Famed for its historic and luxurious spa heritage, Baden-Baden offers visitors a truly sumptuous city break any time of year
Baden-Baden, a city beautifully located on the northern edge of the Black Forest in Germany, is famous for its spa heritage and elegant lifestyle. So much so, that in 2021 it gained UNESCO World Heritage status as one of the Great Spa Towns of Europe. This charming destination attracts international visitors all year round, who come for the cosmopolitan ambience and to restore body, mind and soul. Here are six reasons why Baden-Baden is a must-see for every traveller.
Wellness and spas
Baden-Baden’s hot springs are its great attraction. A steady flow of warming waters rise from the ground at temperatures of up to 68°, working wonders for the mind and body. This is what the Romans discovered some 2,000 years ago when they founded the first public baths in Baden-Baden.
The modern Caracalla Spa offers around 4,000 square metres of bathing and wellness space and creates a unique ambience for sublime relaxation in the thermal water. Meanwhile the historic Friedrichsbad looks back on more than 140 years of bathing history and brings traditional Roman bathing culture and Irish hot-air bathing to the modern day. Taking a dip at the Friedrichsbad is not only utterly relaxing – as the 17 recommended stations of wellness may take three glorious hours to complete – it is also a great way to experience why Baden-Baden was awarded World Heritage status. Don’t forget to book the soap brush massage. And do explore the luxurious day spas at some of Baden Baden’s spa hotels, which offer pampering and indulgence on another level.
Culture and events
Those with a passion for the arts can engage themselves in a veritable wealth of cultural offerings. The Festival Hall Baden-Baden, Europe’s second largest opera and concert hall, is known for its incredible acoustics and world renowned roster of artists. A variety of music and dance programmes are hosted here eleven months of the year, from international operas to ballet, and classical concerts.
Why not immerse yourself in an art-filled Arcadia at one of Baden-Baden’s museums. The walls of the Museum Frieder Burda – built by famed New York architect Richard Meier – showcase the legendary work of iconic artists, including Picasso, Gerhard Richter and Neo Rauch. A glass bridge connects the exhibition to the State Art Gallery, which is also home to a treasure trove of contemporary pieces.
There is also a variety of annual events in and around the city, including international horseracing, vintage car meetings, food and music festivals, and not to forget Baden-Baden’s famous Christmas Market. Known as Christkindelsmarkt, it starts in late November and goes on until 6 January. This picture-perfect market stretches from the Kurhaus Colonnades past the exclusive boutiques towards Baden-Baden’s impressive historic Trinkhalle. It is totally festive and completely tantalising for all the senses – almost 100 decorated huts and stalls sell unique handicrafts, everything from wooden toys to traditional German Christmas tree decorations and precious gift items.
The great outdoors
Baden-Baden is a haven of tranquillity where nature takes centre stage. The town centre is a car-free zone and everything can be reached on foot. For a breath of fresh air, visitors can stroll through the many picturesque parks and gardens, home to some of the most exotic floral varieties. The Lichtentaler Allee is a 3-kilometre oasis that is perfect for a relaxing stroll or horse and carriage ride. Home to one of Germany’s largest municipal forest, Baden-Baden is a great destination for long walks and hiking tours. The most beautiful view of Baden-Baden and the best spot for lovely sunsets is the Merkur Mountain – at 668 metres it is the highest point of the city. A funicular railway brings you up to the peak in only a few minutes.
Heaven for food and wine
Fine dining abounds in Baden-Baden, from world renowned Michelin-starred restaurants to charismatic local taverns. With a range of international and local cuisine available, delicious food is always just around the corner. Maltes Hidden Kitchen, headed by talented young chef Malte Kuhn, has evolved from a best kept secret to shining star on the dining scene, receiving its first Michelin star earlier this year. An elegant Kaffeehaus by day, it transforms by night as the focus switches from delicious coffee to haute cuisine and Malte’s magic truly comes alive.
Wine lovers rejoice as they can venture out to the city’s wine region, the Rebland – one of Germany’s well known Riesling growing district.
A shopper’s paradise
From unique and boutique stores to authentic craftsmanship, Baden-Baden offers a shopping experience for everyone. For instance, there is Vickermann & Stoya, Baden-Baden’s finest shoemakers. Founded in 2005, the company boasts a large national and international customer base, who appreciate the best quality, finest leathers and materials used to create made-to-measure, handcrafted shoes. Once fitted, take your new pair of bespoke shoes for a stroll along the elegant boutique colonnades in front of the Kurhaus. Here, designer labels, precious jewellery and fashionable accessories await to complete your new polished look.
Casino and nightlife
As night falls, the iconic Kurhaus with its elegant Casino Baden-Baden, comes to life. Take out your finest shoes and best dresses for a night of colour and conviviality, as the nightlife of Baden-Baden never calls time. Indeed “rien ne va plus” only applies at the roulette tables of Casino Baden-Baden. Inspired by the French palaces of the 19th century, you will be in awe as you are taken back in time and embraced by the splendour, style and charm of the Belle Epoque era. Enjoy an exhilarating night of roulette, blackjack, or poker at, what some might call “the most beautiful casino of the world”. Or grab a delectable bite at The Grill Restaurant and then dance the night away at Club Bernstein.
"Enjoy a game of blackjack or roulette"
Exuding class and sophistication at every turn, Baden-Baden is an enchanting city full of experiences that simply cannot be missed.