Lively and Urban

9 Summer Spots in Southwest Germany’s Cities

Die Städte des Südens feiern den Sommer mit Spaß und guter Laune.
Southwest Germany’s Cities celebrate summer with fun and good humour

BW Story - Hirsch & Greif

Southwest Germany’s Cities celebrate summer with fun and good humour

Pack your swimsuit and discover the best places to enjoy the summer in Baden-Württemberg. Enjoy relaxed party music at Fridas Pier in Stuttgart or at the International Danube Festival in Ulm. There is a chilled vibe at the Freiburg ‘Bächle’ and at the Neckarstrand Beach in Mannheim, while things are a little sportier and exhilarating in Pforzheim. From an underwater club to surfing in the city, Southwest Germany celebrates the summer with sport, fun and sunny parties. We have put together nine tips for you. 

‘DAS FEST’: Party in the Park

#1 Karlsruhe

‘DAS FEST’: Party in the Park

DAS FEST in Karlsruhe ist Süddeutschlands größtes Familienfestival.
‚DAS FEST‘ in Karlsruhe is the largest family festival in southern Germany. | © Jürgen Franke

Simple Minds, Razorlight, Neneh Cherry…. The list of famous names that have already performed at ‘DAS FEST’ in Karlsruhe is endless. The family-friendly festival takes place in the Günther-Klotz Park by the Alb River near the city, combining culture in the nature with a convenient location with short distances. When the Mexican wave spreads over the so-called ‘Mount Klotz’ opposite the main stage, sparkling in the light of glow sticks and phone torches, you can feel the goosebumps stirring. The programme also includes the Classical Music Breakfast on Sunday and the Karlsruhe Duck Race for rubber ducks along the Alb River. 

The Bächle: Dip Your Toes in the Water and Chill</span><span>&nbsp;

#2 Freiburg

The Bächle: Dip Your Toes in the Water and Chill 

Die berühmten Bächle bringen den Bürgerinnen und Gästen Abkühlung an warmen Tagen.
On hot days, the famous ‘Bächle’ streams provide refreshment for locals and visitors alike. | © Freiburg Erleben, Foto: Andreas Frank

Freiburg im Breisgau is known for its mild climate, good wines, green projects and, of course, its pretty old town and its minster. The famous medieval ‘Bächle’ streams provide refreshment for locals and visitors alike. Children float their little ‘Bächle’ boats in the clear waters of the cobbled canals, and adults rest their feet while enjoying a glass of wine or a beer after work. For example, at the Freiburg Wine Festival in July or during a bookable ‘Freiburg Bächle Picnic’. 

Neckarstrand Beach: Relaxing with Refreshments

#3 Mannheim

Neckarstrand Beach: Relaxing with Refreshments

Am Neckarstrand in Mannheim lassen sich sonnige Tage in Liegestühlen und Hängematten mit Blick aufs Wasser entspannt ausklingen.  Erfrischungen gibt es an der Beach-Bar.
Neckarstrand Beach in Mannheim is a great place to spend sunny days relaxing in deckchairs and hammocks overlooking the water. Refreshments are available at the beach bar. | © Daniel Lukac

Mannheim is greener than almost any other city in Germany:around two-thirds of the city is made up of natural spaces. Two rivers, the Rhine and the Neckar River, meander through the city. There are many relaxing spots along their banks. One of these is the Neckarstrand Beach, which is the perfect place to relax in loungers and hammocks with a view of the water on sunny days and balmy summer evening. Refreshment comes in the form of a cold drink from the beach bar. 

By and on the Neckar: Culinary Delights at the River</span><span>&nbsp;

#4 Heilbronn

By and on the Neckar: Culinary Delights at the River 

Eine Fahrt im „BBQ-Donut“ auf dem Neckar bei Heilbronn verbindet Wasserspaß mit verschiedenen kulinarischen Arrangements.
A trip in the ‘BBQ Donut’ on the Neckar River in Heilbronn combines water fun with various culinary arrangements. | © Neckarboot GmbH & CoKG

Especially in summer, when the Neckar River is the centre of leisure activities, Heilbronn water fun for everyone. You can get active and head onto the water with a canoe, SUP or pedalo, or take a more relaxed approach and enjoy the variety of the ‘Neckarmeile’, the largest gastronomic mile in southern Germany. You can combine water fun and food with a trip on the ‘BBQ Donut’. These round boats offer a variety of culinary arrangements, from a barbecue set to wine tasting. The Neckar River shines bright at the Heilbronner Lichterfest (Heilbronn Festival of Lights) in June: culture, music and culinary delights are accompanied by atmospheric illuminations.

