Sky-high towers, street art, wine hikes, baroque castles and gentle tourism: culture and enjoyment characterize the cities of Baden-Württemberg. We introduce you to nine dream destinations.
Belle Epoch meets Instagram: This description of Baden-Baden comes from the well-known US newspaper New York Times. To characterize the place of longing of the rich and beautiful even more aptly, let's add a few more terms that fit: star restaurants, Baden wine taverns and luxurious spas. The city of 55,000 inhabitants also proudly calls itself the "European Capital of Culture. Given its location at the foot of the Black Forest and not far from one of Germany's most famous Riesling growing regions, this is understandable. In addition, there is its car-free, historic center with neo-baroque alleys and sophisticated spa architecture, the museum mile, numerous parks and restaurants for every budget. Even style icon Marlene Dietrich was taken with Baden-Baden's beauties: she once described the 200-year-old casino in the Kurhaus with its magnificently decorated halls as "the most beautiful in the world". More info here and here.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Baden-Baden: Plan arrival.
The ubiquitous green, the Schlossberg, the city garden in the middle of the center, the "Bächle" rippling through the alleys and streets of the old town, the many cycling and hiking trails and the thermal spa will captivate you. But Freiburg's cathedral trumps it all: from the 13th century on, 300 years were spent building this Gothic masterpiece. The west tower rises 116 meters into the sky. Its openwork Gothic spire looks as if it was drawn by an angel's hand and served for centuries as an architectural and artistic model for European churches. 333 steps lead from Münsterplatz via the Türmerstube to the gallery below the spire - a little workout with panoramic rewards! Münsterplatz is framed by colorful historic houses and the fish fountain. On weekday mornings, you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables here at the Münstermarkt and, of course, try the legendary Lange Rote. A red sausage that is 35 centimeters long! More Info.
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Where is the most famous ruin in Germany? In an exposed position in Heidelberg: above the valley floor on the northern slope of the Königstuhl. The pinkish-red Neckar Valley sandstone makes Heidelberg Castle, which was partially destroyed in the 17th century, still shine in warm tones today - as a romantic ruin. During a walk through the old town, you will always have the castle in view. The Old Bridge, picturesque alleys, dreamy squares and small cafés, where students from the five universities also enjoy life, invite you to take a relaxed stroll. The Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Spirit) rises directly on the market square, opposite the town hall. A steep staircase leads up to the steeple of the late Gothic building, the highest point in the old town. From up here, you have a fantastic panoramic view over the roofs of the city and across the Neckar River to the Rhine plain, Mannheim and the Palatinate Mountains. A little anecdote: From 1706 to 1936, the church was divided into a Catholic and a Protestant part by a wall in the middle. More Info.
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You have to let this figure roll off the tongue: 1250 years. That's how old the history of winegrowing is in Heilbronn. You can feel how wine still shapes the city today at every turn - and very intensively on a wine hike. Wartberg is the name of Heilbronn's 300-meter-high local mountain, at the foot of which the "Wine Panorama Trail" begins. Past one of the largest and oldest wine presses in Germany, the trail leads through vineyards with different grape varieties and spectacular views of the city. Of course you can taste one or the other drop here, as well as in the city center at the wine pavilion at the Neckar stage, in the classicistic wine villa with its own vinotheque or in the approximately 30 surrounding wineries. And another highlight awaits you: the "experimenta", the largest science center in Germany. Here you can experiment and try things out - with interactive exhibits, creative studios, laboratories, an observatory and a science dome with science shows. More Info.
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The European Union and the international UNESCO Creative Cities Network were enthusiastic about the culture in Karlsruhe: They awarded the city the titles "European Capital of Smart Tourism 2020" and "City of Media Art" because of its cultural heritage and creativity. You can experience how lively and colorful the scene is in numerous galleries and museums, on cabaret stages or in the Center for Art and Media, which is considered one of the most important art institutions in the world. Here you can marvel at photographs, graphics, paintings and sculptures, as well as computer-based works, holographs, kinetic art, sound art, visual poetry and video art. The Baden State Museum in Karlsruhe Castle will take you back in time, where you can touch 600,000 years of cultural history. You are also in good hands when it comes to enjoyment in the city: French, Baden and Swiss influences make up the regional cuisine. Would you prefer a glass of local wine or beer? After all, Karlsruhe was once the third largest beer production site in Germany. Cheers! More Info.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Karlsruhe: Plan arrival.
It's the contrasts, that make Mannheim so unique: Here, urban street art meets one of the largest baroque castles in Europe. Modern art in the Kunsthalle manages the balancing act with the four Reiss-Engelhorn museums in the museum complex. And performance meets classical theater. The flagship of the diverse art, culture and creative scene is the "Stadt.Wand.Kunst" project. Since 2013, internationally renowned graffiti artists have been conjuring up so-called "murals" on dreary building facades. The now 30 huge murals turn the university city into an oversized and free open-air gallery. If you want to know more about the background and history of the fascinating murals, you can book a guided tour of the art projects. More Info.
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Three rivers flow through Pforzheim: The rivers Enz, Nagold and Würm provide a feeling of nature in the middle of the city. In addition, there is 83.5 percent green space and more than 100 kilometers of hiking trails - all of which makes Pforzheim the fifth greenest city in Germany. The three oldest high-altitude hiking trails in the republic start here: The 245-kilometer Ostweg, which leads via Freudenstadt and Geisingen to Schaffhausen in Switzerland, as well as the two other long-distance hiking trails Mittelweg and Westweg. Cyclists will also find paradisiacal conditions in Pforzheim: Eight long-distance bike paths offer tours for every taste through the northern Black Forest or the vineyards, always with breathtaking viewpoints. So it's no wonder that the city is called the gold piece of the Black Forest. Whereby the predicate gold is closely related to its history of the jewelry and watch industry. If you are in the mood for culture after all the nature experiences, then visit the jewelry museum, a worldwide unique museum on the history of jewelry. More Info.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Pforzheim: Plan arrival.
Stuttgart's city center lies in a valley basin, surrounded by rolling hills, forests, orchards and vineyards. This brings the state capital not only a lot of greenery, but also numerous vantage points with spectacular views. Among the most beautiful are the Eugensplatz with the Galatea Fountain. The stairway called Eugenstaffel leads up to the view over Stuttgart. You can also enjoy a panoramic view of the valley basin and the vineyards from the Karlshöhe. This is best enjoyed in the beer garden, which is located in the middle of a park. A walk through the vineyards will bring you to the grave chapel on the Württemberg, where you will be rewarded with a distant view over the Neckar valley. Speaking of rewards, a local glass of wine or beer is offered on almost every corner in Stuttgart. The Dinkelacker family brewery has been based in the middle of the city for 130 years. And the Swabian metropolis is the only major German city to score points with a city-owned winery, including of course Lemberger, Syrah, Chardonnay and Riesling from the region. If those aren't pleasurable prospects! More Info.
Take the train to Stuttgart comfortably and without traffic jams: Plan arrival.
The people of Ulm have always been visionaries. Already in the last ice age 40,000 years ago, they created a work of art from the tusk of a mammoth, which fascinates to this day: The 31.10 cm tall lion man - head, body and arms resemble those of a predator, legs and feet look human. In 2009, fragments were discovered in the Stadel cave and put together in years of restoration work to form the sculpture of the Lion Man. Much younger is the 600-year-old Ulm Cathedral, the city's landmark. The cathedral's tower rises 161.35 meters into the sky, making it the tallest church tower in the world. By comparison, Notre Dame is 158.1 meters high, Cologne Cathedral "only" 157.4 meters. 768 steps lead up to the top of the tower, from where you have a panoramic view all the way to the Alps. Another unusual feature of the mega-church, which was built in the Gothic architectural style, is that it first served as a Roman Catholic place of worship. Since the 16th century, however, it has been the largest Protestant church in Germany. More Info.
By train comfortably and without traffic jams to Ulm: Plan arrival.
Cover photo: Classicist buildings from the early 19th century characterize the cityscape of Karlsruhe
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