The Eternal Summer Capital Of Europe

Few places marry tranquil nature with vibrant cultural history quite like Baden-Baden, not least in summer when it is something to behold

Nestled to the north of Germany’s beautiful Black Forest lies the small yet totally cosmopolitan city of Baden-Baden. Famous during the Belle Époque era as a haven for Europe’s elite, this iconic spa destination exudes style and sophistication at every turn.

Baden-Baden was founded by the Romans over 2,000 years ago when they discovered the benefits of its natural thermal springs. It has since become an iconic wellness oasis loved by all with an eye for culture and a taste for great food. In 2021 Baden-Baden gained UNESCO World Heritage status as one of the Great Spa Towns of Europe and remains a year-round favourite with travellers from all over the world – not least in the stunning summer months.

In bloom

Baden-Baden is a haven of tranquillity where nature takes centre stage. Known as the “Green city of short distances”, Baden-Baden is all about the fresh air and

picture-perfect scenery. A summer stroll through its many beautiful parks and gardens – home to a host of exotic varieties of plants and trees – is to rejoice in nature in full bloom. The city centre is a car-free zone, and everything is reachable on foot. Over the centuries, Baden-Baden’s beautiful flowers and trees have become world-famous, so you can look forward to packing a picnic and discovering why in Baden-Baden they call it “the good-good life”.

If you only have time for one outing, then don’t miss the Lichtentaler Allee, a stunning 3-kilometre green oasis. Here, rhododendrons and azaleas, and a magnificent avenue of lime trees, oaks, and tulip trees show the way. Breathtaking at any time of the year, but more so in spring as crocuses, narcissi and wild tulips form a vibrant carpet at the foot of the trees. Glide along this park in a horse carriage to add some extra flair to your Baden-Baden experience.

Belle Époque flair everywhere

The Lichtentaler Allee is a masterpiece of nature lavishly framed by historic Belle Époque monuments. It also serves as a verdant avenue for art and culture. Built by

famed New York architect Richard Meier, the walls of the Museum Frieder Burda are adorned with the work of legends, including Pablo Picasso, Gerhard Richter and Neo Rauch. The exhibitions are always on rotation, so keep an eye out for what’s up next.

Stroll past the neo-baroque theatre, past the world- famous Kurhaus – for centuries Baden-Baden’s social hot spot – past the beautiful casino, and the historic Trinkhalle (Pump Room) and you will come to the Festival Hall, Europe’s second largest opera and concert venue. From international opera to ballet, and classical concerts, world-renowned performers frequently grace the halls to deliver performances of the very highest acclaim. These pristine, historic buildings are a big part of Baden-Baden’s UNESCO World Heritage status.

Thermal spas forever

Baden-Baden’s thermal springs are for many what the city is all about. Healing waters at temperatures of up to 68°C bubble up from below to work wonders for mind and body. This is what the Romans discovered some 2,000 years ago, when they founded the first public baths in Baden-Baden. Housed in architectural masterpieces and appointed with the best possible service, the expansive Caracalla Spa and the traditional Friedrichsbad are dream locations for a pampering session. With 5,000 square-metres of bathing and wellness space, the Caracalla Spa is unparalleled in its combination of opulence and tranquillity.

First opened in 1877, the historic Friedrichsbad brings traditional Roman bathing culture and Irish hot-air bathing to the modern day. From soap brush massages to spacious saunas, these splendid spas offer world-class treatments using the mineral-rich water that rises up from twelve springs rooted deep below.

Scenic surroundings
Situated on the foothills of the mystical Black Forest, Baden-Baden is a great destination for long walks and hiking tours. For the most beautiful view and the best spot for sunsets take a trip up Merkur Mountain – the highest point of the city. A funicular railway brings you to its peak in only a few minutes. The city is also the gateway to the Black Forest Scenic Route, leading to the Black Forest National Park with its soul-soothing nature and splendid views over the mountains and the Rhine Valley. The beautiful countryside surrounding Baden- Baden and the rolling hills of the nearby Rebland are also perfect for mountain or e-bike tours.

Legendary indulgence
Wine lovers rejoice: the Rebland is a wine heaven just outside Baden-Baden, blessed with countless sun- drenched vineyards which produce the most sumptuous Riesling. Perfect to accompany the tantalising local cuisine – because in Baden-Baden, gastronomy abounds.

With a range of regional and international cuisine available, delectable delights are always just around the corner. From world-renowned Michelin-starred restaurants, such as Maltes hidden kitchen, and Le Jardin de France, to charming local taverns, diners are truly spoilt for choice. The legendary Café König is a vivid reminder of a bygone area as it once counted Hungarian composer Liszt and Russian writer Tolstoy among its regulars. Just imagine how popular this café must have been back in the day, yet their Black Forest gateau and patisseries are the stuff of modern legend.

For all these reasons and many besides, Baden- Baden was the Summer Capital of Europe to the continent’s elite all those years ago. Today, it has lost none of its charm, and continues to epitomise class and sophistication. For every piece of modern luxury, there is an equally beautiful reminder of the city’s ancient history. If you love history, culture, great food and sublime relaxation, then you’ll love Baden-Baden.

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