Baden Baden (literally translates as to bathe, to bathe) is an historic Roman spa town, lying just north of the Black Forest, west of Stuttgart and close to the border of France. I hadn’t been to this area since I was a child, so for my birthday weekend in the depths of a ridiculously cold February I decided there was no better place to visit to relax and unwind.
1. Get lost in the Old Town
The Old Town in Baden Baden is small but beautiful. Strolling along the streets and side alleys is a lovely way to spend a morning or afternoon – stop for chocolate in the Lindt shop, have cake to die for in Cafe Koenig, or binge on delicious warm pretzels from the bakeries. Also be sure to follow the cobbles upwards to the Stiftskirche for some really photogenic streets along the way. You can’t go wrong really.
2. Relax in the Thermal Baths
You can’t come to Baden Baden and not spend some time in one of the town’s many spas. It’s the most famous spa town in Germany, and whether you decide to go upmarket and check in to a luxury hotel, or visit one of the town’s communal baths, you have to try at least one during your stay here.
Please do note however that most of the spas are nudist (or at least have nudist sections) so if you’re not comfortable with that check before you go – the nudist spas aren’t at all seedy, it’s just a way of being free and a cultural norm here. My personal experience is that being naked in a shared space is both a liberating and confidence building experience – no matter how you feel about your own body, once you’re inside, everyone else there is just as naked as you are and you just roll with it (and of course don’t take any photos in that bit – ha!).
3. Hike the Panorama Trail
Baden Baden is at the northern most tip of the Black Forest, making it a perfect gateway to lots of hiking and nature. As the weather was pretty variable for us (grey skies, mist, rain through to sunshine), we only managed to find one afternoon that worked for a hike. We chose to hike the first section of the Panorama Trail, which starts in Baden Baden so we didn’t have to hire a car. It was one of my highlights and you can read my full guide HERE.
4. Sample sausage & beer in a traditional German Brauhaus
It wouldn’t be Germany without some sausages and beer. Literally as soon as I arrived I made my way to where I feel at home, and decided on Loewenbraeu which was a great choice.
5. Visit Hohenbaden Castle
Hohenbaden Castle was built in around the year 1100 and was home to the margraves of Baden for almost 400 years until it was destroyed by fire and the family moved to the New Castle, closer to Baden Baden. Today the castle is historic ruins with beautiful views.