Thermal springs, an opulent casino and interesting art museums in the aristocratic spa town of Baden-Baden
A spa town in the Black Forest, Baden-Baden has long attracted Roman emperors, French aristocrats, Russian authors and Hollywood glitterati to its streets. You can enjoy world-renowned hotels, stroll the cobblestone streets and take in the villas that have been transformed into outdoor cafés, antique shops and romantic parks.
Though it’s known primarily as a spa destination, Baden-Baden’s location also makes it a good base for exploring the rest of what the Black Forest has to offer, especially its many hiking trails, storybook towns and traditional farmhouses. You can also take Germany’s longest and steepest funicular railway to get a bird’s-eye view of Baden-Baden from the top of Merkur Mountain.
Located in the south-west of Germany, just 10 km (six miles) from the French border. It’s an easily walkable town and is best done on foot, though there are taxis and cars available if needed.
Things to see and do in Baden-Baden
Germany’s oldest casino, a neoclassical building lavishly decorated with ornate gilded walls, red carpet and chandeliers dripping with crystal, has long been a draw for the rich and famous. Historically an aristocratic hangout and the preferred haunt of actors and writers, the casino is thought to have inspired Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler.
We can arrange tickets for you to visit the Belle Époque building, which runs tours before the gambling hall opens at 2pm.
People have been taking advantage of the thermal springs in Baden-Baden since the Romans started visiting in the 2nd century. We can arrange tickets for you to visit one of the spas in town.
Caracalla is a modern spa with a range of pools both outdoors and indoors. The outdoor area has two marble pools, a current channel, two whirlpools and a grassy, sunbathing area. Indoors you’ll find pools, a rock grotto, steam bath and a salt inhalation room. You will need a bathing suit for this spa.
For a more traditional experience, visit Friedrichsbad, a nude spa with Roman-Irish bathing traditions. Take in the elaborate frescoes as you relax in the thermal waters.
Baden-Baden is home to a handful of art museums, one dedicated to modern art and the other displaying works from the House of Fabergé, known for its eponymous eggs.
Museum Frieder Burda, which is named for an art collector who lived in Baden-Baden, features more than 700 modern artworks, including works from Pablo Picasso.
You can also visit the Fabergé Museum, opened by collector Alexander Ivanov. There are more than 1,500 items by Fabergé designers, including a selection of the renowned imperial Easter eggs. There is also a Gold of the World collection with over a hundred gold items ranging in age from the 6th century BC to the mid-20th century AD.
Head to the top of Merkur Mountain via the longest and steepest funicular railway in Germany. The ride is about five minutes, and at the summit you’re rewarded with panoramic views of the hilly, densely wooded Black Forest region.
Merker Mountain is named after Mercury, the ancient Roman god of trade and commerce, and at the summit you’ll find a cast of the site’s original votive stone dedicated to the god. There is plenty to do once you reach the top, including a restaurant, sunbathing lawn, barbecue area, observation tower and playground. You can either take the funicular back down or explore the numerous footpaths.
Stroll the Lichtentaler Allee promenade, a 2.3 km (1.4 mile) avenue through a park and arboretum along the Oos River’s west bank. It’s believed that the Lichtentaler Allee originated as the path between the town market and the Lichtenthal monastery in 1655. It was in the mid-1800s that it was developed into its modern form.
There are more than 300 native and exotic trees and plants along the promenade, including alders, azaleas, chestnuts, gingkoes, limes, magnolias, maples, oaks and sycamores.
With its 2,500 seats, the Festival House in Baden-Baden is the largest opera and concert house in Germany. The Festival House’s season runs from September through July, with different phases of the season being opened by the premieres of newly staged operas. We can secure you tickets to see a show at the Festival House while in Baden-Baden.
In addition to operas, there are also ballet performances, classical symphonies, jazz nights and entertainment shows, providing a variety of options depending on when you visit.
Best time to visit Baden-Baden
Baden-Baden experiences a mild climate, making it a good place to visit year-round. However, we recommend September or October, as the weather is temperate and there are fewer crowds.
Map of Baden-Baden
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Baden-Baden
- The Black Forest 55 kilometers away
- Heidelberg 83 kilometers away
- Freiburg 87 kilometers away
- Titisee 97 kilometers away
- Oberwesel 153 kilometers away
- Frankfurt 155 kilometers away
- Rothenburg 165 kilometers away
- The Rhine Valley 182 kilometers away
- Nuremberg 226 kilometers away
- Neuschwanstein 240 kilometers away
- Bavaria 252 kilometers away
- Munich 255 kilometers away
- Cologne 261 kilometers away
- Dresden 475 kilometers away
Photos of Baden-Baden
Accommodation choices for Baden-Baden
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Baden-Baden. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
Ideas for experiencing Baden-Baden
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Baden-Baden, and which use the best local guides.
Black Forest in depth
Black Forest in depth
Black Forest in depth
Ride the panoramic roads of the Black Forest, venture up the seven-tiered Triberg Waterfalls and explore the town of Triberg. Spend a day getting to know the Black Forest on this full-day trip through the region.View details