AN ADVENTUROUS GUIDE ON EXPLORING THE MOST FAMOUS SPA TOWN
If you are planning to visit the historic and world-famous spa town of Baden-Baden, you’ve come to the right place. For you, we have created this list of exciting things to do when travelling with children. Baden-Baden is most famous for its soothing hot springs, historic architecture and the epicentre of culture and cuisine – it has been for centuries. Yet, there is absolutely no need for boredom when travelling with your loved ones. There are plenty of adventures to discover while enjoying your family trip in this enticing gem of a fairy-tale town. Its strategic position makes it a great starting point for a hub when on vacation. It’s fairly close to Frankfurt’s International Airport and day trips to both France and Switzerland are easy to plan and execute. If you’re longing for a relaxing spa day while you’re there, make sure to check out our guide for the absolute best spas in Baden-Baden. Also, if you happen to visit this precious town without any kids, be sure to check out our guide to discovering Baden-Baden.
There is an obvious reason the Black Forest area is often associated with Brother Grimm’s fairy tales. Just look at the evergreen woodlands and picturesque villages on display here. One of the most exciting things to do, rocking the fairy-tale theme, is going to visit one of the many ancient castles scattered throughout the area.
Sitting majestically high above Baden-Baden, the “Hohenbaden Old Castle” allows visitors to experience one of the largest castle residences of the 14th century. Being the former home of the Margraves of Baden, this monument has become popular again ever since spa-tourism came into fashion in the early 1800s. Countless staircases let you reach an abundance of platforms. Experience the ever-changing perspectives of not only Baden-Baden itself. Looking down on the Rhine River and all the way to the French Vosges is a thrilling experience for both adults and adventurous knights-to-be.
At 489 metres above sea level, wild and romantic “Alt-Eberstein Castle ” is a hidden gem – even though it’s enormous walls can be seen from miles away. Originally property to wealthy counts of Eberstein, the castle was passed on to the Margraves in the 13thcentury. Being used as a prison back in 1434 makes it just more intriguing and mystic. After taking in the beautiful scenery, the historic landmark surroundings are the perfect spot for a fun hike back to town.
“Schloss Neuenburg” is a medieval castle ready to be explored by kids of all ages. It specifically caters to inspire and educate, while leaving enough room to be conquered by the children themselves. Also, there is an adorable miniature theatre performing fairy tales for the kids to enjoy. It’s a 40-minute drive from Baden-Baden, but definitely worth visiting.
2. Wildlife Reserve
One of the most interesting hikes to do with kids is the 4 km trail surrounding Baden-Baden’s wild game reserve. Lots of deer, mouflons and wild boars are living in this beautiful enclosure patiently waiting to be discovered. The trail itself has only a very slight incline and is perfectly walkable with a pram.
3. Merkur Funicular Railway
Sitting right next to the wildlife reserve and sharing the same parking lot is Baden-Baden’s infamous Merkur Funicular. It will take you straight to the summit of Baden-Baden’s iconic Merkur Mountain. There is a charming restaurant with local dishes, an opportunity to paraglide, bike, picnic and a fun playground to discover. Once you’re done, you can either take another ride with the funicular or enjoy the most epic hike back down the mountain.
4. Baden-Baden Road Train
If you fancy discovering Baden-Baden on a gorgeous and special vehicle, we have just the right train to hop on. The City-Bahn starts your journey right in front of the Kurhaus, driving through Lichtentaler Allee, discovering the monumental mansions nestled in Baden-Baden’s Hollywood Hills called Paradies (an ornamental garden that stretches over three streets, with a central feature of a cascading waterfall) all the way up to both the Wildlife Reserve and the Merkur Funicular, which we recommend you visit. While kids adore the train ride on the streets of this charming city, adults can choose to have a guided tour of the city via headphones.
5. A Charming Carriage Ride
Again, this is a great way to learn about the city without the hassle of walking all day. Like the Baden-Baden Road Train, this ride starts at the Götheplatz, next to Kurhaus and the old theatre. From your carriage, you get to see all the places that make Baden-Baden truly unique. There are three different tours, ranging from 20-minutes all the way to a full hour of sightseeing. Top tip: you can call in advance and have a tailor made tour exceeding one hour.
6. The Unimog Museum
Whilst not directly in Baden-Baden, the Unimog museum in Gaggenau is just a 15-minute drive from Baden-Baden. You really don’t have to be into heavy machinery and engineering to appreciate this ground-breaking attraction. It’s far from a mere exhibition of iconic vehicles and the museum offers special tours for children, inviting them to be part of numerous activities throughout the day. And to answer the obvious question right away: yes, they will be able to drive an exciting parkour in one of those monumental beasts. There is also an enormous adventure playground and a restaurant with kid-friendly menus. The building itself even won awards for its extraordinary appearance, designed by local architect Florian Kohlbecker. The outside facade is made of wood from the Black Forrest and it’s made the building a prominent landmark. If you’re done at the museum and still don’t want to head back to your hotel or apartment, the Gaggenau-Park is just around the corner inviting you to explore.
