Some pictures of Karlsruhe and its metropolitan region © Nico Brähler & Max Hagelstein
Due to its central location within Europe, Karlsruhe is an optimal starting point for trips to many popular destinations. Attractive locations that are reachable by train include Berlin (5-6 hours), Prague (8 hours), Vienna (8 hours), Zurich (3 hours), Milan (6 hours), Amsterdam (5 hours), London (7 hours), Brussels (5 hours) and of course Paris which has a direct connection to Karlsruhe via the high-speed TGV resulting in a travel time of only 3 hours.
There are several options for European rail passes that provide a ticket for European travel, one of them can be found here (other options may be cheaper, including intercity buses). Other destinations in Europe may be reached by airplane with inexpensive flights going out of the Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden airport (FKB) to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and many more European destinations.
Munich is one of the favourite destinations for tourists interested in Bavarian culture (which is shown as “German culture” on a lot of postcards). It is also the home of the Deutsches Museum which houses many historical and technical artefacts. Berlin, the capital of Germany, offers a rich history and a few interesting museums of its own.
Hamburg is considered the entertainment capital of Germany with the newly built Elbphilharmonie and its many concert halls and musicals. But it also offers many more sights such as the Harbour or the Reeperbahn. Cologne is famous for its Cathedral but also has an interesting cuisine and a beautiful (reconstructed) old town.
Baden-Württemberg, the federal state that Karlsruhe is located in, offers a car enthusiast’s dream with having both the Porsche museum and the Mercedes-Benz museum in the capital city of Stuttgart. Baden-Württemberg has also internationally renowned towns such as Baden-Baden with its hot springs and casino or the Black Forest (both only 20 mins by train from Karlsruhe) for tourists preferring nature and old German culture. The famous towns Heidelberg and Freiburg offer medieval city centres and are less than an hour by train away from Karlsruhe, the same is true for Strasbourg or Wissembourg in France, just on the other side of the Rhine river.
For those who prefer staying in Karlsruhe there are quite a few attractions: The Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie (ZKM) houses a very unique media and contemporary art museum, comparable with the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and is always worth a visit. Parts of the conference will take place there. There is also the State Art Gallery (Staatliche Kunsthalle) which shows masterpieces from various periods. The Karlsruhe Palace houses the Baden State Museum (Badisches Landesmuseum) with a good exhibition section on local culture and history (which includes the democratic Baden Revolution 1848/49) and its park and botanical garden is an attraction on its own.
As Karlsruhe is a planned recidence town which was founded in 1715, its main historical buildings are (neo)classicist. Thomas Jefferson sent a sketch of Karlsruhe’s fan-shaped layout to Pierre L’Enfant, who used it later on as a source of inspiration in designing the shape of Washington D.C. The old medieval residence is located further away, in Karlsruhe-Durlach. That is also where the hill overlooking the city is located, the Turmberg. It offers a restaurant and a panoramic view over the Rhine valley.
The city centre of Karlsruhe is filled with restaurants and cafés and has a pleasant atmosphere especially in the warm and sunny summer time. We will make recommendations available shortly.
Weather in Karlsruhe during the summer can reach temperatures of 35°C (95°F), but those are the extremes and are only reached on the hottest days. Expect the weather to be about 20°C to 25°C in late July.
Germany uses a power plug type F, which can be different from those used in your country. Some hotels may be able to help with power adapters, but the optimal solution would be to bring your own.
A visa will be required for most foreigners from countries outside of the EU (some countries may be exempt; a full list can be found here). The upside is that a visa that is valid in Germany will also be valid in other member states of the Schengen agreement. So, if you plan a longer trip to Europe, you may only need to get a visa once.
Germans traditionally use cash in their daily life, credit cards may be accepted sometimes, but the safest way to make sure you are able to pay is to carry a small amount of cash with you. The easiest way to exchange money is to use a local German ATM machine with a credit card, fees may vary. Another option would be to look for a bank with an open counter. Exchanging money at the airport will be very expensive, so this should be a last resort only. Visitors should also think about getting a travel health insurance to cover possible costs.