So I’ve been living in Germany for a decent amount of time now and yet the country is still surprising me. As it turns out, Germany is more than just beer and bratwurst! In the small town of Baden Baden, I found a pocket of luxury and subtle beauty. Actually, this town seems to have strived off a reputation of luxury. It was once THE luxury retreat for visitors from across Europe—even the Romans used to visit way back in the day.
Today the town feels a bit like a spa resort living off its past laurels. Granted, the spas in Baden-Baden today are still pretty spectacular. I visited the legendary Friedrichsbad Spa—a place Mark Twain once visited and noted on its ability to make one forget about the world. That was quite the experience…especially the naked wash-down I got as part of my spa package. (And it was cheap too! 35€ with the soap & brush massage.)
TRAVEL TIP: If you visit the Friedrichsbad Spa, there’s no need for a swimsuit! It’s a full nude spa in typical German tradition ;)
Getting to Baden-Baden
The city is located just 15km from the border with France, in the southwestern state of Baden-Württemberg. It’s easily accessible via train from Stuttgart (It takes about an hour). In fact, when I visited, we connected via train through the city of Karlsruhe and when we had missed our connection, the Deutsche Bahn attendant, Hilgar, kindly informed us we could even connect via S-bahn (commuter rail trains) from Karlsruhe instead of waiting an extra hour for our connection.
The Baden Baden railway station is a 10 to 15-minute bus ride away from the city center. You’ll have to take the Bus 201 from the station to the town center and get off at Leopoldplatz. If you don’t speak German, it shouldn’t be a problem as this is a mostly touristic town with visitors from across Europe.
TRAVEL TIP: Baden Baden is a heavily touristic town and pretty much everyone you run into will speak English (and probably French or Italian). If you want to pick up a few easy-to-use German travel words, try out the new FREE Rosetta Stone German Travel App.
Photos of Baden Baden
Rather than expound on the various things to do in Baden Baden, I’ll just share some pretty photos to give you a first impression of the spa city. It’s really quite lovely and on my one day trip there, I pretty much just took in the sights… Here’s what I saw:
whoa, fancy casino!
what a beautiful city! I have never seen a park look so ..um… perfect? so clean! keep the German stories coming! always wanted to do a road trip of these small German towns, never got a chance :(
Glad you’re enjoying my stories from Baden-Württemberg Rebecca! And yes – the park grounds were so perfectly neat and clean!
Very nice Adam, thanks for posting these wonderful blogs, for those of us who can’t go there it is an open window for us to experience. Did you do any soaking in the waters?
Thanks for the nice words Brad. Yep – I visited the Friedrichsbad Spa for a little while. Very relaxing!
Ah man, that looks really nice. We’ve been to cities all around Baden-Baden multiple times, but have never been there. Love the pix, good sir!
Oh really – how come you always missed out on Baden-Baden? Anything worthwhile in the neighboring cities & towns?
thx for sharing those nice pictures. Well every city with a manifold history is somehow benefitting from it. However I think Baden-Baden isn’t “living off its past laurels”. Besides the baths and the casino the most important attractions Museum Frieder Burda and the Festspielhaus (the festival theater) are relatively new. The Festspielhaus has 2,500 seats and is therefore Germany’s largest opera and concert hall and the second largest in Europe. In addition it is the only one that finances its operations without public subsidies. You could imagine that establishing something like this isn’t too easy in a small city with 55,000 inhabitants.
If you are interested in more information, I recommend the city wiki:
One more tip for traveling: There are direct flights from Berlin to the airport Baden-Baden Karlsruhe…
Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t heard of the Festspielhaus but it sounds like a great endeavor. I had wanted to visit some of the museums in town when I was there but didn’t have the time. Perhaps I’ll manage to hop on a flight sometime soon and make it back out there. Would love to return for another visit. It’s really a lovely little city.