Greatest centre of Carolingian art
Our first city of the few planned on this long weekend taking advantage of the bank holiday in England and therefore coming to this region for 3 full days. At only 60 kilometres south of Frankfurt, our base, Lorsch was just matter of few minutes drive here and starting point for this day to some other cities later on farther south: Speyer and Maulbronn. Because all of them are small, very compact and so easy to visit, it makes a good idea to combine them all together in a same trip, especially if you have your own transportation as a rental car to get there and in between, however it is not mandatory, all three cities are very well connected one to another and to Frankfurt; and of course, with the larger cities of Heidelberg and Mannheim.
Driving there from Frankfurt we did also took the chance for sparing few minutes in Darmstadt to admire one of the greatest constructions from genius architect Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, better known as simply Hundertwasser. This is the “Forest Spiral” (Waldspirale). That was a nice addition to the already large collection of his buildings we’ve visited, especially in Vienna, his hometown.
Lorsch importance resumes in its Carolingian Abbey, one of the most important of that era in the country, where most of the Carolingian kings of Germany were buried there. Nowadays lying in ruins bearing the main entrance hall and part of a small chapel, however even with this little remaining, it is listed a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO. The tiny old town is to the west of the Abbey, only few streets centred around the timber-framed building of the old City Hall. It is a nice and relaxed walk through the cobblestone streets, but other than this there is nothing else to do nor see, and not much more of importance to say in this brief introduction to the city. Calculate 2 hours maximum here, and this is overestimating the time.
For more information about Lorsch check Wikipedia site. Germany’s currency is the Euro (EUR). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
What to see and do in Lorsch
- Town Hall Built in 1715 on the main small square of the city, west of the Abbey.
- Lorsch Abbey The former Imperial Abbey is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the main sight and reason number one why to come to the city. Founded in 764 becoming one of the most important centres of the Carolingian art. In the 17th century it was greatly destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War where Spanish troops pulled most of the buildings. After a small period of recovery, suffered once again during the wars of Louis XIV of France in the late 17th century, ever since lying in ruins. Only the ancient entrance hall, the Königshalle, remains standing since the 9th century, being the oldest monument of Carolingian architecture in the country.
The nearest airport is Frankfurt. Any information about that city and its great network of public transport is published and available in the guide here.
Coming from Frankfurt is best if you have a rental car, however, by train is very easy, quick and straightforward. Any train heading south passes by the near city of Bensheim taking little over 30 minutes. Once in Bensheim, you can either wait for the hourly train towards Lorsch and farther west, or a bus. The journey time is only 5 minutes. Depending on when it’s the next available train or bus, might be more viable to grab a taxi for this short distance, and even walk (less than 30 minutes).
Needless to mention once you are in Lorsh, due to its extremely reduced size all is a matter of few minutes’ walking distance. The Abbey and City Hall Square are in the very centre, the train station only along the direct street heading north from the Abbey.
Although we did not stay overnight in Lorsch as our base was Frankfurt, I cannot recommend anywhere in here, however the city boast a fair selection of hotels and bed & breakfast smaller accommodations. A good and reasonable point to start your search is by checking some of our preferred affiliate hotel search engine such as Hotels.com, Booking.com, Expedia, Otel.com, Agoda, Opodo, LateRooms or Ebookers.
For a travel guide of Frankfurt including the hotel we stayed for our tour, click here.