Baden-Baden, located in southwestern Germany, is a picturesque town known for its history, natural beauty, and most importantly, thermal baths. With a history dating back to Roman times, Baden-Baden has long been a popular destination for relaxation and rejuvenation.
With its name derived from the German word for “baths,” it is no surprise that Baden-Baden is famous for its thermal spas. These healing springs have lured visitors for centuries, including royals, celebrities, and even world leaders.
Beyond its wellness offerings, Baden-Baden features magnificent neoclassical architecture, such as the iconic Kurhaus and the elegant Casino Baden-Baden, which have catered to the elite throughout history.
As a nature lover, I found myself captivated by the town’s beautiful surroundings. Nestled at the foothills of the Black Forest, Baden-Baden offers splendid hiking trails, scenic drives, and breathtaking panoramic views! The nearby Black Forest National Park provides abundant opportunities for outdoor adventures such as cycling, hiking, and wildlife spotting.
We spent an incredible 2 days in Baden-Baden, discovering its historic streets, hiking in the surrounding forests, and relaxing in its wonderful spas. And we wanted to share our experience and guide you on what the best things to do and see in this charming town.
The Best Things To Do in Baden-Baden
As you can imagine, Baden-Baden offers plenty of things to do and see to keep you busy for days. From historic sights, to nature trails and culinary delights! Here are some of our top things to do in Baden-Baden.
If you prefer to do these things as part of a group, we recommend taking a guided tour to learn about the town’s history and see its main landmarks.
However, if you prefer to do it your own way, read on.
Visit the Thermal Baths
Experience ultimate relaxation by indulging in the town’s renowned thermal baths, such as Caracalla Spa or Friedrichsbad. These thermal spas offer a variety of pools, saunas, and wellness treatments that will pamper your body and rejuvenate your mind.
As our hotel was located directly opposite the Caracalla Spa, we spent a relaxing afternoon enjoying their wonderful spa. We highly recommend that this be on top of your agenda too!
Visit the Friedrichsbad
Even if you choose not to enjoy a spa at the Friedrichsbad, it is simply worth visiting this landmark Roman-Irish bathhouse. This stunning building offers a unique bathing experience, with a series of hot and cold mineral baths, steam rooms, and relaxation areas.
Below the Friedrichsbad are many artefacts from the Roman-era on display. These artefacts can be seen without having to enter the main building. Also, around the corner from the artefacts, is “Die Fettquelle”, one of the twelve historical thermal springs in Baden-Baden.
Explore the Altstadt (Old Town)
The Altstadt, or Old Town, of Baden-Baden is a charming district with its narrow streets, half-timbered houses, and a delightful blend of history and modernity. Exploring the Altstadt is like stepping back in time, with its well-preserved architecture and quaint atmosphere.
Start your exploration at the Stiftskirche, a beautiful Protestant church that dates back to the 15th century. Be sure to admire its Gothic architecture and step inside to see its stunning interior, including intricate stained-glass windows and detailed woodwork.
Walk up to many of the viewing areas, along the hill, and return to the Marktplatz (Market Square) in the heart of the Altstadt. This vibrant hub is lined with cafés, restaurants, and boutique shops.
Go for a Hike in the Black Forest
Hiking in the Black Forest surrounding Baden-Baden offers a truly immersive experience in nature’s beauty. Known for its dense forests, rolling hills, and picturesque landscapes, the Black Forest is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.
The area around Baden-Baden offers numerous well-marked trails, allowing hikers of all levels to embark on unforgettable adventures through the Black Forest. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a more challenging trek, there are options to suit every preference.
The official Baden-Baden website contains details about all the maintained hiking trails in the region.
We definitely recommend the Panorama Trail Stage 1 Hike as it’s one of the most scenic hikes around Baden-Baden. The trail showcases passes by rugged cliffs to the north of the town and allows you to visit the ruins of the Hohenbaden Castle. You can read our easy guide to the Panorama Trail Stage 1 Hike to help you get started.
Explore the Ruins of the Hohenbaden Castle
If you’re not up for a long hike, perhaps a shorter hike to explore the ruins of the Hohenbaden Castle might be of interest to you?
Perched majestically atop the hills overlooking Baden-Baden, Hohenbaden Castle, also known as Altes Schloss or Old Castle, is a historic landmark that offers a glimpse into the town’s fascinating past. Dating back to the 11th century, this impressive ruin was once the residence of the Margraves of Baden and played a significant role in the region’s history.
Originally constructed as a fortress, Hohenbaden Castle gradually evolved into a luxurious palace over the centuries. Its strategic location provided a vantage point, allowing the rulers to monitor and protect their lands.
