Baden-Baden is a spa- and casino-city located in the state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany. It lies in the north-western part of the Black Forest mountain range. The population of the town is 54,239, which makes it the 21st largest town in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Baden is a German word that means ‘bathing’. The name Baden-Baden is meant to differentiate it from Baden near Zürich in Switzerland and another Baden in Vienna, Austria.
As the name suggests, the city has 29 natural springs that vary in temperature from 46 ºC to 67 ºC (115ºF to 153ºF). The water is rich in salt and originates from Artesian wells that are 5900 feet (1800 metres) under Florentine Hill. It flows at a rate of 341 litres per minute and is conveyed to the town’s baths through pipes.
When should you visit Baden-Baden?
The abundance of natural springs in the city is a phenomenon that draws people from all parts of the world. Visitors are usually keen on choosing the time of the year that will allow them to make the most out of their holidays. Baden-Baden’s oceanic climate means that there are usually very small changes in low and high temperatures throughout the year.
Winter starts in November and goes on until March. Summer starts in April and ends in October. According to many, the best months to visit are June, July, August and September as the temperatures are average. The city has on numerous occasions been referred to as the ‘summer capital of Europe’.
Attractions and Things to Do
The natural springs and mild climate have made Baden-Baden one of the most sought-after spa towns in the world. A visit to this city is never complete without experiencing its hot springs, which have seen thousands of people visit it since the Roman times. It is also a popular destination for sports lovers as it has many tennis, golf and horse racing clubs.
The summers are great for hiking enthusiasts. Visitors interested in exploring the Black Forest can use the Schwarzwald-Hochstrasse tourist route. It will help them navigate the forest while still within the municipal boundaries. There are many attraction sites which you will not want to miss seeing once you visit this beautiful city. One is Lichtentaler Allee, an arboretum and park in the heart of the city. It is one of the most scenic places in the town, the highlight being the two-mile long avenue on the side of river Oos.
The Kurhaus is home of the Baden-Baden Spielbank Casino, without a doubt one of the absolute most beautiful casinos in the world. Dress up to enjoy a classic and luxurious atmosphere.
The park is one of the prettiest places you can find on Earth. It boasts of over 300 varieties of trees, among them chestnuts, oaks and maples. A 17th century footpath is still in use for those who just want to stroll around the park and take in the beauty of nature. There are several other attractions in the park. They include Museum of 19th Century Art and Technology, Gönneranlage (a garden with 400 types of roses) and Cistercian Abbey of Lichtental, which was established in 1245 and is home to the Prince’s Chapel.
The Kurgarten (Spa Garden) is like the centre of Baden-Baden. If it’s your first time visiting, then start with Kurgarten. It is a representation of the culture of the people in all other area of the city, considering it has restaurants, boutiques, cafés, and galleries and is surrounded by some of the best attractions in the world.
Many festivals, events and a Christmas Market are held in the Kurgarten. The Bandshell hosts concerts. You can also visit the city’s oldest resort establishment, the Kurhaus, which was built between 1821 and 1824. The Greek Roman Chapel, complete with tombs, was built from 1863 to 1866 and is also worth a visit.
The Baden-Baden Museum is just the ideal place for those who want to know the history of this interesting city. One gets to see displays about the presence of Romans in the city until the 19th century. The displays include sculptures, monuments, artwork and artefacts, which confirm its reputation as a health spa in the region. The Museum Frieder Burda focuses on modern art and has a collection of works by artists such as Jackson Pollock.
The Hohenbaden Castle, often referred to as Altess Schloss was built in 1102 and is one of the main attraction sites in the city. The Margraves called it home between the 11th century and the 15th century. It lies on a raised ground so that when you visit it, you have a bird’s eye view of Baden-Baden, the Rhine Valley, and the Black Forest. Most of what remains of the castle now is ruins, although its dungeons and tall towers are enough to draw tourists, especially lovers of history.
The New Castle (Neues Schloss) lies on the Florentine mountains near the Black Forest, and was built by Margrave Christoph the 1st in 1479. The historic building was the occasional residence of the ruling family back then. It was purchased by a private group in 2010 and developed into a luxury hotel. It is certainly one of the places in the city one would love to visit.
Festspielhaus (the Opera House) in Baden-Baden is not only known in Germany but also across the globe. Its sheer size (2,500 seats) makes it the largest opera house in the country. The fine piece of architecture came into existence in 1998 and was designed to be a concert hall. It hosts various performances through the year and is popular with the top Orchestras in Germany, North America and Britain.
Another historic place is the Brahms House, where Johannes Brahms stayed during his summers (between 1865 and 1874). The house is found at the number 8 Lichtental. The Blue Room is the part of the house where the great composer came up with his great works and is left just as it was when he was still alive.
Every two years, there is the Brahms festival that is organised by the Baden-Baden Brahms Society. The festival involves several performances and events at various venues in the town. Other attractions include the Roman Bath Ruins, the Old Town, Caracalla Baths and the 3 Fabergé Museum.
Where to Stay
Considering it is one of the top tourist destinations not only in Germany but the whole of Europe, Baden-Baden always has a place for visitors to stay. There is a large pool of hotels to choose from. The most important thing is to pick a place which is comfortable and fits your budget.
Hotel Laterne is just a few metres to the city centre and the Caracalla Spa. Nightly single-room prices start from around €88. Radisson Blu Badischer Hof Hotel is close to many attraction sites and has an outdoor heated pool, free Wi-Fi and a Turkish steam bath. The price is around €137 per night. Ratahusglockel is a 4-star hotel near Faberge Museum and its rooms are equipped with a kitchenette and a private bathroom. Nightly prices for a single room start from around €126.
Regarded as a health spa for centuries, Baden-Baden offers an excellent nightlife experience for its visitors. A great nightlife means the best drinks, good music, mingling with people from all corners of the globe and relaxing atmosphere. There are various world-class deejays to make your nights in the town worth remembering.
Bernstein Club is great for people who love to party until late night. It covers an area of 170 square metres and is located in the Casino Baden-Baden, allowing people to not only party and drink but also gamble. The minimum age for entrance is 21. Other great nightclubs and bars include Blues Club, Bombay Lounge, Club 46a and Bristo Rebland. You can discover many others while on your vacation in the city.
Food and Drink
Baden-Baden is found in Baden-Württemmberg, which is the 3rd most populous state in the country with 10.7 million residents. Baden-Baden is the most popular city in the state. It is loved not only for its hot springs but also its excellent food. It has many restaurants, cafés and food outlets.
Baden cuisine is among the most popular in Germany. Most of the highly rated restaurants in the country are found in this state. The food in this region was mainly influenced by Alsace (France) and Switzerland. Appetisers you are likely to find in restaurants include escargot (soup), flädle (soup), and egg-drop soup.
On the main dishes, badische schäufele is smoked pork that is usually taken during supper. Badische Zwiebelsuppe is a creamy onion soup and is famous for its ability to drive away cold even during the coldest months of winter. Fried potatoes (Brägele) are also unique to Baden and can be served with a broad range of dishes. Bibbeleskaes is cottage cheese made of herbs and onions.
Bubespitzle, also referred to as fingernudeln and schupfnudeln, is made from mashed potatoes and flour. Most of Germany’s plum cakes come from Baden, one of which is badischer zwetschgenkuchen.
These foods represent just a small fraction of all the delicacies from Baden. Some of the best wines are also found in this city. Finding a place to eat is not an issue in Baden-Baden. There are hundreds of restaurants, luxurious dining places, traditional eateries and wine taverns. The atmosphere in the town is also made better with restaurants on squares, avenues and alleyways which open up during summer when the sun is high. Some of the gourmet restaurants include Hotel Der Kleine Prinz that offers French cuisine. Casino Restaurant The Grill in der Spielbank is famous for its beef and lobster. Canzley Bar Restaurant provides Asian, Mediterranean and regional dishes.
Baden-Baden, better known as the Spa-City, is among the top destinations in Europe. What sets it apart is its reputation as a healthcare and spa destination that dates back to the Roman times. If you look forward to having an excellent, relaxing vacation, this is the place to be.