Where to stay in Karlsruhe – a guide for the best area and places to stay in Karlsruhe, Germany (including recommended hotels and things to do).
Karlsruhe is one of the largest cities in southwest Germany. Its location near the French-German border makes it a great base to explore not only Germany but France as well.
Served by a big international airport, Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport, the city is an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world. Moreover, this is the closest airport to Strasbourg (besides the Strasbourg Airport of course). You can get from Baden-Baden Airport to Strasbourg in less than 2 hours.
Where to stay in Karlsruhe – the best area and location
The best location to stay in Karlsruhe is the area between the Central train station and the palace. The main tourist attractions are situated in this part of the city, as well as two huge shopping malls, Ettlinger Tor Centre and Postgalerie. Not to forget the two Christmas markets in December and ice skating rink.
Why I chose Karlsruhe instead of Baden-Baden
My plan was to take a flight from Sofia to Baden-Baden Airport and from there to get to Strasbourg. However, I didn’t want to travel back to Germany from France a few hours before the flight. Thus I decided to spend the last two nights in Germany.
I had to choose between Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe. Baden-Baden was a little closer to the airport. However, when I found out that there is a palace and a medieval Christmas market in Karlsruhe, I was sold. I’m not much of a fan of Spa, so Baden-Baden wasn’t attractive to me.
I stayed close to the Central train station, right next to a tram and S-Bahn stop, Tivoli. It was really convenient as I used the tram to get to the city centre. The latter wasn’t far, yet a little more than a kilometre in the freezing cold was too much for me. The last day I used the S-Bahn to get to Rastatt station and then took the bus to the airport.
It’s a great base to explore not only the city but the rest of southwest Germany as well.
The best places to stay in Karlsruhe
The best family hotels in Karlsruhe
8.8/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,720+ guest reviews
Located only 500m away from the palace, Hotel Kaiserhof is a great base for exploring the city on foot. This 4-star hotel features a luxury spa, free WiFi and private parking. The pillow menu, the free minibar (first filling) and the free bicycle rental add to your comfort.
8.8/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,350+ guest reviews
Novotel is located right in the middle of the area between the palace and the train station. This 4-star luxury spa hotel has an ideal location for shopping, sightseeing and exploring the Christmas markets. The place is also perfect for business travellers.
In addition, if you’re a late riser, you can enjoy a breakfast till 01:00 PM on Sundays.
The best couple hotels in Karlsruhe
9.1/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,280+ guest reviews
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle in the heart of the city, yet to be close to everything, Hotel Rio is the place for you. The hotel is within a walking distance to tramlines and has easy access if you’re travelling by car. The palace is not far – about 800m away and the main shopping street is about 1.3km. Moreover, it’s the hotel with the highest ranking in Karlsruhe according to Booking.com.
8.9/10 Rating – See hotel images and 800+ guest reviews
If you’re searching for accommodation right next to the Central train station, Hotel Avisa is your best choice. It is less than 200m away from there. The hotel is on a quiet street overlooking the zoo. You can watch the red pandas climbing on the trees right from your own room!
The perfect location when arriving by train, the green view from the window and the free minibar make this hotel the best option in the area.
8.5/10 Rating – See hotel images and 1,160+ guest reviews
Centro Hotel Blankenburg is situated only 300m away from the palace. It’s only a short walk to the Mendelssohnplatz tram stop from where you can get to the Hauptbahnhof (main station). In addition, you can reach the Badische Staatstheater in under 5 minutes. There are small parking and free bicycle rental available at the property.
Things to do in Karlsruhe
Reiter´s Café Brot Genuß
Start your day with a cup of coffee and a tasty muffin at Reiter´s Café Brot Genuß.
The palace used to be the main residence of Charles III William, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, during the 18th century. Nowadays, the beautiful palace houses the Badisches Landesmuseum. The entrance is free every Friday after 02:00 PM.
State Museum of Natural History
It’s a lovely small museum featuring an aquarium.
It’s a small, but stunning Renaissance castle a bit far from the city centre. Unfortunately, it’s not open to visitors. The castle is the seat of the University of Music of Karlsruhe.
This zoo is one of the oldest in Germany. It’s a home of more than 4.000 animals, including the rare snow leopards.
If you’re visiting the city in December, don’t miss the Christmas markets at Friedrichsplatz and Marktplatz.
How to get to Karlsruhe from Baden-Baden Airport
Take bus number 234 (to Rastatt Station) or bus 285 (to Baden-Baden Station) from Baden-Airpark. Find more information about the bus schedule here.
From there take a train to Karlsruhe Station (a 20 min journey). See the train schedules here.
Find out more information about Karlsruhe in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Germany.
If you consider renting a car, compare the car rental prices in Europe.
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