SPA-tacular Things to do in Wiesbaden (Germany’s Historic Spa Town)

view of Wiesbaden from Löwenterrasse observation area in Germany

Ahh, Wiesbaden. Where do we begin? Checking out all the lovely things to do in Wiesbaden was how we started our most recent trip to Germany. This historic spa town is the capital of Hesse and is filled with a storied past, historic sites, cultural landmarks, and plenty of things to do and see in just a few short days.

For fans of Elvis Presley, Wiesbaden is where Elvis first met Priscilla at a party at the Villa Söhnlein-Pabst, a mansion that resembles The White House that overlooks the Warmer Damm Park, and he would often meet Priscilla at the parks here during their early days of courting.

Beyond the King of Rock and Roll, Wiesbaden is known for wellness. There are 26 hot springs that even the Romans were well aware of here, including two you can drink curative waters from, spas, and plenty of places to relax in the outdoors. While many of the grand hotel spas have transformed into new spaces over the years, there are still a few you can stay in to this day as well as being in the Rheingau wine region, one of Germany’s 13 wine regions.

With all of that in one destination, what’s not to love? If you’re planning a trip to Wiesbaden on your Germany tip, you’re in for a treat. Here’s everything you’ll want to save and add to your visit to this incredible destination.

What to do in Wiesbaden

Visit the Kurhaus

exterior of the Kurhaus in Wiesbaden Germany

The most iconic building in Wiesbaden is the Kurhaus, a venue for events and home to a casino pretty enough to be in a James Bond film, a great restaurant, and ballrooms.

Built as the social gathering place for this spa town, the building itself is a masterpiece combining Neo-Classical and Belle Époque styles fitted with Corinthian columns and Art Noveau touches. The building you see today was built in 1905-1907.

The original 1810 spa house was so popular that they needed to create a larger space. In fact, the building has always been so magnificent that it’s even received praise from Goethe. Kaiser Wilheim II adored this building and even attended the grand opening of the new Kurhaus.

The casino, Spielbank Wiesbaden, is where you’ll find the highest stake roulette in Germany and is rumored to be the inspiration for Dostoevsky’s, The Gambler novel and where he apparently lost all of his money on a single spin on the roulette wheel here.

The red carpet leading up to the Kurhaus is also an icon and this is where you’ll want to stop and pose for a photo. 

Be sure to step inside the Kurhaus and admire the impressive architecture and details of the building. Upon entering the incredible foyer, you’ll awe the 28-foot high cupola. If you want to visit the casino, be sure to bring your passport with you.

And if you’re looking for an excellent dinner spot, Benner’s Bistronomie inside the building is a must. Some restaurants give out complimentary bread and butter to their dining guests, and Benner’s gives you freshly shaved prosciutto and wonderful options for dinner.

Take a Stroll Around Kurpark

spring flowers in the Kurpark in Wiesbaden Germany

Located behind the Kurhaus is one of the best places to visit in Wiesbaden for a scenic stroll. Inspired by English gardens, this park and garden feature a beautiful collection of azaleas, magnolias,  rhododendrons, and swamp cypresses. 

You can enjoy a scenic walk around the pond, the centerpiece to the park and gardens. Near the Kurhaus, there’s a bandstand for live performances and even a miniature beer garden for a drink on a nice day. We were visiting a little too early into spring to enjoy the beer garden, 1907 Lounge, but enjoyed the view and location of it!

Visit Warmer Damm

view of Staatstheater Wiesbaden from Warmer Damm Park in Germany

Another beautiful park, place to be, and best things to do in Wiesbaden is visit Warmer Damm. This public park is smack dab in the center of Wiesbaden starting at the Kurpark and stretching all the way down Wilhemstraße, the big shopping street through the city.

You’ll enjoy pretty views from within the park of the building along Wilhemstraße, and opposite you’ll even spot the Villa Söhnlein-Pabst, the White House-looking home where Elvis and Priscilla met. However, the most iconic landmark along the park is the Hessian State Theater, or Staatstheater Wiesbaden built in 1894 under Wilheim II. 

We were visiting in the spring and were greeted by gorgeous blooms. Some of my favorite views of the city can be found looking towards Wilhemstraße from the park.

