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Last updated : Nov 2009
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg - TravelPuppy.com
The Neckar Valley, in the north of the state, is a major wine-growing region, with vineyards located around castles such as Gutenberg, Hornberg and Hirschhorn, each of which offers splendid views of the surrounding landscape.

To the east of the romantic university town of Heidelberg, another scenic route begins, the 280km (175-mile) long Castle Road, which leads to Nuremberg in Bavaria. This route follows the river, branching off at Heilbronn and continuing east to medieval places such as Rothenburg and Ansbach, also across the state border in Bavaria.

Further to the south is the Swabian Jura, a limestone plateau between the Black Forest and Europe’s longest river, the Danube. Interesting places to visit here include Hohenzollern Castle near Hechingen, Beuren Abbey and the Bären Caves. Picturesque towns include Urach and Kirchheim-unter-Teck.

Einstein’s birthplace, Ulm, houses the world’s tallest cathedral spire (161m/528ft). Following the road from Ulm one reaches Reutlingen and Blaubeuren, with its fine abbey. Zwiefalten has remarkable Baroque church.

In the southwestern corner of the state, the Rhine acts as a natural border between Germany, Germany and Switzerland. To the east of the river lies the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) where fine mountain scenery and beautifully situated lakeside resorts like Titisee-Neustadt and Schluchsee combine to make the area popular year round with walkers in summer and skiers in winter. The historical character of the area is preserved in the Black Forest Open Air Museum at Gutach.

The Romans first recognised the therapeutic powers of the Black Forest’s springs. In addition to the region’s best-known spa town, Baden-Baden, there are many other charming villages and resorts in the surrounding area, principally Freudenstadt, which claims to have more hours of sunshine than any other German town. The climatic spa of Triberg has 162m (531ft) high waterfalls and a swimming pool surrounded by evergreens.

Baden-Baden

The Black Forest’s chief spa, Baden-Baden, was the summer capital of Europe during the last century. Travellers still flock to this delightful town to ‘take the waters’, which may be inhaled as a vapour, bathed in or simply drunk. Fortified by the water’s therapeutic powers, one can take advantage of Baden-Baden's many sporting facilities. For the less energetic, the evening could be spent playing roulette or baccarat in a casino which Marlene Dietrich herself regarded as the most elegant in the world.

Other attractions include the Baroque Kleines Theater, National Art Gallery, the Friedrichsbad Romano-Irish temple and baths, the Margravial Palace (museum), 15th-century Collegiate Church, Russian Church, Romanesque Chapel, parks and gardens, Lichtentaler Allee, tennis, riding, 18-hole golf course, winter sports, international horseracing weeks at Iffezheim and a modern congress hall.

Constance (Konstanz)

Constance is a German university and cathedral town on the Bodensee (Lake Constance) which has shores in Austria, Switzerland and the Germany. Constance (Konstanz) is a frontier anomaly, a German town on the Swiss side of the lake, completely surrounded by Swiss territory except for a strip along the waterfront.

Attractions include the Konzilsgebäude, Renaissance Town Hall, historic old Insel Hotel, Barbarossa-Haus, Hus-Haus, and the old town fortifications Rheintorturm, Pulverturm and Schnetztor. The town has theatres, concert halls, a casino and hosts an international music festival as well as the Seenachtfest, a lake festival. Reichenau, an island with a famous monastery and the island of Mainau, with stilted buildings, make an interesting day trip.

Excursions

The Bavarian town of Lindau is a former free imperial city on an island in Lake Constance and has a medieval town centre and an old Town Hall (1422-35).

Other attractions include Brigand’s Tower, Mang Tower (old lighthouse), Cavazzen House (art collection), Heidenmauer (wall), St Peter’s with Holbein frescoes, harbour entry (new lighthouse), international casino, and boat trips.

Opposite the town of Constance (Konstanz) is Meersburg, an old town with 2 castles. Here there is also the German Newspaper Museum which covers the history of the German-language press on its 3 floors. The museum is only open in the summer. As an area Lake Constance is the focal point of a delightful holiday district, rich in art treasures and facilities for outdoor activities. The Rheinfall (Rhine Falls) at Schaffhausen, a Swiss town on the north shore of the lake, are a spectacular draw just over the border.

