The Caracalla Therme is one of the more modern spas in Baden-Baden. Photo: ALAMY
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THE ONE LANDMARK

Baden-Baden in southwest Germany is best known as a fashionable nineteenth-century spa town and current wellness centre. It has lovely gardens studded with graceful Victorian-era buildings, the most striking of which is the former pump house or Trinkhalle, whose colonnade has romantic frescoes depicting Black Forest legends. See visit.baden-baden.de

THE ONE SPA

Take to the baths while in Baden-Baden. You'll have to bare all at Friedrichsbad to enjoy the mosaic-covered, nineteenth-century steam and other baths beneath a basilica-like cupola. The full routine takes you to 17 stations at various temperatures. A more modern (and modestly clothed) alternative is Caracalla Spa (pictured), which has a huge indoor pool and an outdoor one with cascades that pummel your shoulders. See carasana.de

THE ONE WALK

The old town is a pretty congregation of pastel buildings, cafés, statues and Russian and English churches, all crowned by a modest castle. In the cobbled square between the town's two thermal baths, hot water gushes from the Fettquelle fountain, and steam rises from gratings, creating an atmospheric (and warm) fog in winter. Nearby, under a multistorey carpark, is a museum preserving Roman foundations and artefacts. See visit.baden-baden.de

THE ONE GARDEN

Baden-Baden is a stroller's town. A fine stretch of elegant old edifices devoted to wellness and entertainment is embedded in spa and rose gardens and along adjacent tree-lined Lichtentaler Allee, including a theatre, villas and casino. The town's micro-climate and plants provide an almost Mediterranean feel, yet Baden-Baden nestles in the hills of the scenic, pine-scented Black Forest.

THE ONE MUSEUM

This upmarket town has some fabulous private collections, top of which is Museum Frieder Burda featuring a superb assortment of modernist, expressionist and contemporary art in an eye-catching glass cube on Lichtentaler Allee. You seldom find this quality of art beyond major cities. See museum-frieder-burda.de

THE ONE CHURCH

The late-Gothic, hilltop Stiftskirche on the Marktplatz dominates the old town. It has Roman foundations, beautifully carved Romanesque portals and baroque flourishes including a pink tower. The tombs of the Margraves of Baden clutter the interior, which is illuminated in startling colours thanks to the church's many stained-glass windows. You can gaze from its terraces over the town to the blue hills of the Black Forest.

THE ONE HOTEL

Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa, opened in 1872, is set in its own park overlooking Lichtentaler Allee. It's the place to be if you want an atmosphere of Baden-Baden in its nineteenth-century heyday. As you'd expect of a Leading Hotel of the World, its restaurants are sophisticated, rooms luxurious and antique-filled, and service very attentive. The spa occupies an entire five-storey villa in the grounds. See lhw.com

THE ONE RESTAURANT

With 12 Michelin-recommended restaurants in town and dozens more just beyond, plus a well-heeled clientele looking for pampering, you'll certainly eat well in Baden-Baden. Try Le Jardin de France for upmarket, contemporary French cuisine that shows some unexpected and satisfying Asian and Middle Eastern influences, such as a delicious cream of coconut and pear soup with curry. See lejardindefrance.de

THE ONE CAFE

Cafe König has been around for two and a half centuries, and has been frequented by the likes of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Liszt. The traditional, rather old-fashioned coffee house still has the town's best cakes, tarts and chocolate truffles. Even just looking through the windows will pile on the calories. See chocolatier.de

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ONE MORE THING

Baden-Baden has one of Europe's top cultural calendars that includes music festivals, concerts and theatre, plus annual visits by the celebrated Mariinsky​ Ballet. Check out what's on at the Kurhaus, Theater am Goetheplatz and Festspielhaus before you arrive. See kurhaus-baden-baden.de; theater.baden-baden.de; festspielhaus.de

Brian Johnston travelled partly as a guest of Baden-Baden Tourism and partly at his own expense.

from traveller.com.au