It’s nice to just take a scenic, slow stroll around the park taking in the sites surrounding the park and serene places to take a rest. This is also a great walking route if you’re headed to Museum Wiesbaden, another spot you definitely should visit.

Drink from the Hot Springs

If you’ve ever wanted to drink curative waters, you’re in luck! One of the best things to do in Wiesbaden is to drink from the two curative hot springs in the city center. 

The most famous of the springs is Kochbrunnen, located in a lovely little public square you’ll spot steam coming up through the ground vents and that will let you know, you’re close to tasting this therapeutic, sodium chloride-rich hot spring water.

You’ll see an orange-rusty colored fountain with built-up mineral deposits steaming, is fed from the underground hot spring in the center of the square. You’ll want to continue to the charming pavilion where you can fill your cup (you’ll have to bring your own drinking vessel).

The water is hot to the touch at 60 C/150 F, so be careful when filling your cup. The taste is very strong with a salt-forward flavor and strong smell. While only a small portion of the spring water is fed to the fountain, a lot of the water is fed right into the Kaiser Frederich Therme Spa nearby.

And when I mentioned earlier that the Romans were aware of the hot springs here, this is one of the springs they were aware of, although the first mention of this specific spring was in 1366 under the name Brühborn.

As you’re wandering around Wiesbaden, you may spot an adorable half-timbered structure and inside you’ll find Bäckerbrunnen, aka Baker’s Fountain, the other hot spring you can drink from in the city.

The name comes from the bakers that would use the hot spring water in their breads and doughs. And much like Kochbrunnen, you can collect a small sample of water but be careful as it’s hot! The water comes out at around 50 C/122 F and should only be consumed in small amounts. It also has a strong, salty taste so prepare yourself for that first sip! 

Even though the taste isn’t great, we do enjoy drinking from curative waters. It’s just too bad they don’t have a special drinking vessel like the hot springs in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, another famous spa town in Central Europe.

Museum Wiesbaden

entrance to Museum Wiesbaden in Germany

We love a good art museum and let’s just start this off by saying, Museum Wiesbaden did not disappoint! If you don’t like to overdo it with museums on trips, we get it. But one of the best places to visit in Wiesbaden is a few hours checking out the artwork and exhibits at this beautifully curated art and natural history museum combined with a stellar Art Noveau collection.

So my personal bias might also be my love of Art Noveau, Museum Wiesbaden has one of the most comprehensive and best collections of Art Noveau furniture in the world, a private collection that was donated to the museum.

Other highlights of the museum include 100 works of the Expressionist Russian painter Alexej von Jawlensky, a larger Expressionist collection, their Old Masters collection, contemporary artworks, and their natural museum section.

The museum also put forth effort to identify and return any of their collection that could have been obtained through Nazi plunder and looting. 

Treat Yourself at Cafe Maldaner

our desserts from Cafe Maldaner in Wiesbaden Germany

One of the best places in Wiesbaden for breakfast or lunch or a late morning/afternoon decadent dessert like a pastry, cake, or sweet treat is Cafe Maldaner, the oldest Viennese-style cafe in Germany established in 1859 to cater to the upscale spa town guests.

You enter Cafe Maldaner where they roast their beans fresh daily and walk past their display cases of desserts. Beyond this point, you’ll enter the gorgeous dining area where you’ll be blown away by the ornately decorated seating area.

They have some great entrees if you need to eat savory food before going straight to the sweets like myself. Their coffee is excellent, you know coffee is going to be good when the roast it in-house. And they have the best cake in Wiesbaden.

No, we didn’t try all the cake in Wiesbaden but we were told by several locals this was the place so we are passing that information along to you, and after trying it here, we can see how that’s a pretty accurate assessment! 

What we loved is that this is a fancier place without feeling stuffy or pretentious. The toughest part is going to decide which desserts to try, there are just too many that look and taste delightful!

Try Chocolate at Kunder

inside Chocolateria Kunder in Wiesbaden Germany

If you’re a fan of sweet treats, we have another awesome pick for what to do in Wiesbaden! Located on Willemstrße you can visit the gorgeous chocolate showroom (that looks straight out of a Wes Anderson film set) at Kunder Wiesbadener Ananastörtchen.

