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Karlsruhe is the second biggest city (around 310,000 inhabitants) of the state of Baden-Württemberg in the south of Germany. It is the seat of two highest courts in Germany: the constitutional court of Germany and the federal court of justice of Germany, as well as the federal state attorney. Karlsruhe is located near the French-German border and between the famous tourist destinations Heidelberg in the north and Baden-Baden in the south. The particularity of the city is that its palace forms the point of origin from which the streets radiate outward. Therefore the city is often referred as "Fächerstadt" (fan city). In 1984 the first ever e-mail was received and answered in Karlsruhe.
Karlsruhe is a relatively young city. It was founded on June 17, 1715 by Margrave Carl Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach in the middle of Hardtwald forest as his new residence. To attract settlers to the new city, they were granted various privileges including freedom of religion. Around 1800 the city was enlarged to the south after plans by the architect Friedrich Weinbrenner, to whom the city also owes its neoclassical buildings including the city hall, the two main churches and the mint. In the era of industrialization large residential quarters were planned round the centre (Weststadt, Südweststadt, Südstadt, Oststadt). In World War II the city, the centre in particular, suffered significant destruction in about 100 air raids. The city remained the capital of the Margraviate and from 1806 Grandduchy of Baden until after World War II. In 1952 it lost the status to Stuttgart with the foundation of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. In the 1970s a number of surrounding villages, many of them much older than the city itself, were incorporated in the city.
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Karlsruhe has a bit of a mix between a continental and oceanic climate, with somewhat warmer conditions compared to most of Germany. Temperatures during summer average mostly around the 25 °C mark but may well reach 35 °C and beyond, while winter nights drop slightly below zero on average. The average amount of precipitation is around 770 mm and is evenly distributed throughout the year, though early summer is a little bit wetter than average.
Baden Airpark is located some 40 kilometres from Karlsruhe and just 12 kilometres from Baden-Baden. It's mainly served by lowcostairlines, like Ryanair which flies to/from Alicante, Cagliari, Dublin, Girona, London, Porto, Rome and Stockholm.
TuiFly serves Palma de Mallorca, Antalya, Rhodes and Tenerife, while Hamburg International serves more destinations in southern Europe like Corfu, Fuerteventura, Hurghada, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tel Aviv and Malaga. Finally, Air Berlin has a few flights, including Rimini and Vienna as destinations.
Frankfurt Airport can be reached conveniently by direct ICE trains in one hour. Frankfurt is one of the main European hubs with connections all over the world.
Karlsruhe can easily be reached by train from every part of the nation. There are direct trains to Frankfurt Airport (59 minutes), to Hamburg (about 5 hours), to Munich (about 3 hours), to Berlin (about 5.5 hours) and other places, too. Basel (less than 2 hours) is the gateway to Switzerland and Italy. You can even go to Paris/France from here in 2 1/2 hours. Find your connections on the DB website.
Just outside the Railway station you can catch almost all of the trams and buses - or if you feel like walking: the city centre is about 20 minutes walk from here.
Karlsruhe has several exits from the A5 autobahn, approximately 130 kilometres south of Frankfurt. The autobahn A8 joins the A5 just south of the city, connecting to Stuttgart 80 kilometres east.
The bus station is located at the south entrance of the train station. You can buy tickets for a couple of international destinations inside the train station.
There are long-distance cycle routes connecting Karlsruhe with the surrounding cities, such as Heidelberg and Pforzheim. It is especially convenient travelling along the Upper Rhine Plain between the cities of Mainz and Basel.
Karlsruhe has an excellent public transport system called KVV. It is mostly built on tram-trains (Stadtbahn). This allows trams to run on tram tracks within the city or on railway tracks to serve the surrounding region. Stadtbahn lines run far out into the Kraichgau hills, parts of the Northern Black Forest, and the southern part of Palatine. An overview of the entire transport network can be downloaded here Liniennetzplan Schiene. A single ticket for a trip within the city limits costs 2.40 € for adults, 1.40 € for kids. Most tickets have to be stamped upon entering a tram and controllers are quite frequent. In particular, for longer distances outside of Karlsruhe buying the right ticket can be a bit challenging, but in front of the main train station as well as located at Marktplatz, you will find a KVV office that will be happy to assist you. Trains operate late into the night, in particular on weekends, but almost every line stops for a few hours every night. Schedules and maps are posted on virtually every station. You can also find more information on fares and timetables on the KVV homepage (German only). The KVV route planner is available in English and French.
