Karlsruhe is a city in southwestern Germany that houses some of the most diverse activities to indulge in. It is the second-largest city in Baden-Württemberg and home to the two highest courts of law in Germany – the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice. There are plenty of places to visit in Karlsruhe to keep you occupied on your vacation to the city, Not one to fall behind on scenic beauty, Karlsruhe is located on the Rhineland Plain between the Vosges Mountains, Black Forest, and Palatinate Forest. It is also a nerve center of science, technology, and culture and many prime Karlsruhe points of interest are an extension to this. Some of the top Karlsruhe tourist attractions include ZKM Center for Art and Media and The Karlsruhe Palace.
Here's the list of 15 best things to do in Karlsruhe:
1. Visit the ZKM Center for Art and Media
Image source: wikipedia.org
Once known to house a weapons factory, the ZKM Center for Art and Media proudly stands as one of the most cultural buildings in all of Germany. It is a lovely place for social gatherings and organizational events and is easily accessible by local transport. Both temporary and permanent exhibitions are known to be the epitome of cultural and artistic advancement as advertised in the modern era. The ZKM also organizes special events, research projects, and trans-disciplinary projects under the same roof. The Lecture Hall, the Media Theater, the Foyer, and the ZKM Cube are all highly coveted spots and uniquely their own in each and every respect.
2. Stop by The Karlsruhe Palace
Image source: wikimedia.org
Erected in 1715 by Margrave Charles III William of Baden-Durlach, the Karlsruhe Palace is now home to the main museum of the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe. The entire city was originally planned to incorporate the Karlsruhe Palace at its very center. Also, it was originally made of wood until it was revamped and reconstructed from stone in 1746. One of the most interesting things about the palace is its distinctive ‘folding fan’ layout. The museum itself has a wide array of temporary and permanent listings that are part of a superb collection that makes it completely worth the trip. It may be a good idea to start the trip right from the palace.
3. Visit the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe
Image source: wikimedia.org
The Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe is an extension of the Karlsruhe Palace museum. There are lots of exhibits on the Landesmuseum as well that are extremely rare and valuable. The museum itself is capacious and airy that allows visitors to comfortably move around and take their time with the exhibits. In all truth, the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe epitomizes true respect for art and culture and knows how to hang on its roots and not be swayed by the advancement of time and technology. This is an excellent follow-up the Karlsruhe Palace.
4. See the Castle Ruins of Turmberg
The Turmberg is a hill located in a quaint suburb of Karlsruhe known as Durlach, which is the former royal seat of Baden. The seemingly nondescript hill plays home to a beautiful German castle’s ruins. The ruins themselves are quite impressive and it paints a picture as to what it must have been like in its former glory. The easiest way to reach the Turmberg is by means of the Turmbergbahn, which is a funicular railway set for visitors. Originally, the railway system was built to be driven by water weights. The modern version runs on electricity. The location is also naturally quite beautiful and full of rustic charm.
5. Spend a Day at The Karlsruhe Zoo
Image source: wikimedia.org
Conveniently located north of the Karlsruhe Central Station, the Karlsruhe Zoo is one of the oldest and most diverse zoos in all of Germany. Built in 1865, the zoo hosts about 4400 animals ranging over 250 species. It houses a monkey house, an African Savanna Collection, Himalayan Mountains Park, a Pachyderm House, Owl Aviaries, Exotics House, Small Predators House, a Petting Zoo, and many more such theme parks. The fauna is not the only thing to enjoy here as the zoo houses a remarkable collection of flora as well in its many Zoological Gardens that includes a Japan Garden, a Rose Garden, a Perennial Forests Garden, a Scent and Tactile Garden, and even a Seasonal Garden. Fully meant for family fun, the Karlsruhe Zoo is a great place to visit.
6. Take a Trip to the SMNK
The SMNK is the State Museum of Natural History Karlsruhe and one of the two Natural History Museums Belonging to the State of Baden-Württemberg. It is also one of the most important repositories of the State of Baden-Württemberg in terms of Natural History. The museum conducts research on geology, paleontology, taxonomy, biogeography, and ecology. It is also quite well known in Karlsruhe and beyond for house a remarkable collection of exhibits with the permanent ones resting on the upper floor of the museum.
