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Wiesbaden

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Central Germany : Hesse : Wiesbaden
Revision as of 11:47, 11 December 2010 by 87.199.35.42 (Talk)

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Wiesbaden [1] is the capital of the German State Hesse. Wiesbaden is a historic spa city which has catered to people from countries near and far for many centuries. Even the "old" Romans knew of the "Aquis Mattiacis".

Today it is part of the big Rhine Main area and profits from it's proximity to the Frankfurt Airport and the business center of Frankfurt. During peak times (trade fairs, conventions etc.) a lot of business travellers stay in Wiesbaden instead of Frankfurt and relax from the busy metropolis in this smaller city with a charming old city.

Get in

Wiesbaden is very well connected by many highways from Frankfurt, Cologne or Mainz. Trains travel frequently and are very enjoyable. Travel times by car are roughly 15 minutes (from Mainz), 30 minutes (from Frankfurt), or 2 hours (from Cologne / Köln).

From the Airport

A taxi from Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to Wiesbaden costs around €60. Unless it's the middle of the night and you've missed the last train public transport (S-Bahn or Deutsche Bahn) is a much better deal at €3.80 one-way.

From the Terminal 1, follow the signs to the regional train train (Frankfurt(Main)Flughafen Regionalbahnhof) which is in the basement of the Airport building. Usually Wiesbaden is the terminal station for the S-Bahn/regional train so you can easily find the correct platform. Note: There are two train stations at the airport; in the basement the regional train station (S-Bahn & fast regional trains) and one for mid-/long-distance (Fernbahnhof) trains.

The long-distance train station is a longer walk (about an extra 7-12 minutes) and has much less frequent service to Wiesbaden.

Please see additional notes in the sections below regarding train tickets.

Buying RMV Tickets

Buying your ticket:

1. Look for the Blue-Green ticket machines labeled RMV. (Red machines are for long-distance DB trains). 2. Type the destination code first (ie 65 for Wiesbaden). Codes are fully listed on the machine, but for quick reference:

Wiesbaden 65 Frankfurt (City) 50 Frankfurt (Airport) 5090

3. Under or to the right of the number pad, look for the "Einzelfahrt" label. There are two buttons to the right of this label. 4. Press the left button for an Adult ticket; the screen should display €3.70 if you are at the Airport or €6.75 if you are in Frankfurt. 5. Insert € coins or bills. 6. Remove your ticket and change from the machine. The ticket is already validated and you can board the S8 or S9 for Wiesbaden. (S1 from Frankfurt city as well). 7. If you need to start over, press the red C button. Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it!

By car

If you start in Frankfurt, take the A66 until Wiesbaden-Erbenheim (Exit 6). Here you follow the signs to Wiesbaden City Center and Wiesbaden Kurhaus.

If starting from the Frankfurt Airport follow signs for Wiesbaden, which takes you on the A3 until the Wiesbadener Kreuz, where you switch to the A66 until Exit 6.

By train

Frankfurt-Wiesbaden

S-Bahns heading to Wiesbaden are S1, S8 and S9, all starting in Frankfurt. You can also take the Regionalbahn (regional train) or the ICE (which costs more). A one-way ticket from Frankfurt to Wiesbaden costs €6.75 (valid on S- and RB-trains). If you are travelling in a group, ask for group prices. Get to the train station a few minutes early to allow time to figure out the ticket machine; don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. On trains marked RB, IC, or ICE, you can buy a ticket from the conductor for a small additional charge compared to the ticket machine price. However, on S-trains (and other metro, regional, and intra-city trains) in Germany, there is no fare conductor, and you are expected to buy your ticket in advance from a machine. Such trains are patrolled regularly by fare auditors (sometimes plain-clothed, but always carrying identification). You will be fined €40 if found without a ticket on a train that doesn't have a fare conductor.

Cologne-Wiesbaden

If you are travelling to or from Cologne (Airport code CGN, also Köln) an unforgettable experience is the ICE high-speed train run. The direct Wiesbaden-Köln ICE reaches a top speed of nearly 300 kph. However, there are only two direct trains a day in both directions; the morning trains depart between 06:20 and 07:00, while the evening trains depart between 16:45 and 17:10. The direct trains have a travel time of between 1:04 and 1:16. There are several other indirect trains available with one connection; the travel times for these is between 1:36 and 2:16.

