We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

Singapore
Level Contributor
19 posts
9 reviews
Save Topic
Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

Hi all

Have been so confused as to where to do our 3 nights stay enroute from Paris to Lucerne. Appreciate any help I can get here please.

We are a group of 7 adults and 1 infant and it has been quite a challenge deciding which towns to visit out of the 4 listed above. Our itinerary is Paris - one of the towns listed above - Lucern - Murren - Geneva - Paris.

As our 84 yrs old grandma and 7 month old infant is with us on this trip, a scenic city that is perhaps more wheelchair and stroller friendly would be helpful. We are moving about in trains and won't have a car. Or should we actually rent a larger car and drive instead for day trips to be more cost effective?

I suppose that basing ourselves in either Baden-Baden, Freiburg or Strasbourg would allow us to do a day trip to perhaps one of these cities as well. Heidelberg seems a little far north?

Cost of hotels/pensions in each city is actually a consideration especially since it's quite a large group that we have.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Germany
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
37,380 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

railroad map Baden-Württemberg

bahn.de/regional/view/mdb/pv/planen_buchen/l…

You could also stay central between Baden-Baden, Strasbourg and Freiburg. E.g. Offenburg as a rail knot.

http://www.offenburg.de/

Or a bit into the Black Forest e.g. Gengenbach (7 min from Offenburg by train).

http://www.stadt-gengenbach.de

Nice town. And if you stay there you'll get automatically a KONUS guest card

http://www.blackforest-tourism.com/konus

which gives you free local public transport (regional trains, buses and the trams in Freiburg) in this area:

http://tinyurl.com/yzgdyde

Gengenbach is also on the railroad to Triberg and the Vogtsbauernhof Black Forest Open Air Museum. 2 popular destinations in the Black Forest.

Best on accommodation in your case will be contact directly the tourist offices and tell them your situation and what you're looking for. E.g.

tourist-info(at)stadt-gengenbach.de

The best base among the cities you listed would be Freiburg as it is also a rail know with a frequent half hourly service also into the Black Forest by train (Hell Valley Railroad). Baden-Baden is a base not as good as it sits a bit deeper in a side valley and is not directly connected by train. The station is in Baden-Baden-Oos. Strasbourg is connection and ticket options wise not a really good base for the Black Forest. While it's nice for a day trip I'm otherwise no big fan of Strasbourg.

Renting a mini van could be an option. But you'll need a 9-seater (there are normally only 7- or 9- seaters). As your infant will need it's own seat with an infant seat fixed to the seat (can be rented). And you'll still have not much space for your luggage. Such 9-seaters are not that common and are basically the biggest mini vans available. Thus not the optimal vehicle to drive around. Often too big for the parking lots, for most parking garages anyway too high and driving on the small but scenic mountain roads in the Black Forest and the Alps is also a lot easier with smaller vehicles. Esp. if you're not used to drive such a monster.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6,678 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

Each city is quite lovely, and each are different.

Strasbourg is stil "French" with strong Germanic influence. Known for good dining/wines from Alsace. Picturesque medieval section with canals, also baroque and modern areas.

http://www.otstrasbourg.fr/?lang=en

Freiberg is definitely medieval with small canals running of the sides of streets. Also a gateway to Black Forest.

http://www.freiburg-home.com/

BadenBaden is luxurious, "old money" with emphasis on spas, casinos, parks, etc. Elegant. Slight Mediterranean feel.

http://www.baden-baden.de/en/tourism/

Heidelberg is about an hour further north. Esp. known for its castle ruins, location on Neckar River (with boat tours), old university town with reddened buildings, nice for walking and "romantic" atmosphere.

heidelberg-marketing.de/content/index_eng.ht…

In some ways, I think each city is a good base. If you can rent the minivan, all the better, since you are not tied to trains, train schedules, etc. Also since mobility seems an issue, a minvan obviously can help here. You can generally go where you want, minimize walking, and not be tied to train lines, which may make it better with a large group. Depending on prices, you may actually save money, even tho there are the drawback mentioned by Abalada.

Singapore
Level Contributor
19 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

Thank you very much both!

I would think that renting a minivan is out for us for now - especially when my mum sees the advice that maneuvering a giant on the mountain roads is a bit dangerous. More so i guess for us as none of us are that familiar with left hand drive.

Gengenbach looks very pretty, but i wonder if it's too small a base for 3 nights? Although i must say, the konus card sounds like a very good cost-saving deal! I read that staying in Freiburg won't give us the konus card deal but i suppose it's a more lively town. And we can still make use of the Laendertickets. Or maybe there's an equally pretty town near Freiburg that's actually within the black forest itself?

