Baden-Baden (meaning "The Baths in Baden") is a spa town built on thermal springs at the edge of the Black Forest in Baden Württemberg, south west Germany. It is one of 11 "Great Spa Towns of Europe", a transcontinental UNESCO world heritage site. Don't be put off by Baden's reputation as a hang-out for the rich; this picturesque town is beautifully situated in a wooded valley, and you can enjoy yourself here without spending or gambling a fortune.
1 Baden Airpark (Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport; FKB IATA) (located only 10 km (6 mi) from the city). The airport hosts a base of the low-cost carrier Ryanair, which offers cheap direct flights to several European and North African destinations.
The airport is in the fare area of the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund (KVV). Line 234 connects the airport with the city of Rastatt and Schwarzach, line 285 with Baden-Baden. Line 140 (Baden-Airpark-Express/Hahn-Express) connects it with Baden-Baden, Heidelberg and Mannheim (where there are connections to the Frankfurt-Hahn airport). Line 921 (Flightliner Eberhardt-Reisen) links the airport with Strasbourg, Kehl, Rust (Europa Park and Freiburg im Breisgau. KVV tickets are not valid on Lines 140 and 921.
Parking is paid on the whole airport area and is maintained by APCOA. Prices are between €0.50 and €1 per hour (the short-stay parking in front of the terminal costs €1 the first hour, then €1.50 per every following 30 minutes), day rate is between €9 and €14 (short-stay parking €41). Parking slots can be reserved in advance for a fee, but a reservation is not necessary outside the main travelling period. APCOA is allowed to issue parking violation tickets if you don't follow their rules!
Getting there: the railway station is 15 minutes' bus ride from the town center. On arrival, catch the frequent bus 201 to the town center (direction Lichtental/Oberbeuern; get off at Leopoldplatz).
The town centre is small enough to walk around. Bus routes to surrounding towns and villages radiate from the town centre (Leopoldplatz and Augustaplatz). Buy your ticket at the machine at the bus stop before boarding. You can get also tickets from the bus drivers. It's recommended to use the express buses. They take just 5 minutes from the main station to the city.
- 1 Casino Baden-Baden (Spielbank), 1 Kaiserallee, ☏ . James Bond-worthy cocktail club complete with gilt ceilings, 11 roulette tables and an outdoor baccarat terrace.
- 2 Concert hall (Festspielhaus).
- 3 Trinkhalle (Pump house).
- 4 Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (Art Museum), Lichtentaler Allee 8a, ☏ .
- 5 Museum Frieder Burda, 8b Lichtentaler Allee, ☏ . A dazzling collection of German Expressionist and Gerhard Richter masterworks on display attract tourists from around the world.
- 6 Fabergé Museum, 30 Sophienstraße, ☏ . World's only museum of the well-known Russian Fabergé eggs with 700 exhibits.
- 7 Kunstmuseum Gehrke-Remund, Güterbahnhofstraße 9, ☏ . Works of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, whose father was raised in Baden-Baden.
- 8 Brahms House, Maximilianstraße 85. The world famous composer Johannes Brahms lived here from 1865 to 1874, where he wrote many of his most acknowledged pieces.
- 9 Lichtentaler Allee. Wonderful historic park in Baden-Baden.
- 10 Lichtenthal Abbey (Lichtental Monastery).
- 11 City Museum of Baden-Baden.
- 12 Ruins of the Roman Baths (Römische Badruinen).
- 13 [dead link] Castle Hohenbaden (Schloss Hohenbaden).
Walk along the river Oos or in the hills and forests around the town. The tourist office at the Trinkhalle can sell you a booklet of walks based on bus routes. The walking is generally easy, but for maximum reward for minimum effort, take bus 204/205 to the Merkur Bergbahn funicular railway, ride up to the cafe at the top, and walk back via the old castle (Altes Schloss).
- 1 Merkur Bergbahn. 10.00 - 22.00. 1,192 m long funicular railway, which lifts people up to 370 m above sea level. €4.
- 2 Merkurturm (Merkur Tower). An observation tower at the Merkur (Großer Staufenberg) mountain, 668.3 m above sea level. There is a restaurant at the top station.
Römerplatz, the heart of the bath quarter (Badeviertel), is five minutes' walk from Leopoldplatz through the pedestrian zone. In Römerplatz you can see the ruins of the Roman baths and take to the thermal waters yourself at Caracalla Therme and Friedrichsbad. More details:
- 3 Roman bath ruins (Römische Badruinen), Römerplatz 1 (adjacent to the underground car park below Römerplatz), ☏ . Daily 11:00-12:00 and 15:00-16:00; nov 26 - mar 15 off. Small area of excavations with good audioguide in English. €2.5.