If you are able to buy a ticket three days or more in advance, you will get the best price on long-distance ICE trains with the "Savings Fare". Look for the red ticket machines at any big train station. Click the UK flag for English, then click on Savings Fare. More information and online purchase are available here: [2]


Train and Bus Links

Wiesbaden trains and busses operate under the RMV Travel Network (Rhein-Main-Verkehrsverbund). Full schedule and pricing details are available at [3].

Wiesbaden Bus information can also be found here: [4]

The German National railway, Deutsche Bahn, can be found at [5]

Get around

Once you are in the city centre it's pretty comfortable to just walk around. There's a main pedestrian area (Fußgängerzone) which is similar to an open-air mall, but more relaxed. Shops line the street and alleys, and it's mostly closed off to cars. Many shops, cafes and restaurants can be found in this area. Be sure to walk around the "Old City" (Altstadt) as well.

If you want to go further out of the city centre, you can use the developed bus system. Buses travel frequently, and on time! It is possible to buy tickets on the bus, just ask the driver (because of possible language-barrier issues, just say the name of the street you want to go to). Your trip will cost you a minimum of €1.40 (adult), but probably no more than €2.20 (one way). There's also a one day ticket, with which you can go wherever you want, available at the ticket machines for €5.50 and €3.25 for adults and children, respectively. Weekly tickets are available for €19, and have the added bonus of one other adult and all of your own children (up to 14 y.o.) travelling for free from 7PM weeknights, and all day Saturday and Sunday (and public holidays).

See

The Nerobergbahn is a water ballast funicular railway. It is the last and the one water ballast funicular in Germany. You can get tickets from the ticket controller

The most attractive building in Wiesbaden is the Kurhaus situated in the city center. Built for emperor Wilhelm around 1900 it serves as wellness and leisure time centre. It also offers a pretty garden where you can walk around or relax. Next to it are two further important buildings: the famous casino and the theatre.

The Bahá'í Temple or House of Worship [6] - While not located in Wiesbaden, it's in a small town called Langenhain, only about a 15 minute drive away through pleasant countryside and forest, and only one of eight such Temples around the world. It's open to the public every day of the week, with a service at 3PM on Sundays (also open to the public). The building is architecturally interesting, and has been likened to a lemon-squeezer :) If you're lucky the sun will shine through the 540 windows when you're inside - the effect can be quite breath-taking. There is also a small information centre with tea and coffee and welcoming hosts who speak English.

Do

Wiesbaden is famous for its spas. If you like saunaing and wellness you really have to plan one day for relaxing at the Kaiser-Friedrich Therme in the city center. This old spa (clothing free) lets you feel like Caesar with its old roman frescoes and its four saunas, swimming pool and whirlpools. Enjoy it!

Visit the "Red Baron" Manfred von Ricthofen's grave. Von Richtofen famously flew a red Fokker Tri-plane in which he made 80 aerial kills during WWI and became the leading fighter pilot of his age in the fledgling "art" of aerial combat. Recent forensic study indicates he was killed by an Australian soldier's rifle shot during a low-level dog fight. Von Richtofen is buried along with other family members in a cemetery in Wiesbaden. As a result of de-emphasizing Germany's militaristic history many locals do not know of von Richtofen's presence in their community. Enter the Sudfriedhof ("Southern") Cemetery on Siegfriedring Strasse. After you enter under the arches turn right on the gravel path. Just past the buildings on the right there is a semi-circlular gravel path that enters the Westhain Section. Follow the path counter-clockwise about 40 yards ( 35 meters ) to the most Northwestern point on the semi-circle (there is a map on the wall under the arched cemetery entrance - although the von Ricthofen family graves are not marked on it). Manfred, Lothar and other family members rest on the left side of the path - commemorated with a large stone family marker and individual stone markers in the ground. Manfred and Lothar both received the highest German military honor of its time - le pour le Merit.

