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Solingen-Gräfrath is the smallest, but for me it is also the most beautiful part of Solingen. With its historic market square, delicious gastronomy, beautiful little shops, interesting museums, the ‘Fauna’ zoo and wonderful hiking trails, this small place cordially invites you to visit.
The old town around the market square at the foot of the monastery church is also one of the 56 historical city centers selected in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Now I’ll take you on a tour through the picturesque Gräfrath and of course there is also some background information on the various sights:
Solingen-Gräfrath – location and directions
Gräfrath is located in the north of Solingen and borders the cities of Wuppertal and Haan.
With public transport you can take the S-Bahn to Wuppertal-Vohwinkel and from there take the 683 bus to the ‘Deutsches Klingenmuseum’ stop. You can then walk to the historic market square in two minutes.
You can easily reach Gräfrath by car via the A46. The beautiful town center is approx. 2.5 miles away from the motorway exit.
The best place to park for free is in the parking lot at the Brandteich. The fire brigade is right next to the parking lot. There are also other parking spaces in the village itself, but these are very rare on weekends.
Solingen-Gräfrath – the German Blade Museum
If you park in the parking lot at the Brandteich, keep to the left and after a few minutes walk you will already reach the German Blade Museum.
The museum is located in a former Augustinian convent and houses many exhibits on the subjects of blades & cutting and fighting & culinary things from the Bronze Age to the present day, as well as the largest historical cutlery collection in the world.
Due to an icon of Mary and a relic with the bone splinter of St. Catherine of Alexandria from the Holy Land, as well as various other relics in the Augustinian monastery, Gräfrath was one of the most important cities in the Bergisches Land for a long time and was a well-known place of pilgrimage from the 13th to the 15th century. The relics and liturgical implements from the Gothic and Baroque periods are still one of the most important church treasures in the Archdiocese of Cologne and can also be viewed in the Blade Museum.
The blade museum for children is located in a building right next to the German Blade Museum.
Unlike in the main museum, you can pick up real old swords, sabers and daggers, put your hands in mysterious boxes, watch small films – and much more.
On the back of the German Blade Museum you can visit the Gräfrath Museum free of charge every 1st Sunday of the month from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. In this exhibition, the hometown club has put together unique pieces from the long history of Gräfrath.
Solingen-Gräfrath – Church of St. Mary of the Assumption
Directly behind the German Blade Museum is the Catholic Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, the former collegiate church of the monastery.
Solingen-Gräfrath – market square and historic town center
From the church forecourt, stairs lead down from the monastery hill to the historic town center from the 18th century – for me the most beautiful way to get to the market square.
The market square with a fountain is surrounded by two or three-storey slated half-timbered houses in the Bergisch style. In summer you can sit outside and enjoy the delicacies of the surrounding gastronomy.
The market square is also flanked by the simple but beautiful Protestant church, the Hotel Gräfrather Hof and the Hotel zur Post.
There are a total of about 90 monuments on the streets of the small town.
Even if Gräfrath does not invite you to go on a shopping tour, there are some small but very nice shops here, such as the goldsmiths ‘Galerie Goldbarsch’, fine paperwork for ‘Brief und Siegel’, beautiful bouquets and floristry in the flower shop ‘Blütenzauber’ and all new the small concept store & atelier ‘Kähte & Juuls’.
In addition, various galleries and studios invite you to linger and good gastronomy with wonderful outdoor spaces is also available at the market square.
Solingen-Gräfrath – Solingen Art Museum
Another highlight in Gräfrath is the Art Museum Solingen (formerly Museum Baden).
It has been located in the former town hall of Gräfrath since 1996 and shows art of the 19th and 20th century. Here you can see the Solingen Municipal Art Collection, as well as changing exhibitions of young art (International Bergische art exhibition.). In addition, the only center for persecuted arts in Europe opened here on December 8, 2015.
You can reach the museum by walking up the street ‘In der Freiheit’ from the market square passing the Gräfrather Hof and the Hotel zur Post.
Here you will pass at house number 25 the home and doctor’s office of Friedrich Hermann de Leuw, the world-famous ophthalmologist who lived and practiced here until 1861 at number 25. Thanks to him, Gräfrath became an international health resort for ophthalmology in the 19th century.
At the end of the street you walk a little further along the main street and you will find the art museum on the left side of the street.
The ‘Junkbrunnen’ restaurant with a wonderful beer garden is located directly at the back of the museum.
Solingen-Gräfrath – Corkscrew route
From the parking lot of the art museum you have direct access to the corkscrew route (in german: Korkenziehertrasse). You can use the former railway line to walk or ride to the city of Haan and via Solingen-Wald to the north park in downtown Solingen. If you want to combine your visit to Gräfrath with a bike tour to the north park, you can park best in the parking lot at the art museum.
Solingen-Gräfrath – ‘Fauna’ Zoo
Especially if you are traveling with children, a visit to the ‘Fauna’ zoo with its domestic and some exotic animals such as meerkats and squirrel monkeys is a good idea. In the park there is a nice playground and a kiosk with small takeaway.
The best way to get there is to go back from the art museum to the historic town center and turn right at the Hotel Gräfrather Hof into Gerberstraße. At the end of the street, you can pass the Gräfrather Heide park, with a small pond and a playground, to get to the zoo.
Solingen-Gräfrath – Solingen light tower and the highest point in Solingen
Opposite the zoo there is another landmark of the city – the Solingen light tower.
The former water tower has been converted into a light-flooded glass dome hall. The light tower is only open for booked events – then it shines in a wonderful shade of blue in the evening.
If you follow the lane at the light tower, you will reach the highest point of Solingen, 276.38 m (0.17 miles) above sea level. You find it right behind the football field and it’s marked by a boulder with an information board attached. Well, actually the highest point is on the field opposite!
From here you can start a nice little walk or hike down to the Wupper river.
Walk along the field path, keep right at the fork in the road, then turn right onto the small path into the forest, pass the kindergarten ‘Zwergenland’ and then go back up the path at the horse stable (this part only goes uphill). Overall, you need about 30 minutes for the circular route.
The best way to get back to the center is through the park again. From here you can go directly to the right past the Sparkasse to the parking lot at the Brandteich or you can make another detour via the beautiful market square and from there back to the parking lot via Garnisionstraße. Here you pass the old transformer house, which is now a fancy hotel room (right hand side in the small park).
Solingen-Gräfrath – House (Castle) Grünewald
The Grünewald House, also known as Grünewald Castle, is known far beyond the borders of Solingen. This is private property and can only be booked for seminars, weddings and events. However, it opens its parks twice a year: on the one hand in summer for the ‘Garten & Leben’ trade fair and on the other hand in winter for the historic Christmas market.
Solingen-Gräfrath – further destinations
As you can see, Solingen-Gräfrath has a lot to offer, actually too much for a day trip. You can easily spend a whole weekend or a whole week here, as Solingen has a lot more to offer.
What about hiking from Müngstener Brückenpark with the highest railway bridge in Germany to Burg Castle? Or a visit to the Gallileum, a fantastic new planetarium in a former gas boiler? Perhaps a ride on the suspension railway across Wuppertal – the final stop is in Wuppertal-Vohwinkel, only 2.5 miles from Gräfrath?
Do you feel like visiting the picturesque Solingen-Gräfrath? I love this little place and I would love to get some feedback from you!
All the best,
Fantastic hotels, holiday apartments and holiday homes
Solingen has many wonderful overnight accommodations, especially Solingen-Gräfrath!
You can find a wonderful selection right here (affiliate links, which, however, do not involve any additional costs for you):
The Townhouse is located in Solingen-Gräfrath, almost directly on the historic market square. It offers both an apartment for 2 people and a maisonette apartment for 4 people. Pets are not allowed in the apartments.
Two holiday apartments in a listed half-timbered house with a small terrace. They each have a bedroom and can accommodate 2 to 3 people. The old pastorate is located directly on the historic market square of Solingen-Gräfrath. Pets are not allowed in the apartments.
Holiday apartment in the historic transformer house. It is located in the center of Solingen-Gräfrath and has a terrace, a double bed and a sofa bed for a total of 3 people. Pets are allowed here on request.
You can find more fantastic hotels and holiday apartments in different parts of Solingen right here.
You can also have a look at beautiful holiday accommodations for the following travel destinations:
… and much more!
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