The pretty spa town of Wiesbaden might be proud of its reputation as one of Europe’s most prestigious wellness centers but its self-effacing elegance keeps its feet firmly on the ground. This might be a town of glitzy shopping boutiques and exclusive health resorts, but there’s still something for everyone in the provincial capital of Wiesbaden.
Lying across from Mainz on the banks of the Rhine and perched at the gateway to the idyllic Rheingau Wine Region, Wiesbaden benefits from a tranquil location worthy of its many health resorts. The town’s popularity can be traced back to Roman times when word about the region’s thermal springs quickly spread around the country. There are twenty-six natural thermal springs in the city, renowned for their health and healing properties and founding an enormous health industry. The exquisite 1,500-square-meter Kaiser Friedrich baths, built on the site of an ancient Roman steam room, are the most celebrated, but hotels all over the city feature thermal spas and wellness facilities.
The Roman spas aren’t the only reminder of the city’s historic prowess and a walking tour of Wiesbaden unveils a number of notable buildings. The Heidenmauer (Heathens' Wall), the Römertor (Roman Gate) and the Roman Open-Air Museum are the most impressive remnants of the city’s Roman past, but the oldest intact building is the early 17th-century Old Town Hall. Equally impressive are the 129-meter long spa colonnade, the longest columned hall in Europe; the 19th century Hessian State Theater; and the neoclassical domed Kurhaus, one of the city’s most spectacular buildings, now housing the famous casino of the same name.
The continual influx of well-heeled Europeans has served to make Wiesbaden one of Germany’s most sophisticated cities and the city center is teeming with luxury restaurants, chic bars and bistros, distinguished art galleries and grand hotels. As such, you’ll never be short of things to do, but for a real celebration of local culture, time your visit for the Wilhelmstrasse street festival, one of Germany’s biggest, held on the city’s principal shopping street.
There are regular trains running from Frankfurt to Wiesbaden.
Alternately take the more scenic option of a boat down the Rhine River -
the Cologne-Mainz route stops at Wiesbaden, as do many of the tour