Baden Baden Introduction Walking Tour, Baden Baden

Baden Baden Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Baden Baden

Baden-Baden, a town in southwestern Germany, has been a source of relaxation and healing for centuries due to its mild climate and mineral-rich thermal springs, known as "Aquae" and "Aurelia Aquensis" to the Romans.

The name "Baden-Baden" is derived from the word "Baden," which means "bathing" in modern German. In 1535, the town evolved into the seat of the Margraviate of Baden and became distinct as "Baden-Baden", signifying its position within the territory of Baden (Baden-Baden formally got its current name in 1931).

Over the centuries, Baden-Baden experienced trials and tribulations, including the devastation caused by the Thirty Years' War (from 1618 to 1648) and subsequent French occupation; but it rebounded as a refuge for emigrants fleeing the French Revolution in the 1790s.

The town gained popularity in the 19th century, attracting notable visitors like Queen Victoria and French composer Berlioz who sought relief in its healing waters. During its zenith in the 1850s and 60s, Baden-Baden was dubbed "Europe's summer capital," drawing tourists from across the continent with luxury hotels, a renowned casino, and scenic spots like Lichtentaler Allee.

The 20th century brought challenges, including bomb damage during World War II. However, Baden-Baden bounced back again and became the headquarters for the French occupation forces in Germany and a hub for public broadcasting.

Today, it continues to thrive as a popular resort. In addition to visiting the remains of the Roman baths, you can get the firsthand spa experience at the 19th-century Frederick's Bath (Friedrichsbad) and the modern Caracalla Baths.

Augusta Square and Fountain, located in the heart of Baden-Baden, serve as a welcoming centerpiece.

For art aficionados, the Museum Frieder Burda is a treasure trove of contemporary art. Its striking architecture and world-class collection make it a must-visit cultural hotspot.

The Spa Resort (Kurhaus) Baden-Baden is a splendid example of Belle Époque architecture. It has been a magnet for socialites, celebrities, and those seeking relaxation for centuries.

The Pump House (Trinkhalle), an architectural gem known for its beautiful colonnade, houses a fascinating gallery of frescoes and is a testament to the town's rich spa history.

Strolling along Sophie Street (Sophienstraße), you'll discover a blend of boutique shops and quaint cafes that exude a delightful old-world charm.

As you explore Baden-Baden, you'll be excited to acquaint yourself with an exquisite town that bears the mark of centuries past while offering modern-day delights. So, don't wait! Come and enjoy Baden-Baden now for a truly memorable and relaxing experience.
How it works: Download the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store to your mobile phone or tablet. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and its built-in GPS navigation functions guide you from one tour stop to next. The app works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Baden Baden Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Baden Baden Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Germany » Baden Baden (See other walking tours in Baden Baden)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.5 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: nataly
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Augustaplatz (Augusta Square)
  • Lichtentaler Allee
  • Museum Frieder Burda
  • Kurhaus Baden Baden (Spa Resort Baden Baden)
  • Trinkhalle (Pump House)
  • Sophienstraße (Sophie Street)
  • Fabergé Museum
  • Friedrichsbad (Frederick's Bath)
  • Soldier Baths Roman Ruins
  • Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church)
  • Marktplatz (Market Square)
  • Lange-Strasse (Long Street)
Augustaplatz (Augusta Square)

1) Augustaplatz (Augusta Square)

Augusta Square provides a serene haven for locals and tourists alike. The square, adorned with a charming fountain, invites visitors to pause and enjoy a moment of tranquility amid the bustling energy of the city. Its central location makes it an ideal resting spot during a stroll through Baden-Baden.

Rich in history, Augusta Square evolved from a medieval commercial suburb to a 19th-century landscape featuring villas and stately buildings. The square's current design, characterized by water features and an artificial lake, emerged in the 20th century. Augusta Square's historical significance is intertwined with the community's deep attachment to its design elements, as evidenced by the resistance to a proposed redesign in 2013.

Named after Empress Augusta, a prominent 19th-century visitor, the square carries the legacy of her contributions to Baden-Baden's reputation as a premier spa destination. The fountain's gentle flow and the square's aesthetic appeal make Augusta Square a cherished part of the city's identity.
Lichtentaler Allee

2) Lichtentaler Allee (must see)

Lichtentaler Allee is a charming park and arboretum, contributing to the city's picturesque allure. Stretching nearly two and a half kilometers along the west bank of the Oos River, this avenue traces its roots to a historic footpath dating back to the mid-17th century.

