Willingen, mostly famous for being a ski-resort in central Germany, is located in the German state of Hesse. Located only 40 miles (60 km) from Kassel with lots of things to see, the city of Willingen is not far from another well-known winter resort, Winterberg.
Most tourists visit Willingen for recreational purposes like skiing during Winter or hiking during Summer. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or merely enjoy a relaxed outdoor holiday, Willingen has plenty of both to offer.
We’ve spent 2,5 hours researching the best things to do in Willingen, and read several tourist reviews in the process. Below, you’ll find out what to see. Let’s get going!
8. Bruchhauser Steine
Just a few miles from Willingen and Winterberg, and on the other side of the state border in North Rhine-Westphalia, you’ll find the Bruchhauser Steine.
The +300 million-year-old four impressive rocks (Feldstein, Bornstein, Goldstein, and Ravenstein) sit above the tree-line on top of the mountain Istenberg (727m). It’s possible to climb the rocks, and from the top, you’ll have a 360-degree view of
Family Tip: Tourists liked the 2-mile hike to the summit, but if you’re with kids it’s advisable to park at the Panorama Car Park near the top for a small fee.
7. Willinger Viadukt
High above Willingen, you can’t miss the “Itterbrücke” which it’s called in native German.
The impressive railway bridge spans nearly 300m across the town, and the 31 meters in height provides the train passengers a brief view of the town.
Built in the early 20th century, the main purpose was to transport goods and passengers. Although it seems old, the bridge was renovated in the 90s and is still being used as of today.
The Viadukt is free to see of course and serves as the landmark of the town.
6. Lagunen-Erlebnisbad Willingen
Take a break at the Lagunen-Erlebnisbad while visiting Willingen. Nothing beats a relaxing time in the spa after a whole day on skis or hiking to relax your muscles.
The water resort has plenty of options whether you’re old or young. For couples, tourists found the sauna area and massage to be the best options. For families, the resort has three waterslides and multiple pools, also for toddlers, and an outdoor sports area during Summer.
Ski jumping is a very popular winter sport in Germany and for good reason; the country has won many medals and the German landscape and climate make the perfect scene for ski jumping. Willingen is no exception and the town has its own ski jumping hill, the 130m long Mühlenkopfschanze. Every year Willingen is part of the FIS World Cup, and the event has room for 35,000 people. During the 20/21 season, a new record was set at 153 meters!
When visiting the ski jumping hill you can either walk up the hill or take the cable car to the top for a small fee. From the top, you’ll enjoy a breath-taking view and wonder where those athletes find the courage to race down the hill and fly.
Fun fact: Mühlenkopfschanze is among the 10 largest ski jumping hills in the world!
4. Wild- und Freizeitpark Willingen
The wildlife resort in Willingen offers fun and action for the whole family.
The park is divided into seven different sections where you can discover lots of animals or amusement. Travel back in time in the Dinoland and greet real-size dinosaurs. Take a walk in the wildlife park and enjoy the wild animals. More into birds? Visit the Parrot Jungle, the Birds of Prey station, or the Owl station – a nice hit for the smaller kids.
The park offers a nice mix of animals and action, and if you want more action, visit the Amusement Park where you can try the Sky Dive, Rollbahn, trampolines, or the Jungle Loop.
Ticket Price: from €6.5 (kids, Winter)
The Hochheideturm (or the Ettelsbergturm) is a 59 m observation tower in Willingen, located at the top of Ettelsberg (837m). Unlike many other German towers, it’s relatively new and was built in 2002 right beside the water reservoir.
To access the tower, you’ll have to take the cable car to the summit of Ettelsberg and either take the elevator or the 241 steps inside the tower. From the top of the tower, you’ll enjoy yet another beautiful view over the mountains.
2. Sommerrodelbahn & Sesselbahn / Skilifte Willingen
When you visit Willingen during Summer, you can’t miss the Sommerrodelbahn. It’s a toboggan run which is popular in the Alps and German ski resorts.
Being a safe hit for kids, you’ll enjoy windy action along the 700 m ride. For smaller kids and older tourists, there are fun playgrounds and restaurants in the area as well.
During Winter, the area is a true haven for ski enthusiasts. Enjoy some cozy after-ski at the foot of the hill, or take the lift to the top and race down the hills of Willingen.
According to tourists, the best thing to do in Willingen is a visit to Ettelsberg by cable car.
Before 2007, you needed to take the two-seated open lift to get to the top of Ettelsberg. Luckily it was decided to give the lift an upgrade, and today stands an eight-seated modern cable car. Enjoy a relaxed four-minute ride to the top, while looking at the scenery from the large windows.
During Winter you’ll get access to the many slopes at Ettelsberg, and during the Summer month, you’ll find mountain bike trails at the top, along with natural playgrounds and the restaurant Siggi’s Hütte).
Ticket price: Around €6-7 depending on the season.