A trip to Baden Baden: Germany’s ‘most famous’ Spa town
On Saturday it was another early morning (no rest for the wicked as they say) and we were once again out of the flat and on the tram by a quarter past nine. This time however, we had a much shorter journey planned and once at Karlsruhe HBF, we caught the Regio Bahn only three stops down the line to Baden Baden.
Baden Baden is a spa town, which was founded by the Romans, who called it Aquae in honour of the healing nature of its springs. Several Roman emperors visited the town and after the success the springs had on Emperor Caracalla’s arthritis, he built baths for himself, for his soldiers and even for his horses. Legend has it, that the medicinal springs also saved the citizens of Baden Baden from the Black Death in the medieval age and from the nineteenth century this town’s popularity has just been ever increasing.
For those non-German speakers amongst you, the name of the town, Baden-Baden, is also a bit of a play on words; Baden is the area of Germany in which the town is located (Baden Württemberg), but it is also the word for ‘to bathe’ or ‘baths’.
Nowadays the town holds a lot of prestige and can even be said to be Germany’s most famous spa town. Thousands of people flock here every year to experience the ‘healing powers’ of the springs but also to soak up the charming atmosphere and explore the quaint, picturesque streets and spend their money in the casino.
But anyway, enough of that..
Rebecca and I arrived at the town’s HBF at around 1030 and jumped on a bus in the direction of the town centre. We had almost been fooled into walking, as on the map it did not look all that far, however we spontaneously decided to jump on the bus – which turned out to be a good decision as the bus ride took a good ten minutes. Eventually we arrived in the heart of the town, that is in Leopoldsplatz, and were instantly impressed. All the buildings were very ornate, with fancy cast iron balconies, and the cafes and restaurants resembled French bistros and brasseries. We began our tour by walking towards the splendid looking Trinkhalle (pump house) – where there was a beautiful arcade with frescos and benches, which is now home to the tourist information office as well as a rather fancy café.
From there, we continued until we were on Lichtentaler Allee, a historic park and arboretum that links the town with the old monastery in nearby Lichtental. The park is really beautiful, even more so with the early sights of spring..
Whilst we were enjoying our walk through the Park, a rather amusing surprise was waiting for us. We were approached by a really friendly photographer who was trying to get her camera settings right for a wedding that she was working at later in the day. She asked us if we would mind spending a little time helping her out and not wanting to disappoint, we agreed. A few moments later, there we both were, stood in our winter puffer jackets, surrounded by beautiful crocuses and with a white umbrella over our heads (to resemble the white of the wedding dress). I for one felt rather silly ‘modelling’ in such a fashion but there you go, it will be a trip we aren’t likely to forget.. we even came away with a souvenir…!
Once we had done our spot of modelling we made our way back into town and found ourselves in the lovely Augustaplatz, before passing back through Leopoldplatz and off up the hill towards the cluster of spas.
We found the Carcalla Spa without too much trouble, and just around the corner was Friedrichsbad, however the latter was sadly under scaffolding.
After quite a lot of walking around, we bee-lined back to Café König on Lichtentaler Strasse – quoted to be ‘one of Europe’s best cafes’ – and with such a promise of excellence, we had to try it out for ourselves. There, both Rebecca and I opted for the famous ‘Schwarzwälderkirsch Torte’ or Black Forest gateaux and oh my, it was delicious. Eating Black Forest Gateaux in the Black Forest is something I can now tick off my bucket list!
Eventually it was time to depart Baden Baden and slowly make our way back to Karlsruhe. The town was definitely worth a visit and out of the many new places I have visited this year, is definitely a contender for top-position!