35km (21 miles) NE of Frankfurt, 20km (12 miles) NE of Hanau
More attractive than Hanau, Gelnhausen makes a better choice for an overnight stop along the Fairy-Tale Road. Lying in the Kinzig Valley in eastern Hesse, it is situated about midway between Frankfurt and Fulda.
Gelnhausen once stood on the old trading route, the Via Regia, between Frankfurt and Leipzig. For that reason in 1170 the Emperor Friedrich I (Barbarossa) combined three older villages to create this town. The town thrived until the Thirty Years' War (1618-48), which ruined it. In the latter 19th century, it came back. Germans claim that one of Gelnhausen's native sons, Philipp Reis (1834-1874), was the "co-inventor" of the telephone.