Baden-Baden, Germany

Since Roman emperors bathed in the soothing thermal waters during the 1st century AD, Baden-Baden in southwest Germany has been a famous spa town. Come for a self-indulgent soak. Stay to enjoy the cultural venues and cobblestone charm.

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1 Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, Germany

A contemporary commercial printing executive named Frieder Burda used his business success to amass a sizeable art collection. He then spent about $27 million to have this museum designed by Richard Meier, a New York architect. Since 2004 it has exhibited over 500 pieces of art from the last one hundred years, including work by Pablo Picasso.

Lichtentaler Allee 8b, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

2 Theater Baden-Baden in Baden-Baden, Germany

Back in 1862, when Baden-Baden was reaching its pinnacle as a resort destination, this performing arts venue was built with a Belle Epoch architectural design. Since 1918, Theater Baden-Baden has continually had a professional ensemble of actors. The interior was completely renovated in 1992. Now plays are performed on three stages.

Goethepl. 1 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

3 Kurhaus Casino and Kurgarten in Baden-Baden, Germany

Since it was built in 1824, Kurhaus has hosted celebrities, royalty, dignitaries and members of high society with gala dinners, balls and concerts. Beneath glistening chandeliers in elegant rooms is an array of gambling options including French and American style roulette. If you prefer to keep your travel money in your pocket, then limited guided tours are available in the morning for only few euros.

Kaiserallee 1, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

4 Tulips Along Kurhaus Promenade in Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden-Baden is a famous German resort town best known for its spas and thermal medicinal water. But few things will make you forget your troubles faster than smelling the bouquet of spring tulips in full bloom. This delightful display is yours by walking along the Kurhaus promenade on your way to the outdoor pavilion to hear a philharmonic performance.

Kaiserallee 1, 76530, Baden-Baden, Germany

5 Kurhaus Casino Portico and Tulips in Baden-Baden, Germany

This white portico with Corinthian columns and the frieze of paired griffins is the entrance to Casino Baden-Baden. Apparently, the famous actress Marlene Dietrich called it “the most beautiful casino in the world.” Whether you agree that its elegance still warrants that description, what can’t be disputed is that Kurhaus is Germany’s oldest casino.

Kaiserallee 1, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

6 Trinkhalle Side View and Garden in Baden-Baden, Germany

If you think people are obsessed today with drinking pure water from a plastic bottle, imagine sipping a glass of thermal water containing curative minerals from this pump house. That’s why this Trinkhalle was built in 1842. Today it houses a tourist information center. But before you get disappointed, cups of the healing spring water are still available inside.

Kaiserallee 3, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

7 Kaiser Wilhelm I Bust at Trinkhalle in Baden-Baden, Germany

Beneath the Trinkhalle’s portico and among the blooming spring flowers is a bust of Kaiser Wilhelm I. Also known as William I, he was the King of Prussia from 1861 until 1888. In 1871, after unifying with Germany, he also became the first German emperor. An estimated 1,000 statues were erected in his honor until 1918 when his grandson, Wilhelm II, was ousted. Then Germany became a republic and Friedrich Ebert became the country’s first president.

Kaiserallee 3, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

8 Trinkhalle Arcade Close Up in Baden-Baden, Germany

The Trinkhalle’s 300 foot arcade is supported by 16 Corinthian columns. Beneath it is a gallery of beautiful murals depicting historic scenes of Baden-Baden, Germany. They were designed by Jakob Götz Berger to delight guests while drinking medicinal water. This building, which is part of the Kurhaus spa, pumps water from the 17,000 year old Friedrichsbad spring below.

Kaiserallee 3, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

9 Oosbach River and Footbridge in Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden-Baden is perhaps the most famous spa town in the Black Forest region of Baden-Württemberg, or what the German’s call Schwarzwald. Since the height of the Roman Empire it has attracted people who seek the medicinal waters, the gambling, the arts, or the solitude of walking along the Oosbach River that meanders along a canal.

Lange Str. 25 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

10 Unframed Street Mural by JR in Baden-Baden, Germany

This eye-catching street mural is actually a large photographic collage of a man’s face with a working clock over one eyeglass lens. It is the work of JR, a French photographer based in Paris. It is part of a series called “Unframed” which apparently displays French and German history in Baden-Baden. His work was on exhibit at the Museum Frieder Burda in mid-2014.

Lange Str. 32, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

11 Ornate Wrought-iron Guild Sign in Baden-Baden, Germany

Walking down Florentine hill from Marktplaz is a maze of narrow, cobblestone streets lined with 19th century homes. A frequent sight is ornate, wrought-iron signs. They first appeared during the Middle Ages to display guild emblems. This leaping deer graces an arch leading to the four-star Bad Hotel zum Hirsh. Guests of this boutique property have access to coveted thermal spring water in their rooms.

Hirschstraße 1, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

12 Footbridge Over Oosbach River in Baden-Baden, Germany

Gently flowing through the resort town of Baden-Baden, Germany is the Oosbach River. On either side of the canal are lush, green promenades that are ideal for a casual, afternoon stroll. And when you think the grass is greener or the flowers are prettier on the other side, just take one of several footbridges across.

Lange Str. 78, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

13 Grey Heron Standing in Oos River in Baden-Baden, Germany

For over 2,000 years, people have flocked to Baden-Baden, Germany, for their thermal water, but this grey heron’s ancestors have made the migratory flight in summer for longer than that. This majestic wading bird is standing about 39 inches tall in the Oos river. He is watching patiently for a passing treat so he can launch that S-shaped neck towards the next meal.

Lange Str. 78, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

14 Festspielhaus Opera House in Baden-Baden, Germany

In 1904, when this Neo-Renaissance building was called Grossherzog Friedrich, it was Baden-Baden’s railway station. Since 1998, this is the entrance to Festspielhaus. Festival Hall seats 2,500 people. The cultural center conducts about 300 opera, ballet and concert performances a year featuring international artists. Festspielhaus is Europe’s second largest opera house.

Beim Alten Bahnhof 2, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

15 Neues Schloss on Florentinerberg Hill in Baden-Baden, Germany

This tower with its terraced garden is part of Neues Schloss. Original construction began on Florentinerberg Hill in 1370 and, during medieval times, it was expanded as the New Castle for the ruling Margraves of Baden. In the mid-19 century, it became a summer residence for the Grand Dukes of Baden. It’s currently closed while being remodeled into a Hyatt luxury hotel. It is expected to open in 2018.

Schloßstraße 22, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

16 Stiftskirche Collegiate Church in Baden-Baden, Germany

The Holy Roman Empire’s military commanders were called a margrave and, overtime, they evolved into hereditary fiefdoms. The Margraviate of Baden ruled over southwestern Germany from 1112 to 1803. In 1872, Baden became an original German state before the monarchy ended during WWI. Inside this Collegiate Church, which is built high on the Florentine hill in Baden-Baden’s old town, are the magnificent tombs of 14 Margraves of Baden. Stiftskirche was originally built in the 15th century. Above the portal are carvings of the Madonna with Child flanked by the Apostles Peter and Paul.

Marktpl. 11, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

17 Friedrichsbad Bathhouse Angled View in Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden stands for “bath” in German. The highlight of this resort town is Friedrichsbad, the world famous bathhouse. Over 2,000 years ago, when the town was called Aurelia Aquensis, Romans such as Emperor Caracalla soaked in these medicinal thermal waters. After you enjoy the same elegant and soothing experience, you can tour the Soldatenbad below. These spa ruins date back to the 1st century BC.

Römerpl. 1 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

18 Friedrichsbad Bathhouse Front View in Baden-Baden, Germany

Waiting for you inside this 1877, neo-classical building is a Roman-Irish bathhouse that will pamper you through a three-hour, 17 stage treatment of pools, showers and steam rooms using thermal waters from 6,500 feet below. The highlights are the domed pool complete with Roman sculptures and the full-body soap scrub. So live like the ancient Romans did in the “temple of wellbeing.” Your skin will tingle for days.

Römerpl. 1 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

19 Convent School of St. Grave in Baden-Baden, Germany

In 1670, a monastery was formed by Countess Maria Franziska and the boarding school was taught by five nuns. It was burnt down by French troops 19 years later but reestablished at the turn of the 18th century. Over the archway of this building it reads “Jnstitut z HL. Grab” and is dated 1698. Today, it houses the Convent High School of St. Grave which is part of the Archdiocese of Freiburg.

Römerpl. 11, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

20 Caracalla Spa and Spitalkirche in Baden-Baden, Germany

Travelers to Baden-Baden, Germany, who want to experience the luxury of their thermal spring water at half the price of the neighboring Roman-Irish bathhouse enjoy the pools, Jacuzzis, saunas and steam baths at the Caracalla Spa on the left. On the right is Spitalkirche, a Catholic hospital church that was built in 1478 and is the town’s oldest.

Römerpl. 9, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

21 Laterne Hotel and Restaurant in Baden-Baden, Germany

This colorful, half-timbered building along Gernsbacher Straße is in the heart of historic Baden-Baden. The Laterne is both a charming, ten-room hotel and, at 300 years old, the town’s oldest restaurant. It has personal significance to me because we stayed here in 1996 when we took our children on their first trip to Germany.

Gernsbacher Str. 10, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

22 Retail Store in Leopoldsplatz in Baden-Baden, Germany

In the center of Baden-Baden, Germany is the Leopoldsplatz. It is a hub for cobblestone, pedestrian walkways that are filled with fountains, outdoor bars, restaurants and quaint stores like this one with the date of 1690 surrounding Germany’s coat of arms. The area has the peaceful, calm demeanor you’d hope to find in a resort town. It maintains that atmosphere because 30,000 cars a day are diverted through a tunnel that runs below the square.

Lange Str. 2, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

23 Old Wax Woman Wearing Pillbox Hat in Baden-Baden, Germany

Every once in a while a retail store – such as this one at Stadt-Apotheke – display really grabs my attention like this wax figure of a matronly old women wearing a pillbox hat with a fishnet veil. She was sitting at an antique ice cream table with wrought iron chairs beside another wax woman. I initially assumed they were two old gals just chatting away the afternoon.

Gernsbacher Str. 2, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

24 Haus Victoria in Baden-Baden, Germany

I assume this Haus Victoria on Leopoldsplatz in Baden-Baden, Germany, was named in honor of Queen Victoria, the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom for about two-thirds of the 19th century. She was a frequent visitor of the resort town. It was built in 1853 by Franz Kah as a 140 room luxury hotel nicknamed the “inn flower.” After a fire in 1912, it became a residential and commercial building.

Haus Victoria am Leopoldsplatz, Sophienstraße 3a, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

25 Sophienstraße Pedestrian Street in Baden-Baden, Germany

Sophienstraße, or Sophie Street, is one of several pedestrian areas that allow tourists to explore the quaint stores and restaurants of Baden-Baden, or to find a shaded bench to rest their feet during a long day of sightseeing. The Haus Reichert shown here is a 19th century, modestly priced hotel.

Sophienstraße 4, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

26 Horse-drawn Carriage Ride in Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden-Baden, Germany, is designed for walking. It is filled with pedestrian-only streets, flower-filled promenades, inviting public squares and the 1.5 mile, tree lined Lichtentaler Allee. Consequently, you really don’t need public transportation or a cab to get around. But you might be interested in taking a horse-drawn carriage ride. The coachmen are delightful and they will explain the history of the sights you pass along the way.

Lichtentaler Str. 14, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

27 Street Lamp Along Lichtentaler Straße in Baden-Baden, Germany

This street lamp illuminates Augustaplatz, a large square in the center of Baden-Baden. It’s located on Lichtentaler Straße which is the main road in and out of this Black Forest resort town. Many of the city’s famous landmarks are a short walk away. The street also runs parallel to the Oosbach river.

Lichtentaler Str. 15 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

28 Augustaplatz Square and Fountain in Baden-Baden, Germany

Augustaplatz is a lovely square located along Lichtentaler Straße, a main street running through the center of Baden-Baden, Germany. The picturesque plaza offers a tranquil place to sit beside a fountain for a few minutes when you get tired during your walking tour. A short distance away are most of the spa town’s landmarks.

Lichtentaler Str. 23, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

29 Four Painters Eating Lunch Trompe l’oeil Mural in Baden-Baden, Germany

Baden-Baden has some famous murals, like the 19th century ones at the pump house Trinkhalle, but it also displays recent street art like these four painters sitting on the side of a building having lunch. The art style is called trompe l’oeil, which is French meaning creating the optical illusion of three dimensions for realistic imagery. This scene over the Sindbad Restaurant would look real if not so comical.

Seilerstraße 5, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

30 Evangelische Stradtkirche Protestant Church in Baden-Baden, Germany

This bell tower is part of Evangelische Stradtkirche, also called the Protestant Town Church. Built in 1855, it stands at the edge of Augustaplatz in Baden-Baden, Germany.

Augustaplatz 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

Half Timbered House in Baden-Baden, Germany

The half-timbered framed design, like this one in Baden-Baden, is a common sight throughout Germany. If you really enjoy this architectural style, then the German Timber-framed Road tour is for you. However, it requires a significant time commitment because it covers 98 towns in seven regions across 1,864 miles. The Association of Historic Timber-framed Towns started it in 1990.

31 Little Prince Mural in Baden-Baden, Germany

The Little Prince, by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, is the fable of a young boy who falls to earth from an asteroid and makes observations about narrow-minded adults. It has sold over 140 million copies, making it one of the world’s bestselling books. This wonderful mural of the Little Prince sitting on his asteroid is painted on the side of the Der Kleine Prinz Hotel and Restaurant in Baden-Baden, Germany. Its 40 rooms are housed in an 1890 townhouse.

Lichtentaler Str. 36, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany

32 Lichtentaler Allee and River Oos in Baden-Baden, Germany

Welcome to Lichtentaler Allee, the peaceful, serene 1.5 mile long promenade that was created in 1655. It is lined with over 300 species of plants and trees so it is appropriately nicknamed the “street of trees.” Flowing through the park is the Oos River. So after taking a stroll, sit on a bench in front of a beautiful mansion and enjoy the afternoon chatting with a friend.

Lichtentaler Allee, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany