Prior to World War II, Darmstadt was the capital of the Grand Duchy of Hesse. The Grand Dukes used to live in what is now the Schloß Marktplatz. It is also the birth place of the last Empress of Russia, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna Romanov, who was born Prinzessin Victoria Alix Helena Louise Beatrice von Hessen und bei Rhein. Sadly, much of the old city was destroyed in carpet bombing by the Allies during World War II, and most of what is still standing was reconstructed after the war. Darmstadt also lost its status as the capital of Hesse after the war, the honour now lying with the nearby city of Wiesbaden.
The popular recreational drug Ecstasy was first synthesised in Darmstadt in 1912 by a chemist known as Anton Kollisch while he was working for the pharmaceutical company Merck. The element Darmstadtium, element 110 on the Periodic Table, is named after the city. Perhaps as many as 11 atoms of this short half-life element have been synthesized to date.
The Darmstadt Marketing tourist office is located on the corner of the Luisenplatz.
For trips from or to the northwest (e.g. Köln, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam) the quickest route is sometimes via Frankfurt Airport, where you can change between ICE trains on the Frankfurt-Köln line and the Airliner bus to or from Darmstadt.
Darmstadt is located about 20 minutes by road from Frankfurt_Airport. For those continuing their journey to Darmstadt by public transport, the Darmstadt Airport Shuttle bus service (AirLiner) is far more convenient than the train. It runs every 30 to 60 minutes 04:00-23:00 and costs €7.60/€5.95 for adults/children. Buy your ticket from the bus driver. The AirLiner ticket is also valid for connecting transport around Darmstadt (RMV zones 40xx).
The AirLiner stops at both terminals of the airport. Look for bay 14 across the street from terminal 1. At terminal 2 the stop is right in front of the terminal. You can download a leaflet with the schedule from the website of HEAG Mobibus.
On its way to Darmstadt Hauptbahnhof the bus stops at Mina-Rees-Straße and Heinrich-Hertz-Straße. In the opposite direction the bus goes directly from the station to the airport.
The freeways A5 and A67 go by to the eastern end of Darmstadt. Follow the signs to Darmstadt/Griesheim onto the very short A672, which merges into the B26 towards Darmstadt. Expect a traffic jam here in the morning.
You can also reach Darmstadt via the B3 and B26 main roads. The B3 runs in north-south direction, connecting Darmstadt with Frankfurt in the north and Heidelberg in the south. It runs largely parallel to the A5 freeway. The B26 runs east-west and is the main connection to Aschaffenburg.
The inner city is a system of tunnels and one-way roads for passing traffic. This can be a bit confusing.
Darmstadt's public transport is part of the greater Rhine Main area network, Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund (RMV). Darmstadt and its surroundings are designated as tariff area 40. This area is further subdivided into several zones numbered 40xx, Darmstadt city is zone 4001. Fares vary depending on the number of zones touched.
Tram lines are marked by single-digit numbers. The tram network extends from Darmstadt-Arheilgen in the north to Darmstadt-Eberstadt in the south and beyond to Seeheim-Jugenheim and Alsbach, from Griesheim in the west to Darmstadt-Kranichstein in the northeast. Lines 3, 5, 7/8, and 9 constitute the core network. Lines 1, 2, 4, and 6 reinforce the core network during rush hours. Line 6 is an express line, it skips some of the intermediate stops on its route between Eberstadt and Merck.
Single or double letters mark local bus lines. Main bus lines have single-letter designations and often share routes stops with trams in the inner city. In the evening hours most tram and bus lines operate with a frequency of 30 minutes. At minutes :15 and :45 meet at Luisenplatz for connections. The last of these central transfer stops is at 0:15, except for Fridays and Saturdays with two additional rounds at 1:15 and 2:15.
Overland lines to surrounding towns and villages have three- or four-digit numbers, or two-digit numbers preceded by the letter K. Most of these lines stop at Hauptbahnhof and other stops that they pass on their way through the city.
Besides Hauptbahnhof, several train stops are scattered throughout the city: Wixhausen and Arheilgen in the north serviced by the S3 S-Bahn line, Darmstadt-Süd and Darmstadt-Eberstadt in the south where Regionalbahn trains to and from Heidelberg stop, Darmstadt Nordbahnhof and Darmstadt-Kranichstein on the line to Aschaffenburg, and Darmstadt Ostbahnhof and Darmstadt TU-Lichtwiese on the line to Erbach(Odenwald).
It is very easy to get around the city by bike. The bigger streets have bicycle lanes and you're pretty safe on a bike. It's a nice ride to Castle Frankenstein or Grube Prinz von Hessen where you can have a swim.
There is a BikeSurf project in Darmstadt, which provides bikes free of charge.
Darmstadt is famous for its Jugendstil (art nouveau) buildings. Many of the buildings survived the massive destruction of Darmstadt in September 1944. Visit the Künstlerkolonie Mathildenhöhe, to see the most interesting ones. This is the most beautiful part of Darmstadt. There is also a small park and an art museum there .
Park Rosenhoehe, . A park in the east of Darmstadt, just around the corner from the Ostbahnhof (east railway station). Don't miss out on the rose garden!
Darmstadt's landmark is the Langer Ludwig, a statue on a huge sandstone column located right in the city center. When you visit Darmstadt, you can't miss it. On the first Saturday of every month (and during special events) it is open for the public, meaning that you can climb the column (through a stair located on the inside) and get a beautiful view over Darmstadt.
The huge Hundertwasser house called "Waldspirale" ("Forest Spiral")
was finished in 2000. It is a wonderful example for Friedensreich Hundertwasser's (the famous Austrian architect and painter) colourful architectural designs.
is a hilltop castle located near Darmstadt in Mühltal. The castle is first mentioned in the records in the year 948, and initial construction of the castle ruins remaining today began in the 13th century. The 14th and 15th centuries saw expansion, followed by construction of reinforcements in the 16th. It was owned by the Barons von Frankenstein who owned most of the surrounding land until 1662, when the Baron of that time sold the property to the Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. There have been claims that the castle may have inspired the Mary Shelley novel, Frankenstein. While Shelley is known to have travelled through this area in 1814, historical scholars believe that she did not visit this castle. There are special dinners for Halloween and for other occasions. It is also possible to hike up to the castle.
The garden with several fountains is in the south of Darmstadt in the heart of Bessungen. In the summer people are playing boule or just relaxing in the grass. To get there take the tram number 3 and exit at the station Orangerie.
Eisenbahnmuseum Darmstadt-Kranichstein (railway museum), Steinstraße (Tram 4,5 to Kranichstein Bahnhof, or train towards Aschaffenburg to Kanichstein station.), . Sundays and public holidays 10a.m.-4p.m., during the summer also Wednesdays 10a.m.-4p.m.. Railway museum operated by volunteers. Various special events through the year. During special events you might get a chance to ride to and from central station on a historic train.5€. (49.907,8.678)
Feuriger Elias, Darmstadt castle, opposite to Darmstadtium congress center, . Take a ride on the Feuriger Elias, a steam-powered train on Darmstadts tram network. The train operates twice a year for several consecutive weekends, usually on sundays. In spring it circles between Darmstadt castle and Alsbach, from where you can take a walk to Castle Alsbach. In late summer, the train goes to Griesheim (tram stop Wagenhalle) and back. Buy your ticket from the conductor on the train. You can get on and off only at the end points, there is no stop in between.3,50€ (one-way).
Jugendstil Bad, Mercksplatz 1, . relax in the pool, sauna, and spa and enjoy the art nouveau atmosphere.
Vivarium, Schnampelweg 4, ☎ 06151 47651, . A small little zoo hosting 700 animals of 150 species. Always worth a visit.
ESOC (European Space Operations Center) Guided Tour, . Tours for individuals and the general public (ONLY via pre-registration) take place on Friday, 16:30-18:00. Cost & duration: 1.5-hour tour: € 7.00 per person Tours for individuals available only via pre-registration at Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt Marketing GmbH, on the days listed above. Tickets can be obtained on the homepage of Wissenschaftsstadt Darmstadt Marketing GmbH under the section "Stadtführungen" or at the Darmstadt Shop, Luisenplatz 5, Darmstadt.
Heinerfest, . Held once a year at the end of June/beginning of July. The Festival occupies the whole inner city for 4–5 days. It is the largest "Inner City Festival" of Germany.
Schloßgrabenfest, . An annual music festival (usually in May) in the city center. Free entry.
Darmstädter Dichterschlacht, . One of the best poetry slam series in the country, located in the 'Centralstation Darmstadt' on irregular dates. Check out  for dates and tickets.
Filmfest Weiterstadt, Braunshardter Tännchen (Braunshardter Weg), Weiterstadt (Bus 5515, 5513 or 5506 to Hallenbad, or 15 minutes of walking from Weiterstadt train station.), . mid-August. Open-air film festival with short films from all over the world. Bring warm clothes, screenings go on till 3 a.m. and August nights can be pretty cold. Admission free, donations welcome.. (49.907,8.568)
Just for Fun, several locations: Herrngarten, Riegerplatz, city center, . Street theater festival in August.Don't forget to leave a few euros in the artists' hat.
Jazzinstitut Darmstadt, . The Jazzinstitut sponsored by the city of Darmstadt, harbors one of Europe's largest public jazz collections, including books, journals, recordings and photos. They also organize concerts.
Centralstation, . The place to be. The Centralstation is a concert hall, club and lounge during the night and a café and restaurant during the day. Has many events going on.
Nachtcafé, Carree 4, . Nightclub, crowd is mainly in its twenties, house music. Only open Friday & Saturday 10pm - 6am
Schlosskeller, . Non-profit bar and disco run by university students in the dungeons of the Darmstadt Castle.
Level 6, . (Kasinostr. 60) Cocktail Lounge and Web Lounge und K-60, . Billiard, Snooker, Darts, Fussball, Air Hockey. A bistro with 3 TVs and a projector for sports events
Goldene Krone, Schustergasse 18, ☎ 06151 / 21352, . Alternative Center for cheap drinks, music and concerts
An Sibin Irish Pub, Landgraf-Georgstr. 25, ☎ 06151 / 20452. The largest Irish Pub in Darmstadt, with live music on Monday, Wednesdasy, Friday and Saturday. Also, Quiz Night on Tuesday and Karaoke on Thursday. Half price pizzas everybday until 8PM, and Fridays and Saturday cocktails are buy 1 get 1 free.
Steinbruch-Theater, . Darmstadts biggest Alternativ Club. Monthly Concerts. See it, feel it, love it!
loop5, Gutenbergstraße 5, Weiterstadt (bus 5506, 5513 or 5515 from Hauptbahnhof, or by car via A5 or B42), . 10 a.m. - 8 p.m., Fri/Sat until 9 p.m.. Large shopping mall out of town, free parking. In an area with several other large shops including furniture, home wares & pet store.
City Braustüb'l, Wilhelminenstraße 31. Local food and beer, steaks; country style interieur and a small, cosy beer garden in summer. Maybe here the best Schwein-haxe (Pork knuckle/shanks) of Hessen with beer sauce, two dumplings and raw sauerkraut.
Mondo Deli, City Center, Grafenstraße 31. Good vegetarian food: indian curries, pasta, soups, salads; selfservice style, menue changes every day.
Habibi, City Center near Schloss, Landwehrstraße 13. Vegetarian and vegan dishes, mostly organic and fair trade ingredients. Sometimes there are polical-cultural events happing, also you can play some boardgames. As the restaurant ist rather small, it is recommended to order a table in advance. 6151 / 66 02 760
Asia, old chinese restaurant in Darmstadt, Kasinostrasse 69. Tel (06151) 29 17 46, good sushi: Sushi-Flatrate served as runnning sushi, delicious chinese restaurant HotPot, Steamboat (3Pers. up) and much more classical chinese dishes.
Oseki, Neckarstraße 20; good sushi: all you can eat, served on a running sushi belt, plus buffet of asian food, reasonably priced (lunch 8,90€, dinner 14,90€).
Snack Point (Best Worscht in Town), Rheinstraße, Pavillon No. 4 (near Friedensplatz in front of Galeria Kaufhof department store), . M-Fr 11:00-20:00, Sa 10:00-18:30. Currywurst prepared to your specification. Select the flavour of the curry and how spicy you want your sausage to be. Request intensity levels C and above at your own risk, C is really hot and the scale goes on to F.
Cielo, Ludwigsplatz 6, Darmstadt, ☎ +49 6151 136-1912, . Menu combining German cuisine with some Italian and American cuisine.
Hobbit, Lauteschlägerstraße 3, ☎ +49 6151 714261, . Student pub with student-friendly prices. They serve good pizza. If you're lucky you'll get a table.
Grohe Brauerei, Nieder-Ramstädter-Str.3, Tel: 06151/425255 Fax: 06151/716644, . A smaller traditional brewery. It has its own tavern, where you can drink the freshly brewed beer, and eat typical local foods. It is in the Nieder-Ramstädter-Straße 3, and can easily be reached by tram or by foot from the city center. The beer is also available for sale in bottles or barrels. Many locals believe that this is the best beer available in Darmstadt.
Ratskeller: . A tavern located in the city center, at the market place, brew their own beer, which is also very tasty. The tavern is in the cellar vault of an older building and has a nice, traditional atmosphere. Everyday (only in winter) between 5.30 and 6.30PM there is the "Schoppestund" It's a happy hour where you can get a freshly brewed beer or dark beer for 1.50 EUR. It's definitely worth a try.
Rummel Brauerei. The largest in Darmstadt, brews the "Darmstädter" Bier, which is available in many restaurants and taverns in Darmstadt.
Hesse's national drink, apple cider (Apfelwein, or, in the local dialect, "Äbbelwoi"), is very popular here too. It is available in pure form, or blended with sparkling water ("sauer gespritzt") or lemonade ("süß gespritzt"). Foreigners not used to the unusual taste (it is much more sour and less sweet than the cider common in other countries) might want to try the version blended with lemonade first.
Darmstadt is a popular alternative for business travellers if trade fairs in Frankfurt result in overbooked hotels. Therefore trade fairs in Frankfurt have a high impact on fluctuating price levels. Try Neu-Isenburg or Dreieich if hotels in Darmstadt are booked out already
Messel Pit Fossil Site  a UNESCO World Heritage Site located a few kilometers outside Darmstadt. Messel has a small railway station on the Darmstadt – Aschaffenburg line. From the station it is about a 20-minute walk (there is no bus) out of town to the south.
Heidelberg Historic city known for its picturesque old town