Get a Massage [7]- Traditional Thai massage. A bit pricier than Thailand, but 17 EUR will buy you a half-an-hour back, neck and shoulder massage. Be prepared for a bit of back cracking! They have private "booths" separated only by hanging sheets, but you will find the atmosphere inside quiet and relaxing. It is imperative to tell them beforehand if you have any medical conditions. At the end of your massage they bring you a cup of jasmin tea and a hot cloth for your neck and shoulders which is very refreshing! You are also supplied with a clean set of clothes (loose-fitting pants and a t-shirt) to wear during the massage.

Visit the Nerotal Lookout - for a great view overlooking Wiesbaden. You can either drive up and park near the top, or take the Nerobergbahn [8](cable car) up to the top from Nerotal (Street off the end of Taunus St). Prices: Adults €2.20 one way, €3 return. Children €1.10 one way, €1.50 return. See their website for further details (timetable, group fares, etc).

See a Movie - There's only one cinema in Wiesbaden that plays English movies - and then only once a week (every Tuesday). It's one cinema company, but they have three cinemas across Wiesbaden, but the English movies usually play at the one in the centre of the city ("Hollywood"), just across from the McDonalds (opposite Karstadt). Their program is available online [9]. I believe prices are only €6 per ticket. Look out for posters with "O.V." on them - that stands for "Original Version" and means they're not dubbed! (All movies are dubbed in Germany so it's hard to find theatres that still play them in English).

Buy

  • Karstadt, Kirchgasse 35-43. A department store, the chain of which is found all throughout Germany. In addition to what you'd expect in such a store, there is also a restaurant cafe on one of the upper floors as well as a grocery store in the basement.
  • Mall, Bahnhofsplatz (next to Wiesbaden's train station). An attractive mall with underground parking located right next to the Wiesbaden Hauptbahnhof. Stores include Saturn (music, videos, electronics) and Lilien-Carré.

Eat

1001 Nacht Persian food maybe a bit more expensive if you don't earn Euros, but definitely worth the extra cost. In the pedestrian area (main open shopping district in the centre of the city), street address: Langgasse 20-22


Vapiano[10] - An Italian restaurant chain that specialises in salad, pizza and pasta. Pasta is freshly made, and you can watch them prepare your food when you place your order. They have a set menu, but you are also free to "create your own" by choosing from the ingredients available. When you enter the restaurant each guest is presented with an electronic card which you hand over every time you order a dish or a drink - this is added to your tab and you pay upon leaving. Don't lose this card because you will be charged 50 EUR upon exit! Affordable dishes for around 7 EUR for pasta or pizza.

Thai Express - located at the beginning of the Pedestrian, Langgasse 36. Affordable delicious Thai food for around €7-8 a dish. They also have the best homemade lemonade in town :)

  • Restaurant Zafferano (im Crowne Plaza Wiesbaden), Luisenstrasse 14-16 (65185 Wiesbaden), +49611 1620, [11]. Restaurant Zafferano

Drink

  • Gestüt Renz, a nice Bar in the Nerostraße with events on the weekend Gestüt Renz

Sleep

Budget

  • Motel One, next door to the Wiesbaden Hbf (Main Train Station) and reasonable at €49/night. [12]
  • Etap Hotel at €39/night
  • Gästehaus Veth, A small and welcoming Guesthouse starting with reasonable 40€ per night for a single room Pension - Gästehaus Veth

Mid-range

  • Hotel Drei Lilien, Spiegelgasse 3 (City Center), +49 (0)611 991780, [14]. Family run hotel with just 15 rooms right in the city center and within walking distance to the state theatre. Excellent fresh and hand made breakfast. Free wifi and own parking facilities
  • Hotel Alexander [15]
  • Hotel Admiral [16]

Splurge

  • Crowne Plaza Wiesbaden, Bahnhofstrasse 10-12 (65185 Wiesbaden), +49 611 1620, [17].

(Part of Intercontinental Group which includes the Holiday Inn and Intercontinental Brands) "Business" Hotels such as Crowne Plaza are frequently empty at weekends. It is worth checking the hotel website for deals if you are visiting since although the rack rate at Crowne Plaza may be €300 B&B can be obtained for as little as €85

Get out

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