This chocolate shop has been around for generations dating back to 1898, founded by confectioner Fritz and Hermine Kunder. This was another place that many of the visitors to Wiesbaden for its spa attractions would love to enjoy, attracting visitors from all over the world for their famous pralines and chocolates.

Their signature items include their famous hot chocolate, presented to you on a tray with the hot milk and melted chocolate separated, only for you to pour both in your cup at the same time and stir together for a freshly made, rich and decadent cup of hot chocolate.

Another item you don’t want to miss are their famous pineapple tarts, which are perfectly crunchy, gooey, sweet, and chocolatey all at the same time.

And of course, don’t miss snacking on their pralines and fine chocolates. It will be really hard to choose which of the 100 flavors to try as all of them look and sound wonderful. 

Enjoy a Spa Day

Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme Spa in Wiesbaden Germany

What a shame would it be to visit a legendary spa town and not partake in any spa activities?! The best things to do in Wiesbaden for your own wellness is to take advantage of the spa and wellness scene here. 

Believe it or not, we missed our opportunity to do a full spa day, but we did get to quickly tour the facilities of Kaiser-Friedrich-Therme Spa, the spa mentioned earlier that’s fed their curative and therapeutic hot spring water from Kochbrunnen and is over 100 years old!

This Roman bathhouse offers full services like massages as well as general access to the sauna and wet bath areas. You’ll find classic Roman bath areas like a tepidarium, sudatorium, and sanarium, plus other areas including a Russian steam bath, Finish sauna, and steam stone bath.

One thing we’ve noticed while traveling outside of the United States is that wellness activities, such as enjoying a spa day is far more accessible to the general public than at home. A spa day in the US is quite costly and often upwards of $100 minimum. The general admission is 15-17 Euro for 2 hours of access.

Massages and treatments are also wildly more affordable than in the United States, so you really have an opportunity here to enjoy a taste of the good life and wellness at the spa.

One thing to keep in mind is that different bathing cultures have different customs, bathing here in the public baths is completely nude and co-ed and you must be over 16 years old to enter. The only day that the spa is open to women only is on Tuesdays.

You can rent bathrobes and sauna towels for an additional fee and if you don’t bring your own bathing shoes, they have them available for purchase.

Walk Around Nerotal-Anlagen & Ride the Nerobergbahn

Nerobergbahn Funicular in Wiesbaden Germany

I love funiculars, I don’t know what it is about them, but I find them so freaking cute. And guess what? Wiesbaden has a funicular, and not just any kind of funicular, they have a hydro-powered funicular that takes you 1,440 feet up the Neroberg Hill to the upper station and park with incredible views!

Water powered funiculars are extremely rare, and the Nerobergbahn has been in operation since 1888. The only catch is that it’s not open in the winter due to the risk of freezing.

couple enjoying the views of Wiesbaden from Löwenterrasse observation area

Once you take the scenic journey up to the top you can take a walk around the park up here and enjoy views from the Löwenterrasse observation area, enjoy a drink near the Temple, have a meal at Opelbad Restaurant, or swim at Opelbad Baths with views of the city, or make your way over to St. Elizabeth’s Church, the Russian Orthodox Church and unmistakeable landmark in Wiesbaden.

Before making the journey up to the top via the funicular, be sure to walk around the Nerotal-Anlagen, a gorgeous park with art sculptures and surrounded by luxurious mansions. Walking along the stream is quite scenic and there are even a few adorable bridges that cross the stream, you may even spot a few rabbits like we did!

This is definitely one of the more memorable things to do in Wiesbaden on a beautiful day! We highly recommend planning enough time to also have a drink or meal up here with the views.

Visit the Russian Orthodox Church

The Russian Orthodox Church in Wiesbaden Germany on Neroberg Hill

As mentioned above, you can see the stunning St. Elizabeth’s Church, or the Russian Orthodox Church easily from Neroberg. You can’t mistake this historic landmark in Wiesbaden as its golden roof.

This Greek Chapel was built between 1849 and 1855 by Duke Adolf of Nassau and is the largest Russian Orthodox cemetery in Europe outside of Russia and the only Russian-Orthodox church in Wiesbaden.

The beautiful chapel was to honor the Duke’s wife who passed during childbirth at the young age of 19, the Russian Princess Elizabeth Mikhailovna. The Duke also mourned the loss of their child as well.

