Wiesbaden is a beautiful city: hot springs, architecture, vineyards, festivals, shopping. Not many people know the city but it actually is a great destination for a short trip. Earlier I wrote on this blog about Wiesbaden and particularly the Museum Wiesbaden. Of course there are more things to do and see! Let me list the most important travel tips for you and yes, it’s a great destination for families as well!
Visit festivals – Theatrium
Wiesbaden lies in the middle of the Rheingau area, famous for its Riesling wine. In a leaflet I counted 33 wine festivals in 2013! 33! You all know I love a good wine and I really think I have to go back to visit one of these….
Visiting last June we attended another great festival: the Theatrium. It attracts around 250,000 visitors each year and is one of the oldest street festivals in Germany. You will find street performers, music bands and many (I mean many) stands with ‘culinary pleasures’ (wine, sekt, beer, grilled meat and much more….)
Wine, music and theatre festivals can be visited all year round. Make sure to check out the list of upcoming festivities.
The Kurhaus; the most famous building in Wiesbaden. The Kurhaus was meant for spa visitors to get some entertainment in the evening (music, drinks) after a full day of spa treatment. In earlier days people visited spas to be cured from various diseases. The doctor strictly forbid them to engage in any form of excitement during the day. They could only walk the streets and adjacent parks a bit. That’s explaining the quote from our guide Patrick “Visiting a spa bored the hell out of you during these days“.
Luckily the Kurhaus offered a little bit of entertainment in the evening. Nowadays it has grown to become an important meeting place for all sorts of entertainment. There is a casino, a huge concert hall and rooms for meetings and events.
Make sure to go inside and watch the beautiful Dome. The Dome carries statues of women, and according to our Guide Patrick “They show how beautiful women could look after visiting a spa…..but they were also a good excuse to just show naked women.”
Rent a bike
Wiesbaden is also a city that is great to discover by bike (the city even has some special bike lanes). You can rent bikes on various places, but we went to Der Radler, situated at Track 11 in the Wiesbaden central train station. The train station has 10 official tracks and Track 11 is actually only the name of the old blue rail car that hosts the bike rental company.
The great thing about Der Radler (next to competitive rental prices) is that they offer jobs to young persons that want to get their lives back on track again. Youngsters with a criminal background or with problems at home are welcome to work here.
You can drop off your bikes anytime. If the company is closed just leave your bikes and drop the key in the mailbox. Nice solution! So if you want rental bikes, go to Track 11!
Der Radler – Bahnhofsplatz 1 (Track 11) – Tel: +49 171 2227888
Be surprised by the Museum Wiesbaden
This museum really surprised us! Don’t miss out on this one as also your kids will have a fabulous time. The museum combines natural history, contemporary art and paintings from old masters. Read all about the museum in the blogpost “The Magnificent Museum Wiesbaden”
Uphill with the Nero Bergbahn
This little railway is actually quite a monumental one. It is the oldest water ballast-driven railway in Germany, opened in 1888! There are two wagons that pull themselves up to the top. How? The wagon going down has an additional water ballast of 7,000 liters, enabling it to pull the other wagon up. Brilliant.
Don’t miss out on this little train when you visit Wiesbaden. You will enjoy beautiful panorama views of the city on top of the Nero hill. Read more about the train here.
Kids can enjoy the tree climbing park (Kletterwald) or visit the forest adventure trail.
Swimming and dining at the Opelbad
This is the most famous swimming pool in Wiesbaden. Talking about a pool with a view!
The Opelbad swimming pool dates back to 1934 and is also called ‘Pool on the Hill”. You can swim while enjoying magnificent views of the city and the oldest vineyards in the area. The pool was offered to the city of Wiesbaden by Wilhelm van Opel (indeed one of the founders of the Opel brand).
The pool is a real part of Wiesbaden history. It is situated on the Neroberg and is open from May to September (7am – 8pm). Hungry? You can have lunch and diner at the Opelbad restaurant called Wagner (of course with the same fabulous view!).
Don’t feel like swimming outdoors? Visit the Kaiser Friedrich Therme to enjoy the warm thermal waters!
Old Synagogue memorial (gedenkmal)
This monument was realized in 2011, so actually quite new. It remembers Judes from Wiesbaden who were murdered in the second World War. The monument is build on exactly the same spot were in 1938 the Old Synagogue am Michelsberg was destroyed.
The place was almost forgotten, especially due to a very large and high bridge that guided the traffic at this important intersection. Our taxi driver told us that when the bridge was torn down in 2001, people started to discuss the opportunity for a monument immediately. Ten years later the monument stands to remind us all of war atrocities.
The Old Synagogue memorial is situated on the intersection of the Emser and Schwalbacherstreet, North-West of the historical city center.
Elsewhere in the city you will find other (smaller) memorial pieces, like these stones in the sidewalk. They show the names of people who lived or work in the adjacent building. These people were transported and killed in the terrible concentration camps. The stones are called Stolpersteins and are individual memorials for victims of Nazism. They are created by Germin artist Gunter Demnig.
Thermine train (tour de Wiesbaden)
Well, what to say about this little city train called Thermine? The train drives a fixed route through the city with only 3 stops. It starts in the historical center and rides all the way up to the Nero mountain, passing lots of luxury and historical villas on its way.
Through the speakers a voice explains the points of interest. If you don’t understand German, please do check the schedule to make sure you are on the English spoken tour!
For kids its fun. Me? Well, the train is a nice way to see some parts of the city but I rather rent a bike…
Check the website for more details. You don’t have to make a reservation. Just hop on the train and the driver will sell you a ticket.
Gaze at the Russian Orthodox Church
This church is situated on the way up (or down for that matter) the Nero mountain. With its five golden cupolas it’s a fascinating building. The gold reflects nicely in the sunlight and you can see it from afar when you are walking through the forest.
The church was built around 1850 as the last resting place for the remains of the wife of a local Duke. It also has an old Russian cemetery, laid out in 1856.
When you use the Neroberg Mountain Railway you can reach the church by a 15min walk downhill. You will pass the Opelbad swimming pool on your way down. The Russian church is also one of the 3 stops of the little Thermine sightseeing train.
Enjoy delicacies: Ditsch and Kunder
Fresh from the oven: pretzels (brezel) from Ditsch! Ditsch has 3 bakeries in Wiesbaden. We bought our bag of fresh brezels at the trainstation and they taste so good! Ditsch bakes pretzels ever since Wilhelm Ditsch founded the bakery in 1919… Our kids adore them and every time I visit Germany for business I have to make sure to bring a bag of brezels along!
More into chocolate? Go and visit the Chocolate Residence of Wiesbaden: Kunder. In the Wilhelmstreet 12 you can choose from hundreds of pralines and other delicious chocolate products. This confectionery shop was established by Fritz Kunder in 1898. Life is all about chocolate….
We went to Kunder to enjoy a very special praline. This orange praline was made by Kunder as a special gift to the Dutch King and Queen when they visited Wiesbaden early June.
Bonus: Der Eimer (the Bucket)
We didn’t have enough time to visit this bar in Wiesbaden called ‘Der Eimer’ (The Bucket). But the story is too good to not share it with you. The story goes that when they built this (crooked) building the toilet areas were completely forgotten….so buckets were placed in the corner of each room! Imagine…
Our family has been traveling to Wiesbaden by invitation of Wiesbaden Marketing.