Baden-Baden’s history as a spa destination dates back some 2,000 years to the reign of the Roman Emperor Caracalla. Over the last two centuries, this historic town on the edge of the Black Forest has emerged as a highly popular escape for those looking to relax, rejuvenate and enjoy a laid-back way of life. Its idyllic location invites visitors from around the world to combine a therapeutic spa break with great food and a wide range of activities – it’s what the town’s tourist board describe as “the good-good life”.
Baden-Baden is blessed by 12 thermal springs which bubble up from a depth of around 2,000 metres, with around 800,000 litres a day, at temperatures as high as 68°C, immersing bathers in a world of natural healing. Visitors can indulge in Baden-Baden’s spa delights in any number of ways – from a soap and brush massage at the traditional Roman-Irish Friedrichsbad to a day’s basking within the Caracalla Spa’s tranquil landscape of pools and saunas. Both of these public spas combine high quality wellness and beauty treatments with a cool, convivial atmosphere, surrounded by stunning architecture.
It’s not just the spas that attract visitors from across the globe to Baden-Baden – the town is also home to Germany’s largest concert hall, Festival Hall Baden-Baden. For 11 months of the year, the venue presents a diverse roster of events, featuring leading names from the world of classical music, opera, jazz and ballet. Every Easter, Festival Hall Baden-Baden produces its very own opera in collaboration with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; a musical occasion truly befitting of this magnificent venue.
Then there’s the art galleries of Baden-Baden’s Museum Mile, which exhibits emerging artists alongside historic and contemporary masters. The incredible Museum Frieder Burda, built by star architect Richard Meyer is the most impressive venue along the Mile, its walls adorned by legends including Picasso, Gerhard Richter and Neo Rauch.
The perfect day
The horseracing track in Iffezheim is the place to be for excitement and sporting drama. Every year there are three racing festivals, each in a different season and each creating its own unique atmosphere: there’s the Spring Festival in late May, the Great Festival Week from late August to early September and the Sales & Racing Festival in mid-October. The Kurpark-Meeting takes place during the Great Festival Week – here, visitors round off a day at the races with a stroll along the Gourmet Mile, listening to live music and sampling Baden-Baden’s delicious culinary fare. It’s the perfect way to end the perfect day.
And even more music and food festivals are being held in Baden-Baden over this summer. Just for starters, the Baden-Baden Philharmonic Orchestra will entertain visitors throughout at the open-air stage in front of the Kurhaus every Friday and Saturday night, as well as Sunday afternoon. Other events, such as the Baden-Baden Summer Nights offer local gastronomic delights alongside live music.
Baden-Baden is recognised as a mecca for gourmets by the Michelin Guide. The bible of fine-dining recommends 36 restaurants in the town, two of which hold the coveted stars. The town is also paradise for wine connoisseurs. The revered “Rebland” or wine country which surrounds the town has the perfect climate and terrain for riesling, pinot noir, pinot bianco pinot gris, sparkling wine and schnapps. The region’s wineries and growers’ associations offer visitors a warm welcome, proudly introducing them to the latest additions to their cellars.
Place your bets
German actress Marlene Dietrich once described the Casino Baden-Baden as the world’s most beautiful casino. Dating back to the 1838, this stunning venue attracts old-hands and newcomers alike to revel in the exuberance of its Belle Epoch beauty. There’s much to see and do, such as indulging at the extravagant Club Bernstein or tucking in at The Grill restaurant. But most of all, this is about the gaming tables; roulette, blackjack and poker await in Germany’s most renowned and venerable casino.