Located in the south-west of Germany, Karlsruhe is one of those cities whose name some of us may have only heard, but which is definitely worth a visit during a stay with family or friends. A city on a human scale, crossed by the Rhine, it has all the assets for a successful holiday: a beautiful heritage to discover, charming squares where you can eat and relax over a drink, a rich cultural life and green spaces in and around the city. All of this is a great place to enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities. Karlsruhe is a thriving community and was even named "Germany's most pleasant city in 2015". So for anyone who wants to enjoy a lively, off-the-beaten-path destination in the country, there's no need to think twice - Karlsruhe is the place to be! The city has many surprises in store for all types of travellers.

Discovering Karlsruhe's architectural heritage and squares

It takes only 40 minutes by train to reach Karlsruhe from Strasbourg and there is no reason to miss out on a trip to a city with many facets and much to offer its visitors. You will discover a green city with many charming squares, which are a must-see. You can start by going to the Marktplatz, the central square of the city, to observe its remarkable monuments, such as the town hall, the church and the pyramid. The pyramid, a real landmark, is also the mausoleum of the city's founder, Charles William III. Afterwards, we head for the Werderplatz to enjoy its trendy shops and bars. The place, where a cosmopolitan population lives, is always very lively. What better way to start the day than with a trip to the market, which takes place three times a week on Gutenberg Square? It also has some very nice places to discover the local and regional gastronomy. In the afternoon, a relaxing walk awaits walkers on Friedrichsplatz, a landscaped square with a superb fountain, while in the evening, Ludwigsplatz is one of the favourite haunts of the locals and the many students who like to chat over a drink. The city is a paradise for beer lovers, with many craft breweries.

A discovery of Karlsruhe also includes a visit to its castle, a sort of German Versailles. A baroque palace that is immediately recognizable by its pale yellow colour, it is a former royal residence. Its interior, its keep, its museum and its park allow you to relive the splendour of the margraves and grand dukes of Baden. In fact, the park is so pleasant that you should not miss the opportunity to read, picnic, play pétanque or do some sport.

And Karlsruhe also knows how to surprise lovers of old town, with the possibility of reaching Durlach. Durlach was once an independent town, but has since become part of Karlsruhe and remains a place that travellers love to visit to wander through the streets with their medieval architecture and beautiful half-timbered houses. A morning visit can be combined with an afternoon of shopping. Karlsruhe has many shopping centres and shopping streets where everyone can find something to suit his or her taste, such as Kaiserstraße

To discover Karlsruhe's most important sights, you can take the caribou tour. A 10-step tour that takes place several times a day

A city for those with a thirst for culture

It's always fun to wander from gallery to museum. In Karlsruhe, visitors are spoilt for choice with a multitude of places that trace the city's history and allow you to contemplate works of art. Start with the Municipal Gallery, where you can view the work of painters from Karlsruhe and the region, as well as European prints from the 15th to the 19th century and Japanese colour woodcuts. The National Museum of Fine Arts has an impressive collection of modern art, and the National Museum of Natural History has a fascinating vivarium that will capture the attention of young and old. Another cultural highlight in Karlsruhe is the ZKM, which was recently named the fourth most important art museum in the world, just behind the Centre Pompidou. In this unique institution, the public discovers exhibitions that take them on a journey into the world of new technologies. The ZKM also has research centres and a media library. The walls of the ZKM are not to be missed from the outside, as it is housed in a munitions factory that is now a listed building.

Beyond the museums, Karlsruhe is also a temple for film and theatre lovers. The Kammertheater, the Jakobus Theatre and the Das Sandkorn Theatre are waiting for all kinds of shows. In a completely different style, the Platz der Grundrechte offers the opportunity to discover the goddess Justitia in a public art installation that questions the meaning of law and justice for the individual and our democracy. Karlsruhe has a special connection to justice, as it is the seat of the Federal Constitutional Court, the "Bundesverfassungsgericht", a monument that is also worth a visit.

Karlsruhe, a city open to nature

It is immediately apparent that Karlsruhe has a special relationship with nature. This is particularly evident when you take the funicular to the Turmberg Hill from Durlach. This funicular is the second oldest in Germany! Once at the top, a tower awaits visitors to enjoy a superb panorama of the city, nature and the mythical Black Forest.

In the city, one of the most beautiful places to go green is the botanical garden, for a plant journey to the four corners of the world. The place is particularly beautiful at sunset. The lawns, trees and flowers provide a romantic setting for relaxing in the sun. The greenhouses are home to exotic plants. The Günther Klotz Park is another option. It is appreciated for the presence of the Alb River which runs through it, and for the possibility of renting a boat. For those who love river trips, a cruise on the Rhine from Karlsruhe is also a good option, allowing you to discover the most beautiful spots in the region and even as far as Strasbourg. The temperature is rising and you feel like taking a swim? Then the Gravier Lakes are waiting for families to swim and have fun in complete safety at the edge of town, unless you prefer a wild ride down the Green Viper, one of the slides at the Europabad water park in Karlsruhe.

The city is also a dream playground for those who want to give up the car and give priority to the bicycle. For the record, Karlsruhe was the birthplace in 1817 of Karl Freiherr Draiss von Sauerbronn, the inventor of the world's first bicycle! So it's not surprising that cycling plays an important role in the city and that it is an ideal starting point for excursions on two wheels. One example is the NaturRADtour Karlsruhe, which connects numerous protected areas and nature reserves in a loop around the city centre. The route takes you through the Hardtwald forest, a bird paradise, and the beautiful alluvial forests of the Altrhein nature reserve. In Karlsruhe you can enjoy the pleasures of a dynamic city, but the pleasures of nature are never far away.

More information on the website of the Karlsruhe tourist office as well as on the Facebook and Instagram pages. Also worth seeing in video