7. View the Karlsruhe Pyramid
Image source: wikimedia.org
Made entirely of red sandstone, the Karlsruhe Pyramid was built over the vault of the city’s founder – Margrave Charles III William of Baden-Durlach. Located at the center of the market square of Karlsruhe, it was erected in 1823-1825. The pyramid is reckoned as the city’s second emblem as a counterpart to the folding fan of the Karlsruhe Palace. Originally, the location was occupied by the Lutheran Concord Church which was later demolished to create the pyramid. Till date, the pyramid can be accessed only by express consent of the House of Baden who formerly owned the church. Nevertheless, the majestic pyramid makes for quite a sight on a trip to Karlsruhe.
8. Go to the Badisches Staatstheater
Any trip to Karlsruhe is incomplete without a trip to the Badisches Staatstheater. To say that it is a theatre and opera house is to call the Sphinx Egyptian. It has existed since 1975 at Ettlinger Tor and is home to many a great event in the world of music and theater including the Hndel Festival on 23 February celebrating the birthday of the baroque composer Georg Friedrich Hndel.
9. Take a Trip to the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens
Like the SMNK, the Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens are a state-owned source of pride. A complete haven of tranquility, the Botanical Gardens is surrounded by greenhouses, orangery, and a winter garden. Built in 1863, the stately building houses a huge expanse of exotic foliage that is preserved extremely well. This is one of the many reasons why it is completely worth the trip.
10. Art Nouveau at the Museum at Market Square
The Museum at Market Square is yet another extension of the Badisches Landesmuseum Karlsruhe. The best thing about it is the huge range it has to offer and documents Art Nouveau of regional variations. It exhibits French Art Nouveau displays, featuring the prestigious works of École de Nancy artists. This includes glasswork by Emile Gallé and Daum Frères, pieces of furniture by Louis Majorelle and Gallé, and the outstanding La Nature by Alfons Mucha.
11. Visit the Karlsburg Castle
The Karlsburg Castle located in the Durlach district of Karlsruhe documents and records the history of Baden in Germany since 1563. Only the Prinzessinnenbau or Princesses’ Wing is still intact and standing but even the rest of the building is still quite remarkable. Not only is it set in the suburbs, which lends it superb scenic beauty, it also sets the gold standards in the architecture of that era.
12. Stop by the Museum of Literature
The Museum of Literature on the Upper Rhine region of Karlsruhe upholds literary history dating back to the medieval age. Housed in what was once a 19th-century palace, is one of the largest libraries in Germany. Permanent exhibits aside, the museum houses over six thousand different temporary exhibitions in addition to the Scheffel Archives passed down by Joseph Victor von Scheffel. This is quite possibly one of the most remarkable literary collections in documented human history.
13. Take a Look at the Beautiful Pieces in the Städtische Galerie
The Städtische Galerie in Karlsruhe exemplifies and upholds the works of superb artists such as Marlene Dumas and Rosemarie Trockel. This Municipal Gallery is housed in the same building that houses the ZKM. The primary focus of the gallery is German art after 1945, but it also houses several older masterpieces. Many of the pieces held by the museum are privately loaned by wealthy patrons. A trip to this remarkable gallery is well worth the time and money.
14. Spend the Day at Verkehrsmuseum Karlsruhe
Any vehicle museum is an interesting place to be with family for the day. The kids especially love the way vintage cars look, not to mention the architecture of different kinds of vehicular engines. The Verkehrsmuseum Karlsruhe is one of the most beautiful places in Karlsruhe to spend a day with family viewing over two hundred years of road and rail transport ranging from bicycles to trains.
15. Visit the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe
The Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe is an art museum located in Karlsruhe that was inaugurated in 1846. It acts as a bridge between the past, present, and future with regards to art. Any form of art is held in high regard and the outreach, restoration, and exhibition activities are based in pure academic pursuit. Some of the most remarkable pieces of art from different eras are housed right here and make for a great day. Sightseeing does not get any better than the Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe.