On the edge of the famed Black Forest in southwest Germany is the charming and historic town of Baden-Baden. Dating back over 2,000 years, this area was first discovered by the Romans because of the thermal waters running underground. It has since become the go-to place to visit for all things luxurious. I’m talking thermal spas, Michelin-star restaurants, and sophisticated entertainment. Below are a list of things not to be missed when visiting Baden-Baden.
Relax and Unwind at Baden-Baden’s Spas
The first of two thermal spas in Baden-Baden is Friedrichsbad. Built on top of the old historic baths that date back 2,000 years, the Friedrichsbad features thermal and steam baths, private massage rooms, and a lounge area, all housed within an impressive architectural design. There are 17 ‘well-being’ stations that are meant to be experienced in sequential order, starting with warm showers and hot air and finishing off with a cool bath. The stations are set up in such a way to increase and decrease the body’s internal temperature to help stimulate blood circulation. It’s also thought to help strengthen one’s immune system.
Friedrichsbad is also a clothing-free facility, meaning you bathe in the nude. On Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, men and women bathe separately. But on all other days, it’s mixed bathing!
The second of the two thermals spas is the more modern and family-friendly Caracalla Therme. At the centre of the space is a sprawling indoor, multi-tiered pool complete with neck and back massage jets. Its massive size allows for visitors to spread out and fully relax, even on busy days. The Caracalla Spa also features a hot and cold water grotto, an aroma steam bath, and a brine inhalation room. But its most impressive features are the two outdoor pools that are connected to the interior space via a swim-through opening. On a hot summer’s day, you can enjoy the sun while soaking in the pools and in the winter, it’s an extra special experience to be outdoors in the warm pools while snowflakes fall overhead.
Check out the video below to see inside both the Friedrichsbad and Caracalla spas!
Visit the Kurhaus and try your luck at the Casino Baden-Baden
Considered to be the most beautiful casino in the world, the Casino Baden-Baden is worth a visit even if you don’t want to gamble. Dating back almost two centuries, the Casino is an architectural beauty with history oozing out from every lavish décor item. Rich textiles, ornate chandeliers, and large-scale paintings fill the many rooms that make up the casino. Roulette (including Classical French and American roulette tables), blackjack, poker and slot machines are all available to try your luck at. ID (including passport for international visitors) is required to enter the casino and dress code includes mandatory suit jacket for men (a tie is also requested but not mandatory) and smart casual for women. To learn more about the history of the Casino Baden-Baden, tours are available throughout the morning before the casino opens.
Stroll down Lichtentaler Allee and visit the Museums of Baden-Baden
Branching off from the Kurhaus and running alongside the Oos River is Lichtentaler Alle, a 3 km long promenade that’s 350 years old and is flanked by museums, parks and gardens. Here you’ll stroll past the Theatre, the Museum of 19th Centre Arts and Technology, the Staatliche Kunsthalle (an art gallery featuring international works), and the Museum Frieder Burda (featuring classical and contemporary art). At the end, you’ll come to the Stadtmuseum, a museum dedicated to showcasing the 2,000 years of history of Baden-Baden.
Indulge in Baden-Baden’s Culinary Offerings
After pampering and immersing yourself in cultural exhibits, it’s time to indulge in Baden-Baden’s culinary offerings. The city falls within a region considered to be one of the best regional cuisines in Germany, mainly due to its location in the Upper-Rhine Plain with nutrient-rich soils. Fresh fruits and vegetables, locally-farmed meats, and of course the award-winning wine region all work to produce a rich culinary scene.
Le Jardin de France
It should come as no surprise then that the Baden region features the highest density of star-rated restaurants. I highly recommend a visit to Le Jardin de France in the city core of Baden-Baden. This Michelin-Star restaurant is owned and operated by husband and wife Stéphan and Sophie Bernhard. Check out the video below to learn about the restaurant, the culinary scene in Baden-Baden, and Stéphan’s inspiration.
Those with a sweet tooth won’t want to miss a visit to Café König. I loved this traditional Baden-Baden coffee house so much, I went twice! The retail shop features rows on rows of beautifully arranged cakes, pies, pastries, and chocolates. Pick some treats to-go, or make your selection and let the ladies behind the counter know that you’ll enjoy it in the dining room where it will be delivered to your seat. I highly recommend taking the time to sit in the dining room. Here you can enjoy beautifully prepared meals, plus and cup of coffee and a sweet delight to cap it all off.
Where to stay in Baden-Baden
Heliopark Bad-Hotel zum Hirsch
Baden-Baden has a number of great places to stay, including the Heliopark Bad-Hotel zum Hirsch. Ideally located right in the heart of Baden-Baden, on Hirschstraße, this 4-star boutique hotel is the oldest hotel in Baden-Baden. Its history starts as far back as 1306 where it was run as a bath house. In 1689, the addition of rooms turned it into a hotel, with multiple expansions happening over the subsequent centuries. Today there are 71 rooms and suites, featuring art nouveau furniture in each. hHeliopark Bad-Hotel zum Hirsch is walking distance to all of the major spots in the city and offers a wonderful breakfast spread each morning to give you the energy to explore the area. There’s also a spa and wellness centre and most of the rooms feature thermal water connections in the bathroom so you can soak in as much of that rich, mineral water as you can!
Special thanks to Baden-Baden Tourism and the German National Tourism Office for making my trip to Baden-Baden possible!