Picture an elegant, fairytale-like town situated in the sun-drenched southwest corner of Germany. Situated at the foothills of the Black Forest, Baden-Baden is popular as a spa town with rich traditions.
A town, “so nice, you have to name it twice”, said former US President Bill Clinton on his visit to the spa town of Baden- Baden in Germany and indeed, he was correct. Though a small city with a mere 50,000 population, this spa town has enchanted millions of visitors over the past centuries. The nature of the town has been described as: “You’re sitting on a bench in a beautiful, green park with a view of beautiful buildings. If your eyes move upward, you can see more beautiful buildings, and eventually, you will catch sight of the beautiful Black Forest in the distance.” There is hardly a better description, as you will come to find.
“Baden” means “to bathe” in German and was named for its famous springs more than 2,000 years ago during the Roman times. Through the ages, especially in the 19th century, people of nobility and wealth came to Baden-Baden for entertainment and relaxation. Today, not only the affluent come here to spend their money at casino, but thousands of visitors are drawn towards other attractions.
Bathe in style
Situated in beautiful countryside on the fringes of the Black Forest, Baden-Baden provides the most stylish setting imaginable for a cultural or health-related break. Baden-Baden’s hot springs well up from a depth of 2,000 metres, supplying the town’s 12 thermal spas, for example the modern Caracalla Therme and the historical Roman-Irish Friedrichsbad. The water, that reaches temperatures of up to 68°C, is used to treat a wide range of conditions, including cardiovascular problems, rheumatism, joint complaints, metabolic disorders and respiratory ailments. But even if you are fighting fit, Baden-Baden’s waters will work wonders for your health and wellbeing. The same can be said of the deluxe hotels and Lichtentaler Allee park with its three km tree-lined avenue, which is also home to Frieder Burda Museum designed by Richard Meier and opened in 2004.
Taking a gamble
Kurhaus is one of the world’s most beautiful casinos. Designed 190 years ago, Kurhaus still oozes grace and style. Gambling was first recorded here in 1748, but Baden-Baden’s golden age began when Paris closed its casinos in 1838. In the same year, two Frenchmen, brothers Jacques and Edouard Benazet, opened a grand casino in the neoclassical Kurhaus, festooned with chandeliers and gold leaf, and gamblers flocked here from all over Europe to feed their habit. To come inside you need to show your passport and pay five euros as an entrance fee.
The charm of horse race
Attracting people from all over the world, the famous horse races at the Iffezheim racecourse have been annual society events since 1858. Glamorous ladies sport outlandish hats, and crowds roar as agile jockeys gallop away. Early morning breakfast at the race course followed by champagne parties; fancy dress balls at the Kurhaus and opera at the Festival Theatre – Baden-Baden is far from boring.
Wine and dine
A glass of champagne overlooking the Kurhaus gardens? A romantic candlelight dinner in one of the many top class restaurants? Or would you prefer to sample some traditional local fare in a cozy wine cellar? Baden-Baden has it all. Wine lovers will appreciate the nearby wine region where, against a sweeping backdrop of vineyards, cosy inns and exquisite restaurants offer a culinary voyage of great distinction. The Rebland, one of Germany’s most popular Riesling growing districts in Germany, is an insider tip for the gourmet and connoisseur of good wines is just six kilometres far from the city centre of Baden-Baden.
What adds to the enchantment of Baden-Baden is its geographic location, as it is a perfect starting point for excursions and tours for those seeking a unique experience with nature. Knowing the magic of their town, the tourist office even promises: “In just seven minutes, you’ll have chosen your next holiday destination.”