A must for all camera enthusiasts - World of Leica at Leitz Park nestled on the outskirts of Wetzlar, a pretty little town in it's own right so, first, let me tell you a little more about Wetzlar.
Wetzlar is a 60 minute train ride from Frankfurt (travel details at the bottom of this page). Formerly an imperial free city, and the seat of the imperial chamber court, Wetzlar held status during the medieval period. Today, that imperial legacy leaves behind an old town, medieval layout of streets, timber-framed houses and a green belt of parkland around the old city walls. Situated on the river Lahn, Wetzlar has it's charms and makes for a great day-trip especially if you tack on a trip to the Leitz Park.
First port of call should be the Tourist Information, Domplatz 9. They have a wonderful, free leaflet, in English, detailing the beautiful buildings of Wetzlar and suggested walks through the town and around the old wall and parks. Wetzlar is particularly proud of it's connections with Germany's literary giant, Goethe, and his novel, The Sorrows of Young Werther. I won't repeat the information the tourist office has already put together, but add that from the cathedral, through Fischmarkt, Kornmarkt and onto the old bridge there are medieval sights galore.
There are plenty of places to stop and eat or grab a coffee. With so little traffic in the old town, sitting outdoors in the summer is a joy. Around the cathedral, on Domplatz, the eateries have a good reputation and plenty of outdoor seating. On Fischmarkt 2, the Ratsschänke serves traditional cuisine out of a beautiful old timer-framed house. Another iconic building is Conny's Binding, Eisenmarkt 7, a bar come cafe, serving small plates into the early hours and it's located at a central point where street artists often perform and entertain. Head towards the old bridge and there are few riverside cafes. On the way to the bridge Eiscafe Rialto, Lahnstraße 27, renown for making their own ice cream. Bröker's cafe, on the bridge itself, offers breakfast until 12 noon and a daily lunch menu. On the opposite side of the bridge is the Paulaner Wirtschaft, with a large garden terrace along the river, offering regional and Bavarian specialities.
World of Leica at Leitz Park
This amazing, new, complex offers free photographic exhibitions, exhibits of Leica products and for a small fee, a guided tours of the Leica factory. However, if you do not have time for a tour, it is possible to view the assembly and manufacturing rooms through panoramic windows. The site itself is architecturally stunning both inside and out. There is a Leica store and a cafe on-site. The only difficulty at the moment is getting to Leitz Park without a car. It's a 3km walk from the town centre or a bus ride from Wetzlar station on Bus 11. My advice, if you have no car, is to take the bus toworld of Leica (because it's uphill all the way) and wander downhill back into town. For full local transportation details, check the RMV web site.
Travel to Wetzlar
There are regular trains from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof to Wetzlar (RB40 & RB99) running approximately every 30 minutes throughout the week. Travelling by car is the easiest option of you wish to visit World of Leica which is 75km north of Frankfurt. By train or car the journey time is 60 minutes.
Add on a trip to Braunfels
An additional trip, you might be interested in, is to Braunfels. Accessible by bus from Wetzlar, or a 15 minute trip by car, Braunfels has a quaint castle with a small, almost fairy-tale like village at it base. Even their own tourist information calls the village "enchantingly beautiful". Schloss Braunfels (the castle) offers tours at set times and down in the village, Kleines Cafe am Markt opens at 9am for breakfast and has a reputation for great cakes in the afternoon. There is a Tourist Information office on Marktplatz (at the foot of the castle) and of course an ice-cream parlour, Eiscafe Chintemi.