If you cycle upstream from Kassel on regional bicycle route R1 by the Fulda River, you can get to places like Rotenburg an der Fulda and Bad Hersfeld.
About 32 kilometers downstream from Kassel the Fulda River joins with the Werra to form the Weser, which eventually flows into the North Sea near Bremerhaven.
Second photo: Boats on the Fulda River in Kassel.
Dörnberg is a long inactive volcano approximately 20km away from Kassel. The whole hill is nature protection area (Naturschutzgebiet in German) and a very beautiful path of maybe 5km leads around the top. This path is called "Alps Path" (Alpenpfad) and while hiking it, you easily discover why: nature resembles that of the Alps. The air smells like the different herbs and rare plants (gentians and orchids among them) that grow alongside the way.
The path was created in the late 1940s and has since become a popular recreation area for people from Kassel and the vicinity.
A rarely visited place is the so-called Urwald Sababurg, approximately 25km outside of Kassel. It's a forest that has been left undisturbed for a long time. Therefore, trees grow chaotically, ferns grow rampant, and the air smells of fungi and rotten wood. The Urwald is a wonderful place for a walk. There are three paths starting at the car park: No. 8 is the shortest with 1.8km, No. 7 the longest with 4.0km. No. 1 is my favourite: 2.5km long and leading through the densest thicket.
Just next to it is the Sababurg with a small zoo. It's interesting for children as well as their parents.
You will come across it when you walk path No. 7.
To get there leave Kassel towards Vellmar and further towards Hofgeismar. Drive through the town and turn right approximately 500m after its limits. It's another 10km to go until you find a parking lot labelled "Urwald Sababurg" on your left.
When in Kassel during wintertime, why not go skiing? Follow the Druseltalstraße until you leave the city. Soon, you'll find a sign to the right that gives notice of the Herkules, Kassel's most famous landmark. Pass it and go on for another two or so kilometer. Then you will reach the Hohes Gras , the biggest hill in Kassel's vicinity. It's 615m high and usually there's at least some snow in wintertime. If it's enough you can go skiing or sledging. Another good place to do that is the Essigberg, that you will reach on the same road only a kilometer further on. Usually, there are hundreds of little children that enjoy racing down the hill and trying out the jumps.
Both Hohes Gras and Essigberg are places of fond memories to me. I remember school trips in the early 1990s when we all brought our sledges and warmest clothing and crash-raced down the steep hill. There is a particularly humpy track just next to the ski slope on Hohes Gras which was our favourite as it allowed us to bump the others out of the way and into the bushes... Ah, childhood memories... :)
Apart from sledging and skiing, you can also enjoy a wonderful winter walk through the woods. There are plenty of well-signposted trails leading through the Habichtswald forest. Don't forget to bring your camera as photo opportunities are plentiful.
On top of Dörnberg hill, basically at the end of Alpenpfad, there is a sailplane airfield. While it is of course fun watching the planes rising silently into the air and then circulating around the hills after you've finished your walk, it might be more of an adventure trying it yourselves!
If you have a lot of time, there are regular classes. I'm not sure whether you can actually participate in a flight without having taken the course, but maybe the guys from the sailplane club can help you - see website below.
If you go for it, tell me! I'll be more than happy to take pics from the ground ;)!
Not a major destination of Kassel. However, the Bismarck Tower (Bismarckturm) is a secret tip for everybody who loves to explore sights off the beaten path.
Constructed in 1904 on the Brasselsberg within Kassel's Habichtswald, the Tower is 25.5m high and with an altitude of 434m above sea level, it offers a splendid view across Kassel.
Starting from a parking lot along Konrad-Adenauer-Strasse just beneath the Brasselsberg, it takes an approx. 30 - 45 minute walk up the hill.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle (Sababurg) is worth a visit, not far away from the city. The nearby forest is wonderful, it is Europe's oldest wild life park.
I was lucky to see an ancient greek tragedy (have a look at my Epidaurus' page) inside the castle -by Sababurg Theater- although I hadn't understand a lot, because of the language...
Off the city is the natural resort of Wilhelmshöhe. The Palace of Wilhalmshöhe was built between 1795-1801 and houses the "Picture Gallery of old masters". At an altitude of 550 m (1800 ft) the monuments of Herkules towers on top of the 'Karlsberg' above the city.
About 50 km west of Kassel is Bad Arolsen situated. It is a small & quiet town. It is situated in a very beautiful environment with a lot of walking & cycling possibilities.
Besides that, there is also the Schloss (Castle) which can be visited.
Take a look at the travelogues to see more.
Some more info can be found on BAD AROLSEN