Travel Series Germany – Karlsruhe

City Connect offers a new travel series on Germany highlighting cities and places ideal for a weekend break or holiday. This week we are reporting on the city of Karlsruhe.

Karlsruhe is one of the culturally richest cities found in the Federal Republic of Germany. It was founded around the palace in 1715 and is situated in the Southwest of Germany, in the federal state Baden-Württemberg, near the French-German border. It has a population of about 300,000 and an unusual town planning, radiating from the palace right in the centre. The palace was home to many noble families of Germany until they were expelled in 1918 after the Great War. It is now a museum and one of the most beautiful buildings in the Southwest of the country.

The city now houses two of the highest courts of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court and the Federal Court of Justice, making it a political centre in addition to its rich historic architecture. Highlights of the city are the palace, the Gottesau castle (portrayed below), the federal courts and various magnificent churches. The St. Stephan parish church is a masterpiece of neoclassical church architecture in Germany. It was built between 1808 and 1814 based on the architecture of the Pantheon in Rome. The neo-gothic Grand Ducal burial chapel was built between 1889 and 1896 and is situated in the middle of a forest. It also functions as a mausoleum. The population grew dramatically in the late 19th century and many suburban areas are preserved with a plethora of buildings in Art Nouveau and Gründerzeit styles.

The Rhine is also not very far from Karlsruhe and the Rhineland offers beautiful nature reserves. Further South, the famous Schwarzwald with the Spa city of Baden-Baden offers great ways to relax and spend time in nature.

An unusual exhibition on motored vehicles is currently shown in the art museum of Karlruhe. Dancing VWs, an oversized Porsche, a tarred Rolls Royce – this exhibition tries to say Good-bye to our current dreams and understanding of mobility. The exhibition aims to protest and criticise the apparent lack of innovation of the car industry and thus a variety of art pieces portray the artists’ perceptions of what modern cars represent. To me, the most stunning piece of art of this exhibition is a red Porsche which looks like it has eaten too much or has melted away in the sun (depicted below).

Karlsruhe is an ideal place for a city visit for a weekend and there are direct flights with Ryanair from London/ Stansted. For those who wish to spend a longer time in the Southwest of Germany, other famous places such as the university towns of Heidelberg and Tübingen and the city of Stuttgart are not far. The city offers great and affordable accommodation. Combined with cheap flights, this can make a city break in Karlsruhe potentially very cheap.,,



Dublin – More Than Just Guinness

Mention Ireland to someone and one of the first things they’ll say is probably Guinness. Ireland is famous for the land which created “the Black Stuff” and Dublin was were it all started. The original brewery near the centre of the city is now a museum – called the Guinness Storehouse – where you can learn more about the history of this great drink and even sample a pint in their rooftop bar which has stunning views across Dublin. The Guinness Storehouse is without a doubt Ireland’s and Dublin’s number one tourist attraction – and quite rightly so. But there is more to Dublin than just being the home of Guinness.

The best place to start planning your trip to Dublin is to check out the website for Dublin Tourism Board which gives full listings and guides to the city. When it comes to getting there, book a flight with British Midland International (BMI). BMI fly from London Heathrow to Dublin every day and although they might not be the cheapest, they are neither the most expensive and offer the best value for money. BMI are a member airline of the Star Alliance which is a network of respected airlines such as Singapore Airlines and Luftansa.

There has been a resurgence in the city centre thanks to the increasing amount of tourists from Europe and America who are now travelling in every increasing numbers to Ireland’s capital. The city is full of culture and you are never too far away from a quality restaurant or bar to sample the best Ireland has to offer in good food and drink. See our reviews of Pichet and Chameleon for just two examples of some of the wonderful dining experiences awaiting you. Dublin Castle is definitely worth a visit, if only to marvel at it’s technicolour walls which are unlike any other historic building you’ll be used to. The grounds outside the castle was the original home of the Dubh Linn (meaning Black Pool) where Dublin gets it’s name.

No visitor to Dublin can miss seeing the amazing Spire Of Dublin rising up to the heavens on O’Connell Street. It is also known by it’s official name of the Monument of Light. At night it looks spectacular when the top 12 metres of the monument is illuminated forming a beacon across the night sky. The monument itself is 120 metres high and is the world’s tallest sculpture.

The River Liffey runs through the heart of the city and splits the city up with the historic Georgian Dublin and main tourist attractions in the south and and the less touristy areas of the city in the north. The Temple Bar area just south of the Ha’penny Bridge is the main tourist area of Dublin and is filled with lots of pubs, bars and restaurants. The Ha’penny bridge is probably the best known bridge in Dublin and is famous for being the first iron bridge in Ireland. A good central hotel to stay at is the reasonably priced Eliza Lodge which is only a stone’s throw away from lively Temple Bar but manages to maintain a sense of tranquility by overlooking the River Liffey.

Famous Dubliners include the influential writer James Joyce, the witty Oscar Wilde (whose leering statue lies foppishly on a stone crag in Merrion Square) and of course the infamous Molly Marlone from the popular song which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin. A buxom statue of Molly Malone is located at the bottom of Grafton Street and is fondly referred to as “The Tart With The Cart” by locals!

Discover Dublin on your next city break – it is so much more than just the home of Guinness!

Images courtesy of Alan Philippe