The Allee offers a delightful setting for leisurely strolls amidst a diverse collection of over 300 tree varieties, including chestnuts, magnolias, limes, oaks, and maples. A notable highlight within this enchanting landscape is the Gönneranlage, an Art Nouveau garden showcasing the beauty of over 400 different types of roses.

In addition to its natural splendors, Lichtentaler Allee is home to various points of interest. The Cistercian Abbey of Lichtental, established in 1245, stands as a historic gem along the avenue, featuring the Princes' Chapel. Moreover, the Museum of 19th Century Art and Technology offers a fascinating exploration into the life of Berlin painter Lesser Ury.

Whether enjoying a leisurely walk, reveling in the beauty of blooming roses, or exploring historical and cultural landmarks, Lichtentaler Allee proves to be one of the prettiest and most diverse attractions in the charming city of Baden-Baden.
Museum Frieder Burda

3) Museum Frieder Burda (must see)

The Museum Frieder Burda is a dedicated institution exclusively focused on twentieth- and twenty-first-century art. With a rich collection comprising approximately 1,000 paintings, sculptures, photographs, and works on paper, the museum emphasizes Classical Modernism and contemporary art.

Designed by the renowned architect Richard Meier, the striking building serves as a testament to the spirit of the collection itself. Meier's architectural vision maximizes the impact of changing natural light on the displayed art and seamlessly integrates the museum into the picturesque landscape of Lichtentaler Allee Park. The collection, a deeply personal endeavor inspired by Frieder Burda's fascination with color and the emotional expressiveness of painting, unfolds as a captivating journey through art history.

The museum explores the revolutionary impact of German Expressionism on painting, featuring works by influential artists such as Max Beckmann and August Macke. The narrative continues with the exploration of American Abstract Expressionists, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Mark Rothko, whose innovations in the mid-20th century expanded upon European traditions.

Notably, the Museum Frieder Burda boasts Germany's premier collection of the later works of Pablo Picasso, showcasing the evolution of his artistic expression. Additionally, the museum houses a remarkable collection of sculptures by artists like Picasso, known primarily for their paintings, further enriching the cultural tapestry of the institution.
Kurhaus Baden Baden (Spa Resort Baden Baden)

4) Kurhaus Baden Baden (Spa Resort Baden Baden)

The Kurhaus is a renowned spa resort, casino, and conference complex situated in Baden-Baden, Germany, on the outskirts of the Black Forest. Designed in 1824 by Friedrich Weinbrenner, the main structure boasts impressive Corinthian columns, a paired-griffins frieze at the grand entrance, and neo-classical interiors.

While the casino was originally part of the Kurhaus, it gained international acclaim in the mid-1830s, particularly drawing attention from gamblers when gambling was prohibited in France. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel, "The Gambler," was inspired by his visit to the Kurhaus casino. The legendary Marlene Dietrich once declared it the "most beautiful casino in the world."

Throughout its nearly two-century history, the Kurhaus has experienced fluctuations in popularity. The number of affluent tourists declined during the First World War, but by the 1920s, individuals who amassed wealth during the war began replacing the European elite, contributing to the ongoing legacy of the Kurhaus as a distinguished resort and casino.
Trinkhalle (Pump House)

5) Trinkhalle (Pump House)

The Pump House stands as a splendid architectural gem, constructed between 1839 and 1842 by Heinrich Hübsch. Designed in a complementary style to the spa's main building, this 90-meter arcade is a testament to classical elegance.

Lined with frescoes and adorned with benches, the Trinkhalle is a picturesque structure where spa-goers historically gathered to benefit from the reputed curative powers of the local waters. The colonnade, an impressive feature next to the Kurhaus, once served as the Pump Room, providing a space for individuals to partake in the healing waters.

As you stroll along the front beneath the 16 Corinthian columns, you'll have the opportunity to admire 14 mural paintings by artist Jakob Götzenberger. These captivating artworks, decorating the 90-meter arcade, depict various scenes of the region, incorporating myths and legends into their storytelling.

The Trinkhalle, a harmonious addition to Baden-Baden's spa complex, remains a testament to both architectural and artistic excellence, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the historical and therapeutic ambiance of this remarkable structure.
Sophienstraße (Sophie Street)

6) Sophienstraße (Sophie Street)

Nestled within the historical embrace of Baden-Baden, Sophie Street unfolds as a luxurious tapestry, weaving together history, opulence, and modern elegance. Originating in the 13th century as a path through Gernsbacher Tor, the road transformed in the 1830s into a sophisticated promenade encircling the town. Named after the esteemed Grand Duchess Sophie von Baden, the avenue epitomizes exclusivity, creating an enticing loop adorned with horse chestnut trees.

