The Top Things to See and Do in Karlsruhe, Germany
Karlsruhe Palace | © connie_sf / Pixabay
Karlsruhe boasts over 1,000 hectares of greenery and lakes, stunning neoclassical monuments, historic squares, festivals, lively shopping streets and over 50 museums, theaters and galleries ready to drench you in culture. Let’s explore why Karlsruhe should definitely be included in your travel wishlist.
This magnificent early 18th-century palace once served as the seat of margraves, electoral princes and dukes of Baden. Today, it houses the Baden State Museum (Badisches Landesmuseum), a museum showcasing ancient and modern history and culture. Karlsruhe Palace is the focal point from where 32 avenues radiate out like a fan, creating a wonderful symmetrical layout that can be enjoyed from the palace roof.
The collection of historic, artistic and cultural artifacts at Badisches Landesmuseum, housed in the Karlsruhe Palace, is internationally acclaimed. Here, visitors can witness almost fifty thousand years of human cultural evolution through prehistoric and historic artifacts, treasures, curios, antiquities, furniture, weapons, documents and artwork. Visitors also get a chance to learn about the history of the palace and the powerful personalities who once resided in it.
Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens
Karlsruhe Botanical Gardens, built in 1808, is an oasis of tranquility right in the city. There are many species of trees and plants in this garden, but the highlight is its architecture. Allow yourself time to linger as you take in the orangery, winter garden, the State Art Gallery (Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe) and especially the unique structure of the greenhouse.
ZKM: Centre for Art and Media
ZKM is an art museum with a difference, and an immensely popular tourist sight in Karlsruhe. This globally reputed center not only showcases historic and modern media art, it walks visitors through the evolution of art and media down the ages. It is one of those rare places on earth that you can see oil paintings exhibited proudly alongside apps! ZKM hosts regular exhibitions, including workshops and special exhibitions for children. Do look up the schedule on their website before planning your visit.
The construction of the historic market square (Marktplatz) was completed over two centuries ago, and is still almost in its original condition. It is the beating heart of Karlsruhe, with rows of restaurants, cafes and shops. Apart from being a great spot to unwind and people watch, it is the location of some of the significant landmarks of the city, including the evangelical church and town hall. The most important monument in this square is, however, the sandstone pyramid-shaped tomb of Karlsruhe’s founder, Margrave Charles III William.
The shopping street of Kaiserstraße is the destination of choice for the fashion-conscious crowd of Karlsruhe. This 2 km (1.2 mi) thoroughfare is home to a Who’s Who of Germany’s fashion scene, as well as local businesses and boutiques. Alongside, there are quaint cafes with outdoor seating, which are especially tempting in summer months.
Karlsruhe Staatliche Kunsthalle
The State Art Gallery (Staatliche Kunsthalle), located in the botanical gardens, is a must-stop for art lovers. Even before you enter, the elegant Neoclassical architecture of State Art Gallery is sure to captivate you. Once inside, you get to treat yourself to European artwork spanning over eight centuries, till 1945. The admirable collection includes artwork by legendary artists like Albrecht Dürer, Delacroix, Hans Baldung, Rubens, Kirchner, Caspar David Friedrich, Degas, Franz Marc, Pissarro and Cézanne, among others.