Freiburg

Freiburg is the gateway to the Black Forest, an archepiscopal see and an old university town. The Gothic Cathedral (12th-15th centuries) has a magnificent tower (116m/380ft) and is a much lauded architectural masterpiece. Views from the top are spectacular after quite a climb.

Other attractions include the historic red Kaufhaus on the Cathedral Square (1550), Germany’s oldest inn, Zum Roten Bären, and many excellent wine taverns. The city is famous for its trout and game dishes and environmental innovation and for which it has earned the title of ‘green capital’ of Germany. Museums include the Zinnfigurenklause (pewter figures) and the Augustinemuseum housing Upper Rhine art. The Wentzingerhaus hosts the City History Museum. The nearby Schauinsland Mountain (1284m/4213ft) is accessible by the cable car.

Excursions

Nearby Todtnauberg in the Upper Black Forest is the highest resort in the Black Forest (1006m/ 3300ft) and a perfect observation point is the Belchen summit nearby. The highest mountain is the Feldberg, with its popular winter skiing slopes.

Heidelberg

The most famous place on the Neckar River is Germany’s oldest university town, Heidelberg, dominated by the ruins of its famous 14th-century castle.

Other attractions include more than 10 museums, the ‘Giant Cask’ in the cellar holding 220,000 litres (48,422 gallons), Church of the Holy Ghost, St Peter’s Church, Karlstor (gate), and wine taverns. The castle is partly Renaissance, partly Gothic and Baroque in style, and serenade concerts take place during the summer in the courtyard area. Another highlight is the German Museum of Pharmacy.

Heilbronn

Heilbronn is a former imperial city, surrounded by vineyards and situated on the Castle Road. The Renaissance Town Hall has an outside staircase, clock, gable and astronomical clock.

Other attractions include the 16th-century Käthchen House, the Gothic Kilian Church with its 62m (203ft) high tower (1513-29), and the Shipping Museum. The town is also a good base for tours into the Neckar Valley.

Karlsruhe

The prime reasons for visiting Karlsruhe are the town’s Schloss and surrounding Schlossgarten parkland. It also offers the ZKM Centre for Art and Media museum.

Mannheim

Mannheim is a commercial, industrial and cultural centre on the confluence of the rivers Rhine and Neckar. Attractions include the former Electors’ Palace, now the university, the Kunsthalle fine arts museum, the Barockschloss castle, Municipal Art Gallery, Reiss Museum in the old arsenal, the old Town Hall and Market Square and the National (Schiller) Theatre.

Stuttgart

The state capital is a green and open city surrounded by trees and vineyards with only a quarter of its total area built on. Two of the major industries in Stuttgart are car manufacture and the publishing.

Attractions include the modern Staatsgalerie, the Prinzenbau and Alte Kanzlei on the Schillerplatz, the Neues Schloss, a vast palace now accommodating the State Museum, which served as the residence for the kings of Württemberg and has been painstakingly restored after 1945; Württemberg Regional Museum, 15th-century Collegiate Church; TV Tower (217m/711ft high); Killesberg Park; Ludwigsburg Palace; Wilhelma Zoo, botanical gardens, theatre, and mineral-water swimming pools. The Stuttgart Ballet and Chamber Orchestra enjoy worldwide renown.

There are Mercedes and Porsche museums, a covered Markthalle (Market Hall), and wine and beer museums. The city is also home to the Carl Zeiss Planetarium.

Tübingen

Tübingen, south of Stuttgart, is a world-famous romantic university town on the River Neckar. The old town centre is unspoilt.

Attractions include the Castle of the Count Palatine (1078); late Gothic Collegiate Church (1470) with royal burial place, Market Square with Town Hall (1453), picturesque Neckar front, Hölderlin Tower, former student dungeons (1514), old and new lecture theatres (Aula) of the university; Bebenhausen Abbey and the Schloss Hohentübingen museum.

Ulm

Ulm is famous above all for its soaring Gothic Cathedral (768 steps in the 161m/528ft tower, choir stalls by J Syrlin).

Other attractions include the beautiful Town Hall with famous astronomical clock, Corn Exchange (1594), Schuhaus (1536), Schwörhaus (1613), old town and fishermen’s quarter with city wall and Metzgerturm (butchers’ tower), Wiblingen Abbey, Baroque library, German Bread Museum, and the Municipal Museum with local works of art.