by Bonnie Friedmann, EUU Secretary and Member at Large
During the seven years I lived in Bad Homburg, I really enjoyed this lovely, quiet town filled with history and calmness in the middle of Hessen, Germany. Because it is a ¨baths town¨ or ¨Kurstadt.¨ (German for a place with lots of clinics and beautiful parks where people can recover from illnesses of all sorts), there is a general atmosphere of contemplation that even seems to be in the air. As a matter of fact, this bedroom community of Frankfurt that is one of the richest towns in Germany boasts about its ¨champagne air and tradition¨ – to qualify as a Kurstadt, towns must have their air quality checked regularly. Here you can breathe deeply and get into the perfect mood for the uplifting UU experience of our upcoming retreat.
It’s worth booking an extra night or two at the hostel or one of many local hotels, if you have the time, to experience just a few of these relaxing and interesting attractions without missing out on the fun, fellowship and labyrinth that you will find at our retreat center in the youth hostel.
The town is fairly small and manageable by walking. It also has a fairly decent bus system that covers all the main areas. Tickets can be bought in the bus.
Although the tourist information website exists only in German, it does offer photos of the main attractions of the town and is worth a visit: https://www.badhomburg.info/
Here’s an English language tourist brochure about the town that’s filled with wonderful photos and information.Image Broschüre_DINA4_Englisch_2018_web
There are also information sites on these social media sites: Instagram, Twitter, Unsplash, Facebook.
The tourist information staff do speak English, so it might be best to drop in at the center or call them. They are located in the town center in the theater complex: https://www.bad-homburg.de/de/erleben/informieren/tourist-info/oeffnungszeiten
Bad Homburg’s main park meanders through the town center and hosts multiple mineral water fountains with lovely old architecture designs that resemble Roman temples. The waters are accessible to anyone who cares for a drink. Bring a cup or use your hand! You can take a virtual tour of the park here:
https://www.bad-homburg.de/de/erleben/entdecken/kurparkThe park also houses the two wellness mineral bath/sauna spas, Kaiser Wilhelm Bad or “Kur Royal”
and Taunus Therme (https://www.taunus-therme.de/)
The first is more of an ¨experience,¨with only one shallow mineral bath, multiple saunas with different themes and many beauty and massage options. Personally I found it a bit pricey for what you get, but it depends on what you want. The other, Taunus Therme, offers great value for the money and is decorated like a Thai temple, honoring the former king of Siam (Thailand), who gave the city two temples for the park after coming to the town in the early 1900s to soak in the waters. You can find more information about the town’s rich history in English here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Homburg
The Taunus Therme spa has a downstairs with various indoor and outdoor pools where bathing suits are worn, and an upstairs with seven or eight amazing saunas which is an ¨FKK¨ zone – ¨Frei Körper Kultur¨ – in other words, no bathing suits allowed. In the saunas you sit on your big towel and sweat out all those toxins, and in the relaxing areas everyone wears bathrobes. You can get tickets for 2, 3, or 4 hour visits or all day, and yummy snacks and meals are also available. No reservations needed. Here’s their website: https://www.taunus-therme.de/
But wait there’s more! Bad Homburg’s casino, which was the first one on the continent, is also located in the park. If you’re feeling lucky, be sure to bring a nice dress or a suit and tie, as formal dress is required for entrance to this high-class establishment: https://www.spielbank-bad-homburg.de/
If you’re more the sporty type, the center of the park contains the 18-hole golf course (that was the first one in Europe) (https://www.homburger-gc.de/).
For history buffs, there’s the tiny Russian Orthodox church with the golden spire. To go inside, you need a tour guide, which can be arranged through the tourist information center. More info about the church: https://www.bad-homburg.de/de/erleben/entdecken/kurpark/russische-kirche
Across town, a pleasant stroll along the main shopping pedestrian zone, the best gelato on the planet can be sampled at Ciao Bella Gelato – they’re on Facebook but you can see lots of photos and get info without signing in here: https://www.facebook.com/people/Gelato-Bella/100063613718625/. And yes, I may be a bit biased because the cute young lady in the cover photo happens to be a former student of mine and her family owns the shop.
If you want to eat out in Bad Homburg, there are many good choices and all kinds of food. For my money, the best bet is Flamms, a quaint place around the corner from Bella Gelato with great Alsatian wine and amazing Flammkuchen. In spring there are tables in a small garden area out front, but be sure to make a reservation, it’s popular! https://flamms.de/ You can leave a message on the answering machine and expect a table unless they call you back. It opens at 6pm.
After your meal and gelato, you can stroll a bit further and see the baroque Catholic church and then wander up to the Grand Baroque palace with its medieval tower. There’s info in English here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bad_Homburg_Castle. You can stroll the grounds any time, and walk up to the top of the tower sometimes, and take tours of the palace. More info here: https://www.schloesser-hessen.de/de/schloss-bad-homburg.
For the adventurous who want to get outta town, a trip to the Saalburg, a reconstructed Roman fort, is worth the time. https://www.saalburgmuseum.de/en
And of course the metropolis of Frankfurt is a 20-minute ride away on the local trains (a round-trip ticket costs about 10€). Tickets must be bought at the automats or ticket office before boarding the train. https://fahrplan-bus-bahn.de/abfahrt-ankunft/hessen/bad-homburg#/
Whew! As you can see, Bad Homburg has a lot to offer for everyone. We sure hope to welcome you there in the spring!