Ensconced in the woods of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, Baden-Baden is a mesmerizing spa town known the world over. Bill Clinton once remarked that the locale was “so nice that you have to name it twice!” The double name is actually not superfluous – the first “Baden” refers in German to the famous thermal baths on which the town is built, while the second specifies the state in which they’re located. A go-to vacation destination for celebrities and royalty across the globe, Baden-Baden displays an amazing grace and beauty, with art nouveau villas, gorgeous mountain views, and open-air cafés.
Location: Nestled in the Black Forest Foothills
Baden-Baden sits on the shores of the Oos River in southwestern Germany, close to the French border and within reach of Switzerland. The town is surrounded by the gentle, forested hillsides of the famed Black Forest. Baden Airpark, a small international airport, is located just 10 kilometers from the center of town, and regional transit is available by train or bus. Many distances within the town center are easily covered on foot, should you prefer the scenic route.
Business: A Hot Springs Retreat
As a spa town, Baden-Baden’s tourist economy relies primarily on the thermal springs upon which the city was built, and has for centuries. Though the baths remain the primary attraction, the Spielbank Casino is one of Germany’s oldest, having catered to locals and visitors alike for over two centuries. Numerous hotels and resorts are in operation as well.
Culture: Germany and France meet on Roman Ruins
Baden-Baden’s hot springs were known even to the ancient Romans, who built baths in their own distinctive style here. Today, these ruins are open to visitors, and make an excellent stopover on your way to indulge in the modern spas. Elsewhere in the town, you’ll find the culture a quaint mix of German and French, owing to Baden-Baden’s location near the border. Sightseers will enjoy the Lichtental Monastery, Castle Hohenbaden, and Fabergé Museum, among others.
Activities: Explore Germany’s Renowned Black Forest
If you’ve had your fill of the spas, fear not: Baden-Baden offers a wealth of other activities depending on the time of year. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy taking in a game of tennis or a round of golf at nearby Fremersberg’s 18-hole course, while adventure junkies will find no shortage of hiking and climbing opportunities in the surrounding Black Forest foothills. Should you visit during the winter months, join the crowds on the skiing slopes.