7. Lichtentaler Allee
Baden-Baden is known for its stunning architecture and beautiful nature. A great way to experience both is a walk through Lichtentaler Allee. Starting at Götheplatz, the historic avenue stretches all the way to the Lichtentaler monastery. Passing by spectacular fountains, an impressive rose garden and a super fun adventure playground, this is one of the best walks to take your kids on without them getting bored, ever.
8. Meliskopf Adventures
On the mountains opposite to Merkur is an exciting destination for families with kids of all ages, called “Meliskopf”. During the winter, it’s a fabulous place to ski. There’s a ski-rental, lifts and a snow cannon, making sure you don’t end up going there for no reason. In the summer, however, this place really shines. There is a thrilling railed bobsled track, a beautiful high rope parkour, bow and arrow shooting area as well as a kid-friendly bungee jump.
9. Pirates, Rollercoasters and Spaceships at Europa Park
This attraction isn’t in Baden-Baden itself, but an hour-drive away in the town of Rust. Heck, the theme-park itself is the size of Baden-Baden itself. With over 100 attractions on offer, you’ll have a fabulous day and instantly plan your next visit. There is just so much to do here. From 0-100, there are tons of thrilling adventures waiting for people of all ages. From mega coasters to wild water rafting, unique virtual reality experiences or enchanting shows, Europa Park offers enough to just book a hotel inside the park and stay a little longer.
10. Spa-Day with Kids
Longing for an entire afternoon in the water without having to leave town? We got you covered. The Caracalla Spa is in the very centre of Baden-Baden. Using the very same hot springs that lead to Baden-Baden’s popularity in the first place – this spot is loved by kids and adults alike. While the little ones have plenty of opportunity to enjoy the water, grown-ups might find more interest in the over-the-top sauna as well as the beautiful and opulent garden.
11. Pool Day
The Hardbergbad is a kids first destination with a huge outdoor pool and an exciting waterslide. For younger kids, there’s an entire area that’s safe for toddlers and babies, making sure parent’s heart rates stay calm throughout the day. Your kids will have a splendid time.
12. Brenners Park-Hotel
If you are either staying at the Brenners Park-Hotel, or you’re planning just a short visit. It’s a great opportunity to visit this top tier hotel that offers a kid’s splash area with an abundance of toys and a vast garden to roam around. Not to mention private changing areas, and most importantly child friendly meals to make sure they stay happy.
13. Toccarion Museum
If you are staying at Roomer’s hotel, you’ll have a real treat right at your doorstep. The Toccarion is a museum made for children to experience and explore the wonderful world of music. Both high-tech games and classical instruments are right next to each other, making it a fun way to tantalise your senses. There are tours and workshops too and you can even let them host your kids’ birthday party.
14. Indoor Rock Climbing
As the sun might not shine on all days of your stay, there’s a great way to spend time indoors. Right next to the Baden-Airpark, you’ll find the “DAV-Kletterzentrum” an 800 m² indoor climbing centre, with over 100 different routes. It’s great for all climbing abilities, from absolute beginners to high-ranking pros, with over 50 safety lines and more than 100 routes. At the beginning of 2014, a separate boulder room was put into operation on the third floor. There are about 160 m² of climbing area available for boulderers with over 100 problems in different difficulty levels, from easy to very difficult.
15. Ice Skating
The Baden Rhinos ice arena is located right next to the Airpark. While the ice hockey pros – the Baden Rhinos – train there regularly, the space is open to the public most of the time. There are ice skating courses available, a skating disco on the weekends, and of course you can rent a pair of skates. Also, if you happen to visit Baden-Baden during winter, there’s a beautiful pop-up ice rink in the city centre, which is built to cater for kids. A rental service is available as well as little penguin shaped carts for the little ones to learn how to ice skate. Parents are welcome to join, or have a relaxing cup of “Glühwein”, some traditional sausages or waffles from one of the many booths populating the city during the Christmas market season.
16. Adventure Golf
Baden-Baden has a highly recognised 18-hole golf course on the “Fremersberg”. For kids though, we have a far better option. About 30 minutes by car awaits the “Adventure-Golf-Course in the village of Oberharmersbach. It is a super fun 18-hole mini golf course. The tracks are reflecting local landmarks and throwing in obstacles such as water, old truck tires and wooden castles.
17. Classic Golf
If you want to take a more sophisticated approach to golfing with your loved ones, we have a special tip for you. The Golf Club Baden-Baden is not only one of the most renowned golf courses in all of the Black Forest area. It also offers classes for kids. Not only do the grown-ups get to swing in beautiful nature, but the little ones are able to return home with a whole new skill set.
18. Fun Boating
Only a few minutes outside the city centre, you’ll find the “Schwarzenbach-Talsperre”. Up in the mountains, there is an enormous dam with a corresponding lake. Rental prices are super affordable, and kids of course will love the boats. It is possible to dock and land anywhere on the beautiful shores surrounded by nothing less than the stunning forests. It’s a truly magical place to spend an entire day.
By Emanuel Prestele