If you're looking for Cinderella's castle, it's not far from the Pied Piper's village. No, this isn't Orlando—it's central Germany's Fairy Tale Road, a 400-mile stretch between Frankfurt and Bremen. Two centuries ago, the Brothers Grimm traveled this route, taking notes as residents waxed fantastic about landmarks. ("You see those seven hills?There dwelt seven dwarfs...") Start your pilgrimage in Steinau an der Strasse at the Brothers Grimm House, to see the authors' illustrated manuscripts and play electronic games starring Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White. An ideal spot for a deep slumber?In Sababurg, Sleeping Beauty's ivy-clad castle has become a dreamy hotel (Dornröschenschloss, Sababurg; 49-5671/8080; doubles from $194). Another place to let down your hair?Rapunzel's 13th-century tower (1 Steinweg, Trendelburg; 49-5675/9090; www.burg-hotel-trendelburg.com; doubles from $168) is now also a hotel— with a dungeon. Cinderella's castle in Polle is a ruin, but all the better as a setting for reenactments of her story. And in Hänsel and Gretel's half-timbered town, Höxter, a cobblestoned square is the stage for performances of the siblings' saga. No need to leave a trail of bread crumbs to find your way back to Frankfurt: Get on the autobahn in Verden, home to an amusement park. In four hours the whole trip ends happily ever after.
For more information, see www.deutsche-maerchenstrasse.de or contact the German National Tourist Office at 800/651-7010.