When walking from the parking "Jahnplatz" towards the castle we discovered a sign to a "Kreüterpfad" ("herbs path"), dedicated to Otto von Brunfels, a botanist living around 1500. It's a nice path through the woods near the town wall.
There are several signs about different herbs that grow nex to the path, with a picture and special healing powers of the herbs. Also there's a bed with several herbs which is maintained well. But it was difficult to find the herbs growing next to the path, as there were too much stinging-nettles. For them, you'll find a sign, too...
All the signs are written in an old-fashioned German, which makes it hard to read. But it's interesting to learn something about these herbs and what there were used as. There are also sometimes guided tours along the path.
As Braunfels is a climatic spa, there's of course also a spa gardens. It was build in the 18th century and has some exotic trees - we were surprised to find a sequoia there. At the entry next to the hall there's a map showing the different trees that you'll find here. The park is pretty huge, with a playground for children. It's a perfect place to relax a bit or take a short walk.
The Market Place is found below the castle and is very pituresque, with all the half-timbered houses. Most of these houses were build between 1700 and 1720. Also a the Market Place there's the tourist information.
Next to the Lower Gate there are two restaurants, and if you are up to some ice cream you’ll find an ice cream parlour on the opposite side of the market place. You won't need to leave hungry!
When you walk down the stairs from the castle in direction town centre, you'll pass several gates. Also watch for the old well where people used to get their water. The last gate then with the two towers is found directly at the market place and is called "Unterste Pforte" (Lower Gate) and is one of the oldest building of Braunfels, being from around 1350.
With all the towers and, the castle looks like from a fairy tale, at least from the distance. It first was mentioned in 1246 and frequently was extended and remodelled. As the castle is still inhabited, you unfortunately only can see a few rooms, like the "knight's room" with armours and weapons, the "stairs room" and "picture gallery" with old furniture and paintings. Also there are some rooms with religious pieces, mainly taken away from the church in earlier times. You'll here see the ring of Elisabeth von Thüringen (St. Elisabeth of Hungary) which is said to have indicated the dead of her husband by breaking when he died.
You only can visit the castle with a guided tour, and upon advance notice also English and French guided tours are possible. You'll get some special shoes to wear over your shoes so that the wooden floor doesn't get damaged. The tour takes 50 minutes and it was quite interesting to learn some more about the former times and get the origin of some phrases that we still use explained. At the end we went outside to the "guns place" from where you have a nice view on the Braunfels and the landscape.
Admission: 5 € adults, children (5-10) 2 €, pupils/students 3 €. A minimum of 5 persons (or 25 €) is needed for the guided tour.
Open March 15 until Oct 31, daily from 11:00.
The main market square (Marktplatz) and the streets sorrounding it are a nice visit. This market square was just out of our Inn, so we woke up and could see this beauty panoramic.
If you enjoy visiting castles, you have to enter to Schloss Braunfels. It's a must.
You can only enter with a guide, as the castle is inhabited and only a section is opened.