kaiserslautern is absolutely my favorite local thing to do. Every year we spend €49 for a family season pass, but you can also purchase a single entry ticket for €7. If you have an SWK Card, your season pass is discounted.
I personally like the Gartenschau because it is easy for the whole family. On a sunny summer day, you can’t beat the vibe while picnicing on the lawn. Meanwhile, the kids will keep themselves busy from running around the Dino Park, the skate park, or splashing in the creek. You can grab food, beer and other snacks on site. We enjoy meeting up with friends on warm evenings, while we share food and have a few glasses of wine or beer.
Don’t miss out on the Gartenschau’s annual events to include their Bastille Day celebration and Pumpkin Festival. Also make sure you take the opportunity to stroll through the gardens to enjoy the flora, as well as hike up Kaiserberg to enjoy the “upper” gardens.
#2- Japanese Garten
Much smaller than the Gartenschau, but much worth the visit is the serene Japanese Garten. TripAdvisor’s #2 of 38 in Kaiserslautern, the Japanese Garten is a perfect place just to leisurely stroll and relax. Soak in the cherry blossoms in the spring, or gaze at the pond and waterfalls that decorate the garden. There is a restaurant on site if you want to relax over a meal on site. Single entry is €5.50 per person, but you can enter for free if you have a Gartenschau season pass. Like the Gartenschau, they have annual events that are worth checking out.
#3- Burg Hohenecken
One of the best parts of living in Germany is visiting the endless amount of castles all over the country. We all fill up our bucket lists with the well-known castles such as Burg Eltz and Neuschwanstein Castle. However, all over the local area, you can find castle ruins (burgruine), many that are free to visit and roam around. You can find dozens in the Palatinate Forest, all with history that will absolutely amaze you.
One of our favorites is listed #4 of 38 on TripAdvisor’s things to do, which is Burg Hohenecken. Hike up to Hohenecken Castle and see why it is a local favorite! This 13th Century castle once guarded the road from Kaiserslautern to Weissenburg. The castle’s extensive history includes being captured during the Peasant’s War, and being destroyed by French troops in the Nine Years’ War. These days, the ruins of the castle is a perfect destination for a family hike. While you can check out the castle year-round, visit on a sunny day and picnic at the castle.
“What the heck is that tower and how do we get there?” Nellie kept saying that for a couple years, until we finally made the time to go check it out. I promise, you won’t regret checking out TripAdvisor’s #5 of 38 things to do.
Overlooking Kaiserslautern Humbergturm, or Humberg Tower, was built in 1900. It’s an easy hike to the tower, and once you make it, you can take the staircase to the top. Whether you are sitting at the base of the tower or peeking from the top, Humbergturm gives you views of Kaiserslautern you just can’t get anywhere else. On beautiful spring and summer days, you’ll find dozens of locals hanging out, picnicking, or even taking a nap next to the tower. To get there, park at Hotel Bremerhof and follow the signs. Park for free and bring a picnic!
#5- Hotel Bremerhof Biergarten
We’ll try to include at least one restaurant in our Staycation series. If you are looking for traditional German cuisine and Hefeweizen, then the Hotel Bremerhof Biergarten is a must visit.
#44 of 194 restaurants in Kaiserslautern, Bremerhof is popular spot for hikers to relax after a day of Wandering. They often have live music, and parents especially enjoy dining there, because kids can run around at the park while waiting for food. Bundle a trip to Bremerhof after spending the afternoon at Humbergturm!
Get out and explore far away places, but you are certain to have weekends where you just don’t feel like doing anything too tough. Hopefully these five recommendations help get you started on your own Kaiserslautern Staycation. Stay tuned for our Staycation series as we continue to share local castles, hikes, and even a few places to cool down on a summer day!