In his mourning, he decided to his the dowry for his wife to build this chapel at her burial spot.

Wine Tasting at Henkell Freixnet

exterior of Henkell Freixnet in Wiesbaden Germany

Did you know one of the largest sparkling wine producers in the world is located in Wiesbaden, Germany? Henkell Freixnet is a global market leader in terms of sales for sparkling wine globally! And if you haven’t heard of their sparkling wine before, that doesn’t mean you haven’t had any of their wines as they have several brands under their name and have likely tried their wines without even knowing it!

Their wine facilities are outside the city center of Wiesbaden and will require a taxi ride, but it’s well worth it. Their Neo-Baroque style tasting room feels like a castle and dates back to 1907. Although this building was badly damaged in WWII, it’s been brought back to its former glory.

The rest of the facilities are more modern and how you’d expect a sparkling wine production facility to look like. The first impression truly is a feast for the eyes though!

You can join a tour of their facilities and headquarters, some of which include going down to the cellar vaults which was absolutely the second most memorable part of our tour after the beauty of the Neo-Baroque main entrance.

Be sure to also visit their store before leaving, which has all their brands and labels available for sell at unbelievably low prices buying direct from the source vs a third-party retailer. 

Head to the Market Church

Market Church, or Marktkirche in Wiesbaden Germany

If there’s one thing that’s true in just about any of the towns in Germany we’ve visited it’s that they all have at least one beautiful church, and Wiesbaden is no different. The Market Church, or Marktkirche, is a gorgeous brick Neo-Gothic church built between 1853 to 1862.

Its main tower is the tallest structure in Wiesbaden, so it’s easily identifiable and seen throughout the city as you’re exploring.

It is a Protestant church and during public hours you’re welcome to visit the details on the interior from the cast iron pulpit, organ with over 6,000 pipes, and stained glass choir windows to name a few of the points of interest inside.

We enjoyed walking around the exterior of the church, the surrounding buildings’ architecture are also pretty and it’s easy to wander back into the alleys of shops and restaurants when you’re ready to explore more.

See One of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clocks!

One-of-the-Worlds-Largest-Cuckoo-Clocks-at-Gebr.-Stern-GmbH-in-Wiesbaden-Germany

If you’re as fascinated by cuckoo clocks, nutcrackers, whimsical incense burners and all the other wooden crafts and home decor as much as we are, you’re going to want to check out this tourist shop!

You can’t miss it, the exterior and entrance of Gebr. Stern GmbH is a giant cuckoo clock! It’s one of the world’s largest (it used to be the largest, but that title now goes to one in Sugar Creek, Ohio, near where I grew up in Amish Country!).

Located in Kaiser-Friedrich Square, you’re steps away from Bowling Green leading to the Kurhaus. 

Atlas Obscura has a great background story of how this cuckoo clock came to be. After World War II, Wiesbaden was famous for its American military presence and its spas. The owner’s nephew, who lived in New York City at the time, convinced his uncle that a giant cuckoo clock would attract American tourists, and it did and still does!

In the 1950s it was in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest cuckoo clock in the world, although it did lose that title, it’s still one of the largest though and a fun spot to visit if you want to buy a gift or check out an impressive selection of cuckoo clocks and other souvenir items loved by tourists.

Where to Stay in Wiesbaden

Adina Apartment Hotel in Wiesbaden

We stayed at the Adina Apartment Hotel in Wiesbaden which was an absolutely comfortable stay. Not only are you less than a 5-minute walk to attractions like the Kurhaus, Kochbrunnen, and Kaiser-Frederich-Therme to name a few, but the rooms have excellent views and feature full kitchenettes.

The rooms were spacious and had a living area, working area, place to prepare food (and the only room on our trip that had a refrigerator, perfect for enjoying wine in the room), and spacious restrooms. We also found the location to be convenient. 

If you’re looking to stay in one of the grand 5-star spa hotels in Wiesbaden, check out Nassauer Hof. The property dates back to 1813 and is where many notable guests to Wiesbaden has stayed over the years including Russian author Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Audrey Hepburn, and Luciano Pavarotti to name a few.

There’s a thermal and beauty spa on site and is a designated Leading Hotels of the World property.


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