Sophie Street, emanates sophistication from Leopoldsplatz, ascending toward the Caracalla Spa. This "street of luxury" epitomizes indulgence, with chic boutiques lining the central aisle, offering a cornucopia of delights to an international and affluent audience. World-renowned brands like Hermès, Bogner, Escada, and Longchamp showcase their offerings in dedicated stores, while upscale boutiques feature esteemed names such as Agnona, Giorgio Armani, Emilio Pucci, Van Laack, and Jil Sander.

The allure of Sophie Street extends beyond fashion, as jewelry, watches, gemstones, crystal creations by Zaha Hadid for Lalique, and silver accessories from Christofle beckon connoisseurs. As tourists wander through this pedestrian haven, they encounter the quaint charm of Baden-Baden's stores and restaurants, creating an immersive experience. Whether it's a shaded bench for repose or exploration of deluxe versions of the world's finest offerings, Sophie Street stands at the epicenter of exclusive shopping, inviting all to revel in the grandeur it unfurls.
Fabergé Museum

7) Fabergé Museum

The Fabergé Museum stands as a testament to the exquisite craftsmanship of the renowned Russian jewelry firm, Fabergé. Launched on May 9, 2009, by the discerning Russian art collector Alexander Ivanov, the museum is a treasure trove of Fabergé creations, showcasing a diverse array of items. Alongside authentic Fabergé pieces, the collection includes several Fauxbergé creations, including intricately designed eggs, a fact acknowledged by Fabergé experts during a notable exhibition at the Hermitage Museum in 2020-2021.

The museum, a personal endeavor by Ivanov, involved a substantial investment of approximately 17 million euros for the acquisition and renovation of the building, complete with a state-of-the-art 1 million euro security system. Choosing Baden-Baden was a strategic decision for Ivanov, citing its tranquil ambiance, central European location, proximity to France and Switzerland, historical significance as a resort for the affluent, and its historical appeal to Russians. Safety considerations played a role in Ivanov's choice to establish the museum in Germany.

In May 2012, the Fabergé Museum inaugurated a captivating permanent exhibition titled "Gold of the World." This exhibit boasts over 100 gold artifacts from various civilizations and eras, spanning from the 6th century B.C. to the mid-20th century. Among the notable pieces are an ancient Iranian chalice, ancient Greek jewelry, Fabergé cigarette cases, Aztec and Inca gold jewelry, and a rare 18th-century British gold trophy.

One of the museum's crown jewels is the Rothschild Fabergé egg, a significant engagement gift crafted for Béatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild's brother's fiancée. Ivanov acquired this masterpiece at a Christie's auction in London on November 28, 2007, for a remarkable £8 million, including the buyer's premium, equivalent to almost $16.5 million at the time.
Friedrichsbad (Frederick's Bath)

8) Friedrichsbad (Frederick's Bath)

Friedrich's Bath is a spa building completed in 1877. The opulent Renaissance-style facade of Friedrichsbad features inscriptions from Goethe’s Faust in gold letters. In 1867, with the impending ban on gambling in Germany from 1872, the city of Baden-Baden sought alternatives to maintain its appeal to spa guests.

Karl Dernfeld, Baden-Baden's district building inspector, and Dr. Carl Frech, the grand ducal spa doctor, were tasked with visiting renowned health baths to gather knowledge for the construction of Friedrichsbad. The architectural inspiration for Friedrichsbad came from the Raitzenbad in Budapest and the Graf-Eberhardsbad (now Palais Thermal) in Wildbad, both visited by Dernfeld during his exploration of major health resorts in Germany and Austria-Hungary. The Grand Ducal Friedrichsbad officially opened on December 15, 1877.

For more than 125 years, the Friedrichsbad has been the esteemed venue for Roman-Irish bathing, an amalgamation of Roman cold-blooded thermal bathing tradition and the Irish practice of hot air baths. The elaborate Roman-Irish bathing ceremony, hosted within Friedrichsbad, unfolds across 17 distinct stations. The sequence encompasses showers, warm and cold baths, steam baths, and massages, culminating in a serene phase for relaxation and reading. The intentional variation in temperatures during the treatments and the use of thermal water aim to invigorate both body and mind.

Friedrichsbad proudly upholds the tradition of nude bathing, inviting patrons to immerse themselves in the experience without clothing. Gender-segregated bathing ceremonies take place on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, while the rest of the week allows for mixed-gender bathing sessions.
Soldier Baths Roman Ruins

9) Soldier Baths Roman Ruins

The Soldier Baths Roman Ruins offer a captivating glimpse into the city's rich history as a renowned spa destination for over 2,000 years, formerly known as Aquae Aureliae. Easily identifiable by three suspended Roman amphorae, the well-preserved Roman Bath Ruins are a testament to the enduring Roman influence.

