Set on the Rhine River, Karlsruhe is fuelled by science, technology and creativity. The city is home to a major university attended by more than 40,000 students, which keeps the atmosphere lively and liberal-minded. Museums, parks and historic architecture add to the city’s appeal.
Things to do in Karlsruhe
Karlsruhe is anchored by a magnificent Baroque palace built in 1715 by the city’s founder, Karl Wilhelm. The 32 streets fan out from the palace and inspired the unique design of Washington D.C. In summer, locals flock to the palace gardens to bask in the sunshine, picnic on the grass and play lawn games.
Known as Kunsthalle Karlsruhe by locals, the State Art Gallery presents an outstanding collection by international masters such as Monet and Renoir, as well as German heavyweights like Lucas Cranach the Elder. In the Orangerie, you’ll find contemporary works by artists such as Gerhard Richter. Another cultural gem, the enormous ZKM Centre for Art and Media occupies a former weapons factory filled with interactive exhibits and digital displays.
At just 15 kilometres from the Grand Est, you’ll notice plenty of French flair in Karlsruhe. Patisseries, wine bars and artisan delis all reflect the city’s French influences. Just outside the city centre are charming neighbourhoods filled with Art Nouveau townhouses.
Karl Wilhelm didn’t scrimp on green space when planning Karlsruhe, with more than 800 hectares of public parks and gardens to enjoy. Lush greenhouses and lily-filled ponds dot Karlsruhe Botanical Garden. A short 30-minute drive takes you to The Black Forest, where scenic trails wind through evergreen woodlands and rolling pastures.
Getting around Karlsruhe
Karlsruhe is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot. Local buses, trams and light-rail trains are a fast and affordable way to get around, while dedicated cycle paths are an eco-friendly alternative. Stuttgart Airport is a one-hour drive away.