Not that great, most of the centre had been destroyed during WWII. Nightlife is not special, but there are some places with eating packages designed for students that are tremendous and cheap. If you are a guy and want to find a girl, forget it -- the university is mostly technical, so loads of competition!
Karlsruhe is a great midsized people, about 250,000 people live there. You can find a huge palace and many cultural things to do. Nightlife is ok, too. And Karlsruhe is one of the warmest cities in Germany very close to the Rhine River, the Black Forest and the French Border (all within 30 minutes).
Karlsruhe is one of those places that reminds anyone coming through of how wars sustainably ruin cities. The city was flattened during the war and what has been built since rarely pleases the eye. There is a bit of pretty here and there and a nice castle and botanical garden, but overall this probably is one of the ugliest cities you will find in southern Germany.
As it's lacking the classic old-world sights that travelers long for, it doesn't see a lot of recreational visitors. What it does have is a very renowned university and the according student life. But it is not quite thriving as much as in other cities. There are some museums that are well worth visiting such as the ZKM (center for art and media technology), which is one of a kind in Germany. Also the museum of Baden, exhibiting anything regarding local nobility, has jaw-dropping exhibits.
The question of whether this is enough to lure backpackers into Karslruhe hostels can easily be answered with a resounding no. Privately run hostels have been heard of, but apparently just can't make a living off the little backpacking traffic that frequents Karlsruhe. As the options for Karlsruhe hostels are extremely limited (and government run), what exists is quite often fully booked. This is not that surprising, as in any other city that has limited housing and sees such a massive onslaught of new university students each semester. