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Discover Deutschland: farm holidays

With the “Discover Deutschland” series we go on a journey right across Germany: this time to holiday farms.

© dpa/Patrick Pleul - Holidays at the farm

It sounds a little like a fairy tale: At the foot of the Weidelsburg castle ruins in the Habichtswald Nature Park near Naumburg in north Hessen is “Scheune Weidelshof”, a farmyard barn where children can play. At the centre of the present-day holiday farm is the former mill from 1790, in which the Brothers Grimm are said to have stayed the night during one of their walking tours. Today it is still a lovey place to spend some time, with the many animals and the enchanted forest with its stream. Children can play to their heart’s content in a large castle and a huge sandpit, while hikers and nature lovers can enjoy the idyllic landscape.

A win-win situation for all

Holidays farms such as this are very popular among German families. Around five million people spend their holiday on a farm every year, and rising. There are more than 500,000 farms in Germany, ranging from riding stables to fruit and organic farms to vineyards. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved: guests, particularly children, get in touch with nature and can recharge the batteries. And the farmers up their takings and may even get a helping hand with the daily chores.

Many of the farms offer an attractive environment and in part also an eventful history. Book lovers for instance head for Kulturhof Gut Willershausen in Herleshausen in the state of Hessen, where Friedrich Schiller is said to have been inspired to write his drama “The Robbers”. The moated castle was built in the 13th century and the old farmhouse is first mentioned in documents dating from 1591. Today, in addition to its agricultural and forestry operations the farm boasts a golf course, a cultural forum and holiday apartments.

In a survey conducted by Deutscher Landschriftenverlag in 2014 the children questioned named Geigerhof in Benediktbeuern, Bavaria, Germany’s most popular holiday farm. The child-friendly farm not only offers a full range of playtime and adventure activities against the picturesque backdrop of the Bavarian Oberland, but also has everything that families with babies need, such as prams, baby phones and bottle warmers. Incidentally, those who don’t want to settle on just one farm can travel leisurely from one to the next with a campervan. When you purchase the “Landvergnügen” guidebook you get a free pass allowing you to stay overnight at around 250 farms across Germany – from a classic farm to a vineyard to an ostrich farm.