Beer, History, and Attractions: Why Baden-Baden in Germany is the Place to Live
Germany at Its Best
If you've never heard of Baden-Baden, then you have missed out on perhaps the quintessential German town! Sure, we've all heard of Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg but what about the quaint little towns that offer a unique and original insight into German life? Berlin can be very touristy and absolutely everyone says they have to make it to the Hofbräuhaus (and I would agree). But those can seem a bit unreal and illegitimate at times. Want to see the real Germany? I submit to my audience that Baden-Baden is flawless in its cuisine, attractions, friendliness, and originality! By no means am I an expert, since I've only been there once and it was only for one weekend. Nonetheless, that is all the time that is needed to fall in love with this amazing little town. Let me explain...
It all began in April 2011 when I made a weekend trip to Baden-Baden, Germany with two friends. We flew from Rome, Italy into Baden-Baden and we immediately noticed a change. After all, we had been living in Rome surrounded by the hustle and bustle, huge crowds, and dirty streets, then we were instantly thrown into a clean, quiet, serene atmosphere. Needless to say, we loved it and vowed to enjoy every minute!
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Lodging & Amenities
The very first thing we did was find our hotel and check in. It was called the Hotel Deutscher Kaiser, the most amazing little hotel you could ask for in a little town, and the steward was kind enough to help check us in and offer us a city guide. We had a private room with its own separate bathroom and a divider, so that the girls could have their own room. We arrived late in the evening, but two of us still went out for a beer! We found this little family-owned bar less than five minutes from our hotel, which ended up being just the neighborhood bar. My friend and I just sat there at the bar for a couple hours sharing stories and kicking back in Germany. What I found interesting was that the husband was the bartender and his wife was the waitress! Not going to lie, it was cute. Anyway, I found the best beers to be Ulmer Pilsener, Bitburger, and Löwenbräu, but that's just my opinion. You can't ever go wrong with a German beer and every bar and restaurant had a great selection to choose from! One of the best things to do in Baden-Baden is just to try every restaurant and that includes the hotel. Being a guy, I thought the free breakfasts in the morning were a plus!
Just walking around town and experiencing the natural beauty of all the gardens was enough for a whole day! My friends managed to get up early in the morning to watch the sunrise (I didn't) in the park and enjoy the weather. We went to Baden-Baden at the beginning of spring, but going in the winter is just as incredible! In short, any weather is great weather for Baden-Baden. With such fantastic weather, we walked around town and the nearby hills for all the fresh air one could ask for. Whenever we got lost, inevitably some kind German walked up and volunteered to aid us. I must say, I have never run into more generous Europeans in my life! Their English was just as good as their German and everyone was so happy-go-lucky it made my day! Leave it to Baden-Baden to impress me in every way!
One of the best little restaurants we ate at was called Gockelstub'. Unfortunately, since it was a Friday during Lent and we're all Catholics, we couldn't have any meat like schnitzel or goulash! It was unfortunate to say the least. However, we did make it to other restaurants on the following Saturday and Sunday for authentic German/Hungarian/Austrian food which all have similarities. Combined with a good beer, German food is incredible! These restaurants weren't touristy either. You could tell they have tourists come in, but that wasn't their style to cater to tourists. Instead, we found that they had a legitimate knowledge of their own cuisine and would regularly serve the local citizens.
Perhaps the most exciting experience of our trip was climbing the mountain to get to the old castle at the peak! It's called the Altes Schloss Hohenbaden and is over 900 years old! It was an all-day event, since we walked from our hotel to the mountain, hiked all the way up, then found a restaurant inside and decided to eat and then bum around the castle for a couple hours. In summary, totally worth it! The castle is actually a B&B you can stay in, if you're willing to pay a little more. Rooms ranged from €32 to €76 depending on size of the room and amenities. We found the food and service to be amazing (as per usual) and the surrounding landscape absolutely breathtaking! In the picture here you can see us looking down on Baden-Baden from the top of the castle. Imagine making it to the top of the castle and just letting your mind wander. With the Rhine Valley at your back and a beautiful little town in front of you, how could one not be engrossed in the moment? Once at the top of the mountain, there are numerous trails to explore and get lost in! As someone with German ancestry, I couldn't help but think how this was once my family's homeland. I felt this immediate attachment and desire to stay and hence one of my dreams to one day retire and live out my days in Germany!
The Tip of the Iceberg
Of course I left out a great deal of other things to do in Baden-Baden! There was the Fabergé Museum that we went to (and I recommend doing), the Roman Baths we missed out on, the casino, the symphony, shopping, etc. In other words, there are just too many things to do and see in Baden-Baden! For everything else that we missed, take a look at the 7-minute video below and see for yourself what you are missing out on!