Discovered in the late 19th century during Friedrichsbad's construction, the Soldier Baths reveal a remarkable technical standard, particularly in the hypocaust system—a sophisticated warm-air heating system used to warm bathroom walls and floors.

To fully immerse yourself in the ancient bathing culture, opt for a a multi-lingual audio guide to explore the ruins at your own pace. Don't miss the short computer-animated film, enhancing the experience. Located beneath Römerplatz, the entrance can be accessed via Steinstraße or the Friedrichsbad underground car park.

For a unique experience, the Roman bath ruins can be visited outside regular hours by appointment, with a group rate of €30 plus entrance fees for 1 to 25 persons.
Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church)

10) Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church)

Standing proudly at the heart of cobbled Marktplatz, the Collegiate Church is a captivating architectural amalgamation, showcasing elements of Romanesque, late Gothic, and, to a lesser extent, baroque styles. With its foundations incorporating remnants of the former Roman baths, this pink-hued church holds historical significance and architectural diversity.

The Margraviate of Baden, ruling over southwestern Germany from 1112 to 1803, lends its military commanders the title of margrave. Over time, these commanders evolved into hereditary fiefdoms. In 1872, Baden transitioned into an original German state, and its monarchical era concluded with the end of World War I.

Perched high on the Florentine hill in Baden-Baden's old town, the Collegiate Church boasts an interior that houses the splendid tombs of 14 Margraves of Baden. Originally constructed in the 15th century, the Stiftskirche features carvings above the portal depicting the Madonna with Child, flanked by the Apostles Peter and Paul. To witness the magical play of colors, visit in the early afternoon when the stained-glass windows cast enchanting rainbow patterns across the nave.
Marktplatz (Market Square)

11) Marktplatz (Market Square)

Market Square, situated around the imposing Collegiate Church, serves as a central hub in Baden-Baden, providing access to notable landmarks like the Old Steambath and the Town Hall. The square's charm is further enhanced by a historic fountain, and visitors can ascend the stairs in the north-western corner to reach a terrace adjacent to the New Castle, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city and Old Town.

Dating back to the 1st century AD, the Romans initiated the construction of baths on the plateau near the hot springs, with the spa activities centered around the market square and extending to what is now Römerplatz. In 1847, the discovery of four baths adorned with marble and greenish granite on the north side of the Stiftskirche led to their designation as the Imperial Baths, owing to the high-quality interior and an inscription by the Roman Emperor Caracalla (188–217). The layout of these baths is intricately outlined in color on the paving of the market square.

Over the years, the market square has been a focal point for the town's weekly markets, serving as the heart of urban life. The northern and eastern parts of the square have witnessed the presence of buildings since the Middle Ages. The Höllengasse, located at the foot of the Florentinerberg, has been built over, and the Gasthaus Rose, which once stood in the middle of the square, marked the boundary toward the market square.

During the Middle Ages, the eastern part of the square, extending to the Monastery of the Holy Grave, formed the core of the bathing area. This area housed outdoor baths at the exit of the thermal spas, freely accessible to locals and the less fortunate, along with bathing hostels for external guests.

The transformation of the market square accelerated in the 20th century, resulting in the demolition of the Gasthaus Rose in 1937. By 1970, all houses on the Höllengasse were removed to safeguard the thermal springs, leading to the creation of a new green space along the old Höllengasse for the Horticultural Show of 1981.
Lange-Strasse (Long Street)

12) Lange-Strasse (Long Street)

Lange-Strasse stands as the main shopping artery of Baden-Baden, offering a delightful retail experience for locals and visitors alike. This bustling street is a shopper's haven, adorned with a diverse array of designer boutiques, cosmetics havens, and perfumery treasures. As you traverse Lange-Strasse, the city's vibrant shopping scene unfolds, creating a perfect blend of luxury and accessibility. The curated mix of stores along this main shopping avenue caters to various price categories, ensuring a shopping experience that resonates with both affluent patrons and budget-conscious tourists.

Lange-Strasse not only serves as a commercial hub but also encapsulates the essence of Baden-Baden's dynamic retail landscape. Whether you are in pursuit of high-end fashion or scouting for budget-friendly treasures, Lange-Strasse beckons with its diverse offerings. Thus, Lange-Strasse's appeal lies not only in its commercial vibrancy but also in its role as a cultural and social hub.