German Sights

Travel to Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg is located in the southwestern corner of Germany. It borders France to the west and Switzerland in the south.

Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg's southern neighbour, is situated to the east and northeast while the states of Hesse and Rhineland Palatinate complete the northern border.

The capital of the state is Stuttgart, a centrally-located modern city with the main airport and - by some distance - the largest population.

However, given the history and geography of the state, regional centres such as Freiburg and Karlsruhe are also important hubs.

Baden-Württemberg in Germany

Flying to Baden-Württemberg

Stuttgart Airport is the most-used airport for travel to the state. It is centrally-located on a main motorway connection and with regular regional train services into the city. It is one of the largest in Germany and offers a range of flights within the country and some scheduled options around Europe (including various budget airlines) as well as, at the time of writing, a solitary transatlantic option.

Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport is the second-largest airport in Baden-Württemberg situated on the French border slightly to the west of Baden Baden and 40km to the south of Karlsruhe. It has a few flights within the country and around Europe and is a hub for Ryanair, although the proximity of Stuttgart probably makes that airport a more popular option..

Bodensee Airport at Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance in Baden-Württemberg offers a fairly limited choice for European travellers, although destinations within Germany are also on offer. Convenient for those looking to stay in the Lake Constance region who can find a suitable flight.

Allgäu Airport is situated near the town of Memmingen (to the west of Munich near the Baden-Württemberg border). The airport is an option for those looking to travel to the eastern and southeastern parts of the state. The drawback is the choice of airlines and destinations is limited to European budget airlines. Buses and trains are available for those relying on public transport.

Munich Airport is some way away from Baden-Württemberg (240km from Stuttgart) but is a great choice for intercontinental and European arrivals, especially for those planning to stay in the eastern and southeastern parts of the state. It has good connections and offers a wide range of airlines and destinations.

Another option in a neighbouring state would be the airport at Frankfurt, the largest in Germany and one of the busiest in the world. Although it is located in the neighbouring state of Hesse, the wide range of airlines and international destinations and the short distance and good connections to towns in the north of Baden-Württemberg such as Heidelberg and Mannheim make it a good option.

Alternatively, for those travelling to the south of the state, two airports in other countries may come into consideration. EuroAirport is located to the north of Basel just over the border in France and may be suitable for those travelling to the Freiburg area. Zurich Airport in Switzerland may be an option for those travelling to Lake Constance. Both airports may be suitable for Black Forest destinations.

Baden-Württemberg by Train

High-speed train services are a controversial topic in Baden-Württemberg, with planned rail upgrades being the subject of massive protests in Stuttgart.

The demonstrations were against the rebuilding and relaying of train lines around Stuttgart railway station to take the fastest trains and to extend the planned Paris-Vienna European high-speed rail link. Currently, the area around Stuttgart, the new-build stretch from Wendlingen to Ulm and the link between Frankfurt and Mannheim are all being upgraded as part of the German railways Bahn21 project.

The main high-speed connection in the state is the Mannheim-Stuttgart route, which has been open since the 1990s and which links into services to Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin and Hamburg.

One of the best rail bargains in any state is the day pass for the (slower) regional services. In Baden-Württemberg's case this is called the Baden-Württemberg Ticket and offers unlimited travel on local services from 09.00 to 03.00 the following day (or from midnight on weekends).

The single price is low (24 Euros at the time of writing) but the real bargain is that extra people can be added to the ticket up to a maximum of five for only 6 Euros a person. Thus five people can have unlimited travel for a day in Baden-Württemberg for only 48 Euros. (Note that Intercity services are not included.)

Driving in Baden-Württemberg

Like the rest of Germany, Baden-Württemberg has an extremely efficient motorway network which allows quick access to most parts of the state.

The following major national motorway routes run through Baden-Württemberg:

  • the A5 motorway runs from Frankfurt south through the state to the Swiss border at Basel, passing Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, Offenburg and Freiburg
  • the A6 motorway runs from the French border near Saarbrücken to the Czech border (and on to Prague), passing Mannheim and Heilbronn on the way to Bavaria
  • the A7 motorway (the longest motorway in Europe) runs from the Danish border to the Austrian border at Füssen, cutting into Baden-Württemberg near Aalen, Heidenheim and Ulm
  • the A8 motorway runs from Luxembourg and passes Stuttgart and Ulm on its way to Salzburg in Austria

Like its southern neighbour Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg has a number of mountainous regions and care should be taken driving on more local alpine roads all year round, but especially in bad weather conditions and in winter. Snow chains and winter tyres can be obligatory.

The German automobile club is called ADAC and it offers information on traffic and road conditions on its website (German only):

Map of Baden-Württemberg