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Karlsruhe

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Travel Guide Europe Germany Baden-Württemberg Karlsruhe

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Introduction

Karlsruhe

Karlsruhe

© All Rights Reserved m6-dean

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.

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Brief History

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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Neighbourhoods

  • Durlach - the former capital of the Margraviate; the palace is only partly preserved. A secondary centre with its own shopping street. The old centre dates mostly from around 1700. The old town flair that Karlsruhe is lacking can be found here, including a number of nice pubs and restaurants. Starting point of the Turmberg funicular.
  • Südstadt - The "Kiez" of Karlsruhe, a lively, multi-ethinic quarter with many young people and alternative culture, but also some downsides.
  • Oststadt, Weststadt and Südweststadt - beautiful quarters with well-preserved 19th century and art nouveau townhouses, quieter, but with many small restaurants and pubs; preferred residential quarters in close vicinity to the city centre.
  • Mühlburg - in the west of the city, once an independent town. A very mixed quarter, from the elegant villas of Musikerviertel to the somehow run-down side streets around Entenfang. Also a secondary centre with Rheinstraße as shopping street.
  • Dammerstock - model settlement in Bauhaus style, designed by Walter Gropius in 1929.
  • Knielingen - the suburb closest to the Rhine, and the oldest. The village dates back to the 8th century. The old village centre is still visible, but it has been extended by new residential and vast industrial areas.
  • Rüppurr - residential quarter in the south on the way to Ettlingen.
  • Dörfle - southeastern part of the city centre, once the quarter were the poorer people lived. Not part of the baroque plan, but grown "wild". The old Dörfle has been cleared in the 1970s and rebuilt in modern style. Nowadays a mixed quarter with some nightlife, some low-key shopping and alternative culture. Brunnenstraße is Karlsruhe's red-light district.

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Sights and Activities

Schloss Karlsruhe

Schloss Karlsruhe

© All Rights Reserved Kathrin_E

  • Karlsruhe Palace - The point of origin of the city of Karlsruhe was constructed in 1715 by Margrave Karl III Wilhelm of Baden-Durlach. The palace harbors the Badische Landesmuseum and a cafe. The park around the palace is really popular with the citizens who come here to relax thoughout the year.
  • Badisches Landesmuseum - The Badisches Landesmuseum in Karlsruhe is a major cultural and historical museum about the Baden region of Baden-Württemberg. It displays works from the prehistory to the recent years. Special exhibitions are held throughout the year. Hours: Tuesday-Thursday 10:00am-5:00pm, Friday-Sunday (including public holidays) 10:00am-6:00pm
  • ZKM - Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe - This very unique art museum and research institution focuses on new media, uniting art with new technologies. Hours: Wednesday-Friday 10:00am - 6:00pm, Saturday and Sunday 11:00am-6:00pm
  • Kunsthalle Karlsruhe - The Kunsthalle is an art gallery, originally based on the collection of the court. It hosts artworks of all eras from the middle ages to contemporary. In addition to the permanent collection, there are temporary exhibitions. Address: Hans-Thoma-Straße 2-6, 76133 Karlsruhe, Phone: +49 721 926 33 59, Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-6:00pm
  • Botanical Garden - Located next to the Schloss and just a few minutes from busy Kaiserstraße, the botanical garden is a favourite place to rest after shopping and sightseeing. It is the mildest and most protected spot in central Karlsruhe and thus the first place where spring flowers appear. When the blue Scilla meadow and the magnolias are in bloom in March, it's the talk of the town. Autumn foliage is also beautiful. The gardens include some greenhouses which can be visited for a small fee. Address: Hans-Thoma-Strasse 6, 76131 Karlsruhe, Phone: +49(0)7 21 926 30 08, Hours: from 6:00 am until dusk, Price: Entry to the garden is free; €2 for the greenhouses

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Events and Festivals

  • Das Fest - Das Fest is held at the end of July and this big open air music festival takes place every year and features famous national and international artists. In 2011 212,000 people attented this concert. Even though not free anymore, tickets for the main acts only cost €5. The festival always takes place from Friday to Sunday.
  • Kamuna - Kamuna (Karlsruher Museumsnacht) is held on the first Saturday in August, during this night many museums in Karlsruhe open their doors to visitors and offer special workshops and events. Buttons which serve as tickets for all participating museums and for public transport can be usually bought one week in advance.
  • Stadtgeburtstag - Birthday of the City - Karlsruhe's foundation took place on June 17, 1715. The city's birthday is celebrated every second year with a big festival around the palace and in the city centre on the weekend which is closest to June 17.

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Weather

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.

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Getting There

By Plane

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.

By Train

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.

By Car

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.

By Bus

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.

By Bicycle

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.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

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.

By Foot

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.

By Bike

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).