Sadly, Hohenbaden Castle fell into ruin during the turbulent times of the 16th century. Multiple conflicts and wars left the once grand structure in a state of disrepair. Nevertheless, the remaining walls, towers, and courtyards still exude an undeniable aura of grandeur and offer visitors a fascinating glimpse into the castle’s former glory.
Walking through the castle’s crumbling ruins, visitors can explore various sections, including the main keep, the chapel, and the residential areas. The castle’s strategic position also provides breathtaking panoramic views of Baden-Baden and the picturesque Black Forest, making for a truly memorable experience.
You can learn how to get to the ruins of the castle by following our guide to the Panorama Trail Stage 1 Hike.
Take the Funicular (MerkurBergbahn) up to Merkur Mountain
The funicular train (MerkurBergbahn) up to Merkur Mountain is a delightful and scenic experience for anyone visiting Baden-Baden should not miss!
The funicular train’s charming design offers large windows through which passengers can fully appreciate the beauty of the landscape unfolding before their eyes as the train makes its way up the mountain. In just over 5 minutes, you’ll reach the summit of the 2,191-foot Merkur Mountain with Europe’s steepest, and most technically advanced, funicular railway.
As the train ascends, the views become increasingly impressive. The lush greenery of the Black Forest, sprawling valleys, and the picturesque town of Baden-Baden comes into view, creating a stunning panoramic spectacle!Subscribe to my YouTube channel
Once at the top of Merkur Mountain, a world of activities and exploration awaits. For starters, there are plenty of viewing areas from where one can soak in the panoramic views of Baden-Baden and the neighbouring towns and villages in the Black Forest.
You can also embark on hikes through various trails that lead to awe-inspiring viewpoints. There are options for visitors of all fitness levels, from leisurely strolls through the Black Forest to more challenging treks up higher peaks. If you prefer, you can also walk back down to the station instead of taking the funicular train.
One of the highlights of Merkur Mountain is the panoramic tower, offering unparalleled views from its elevated platform. From the top, one can admire the sweeping vistas of the Black Forest, the Rhine Valley, and even as far as the Vosges mountains on a clear day.
Additionally, there is a charming restaurant and beer garden to relax, enjoy a meal, and soak in the magnificent views.
Tickets for the MerkurBergbahn can be bought at station (Merkurbergbahn Talstation) itself. Buses 204 and 205 ply between the main town and the funicular station, making it easy to get to.
Eat a Delicious Black Forest Cake
No trip to Baden-Baden would be complete without enjoying a scrumptious slice black forest cake! Eating a black forest cake in the Black Forest, now that’s the dream!
If there is one café that stands out above the rest, it’s Café König. This charming and cosy café evokes memories of a world long gone and serves up some of the best desserts and pastries in Baden-Baden. And not to mention, their black forest cake is divine!
Lichtentaler Str. 12
Tel. 07221 – 23573
Admire the Kurhaus
The Kurhaus is a world-renowned architectural gem and cultural hub located in the heart of Baden-Baden. This majestic building is an example of neoclassical architecture, designed by Friedrich Weinbrenner in the 19th century.
Housed within the Kurhaus, the Casino Baden-Baden adds to the allure of this iconic establishment. Even if you’re not a gambler, a visit to the casino offers a glimpse into its glamorous atmosphere and rich history.
The Kurhaus also acts as a cultural centre, hosting a variety of events throughout the year. From classical concerts and operas to ballet performances and music festivals, the Kurhaus is a thriving venue for the arts.
And finally, the Kurhaus is surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens, creating a tranquil oasis in the heart of the town. Take a leisurely stroll through the park, enjoy the blossoming flowers, or relax on one of the benches to soak in the atmosphere. Or perhaps, dine at one of its several restaurants?
Visit the Trinkhalle
Adjacent to the Kurhaus stands the Trinkhalle. In the past, this 19th-century arcade served as a place for guests to gather and enjoy the healing waters of the town’s thermal springs. Visitors would come to the Trinkhalle to drink the mineral-rich waters, believed to have therapeutic properties.
Today, the Trinkhalle continues to serve as a prominent landmark in Baden-Baden and is a popular tourist attraction. While the drinking fountains are no longer in operation, the arcade now houses a museum and exhibition space, showcasing the town’s history and cultural heritage.
With its intricate columns and beautiful murals depicting local myths and legends, the Trinkhalle provides a peacedul setting for a leisurely walk or a moment of relaxation.
Walk down the Lichtentaler Allee
If the gardens at the Kurhaus and Trinkhalle make you want more, then why not take a short walk to the Lichtentaler Allee?
Walk along this idyllic promenade, lined with beautiful trees, flowers, and sculptures. There are beautiful gardens alongside the river, making it a perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, picnicking, or simply enjoying the serene atmosphere.
Visit the Museum Frieder Burda
Although we didn’t have the time, but if you’re an art enthusiast, you should not miss the opportunity to explore the Museum Frieder Burda. This outstanding museum showcases an impressive collection of modern art, featuring works by renowned artists like Picasso, Gerhard Richter, and Max Ernst.
Immerse Yourself in the Christmas Market
If you happen to visit Baden-Baden in the winter, make sure that the Christmas Market is high up on your list!
During this time, the town converts itself into a winter wonderland, where the air is filled with festive cheer. There are numerous stalls adorned with twinkling lights, offering a variety of artisanal crafts, local delicacies, and warm drinks. Embrace the holiday spirit as you explore this enchanting market, perfect for finding unique gifts or simply immersing yourself in the festive atmosphere.
More information on the Baden-Baden Christmas Markets can be found on the town’s official website, along with dates for the annual affair.
How to Reach Baden-Baden?
Located in southwestern Germany, Baden-Baden is easily accessible by car, train, aeroplane, or bus. It also neighbours major cities in France and Switzerland such as Strasbourg and Basel, respectively.
Located directly on the A5 motorway, Baden-Baden is also very easy to reach by car.Find the best car rental deals in Germany
Baden-Baden can be reached via the regional airport Baden-Airpark or via the international airport Frankfurt.
The Baden-Baden railway station is an ICE stop on the Rhine Valley railway and is well-connected to all German and the major European cities.
Getting around Baden-Baden
Like most European cities, Baden-Baden can easily be covered on foot. The old town (Altstadt) and the main commercial streets are pedestrian-friendly and almost everything is within walking distance.
Public transport in Baden-Baden is also easy to access. We had to take the bus from the train station to the main town and then from the main town to the Merkur Funicular and had no issues.
Where to stay in Baden-Baden?
Baden-Baden offers a variety of hotels, apartments, and bed and breakfasts for visitors to choose from. We stayed at the Café Patisserie Restaurant HOTEL BEEK by ANNA, which was not only located in the old town but also happened to be a boutique hotel on top of a café!
Depending on the season, room availability and prices may differ. Please refer to the map below to get an idea of what is available during your visit.
Baden-Baden 2-day Itinerary
If you need help planning an itinerary based on our suggestions above, here is a 2-day itinerary for Baden-Baden.
- Start your day by visiting the opulent Kurhaus and Trinkhalle. Marvel at its neoclassical architecture and explore the surrounding gardens.
- Head to the Museum Frieder Burda, located on the Museum Mile. This contemporary art museum showcases an impressive collection of modern and contemporary works.
- Take a short stroll to the Lichtentaler Allee, a picturesque promenade lined with beautiful flowers, trees, and sculptures. Enjoy a leisurely walk and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere.
- Grab lunch at the RIZZI The Restaurant, next to the historic Stadtkirche.
- Take the funicular up to Merkur Mountain and enjoy the views from up there. Explore the viewpoints and soak in the panoramic beauty.
- Visit the Casino Baden-Baden within the Kurhaus. Admire the elegant interior and try your luck at the gambling tables.
- Or enjoy some retail therapy along the shopping streets of Sophienstrasse and Leopoldplatz.
- Grab dinner at one of the restaurants at the Kurhaus or head to cosy atmossphere of Leo’s for some delicious food and wine.
- Set off on a hike to the Black Forest. We recommend the Panorama Trail stage 1 hike with the ruins of the Hohenbaden Castle.
- Return for lunch to the main town and grab a bite at Einhorn, where their staff is simply delightful!
- Enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the Caracalla Spa. Indulge in the healing mineral water baths, saunas, and wellness treatments for a rejuvenating experience. Well deserved after a morning hike!
- Head down to Café König to savour their delicious black forest cake.
- Indulge in a gourmet dinner at one of Baden-Baden’s renowned restaurants. Experience a culinary journey with exceptional cuisine and premium wine selections at the Restaurant Le Jardin de France.
Baden-Baden – Gamble, Hike, Rejuvenate
With its charming streets, picturesque parks, and an abundance of cafés and restaurants, Baden-Baden exudes an atmosphere of elegance and relaxation. Its blend of history, wellness, culture, and natural beauty makes it a truly captivating destination. Whether you are visiting for a rejuvenating spa retreat, indulging in fine dining and entertainment, or exploring the stunning natural landscapes, Baden-Baden promises an unforgettable experience.
We hope you found our guide to Baden-Baden resourceful and that it helps you plan your trip to this charming town. Please feel free to share this post with anyone who may find it useful and drop us a comment below.