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Revision as of 19:06, 4 June 2012
City panorama, in the foreground the cathedral
Baden Baden  (meaning Bathing Bathing) is a spa town built on thermal springs at the edge of the Black Forest in Baden Württemberg, south west Germany. Don't be put off by its reputation as a hang-out for the rich. This picturesque town is beautifully situated in a wooded valley, and you can enjoy yourself here without spending or gambling a fortune.
The railway station is a 15 minutes' bus ride from the town center. It is served by Deutsche Bahn running north–south along the Rhine (Mannheim–Basel) and east–west (Munich–Stuttgart–Strasbourg–Paris). On arrival, catch the frequent bus 201 to the town center (direction Lichtental/Oberbeuern; get off at Leopoldplatz).
The airport Karlsruhe/Baden Baden (Baden-Airpark) is located only 10km from the city. The airport is served by low-cost carrier Ryanair, which offers cheap flights to several European destinations.
The town centre is small enough to walk around. Bus routes to surrounding towns and villages radiate from the town centre (Leopoldplatz and Augustaplatz). Buy your ticket at the machine at the bus stop before boarding. You can get also tickets from the bus drivers. It's rather to use the express busses. They need only 5 minutes from the main station to the city.
- Casino (Spielbank), 1 Kaiserallee, ☎ +49 72 219000, . James Bond-worthy cocktail club complete with gilt ceilings, 11 roulette tables and an outdoor baccarat terrace.
- Concert hall (Festspielhaus)
- Drinking hall (Trinkhalle)
- Art Museum 
- Frieder Burda Museum, 8b Lichtentaler Allee, ☎ +49 72 21398980, . a dazzling collection of German Expressionist and Gerhard Richter masterworks on display are attracting tourists from around the world.
- Brahms House 
- Lichtental Monastery 
- City Museum of Baden-Baden
- Ruins of the Roman Baths 
- Castle Hohenbaden 
- Walk along the river Oos or in the hills and forests around the town. The tourist office at the Trinkhalle can sell you a booklet of walks based on bus routes. The walking is generally easy, but for maximum reward for minimum effort, take bus 204/205 to the Merkur Bergbahn funicular railway, ride up to the cafe at the top, and walk back via the old castle (Altes Schloss).
Römerplatz, the heart of the bath quarter (Badeviertel), is five minutes' walk from Leopoldplatz through the pedestrian zone. In Römerplatz you can see the ruins of the Roman baths and take to the thermal waters yourself at Caracalla Therme and Friedrichsbad. More details:
- Roman bath ruins (Römische Badruinen), (adjacent to the underground car park below Römerplatz). tel +49 7221 275934.  Every day, 11AM-5PM. Small area of excavations with good audioguide in English. €2.
- Caracalla Therme, tel +49 7221 275940 (fax +49 7221 275980, [email protected]).  Every day, 8AM-10PM. Follow the steam rising off the outdoor pools to find this modern bathing complex. Your ticket gets you into the pool area (where you'll find a cafe, several indoor and outdoor pools, whirlpools, waterfalls, water jets and so on) and the upstairs Roman Sauna Scape. €14-20 for 2-4 hours. No children under 3.
- Caracalla Therme spa is unlike its sister Friedrichsbad Spa next door in that swimming costumes are required to be worn at all times in the pools. The upstairs sauna area is nude only however and you should be warned is mixed sexed for those with a prudish nature. Once you have removed your swimwear however you are free to enjoy a wonderful series of indoor and outdoor saunas, steam rooms, plunge pools, hot tubs and relaxation areas at your leisure. This is a unique and highly invigerating experience to be tried at least once in your life time.
- Friedrichsbad, tel +49 7221 275920 (fax +49 7221 275980, [email protected]). . M-Sa 9AM-10PM, Su 12PM-8PM. Friedrichsbad is a beautiful temple to traditional bathing culture, built in 1877, complete with statues and decorative tiling and culminating in a circular central pool in an ornate domed hall. In these elegant surroundings, the Roman-Irish bath (Römisch-Irisches Bad) is a programme of heat, massage, steam and water that will detoxify and rejuvenate any weary traveller. It's a wonderful, deeply relaxing experience. €21 for 3 hours (optional massage €8 extra). No children under 14.
The procedure at Friedrichsbad is unique, so read these instructions carefully before you go in, especially if you don't speak German. Buy your ticket at the entrance, plus a token for the soap-and-brush massage (Seifenbürstenmassage) if you want. At the top of the stairs, men and women go into separate changing rooms and follow the programme separately for the first hour or so (this traditional procedure is now only followed on three days of the week -- see the website). Take off all your clothes and put them in a locker, inserting your ticket into the slot inside the door before locking it. Naked, follow the sign to the baths, where an attendant will greet you. Follow the numbered sequence of rooms. Each room has a sign in English on the wall telling you how long you should spend there. You'll be given a towel and bath shoes at the first shower. You need these for the hot rooms (you must lie or sit on your towel). After the hot rooms, you reach the massage station, where you must hand back your towel, shoes and token. After the massage, proceed to the steam room(s) and shower again before going through to the pool area, where men and women bathe naked together in pools at three different temperatures. When you've had enough, head back via the cold plunge pool and the sleeping room, to be wrapped in blankets for half an hour.
There are plenty of cheap places to eat in the pedestrian zone in the town centre. Vegetarians need not despair. Noodle dishes (Spätzle) are ubiquitous, and look out for dishes based on chanterelle mushrooms (Pfifferlinge).
- Restaurant Rathausglöckel, Steinstr.7 (1 minute away from the Friedrichsbath), ☎ +49722190610, . try original german historical dishes.
Please note that there is a city tax that is rarely enclosed in price information or bookings via booking portals.
- Werner-Dietz Jugendherberge, Hardbergstrasse 34, ☎ +49 7221 52223 ([email protected], fax: +49 7221 60012), . checkin: 17:00. Large, comfortable youth hostel (part of HI), about a mile from the town centre. Up a steep hill! Note late check-in time. €15 - 27.
- BookSunShine, . BookSunShine
- Hotel am Markt, Marktplatz 18 (up the hill behind Friedrichsbad), tel +49 7221 27040 (fax +49 7221 270444, [email protected]).  In the heart of the old town, quiet, family-run, excellent value. Loud church bells! Doubles €60-80.
- Brenner's Park Hotel and Spa, Schillerstrausse 4-6, ☎ +49 72 219000 ([email protected], fax: +49 72 2138772), . an establishment of over 130 years of history situated within a legendary park, a Grand Hotel of international reputation.
Free internet access is available at the public library (Stadtbücherei) in Lange Strasse, but you might need to book your session in advance.
- Baden-Baden is ideally placed for day trips into the Black Forest. Other cities within easy reach include Freiburg, Strasbourg and Stuttgart. Avis and Sixt both have car hire depots in the town.
- Bertha Benz Memorial Route - Follow the tracks of the world's first automobile journey (Mannheim - Pforzheim/Black Forest - Mannheim) back in 1888
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