Wiesbaden is situated in the southwest of Germany and has more than a quarter of a million inhabitants. On top of this, it also has around ten thousand Americans who are in the US Army. It is classed as one of the most aged spa towns within the EU and its name literally means ‘meadow baths’. To qualify for this, fourteen springs are still operating today.
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History and Geography
Wiesbaden sits right on the Rhine and, on the opposite bank, is Mainz. The centre of the city is around five kilometers away, sitting on flat land. In the distance are the Taunus Heights, with the Hainerbert to the east of the city. However, it is the wide and flat plains that make this place ideal for cycling and hiking. The municipality is just 204 square kilometers, but the north has some extremely large forest areas. On the western side, expect to see grapes growing and general farmland.
Map of Wiesbaden
Best time to go
Wiesbaden is a very moderate place when it comes to temperatures with May to September being the warmest months. Even then, the temperatures will not usually go above 25°C (77°F), which is really quite pleasant. Winter sees daytime temperatures dropping down to around 4°C (39°F).
Getting Around in Wiesbaden
Since the centre of Wiesbaden is usually clogged with traffic, having a self drive car or taxi during the working week is probably not the best choice for tourists. Spending hours in traffic jams is what most of us want to get away from on holidays, so think carefully here.
There is a good train service in Wiesbaden and visitors can easily connect to places like Frankfurt and Koblenz or Mainz. There is also high speed train that runs from the city to Cologne-Frankfurt and beyond. Those who are staying for some time may find it more economical to purchase a BahnCard to get discounts along the way.
The bus service is good and connects all the districts with a half-hourly service. This is increased to a fifteen minute service during the rush hour so people do not have to wait long to get on board.
Since Frankfurt Airport is not far away, Wiesbaden can be accessed by visitors from around the globe. The airport also has two railway stations making it extremely easy for visitors to get into the city.
Major Attractions and Sights
Some of the buildings in this part of the world are absolutely stunning. The Baroque-style state theatre is a masterpiece of over the top design. It was designed by two Viennese men, Fellner and Helmer, in the late nineteenth century. Along the same complex of buildings, find the Theatre Kolonnade and the Kurhaus Kolonnade among others. Expect to see performances brought in from the wider Germany area which will include theatrical shows, classical music and opera.
Another great place to explore is the Market Church (Marktkirche) which, at 92 meters, it is the tallest building in the town. Try to catch a glimpse of it in late afternoon when the masonry turns to a lovely orange color in the fading sunlight.
One of the largest churches in Wiesbarden is the St Boniface church which has a really striking appearance. Not only can it seat 4,500 people, it has two huge spires which look out over the town. It has a bit of a history since it almost fell down not long after it was built in the early nineteenth century, but locals got together to ensure that it went back up again, this time with a completely different feel to the place.
Being a spa town, a must-visit is the spa rooms. Located next door to the casino, it features the longest colonnaded hall in Europe, a clutch of assembly rooms and a pretty English-inspired garden where you can follow in the footsteps of such luminaries as Goethe, Brahms, Wagner and Dostoevsky.
The old city is charming and its main attraction is Schlossplatz with the magnificent city palace that was once home to the Prussian royal family. The winding narrow streets make for an interesting walking tour and you can see the old structure of Weisbaden – the Heathen’s Wall, and also the Bäckerbrunnen fountain. As you meander, you’ll hear the striking and the call of the Wiesbaden Cuckoo Clock – reputedly, the largest in the world.
It may be a good idea to jump on a train and take a trip to Koblenz. The railway line goes all the way along the Rhine and there are beautiful castles en route for photo opportunities. While in Koblenz, grab a lovely lunch in the old Prussian fort which has a remarkable statue of Kaiser Willhelm himself.
There is a lovely spa town in the Taunus hills with the Taunus Wunderland with a host of fun attractions for the rest of the family. Here, expect to ride on the overhead railway, rides for the brave of heart or those who would much rather something a little more sedentary. There is even a carousel ride for the very young and they get to play at being pirates or challenging the older folks to a great water fight.
There is all kinds of stuff going on here, for example, spot the dragons hiding behind the rocks, a haunted house, giant water slides and pirate ships to hitch a ride on.
Another energy sapping place to go to is the Kletterwal Neroberg which is situated out of Wiesbaden. Not only is the place scenically beautiful, it is also home to the largest ropes course in the whole area. There are four different courses on offer which challenge people to climb, just dangle or balance across the course. Don’t forget to cover legs with good trousers or track suit bottoms and wear comfortable flat shoes for the climbing parts. They only close when it is raining or snowing or the wind is too high so ensure that weather appropriate clothes are brought along.
For something a little bit different, adults and kids could try out the Schloss Freudenberg. This Neo Classical mansion provides just the right environment for everyone to experience different ‘sensory’ feelings like touch, smell, thinking etc. The Dark Bar serves up drinks and food in complete darkness, as the name would suggest, by blind waiters who rely on their very honed senses to find the clients. In the gardens there is an Aeolian harp which plays with the strength of the wind blowing through it, a labyrinth made from stone and many other toys and playgrounds for the kids to let off even more steam.
Cycling is a must in this part of the world and whole families can get on their wheels and head off into the Rheingau region. This is a lovely area to view and it is the healthy option for getting around. Not only is the town easily traversed by bike, it is also easy to go off to the mountains in the Taunus Woods. Visitors can book up for the Riesling Routes or try the main Veloroute-Rhine which takes riders through a few countries.
There are cycle maps to show people which way to go and to assure the family that they do not get lost en route. Overnight stays can also be factored in so there is no scramble for shelter at the end of the day. This is a lovely way to reconnect with the family after working hard all year!