For now, i guess it's a toss up between Strasbourg and Freiburg. Aargh - sometimes so many choices isn't a good thing! Haha.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
14,565 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

Personally, I would expand my choices to include places along the Neckar River besides Heidelberg. I think that the places along it are more interesting than the other places you actually mention except for possibly Strasbourg. Have a look at what I wrote in tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g187275-i116-k4365… .

Boone, North...
Level Contributor
13 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

A hidden gem is Colmar, an hour or less south of Strasbourg. I'd go there instead of HD. One issue you'll have to deal with in almost all these locations are the old, rough cobblestone streets, which will make for a bumpy ride in the wheelchair. B-B and Fburg aren't all that great, IMO. Unless you want the spa treatment in B-B.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6,678 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

A few responding thoughts, to make you even more mixed up.

While I do like the towns along the Neckar, they are nothing comparable to Ffurg and BB. They are very small, hamlets really, yet picturesque with castle ruins but not much to do. Unless you include Ladenburg (a bit more to see) or Heilbronn (which, while larger, doesn't have much to attract a tourist). I would say this is a nice boat ride or perhaps train ride with a stop off at a town for a coffee (perhaps Eberbach),

I am personally mixed on Colmar. First, its not really "hidden", its a main tourist town in Alsace. While "pretty" I find Strasbourg has that same "pretty" (canals, etc) and more, and not as many "tourist" places overall.

I also want to make my comment on HD. Yes, yes, HD can be heavily touristed. But that is really The-Castle and The-Old-Town-Around-The- Castle. There's lots more to HD but I wonder if those that question it have gone to such places (other side of Neckar, Neuenheim/Handschucheim, Plock (parallel to Hauptstrasse), a state theatre production (sometimes in English), a classical music concert in the church, a stroll along the Neckar, a farmer's market across the bridge, a visit to some small museums, a stop in bookstores that feature English books, looking at the interesting town houses, baroque buildings, pubs, a walk in the Odenwald (just above the castle, etc.), a walk in the famous cemetery, a walk along Panoramastr, or Rohrbachstr or Romerstr, sitting in the park alongthe river for a picnic with university students watching crew and sailing clubs, a trip to close by areas like Rohrbach, Weinheim, Schwetzingen, Speyer. For example. Its not required that you only visit The Castle cliche, you know.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Stuttgart, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
14,565 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

"While I do like the towns along the Neckar, they are nothing comparable to Ffurg and BB. They are very small, hamlets really,"

I would hardly call Ludwigsburg, Stuttgart, Esslingen and Tuebingen small hamlets, your beloved Heidelberg is a quarter of the size of Stuttgart (the largest city in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Germany's 6th largest), and only about 50% larger than those other towns. And I strongly disagree about the other two places, all though there is nothing wrong with them. I suppose Ffurg is supposed to be Freiburg, which does have a nice cathedral. But Baden-Baden comes much closer to being a hamlet than those other places I mentioned above.

Dayton, Ohio
Level Contributor
1,156 posts
299 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

If you're just asking for which city of your Big 4 I would rather spend one afternoon in, the answer would be Baden-Baden. For three days, I'd rather be in Strasbourg, where you can do a day trip to Colmar and a day trip to Baden-Baden. Personally, I think Freiburg is not worth a visit on limited vacation time.

canada
Level Contributor
7,582 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

Well, Strasburg definitely is worth 2 days. The 3rd day can be in Basel if not Colmar. Your alternative would be Freiburg im Breisgau, with a day trip to the Black Forest.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
6,678 posts
54 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg or Strasbourg?

RE: Neckar - I thought you meant the Neckar towns like Neckarsteinach, Eberback, Dilsberg, etc. Wasn't clear on you post that you meant Stuttgart, Ludwisburg, Essingen, etc.

As to OP, if your last choices are Strasbourg vs. Freiburg, there is where prices may make a difference. So this my sort it out. In some towns, the train station is not that near the tourist attractions. You will want to minimize walking to train.

Freiburg is probably less expensive and in Germany ("real" German vs "French-German). Also it seems a better location for day trips. That way you can easily get BB, Black Forest, etc. anyway. Its a quieter town but very nice. Just do take a day trip to Strasbourg.

Or a some suggested, break it up.

Good luck.

Get answers to your questions about Baden-Wurttemberg