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Eat

  • Café Emaille - Budget café that attracts many students located in the city centre. The interior is decorated with many old metal advertisement signs. There´s a rather big court outside (Biergarten) and although the range of offered meals is limited, the price is really low. A dependance, same owners, same concept, is Café Bleu in Kaiserallee, close to Mühlburger Tor. Address: Kaiserstr. 142-144, Phone: +49 0721 1510074, Hours: 8:00am-1:00am, Price: meals from €3.90
  • Vapiano - Inexpensive Italian chain restaurant that mainly offers hand made pasta and pizza. The specialty is that it works like a cafeteria. You go straight to one of the cook to order your meal, and your meal than gets prepared in front of you. The interior of the restaurant is huge (it used to be an old bank) and very pleasant. The food itself is really good and presented in a very pleasant way. Address: Karlstr. 11, Phone: +49 (0) 721 95788480, Hours: 10:00am-Midnight, Price: from €6.50 for pizza and pasta
  • Carlos Cocktailbar - One of the best (if not the best) cocktailbar in Karlsruhe! The choice of cocktails is really huge. Although the drinks are not cheap, the price is more than fair when taking their quality into consideration. The taste and presentation is absolutely top-notch! The interior is nicely decorated but rather small. It's a good idea to get there a little bit early (7:00-8:00pm) because it tends to get really crowded at night. The only downside (for non smokers) is that the bar has no non smoker area. Address: Markgrafenstr. 32, Phone: +49 (0)177 2876317 (mobile), Hours: 4:00pm-2:00am on weekdays, Price: from €6.50 for cocktails
  • Vogelbräu - The most famous private brewery in Karlsruhe. Although most people mainly come here to drink beer, the place also offer many traditional german dishes. The place is quite big but can also be a little bit overcrowded due to its local reputation. The "biergarten" outside is a good opportunity to experience the atmosphere of a traditional german pub. Address: Kapellenstraße 50, 76131 Karlsruhe, Phone: +49 (0) 721 377571, Hours: daily from 10:00am-1:00am, Price: cheap
  • Café Böckeler - Coffeehouse in the heart of the city on the corner of Marktplatz. Excellent house-made cakes and icecream - a great place for traditional German "Kaffee und Kuchen". Also fine for breakfast. Small warm dishes for lunch are also offered. The cafe covers two floors, the best seating is upstairs. Their outdoor terrace unfortunately suffers from the adjacent cosntruction site. Address: Kaiserstraße 141, 76133 Karlsruhe, Phone: 0721.864890, Hours: 9:00 am (Sunday 9:30)-6:30 pm
  • Mary Poppins - A little, cosy cafe with familiar atmosphere. Excellent house-made cakes. Small lunch dishes are also offered, changing every day; ask what they are having. In summer there is outdoor seating in the garden in the backyard. Address: Kaiserallee 51A, 76133 Karlsruhe, Phone: 0721 858593, Hours: daily 8:00 am-6:30 pm

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Drink

  • Badisch Brauhaus - a very large multi-story beer garden, brewery and restaurant. On its uppermost floor is a cocktail bar; probably the nicest place in Karlsruhe for cocktails (although on weekends it can be difficult to get a seat and service can be slow). (Stephanienstr. 38-40)
  • Hoepfner - like other cities in Germany, Karlsruhe has a few regional brands of beer, of which Hoepfner is the most famous. There is a brewery and Beer Garden at the east site of the town. The second big brewery in Karlsruhe is Moninger. It is also worth exploring the microbreweries scattered around the city, such as the Vogelbraeu, Wolf Brauerei, Kühler Krug, and the Badische Brauhaus, all of which have seasonal specialities.
  • Alter Brauhof - a nice place to sit outside and have a beer (only a good place in summer), also offers decent food. Its not so well known, so you stand a good chance of finding a nice place even on a nice summer evening even on weekends. (Beiertheimer Allee 18a)
  • Z-10, Zaehringerstr. 10 - A bar run by local university students that is frequented by the Karlsruhe's student population. There are several local beers offered here for very cheap (think €1-1.50) and also decent cocktails. Bands are frequently playing on Saturdays (no entry fee) and visitors can play cards, board games and table soccer with other patrons. Check the website for hours as the bar is generally only open when school is in session.
  • Ludwigsplatz - a square in the city centre, off Europaplatz and Karlstraße, which is surrounded by half a dozen restaurants and pubs that all have their tables out as soon as the weather permits. In summer the square is more or less one big open-air pub.
  • Gutenbergplatz - the market square in Weststadt with a couple of pubs/restaurants, a popular spot among locals for beer and food under linden trees during the summer half of the year.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hotel Markgräfler HofRudolfstraße 31hotel-
Hotel Zum Kaiser BarbarossaLuisenstr.36-38hotel-

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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.

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Karlsruhe Travel Helpers

This is version 69. Last edited at 12:12 on Apr 24, 17 by Utrecht. 19 articles link to this page.

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