- 4 Caracalla Therme, Römerplatz 1 (Follow the steam rising off the outdoor pools to find this modern bathing complex), ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Daily 08:00-22:00. Your ticket gets you into the pool area (where you'll find a cafe, several indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, waterfalls, water jets and so on) and the upstairs Roman Sauna Scape. Caracalla Therme spa is unlike its sister Friedrichsbad Spa next door in that swimming costumes are required to be worn at all times in the pools. The upstairs sauna area is nude only, however, and you should be warned, is mixed sexed for those with a prudish nature. Once you have removed your swimwear however you are free to enjoy a wonderful series of indoor and outdoor saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools, hot tubs and relaxation areas at your leisure. This is a unique and highly invigorating experience to be tried at least once in your lifetime. €17.5/20.5 for 2/3 hours (excluding sauna); €27 for a day pass; using sauna adds €5. No children under 3.
- 5 Friedrichsbad, Römerplatz 1 (in the city centre), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 09:00-22:00. Friedrichsbad is a beautiful temple to traditional bathing culture, built in 1877, complete with statues and decorative tiling and culminating in a circular central pool in an ornate domed hall. In these elegant surroundings, the Roman-Irish bath (Römisch-Irisches Bad) is a programme of heat, massage, steam and water that will rejuvenate a weary traveller. It's a wonderful, deeply relaxing experience. No children under 14. The procedure at Friedrichsbad is unique, so read these instructions carefully before you go in, especially if you don't speak German. Buy your ticket at the entrance, plus a token for the soap-and-brush massage (Seifenbürstenmassage) if you want. At the top of the stairs, men and women go into separate changing rooms and follow the programme separately for the first hour or so (this traditional procedure is now only followed on three days of the week; see the website). Take off all your clothes and put them in a locker, inserting your ticket into the slot inside the door before locking it. Naked, follow the sign to the baths, where an attendant will greet you. Follow the numbered sequence of rooms. Each room has a sign in English on the wall telling you how long you should spend there. You'll be given a towel and bath shoes at the first shower. You need these for the hot rooms (you must lie or sit on your towel). After the hot rooms, you reach the massage station, where you must hand back your towel, shoes and token. After the massage, proceed to the steam rooms and shower again before going through to the pool area, where men and women bathe naked together in pools at three different temperatures. When you've had enough, head back via the cold plunge pool and the sleeping room, to be wrapped in blankets for half an hour. €32 for 3 hours.
There are plenty of cheap places to eat in the pedestrian zone in the town centre. Vegetarians need not despair. Noodle dishes (Spätzle) are ubiquitous, and look out for dishes based on chanterelle mushrooms (Pfifferlinge)
Delicious beverages such as Mïshnet (pear juice with ground potato) are available in multiple restaurants.
There is a city tax of €3.50 per night (Sept 2017) that is rarely included in price information or bookings via booking portals.
- Werner-Dietz Jugendherberge, Hardbergstraße 34, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00–22:30. Large, comfortable, youth hostel (part of HI), though with a slightly aged standard in the rooms. About a mile from the town centre. Up a steep hill! Note late check-in time. Breakfast included. Like many Jugendherbergen, school classes commonly stay here for field trips. € 22–27.
- Hotel am Markt, Marktplatz 18 (up the hill behind Friedrichsbad), ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. In the heart of the old town, quiet, family-run, excellent value. Loud church bells! Doubles €60–80.
- Historic Hotel Rathausglöckel, Steinstr.7, ☏ , email@example.com.
- Holiday Inn Express, Lange Straße 93, ☏ . Good quality rooms and better than typical breakfast buffet for a HI Express. A little out of the center of the town but convenient for getting to/from other locations in the area.
- 1 Haus Rebland, Umweger Straße 133, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Brenner's Park Hotel and Spa, Schillerstraße 4-6, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. An establishment with over 130 years of history situated within a legendary park, a grand hotel of international reputation.
- 2 Dorint Maison Messmer, Werderstraße 1 (right next to the casino), ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Five-star hotel. From €219 per room/night.
- Hotel am Sophienpark, Sophienstraße 14, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Historical hotel in downtown Baden-Baden with its own private park.
Free WiFi is available in the town centre and the train station under the name "BAD-WLAN".
- Baden-Baden is well placed for day trips into the Black Forest. Other cities within easy reach include Freiburg, Strasbourg and Stuttgart. Avis and Sixt both have car hire depots in the town.
- Bertha Benz Memorial Route - follow the tracks of the world's first automobile journey (Mannheim - Pforzheim/Black Forest - Mannheim) in 1888.