Karlsruhe is not a tourist stronghold in the true sense. It is gaining in importance nationwide primarily because the Federal Constitutional Court is located in the baroque planned city. Karlsruhe is often used as a base station for excursions into the immediate area.
The third largest city in the state of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart and Mannheim lies on the right bank of the Rhine and borders directly on several regions that are mentioned in every travel guide. Varied day trips to the northern Black Forest are the order of the day. Also culinary strongholds like the Südliche wine Route and Alsace are in the immediate vicinity. The spa town of Baden-Baden can be reached by car, taxi or train within half an hour.
It is often overlooked that the capital and residential city of the former state of Baden, founded in 1715, is itself a cultural stronghold and offers many unforgettable attractions. Above all, the varied history of Baden and the Baden Revolution can be impressively understood in Karlsruhe.
Tourist infrastructure in Karlsruhe is well developed
The pulling power of Karlsruhe is reflected in the fact that almost a million overnight stays were recorded again in 2022 after the end of the corona pandemic. Local public transport (ÖPNV), organized by the Karlsruher Verkehrsverbund (KVV), operates numerous bus, tram and S-Bahn lines that cover the inner-city regions as well as the surrounding area. Visitors can get around quickly, cheaply and easily in taxis or in the numerous taxis Minicars in Karlsruhe from attraction to attraction.
In terms of cuisine, “Savoir Vivre” is very important in Karlsruhe. The French influence in the numerous restaurants and cafés cannot be overlooked. There is also no shortage of unusual trendy bars. Regional, national and international stars and starlets regularly provide varied entertainment with shows, concerts and festivals on the Karlsruhe stages. A large number of museums, galleries and exhibitions make the hearts of culture-loving travelers beat faster.
The fan-shaped city has a variety of sights worth seeing and unforgettable. Below we look at the most notable of their kind.
The castle, which has housed the Baden State Museum since 1921, is located right in the center of Karlsruhe. The imposing building served as the residence and government seat of the Margraves and Grand Dukes of Baden for 200 years. Only when Frederick II fled from the Baden revolutionary troops did Karlsruhe Palace lose its function as a residence.
The Baden State Museum is the focal point of Baden's cultural, art and regional history. Its globally significant collections cover more than 50.000 years of international cultural history. The exhibits provide the viewer with a well-founded overview from prehistory to today.
Fans of historic old towns will find what they are looking for in Durlach, which was first mentioned in a document in 1196. From here the founding of Karlsruhe began. Today Durlach is the largest district in Karlsruhe with 30.000 inhabitants. The narrow streets of the old town, the city walls and the market square exude a medieval flair.
The Turmberg ruins, located on Karlsruhe's local mountain, are worth a visit. Especially when visitors go on the Turmbergbahn, which was completed in 1988. The Turmberg itself was converted into a viewing platform and offers a picturesque overview of Karlsruhe, the Kraichgau and the Northern Black Forest.
The Center for Art and Media (ZKM) has been located in a former ammunition factory since 1997. It serves as a world-renowned interface between science and art. In addition to 15.000 m² of exhibition space, a library, a media library and a research platform known as the Hertz Laboratory are bundled under its roof. The exhibitions themselves revolve around this Digitalization topics, globalization and medialization.
Karlsruhe is nicknamed the “residence of law” as the Federal Court of Justice and the Constitutional Court are located there. Crucial legal conflicts that affect the entire republic are resolved here. Visitors have the opportunity to observe the high judges at work. Tours take place during the day on all working days.
The origins of one of Germany's largest natural science research museums date back to the middle of the 18th century. The museum is equipped with a vivarium that is home to numerous living amphibians and reptiles from the tropics, the Mediterranean and coral reefs.
Many permanent and special exhibitions provide impressive insights into zoology, mineralogy, geology and entomology (insectology). Also worth seeing is the fossil exhibition, which shows fossilized creatures that are over 140 million years old.
In the center of Karlsruhe city center is the lively market square, where several markets are held. Flower and plant lovers and gourmets in particular will get their money's worth. The square is flanked by the Roman-style Protestant town church and the Karlsruhe town hall, which was built in 1805.
In the middle of the market square is Karlsruhe's landmark. It is a seven meter high pyramid made of sandstone, inside of which rest the bones of Margrave Karl Wilhelm zu Durlach.
Europaplatz is a hub within Karlsruhe's western city center. It is less talked about as a tourist hotspot. Nevertheless, it is interesting for foreign visitors because there are so many shopping opportunities and restaurants concentrated in a small area.
The Zoological City Garden in the southern part of the city is conveniently located between Ettlinger Allee and the city center. The successful symbiosis of fauna and flora takes up 22 hectares of the Karlsruhe city area, of which around 9 hectares are used as a zoo.
The zoo came into municipal care in 1877 and today includes around 5.500 animals and 300 different species. Highlights of the Zoological City Garden are the Exotic House and the Gondoletta Railway, with which the many animals can be observed from a special perspective.
Another blooming oasis in the Karlsruhe city area is the Botanical Garden, which is located directly on the southwest side of the palace gardens, right next to the Federal Constitutional Court. It was created in the 18th century and is now an oasis of peace. Cozy seating amidst numerous fountains, sculptures and greenhouses invite you to relax.
The old slaughterhouse in Karlsruhe's Oststadt was in operation until 2006. Afterwards, a creative park was gradually created there, which includes several cultural centers and artistic institutions. The Tollhaus cultural center has been located in the former weighing hall since 1992, and its opening is described as the starting signal for the transformation of the traditional area.
From 2007 onwards, the transformation of the 7,8 hectare area, which houses numerous listed buildings that indicate the original use, accelerated. Since 2010, the site has been used as a venue for theater performances and concerts. The Karlsruhe Human Rights Center is repeatedly mentioned in the national press.
The cultural offering of the creative park is rounded off by a start-up center, an event GmbH, a catering establishment, a music club and a bar. All three of the latter facilities offer regular live operations.