Every month I travel to Baden-Baden for work but I’ve never been there as a tourist. Once I’ve decided to extend my business trip and combine it with a weekend in pretty Baden-Baden. Spoiler: Stepa and Scout came there as well.
Definitely, Baden-Baden is the most Russian city in Germany. There are Russian language and fur coats everywhere. Baden-Baden is a historic spa town, which was famous and very popular among Russia’s aristocratic families for more than 200 years. The city has a very special atmosphere due to all that. There is a negative Russian influence (hotels and restaurants are quite expensive/overpriced) but also a positive one (many theaters, museums, concert halls are guaranteed rich cultural life like in Moscow or Saint-Petersburg).
Christmas Market in Baden-Baden
We love to visit Christmas markets in Europe and already saw many. Based on our experience, we can say that Baden-Badener Weihnachtsmarkt is definitely worth to visit.
Here you will find a great choice of food, including local stuff, very cozy stands, decorated with fir branches, a tasty smell of traditional winter dishes and Glühwein, and enchanting atmosphere.
The market is quite big and located just in front of grand beautiful Kurhaus. It is open till the 6th of January – much longer than other Christmas markets in Germany – and attracts many international tourists (not only Russians). By the way, despite its famous name, the town is not overcrowded – at least, yet.
In Trinkhalle you can visit a nice Christmas cribs exhibition (for free), and drink the thermal water, of course. We do it every time while visiting spa towns like this one and even have special cups for that.
Löwenbräu: the craziest Christmas village you’ve ever seen!
Baden-Baden itself is nicely decorated for Christmas. Cute historical houses are illuminated and surrounded by the Black Forest mountains… So romantic! It is a pleasure to just walk around.
Many restaurants are offering outdoor seating with cozy fur hides and heaters that, combined with a mulled wine, can definitely make you warm.
But the most impressive and crazy-decorated restaurant in Baden-Baden is Löwenbräu. It seems that owners decided to collect as much Christmas stuff as possible. We also went there for a dinner to eat traditional Bavarian food (they even have several vegetarian options).
What to do in Baden-Baden with a dog: hiking in Black Forest
As we read in the New York Times article about Baden-Baden, in 1865, Ivan Turgenev wrote to Gustave Flaubert: “Do come to Baden-Baden. Here are the most magnificent trees I have ever seen. They do wonders for the eyes and the soul.” And we tend to agree! The parks of Baden-Baden and Schwarzwald (Black Forest that surrounded the city) are magical.
We visited Baden-Baden with a dog and decided not to go to the spa (obviously, dogs are not allowed there). Instead, we picked up two great hiking routes to spend time together with Scout and enjoy nature (like Turgenev did with his favorite dog!). The great thing: the starting point for hiking is only a short ride by car (15 minutes) or bus from the city center.
On Saturday morning we rode to Merkur Mountain by the historical Merkurbergbahn (cable car). The whole trip takes around 10 minutes and costs only 2 euro per person. On the top, you can enjoy a nice view to Baden-Baden and neighboring mountains. We went back to the valley by foot – it was an easy and comfortable 4 km hike through the Black Forest.
The next day we visited the ruins of old castle Schloss Hohenbaden. We had luck and it was snowing! For us, it was the first snow this winter.
The castle looked magical: empty, quiet, covered in snow and fog. It was damaged by fire more than 400 years ago but not abandoned: today you will find there a restaurant, parking, and public toilets.
We walked around the castle and went to the forest. There are many short or long hiking routes to choose from.
It is great that you don’t need to go far away to get into nature. In Baden-Baden, it is possible to go for a hike and spend a fancy evening in a theater just in one day.
As a conclusion, we could say that Baden-Baden is a perfect place to relax and get into the spirit of Christmas!