Bad Homburg vor der Höhe is a small spa town located just outside of Frankfurt. It was once the summer holiday location of German royals, hence its reputation of having ‘champagne air’. On my day trip to Bad Homburg, I chose to spend an hour walking around the Kurpark and then hop on a bus to the Herzberg for a hike up the mountain. However, you could easily spend an entire day in each place. I’ll explain more below.
Arriving in Bad Homburg
You can take the U2 directly from Hauptwache to Gonzenheim, which is the last stop. From here, you can either walk for approx 20 mins to the town centre, or take the 6-minute bus journey to Bahnhof and walk just a few minutes to the town centre. If you choose to go on to Herzberg, take the number 5 bus from bus stop number 1 from Bahnhof to Saalburg.
Kurpark is a beautiful outdoor space in Bad Homburg, and I was not surprised to read that it’s also the town’s main tourist attraction. Located in the centre of Bad Homburg, Kurpark is home to Kaiser-Wilhelms-Bad Spa, a casino, pavilions, a chapel, a pond, tennis courts and a garden for the blind.
The extravagant exterior of the Kaiser-Wilhelms-Bad, makes it the spa that can’t be missed when walking through Kurpark. It’s unfortunately closed due to the pandemic, but I have previously visited with friends and would definitely recommend it. I was thoroughly enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere, intricate interior and calming colours. Fun fact: If a German town begins with ‘Bad’, this means it’s a spa town.
The Thai-Sala im Park and Thai-Sala an der Quelle are the two pavillions of Bad Homburg’s Kurpark. They were gifted to Bad Homburg by Thai royalty as a sign of the ongoing relationship between Thailand and Bad Homburg.
The Russian Church
The small Russian Church that sits on the edge of Kurpark was built to accommodate the influx of Russian spa guests in the 19th Century. It is still open today and serves as the Russian Orthodox religious centre of Bad Homburg.
More of Kurpark
As I said, I spent an hour in Kurpark as part of my day trip, but it covers nearly 40 hectares, so there is plenty to see and explore. You could even make and entire day of it by brining a picnic during the warmer months.
Saalburg & Herzberg
After strolling through Kurpark and Bad Homburg city centre, I hopped on the number 5 bus from Bahnhof to Saalburg. It was great to visit a different town, see the fort and fit in a hike up Herzberg in the same day.
Saalburg is a Roman fort located between Bad Homburg and Wherheim. The 550km limes, which divided the Roman empire from the Germanic tribes, has been a part of the UNESO world heritage site since 2005. As you can imagine, Saalburg is unfortunately closed due to the pandemic, but you can still have a pretty good view from the outside, and I will definitely go back once it reopens.
And the hike begins! From Saalburg you can walk up the Herzberg, eventually ending up at the Herzbergturm (Herzberg Tower). Whilst this was enjoyable, I instantly noticed that the forest seemed somewhat empty. It was saddening to see that many of the trees had been cut down. After doing some research I discovered that the trees had to be cut down due to dehydration. I guess it makes sense, considering that in recent summers, we have had temperatures of over 40°C. As a result of dryness, the trees had a sort of windy pattern on them. I later discovered that this pattern was formed by bark beetles. When trees lose their strength due to drought, bark beetles speed up the process of decomposing the dying wood and rejuvenating the forest. The replanting of new trees has already began, although I guess it will be a while until this forest is back in its full spirit.
Once you get to the top, the views over the Taunus landscape and of Frankfurt’s skyline were certainly worth the uphill walk. Bring binoculars if you have them! It was relatively quiet when I went, but I imagine there are normally super long queues for the watch-tower and the restaurant is packed. I’m really looking forward to things opening up again!