Live Music at the Spa: A Different Kind of Relaxation</span><span>&nbsp;

#5 Baden-Baden

Live Music at the Spa: A Different Kind of Relaxation 

In der modernen Caracalla-Therme in Baden-Baden gibt es jeden ersten Freitag im Monat Live-Musik am Wasserbecken.
The modern Caracalla Spa in Baden-Baden has live music by the pool every first Friday of the month. | © Carasana Bäderbetriebe GmbH

Baden-Baden is one of the UNESCO World Heritage ‘Great Spa Towns of Europe’ and is world-famous for its thermal springs. For over 2,000 years, several 1,000 litres of water have been gushing out of them every day. You can immerse yourself in the past in the historic Friedrichsbad Spa, which was opened in 1877, modelled on the Roman thermal baths, the ruins of which are still directly underneath it. The Caracalla Spa with its extensive bathing and sauna complex provides a modern counterpart. Every first Friday of the month, there are special sauna infusions with live music by the pool.

‘Summer at the River’: la Dolce Vita at the Neckar

#6 Heidelberg

‘Summer at the River’: la Dolce Vita at the Neckar

Dolce Vita in Heidelberg im August: Dann beginnt am Neckar offiziell der „Sommer am Fluss“ mit zahlreichen Veranstaltungen für Jung und Alt.
Dolce Vita in Heidelberg in August: The ‘Summer at the river’ event offers numerous events for all ages. | © Tobias Schwerdt

Strolling, talking and snacking - life is good at any time of the year in Heidelberg. But when the official ‘Summer at the river’ is celebrated at the Neckar River in August, the dolce vita takes over for a whole weekend. There is plenty going on between the Old Bridge and the Neckarlauer Promenade, with two stages, a children’s programme, delicious street food and events. The city beach, the feel-good place on the Neckarlauer Promenade, with a chill-out area, yoga and life music provides a holiday vibe. 

Blackforestwave: Surfing in the City</span><span>&nbsp;

#7 Pforzheim

Blackforestwave: Surfing in the City 

Blackforestwave bietet seit 2021 echtes Surfen für Profis und Anfänger in Pforzheim im Schwarzwald.
Since 2021, the 'Blackforestwave' offers a real surfing experience for pros and beginners in the city of Pforzheim in the Black Forest. | © Markus Born Fotodesign

Surfing in the city? Not a problem in Pforzheim! After seven years and many hours of volunteer work, the ‘Blackforestwave’ opened in 2021, and brings that ‘hanging loose’ feeling to the Black Forest. But the waves in the Metzelgraben, a canal of the Nagold River, are not just reserved for the pros. Beginners and anyone who just fancies giving it a go can also try out surfing on the beginner-friendly wave. The open surf events in April and September are an excellent opportunity.

International Danube Festival: Culture Party on the Banks of the Danube</span><span>&nbsp;

#8 Ulm

International Danube Festival: Culture Party on the Banks of the Danube 

Das Internationale Donaufest in Ulm ist ein Schaufenster der internationalen Donaupartnerschaft und der kulturellen Begegnung.
The International Danube Festival in Ulm is a showcase for the international Danube partnership and intercultural encounters. | © Bildwerk89

The International Danube Festival is 10 days of fun and entertainment on both sides of the river. International artists and visitors come together along the Danube to celebrate and enjoy intercultural activities. The programme is colourful, ranging from music and dance performances to authentic arts and crafts. And it goes without saying that the culinary delights also add to the cosmopolitan feeling. 

Frida's Pier: Underwater Clubbing</span><span>&nbsp;

#9 Stuttgart

Frida's Pier: Underwater Clubbing 

Das 80 Meter lange ehemalige Binnenschiff Wilhelm Knipscheer mit angrenzendem Gelände ist eine ganz besondere Party-Location in Stuttgart.
The 80-metre-long former cargo ship ‘Wilhelm Knipscheer’ with its adjoining grounds is a very special party location in Stuttgart. | © Fridas Pier

The Wilhelm Knipscheer, a converted river cargo ship, is now permanently moored at the Fridas Pier Cultural Centre in the heart of Stuttgart’s industrial area. The heart of the venue beats on the lower deck of the cargo ship. At the weekends, leading international DJs, collectives, and sound artists serve up a fabulous club experience below the water surface. On the upper deck and the pier, lounge furniture, bars, food stands, and several floors create a unique open-air atmosphere. 

Sommer-Vibes in The cities of southwest Germany


Sommer-Vibes in The cities of southwest Germany

You can find more great tips for unforgettable city experiences at

Thermal bath Baden-Baden

Friedrichsbad Spa

  • Thermensommer
Caracalla outdoor area

Thermal bath Baden-Baden

Caracalla Spa Thermal bath

  • Thermensommer
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