A lot to see in Karlsruhe is along Kaiserstraße. Because all the streets radiate outward, Marktplatz (market square) is a great place to start a walking tour of the city. If you go up or down Kaiserstraße, you will find a great variety of shops and restaurants on both sides of the streets. If you go towards the Palace (right in front of you if you're on Marktplatz), you can visit the city museum inside the castle, or the park right behind it, where the people of Karlsruhe congregate to picnic, play sports, and relax on nice days. Go farther and you can take a walk into "Hardtwald" forest which has a lot of trails right near the city center. Go south from Marktplatz and you will soon come upon "Ettlinger Tor" shopping mall and "Staatstheater" theatre. Exploring on foot allows you the opportunity to go down the alleys and smaller streets in Karlsruhe where you can find a wonderful variety of shops, kneipes, and restaurants.
During the summer, spring and autumn rental bikes are available throughout the city from the service "Fächerrad" which is connected with "nextbike" (the previous operator, DB-owned "Call a Bike", has withdrawn from Karlsruhe). A mobile phone is used to rent a bike and it can be 'returned' (again, using the mobile phone) at any inner city corner. Registration is necessary. More information about registration, procedure, bike stations, and the different tariffs is available on the Fächerrad page (German only).
|Hotel Markgräfler Hof||Rudolfstraße 31||hotel||-|
|Hotel Zum Kaiser Barbarossa||Luisenstr.36-38||hotel||-|
Internet cafes (rates €1.50 to €5 per hour) are starting to become less common due to widespread offers of free wifi by shops, restaurants or cafes. Sometimes it requires minimum consumption but usually it's free within the premises. Phone shops will often offer internet access, too. In general hotels offer internet access. In several cities, projects exist to provide free "community" hotspots for wireless networking. Passenger lounges at some airports and central railway stations also provide internet access to their customers.
Several pre-paid SIMs allow Internet access for a monthly flat fee, for example those available at Tchibo coffee stores (o2 network, €10/month limited to 500 MB, €20/month for 5 GB) or Aldi (E-Plus network). A regular O2 sim card, which can be used for calls and text messages, is €15 and another €15 buys 1GB of data valid for 1 month. Vodafone offers a prepaid sim card for €25 which includes €22.5 of credit, out of which you can get 300 MB of data for 2 days for €15 and be left with €7.5 of credit.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international call prefix in Germany is 00. To dial out of Germany, dial 00, followed by country code, area code, and the telephone number (for example 00 44 1234 567890). If you're using a mobile phone, simply add the plus sign "+" before the country code to call out of Germany (for example +44 1234 567890). The general emergency number is 112 and the additional number for less emergent issues for police is 110.
Mobile phone coverage on the four networks (T-Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and o2) is excellent across the whole country. UMTS (3G data and HSDPA) and EDGE is also available. UMTS is still somewhat limited to urban areas. All mobile providers use GSM technology on the 900 and 1800 MHz frequency ranges. If you stay for a longer period of time, consider buying a prepaid phone card from one of the mobile phone companies; you won't have trouble finding a T-Mobile (in a "T-Punkt"), Vodafone, E-Plus or O2 store in any major shopping area. In most supermarket chains (for example ALDI), there are prepaid SIM cards from their own virtual providers available. These are normally quite cheap to buy, but expensive for international calls (around €1–2/min), but incoming calls are always free and SMS cost around €0.09–0.19. They are available at: Aldi, Lidl, Penny, Netto, Tchibo, Rewe, toom. A registration via Internet or (expensive) phone call is necessary after buying to activate the SIM card.
The cheapest way to call abroad from Germany is to use the internet cafés run by immigrants. They sell special calling cards that give the best rate to certain countries as well as offer cheap international calls from phone booths. It is also the cheapest way to call landlines in Germany.
Germany's postal system is very efficient, their logistics branch DHL is one of the best companies in this field world-wide, with domestic post or within a radius of 400 kilometres, send within a day. The website of Deutsche Post has an online calculator for postage fees as well as a post office finder. Stamps are available at post offices and sometimes at newsagents or shops selling postcards. Also stamp vending machines can be found at a lot of places around the cities. You can purchase every stamp you need from this machines. They are unique as they accept every coin from 1 cent to 2 euro but change is only given in stamps. It costs about €40 to send a small package to Australia. Within Germany, sending postcards costs €0.45 and standard letters €0.70. International mail to any place in the world, no matter if within or outside Europe, is €0.90 for postcards as well as standard letters up to 20 gr, €1.50 for standard-sized letters up to 50 gr. Although you will find the old post offices (mainly in the city centre), most of the smaller neighbourhood post offices are part of a small tobacco shop or grocery store. For larger packages, you might consider competitive private companies like UPS, DHL or TNT.
Ask tini58de a question about Karlsruhe
I have lived in Karlsruhe since 1996 and know my way around quite well. My husband was even born here, so keep your questions coming!
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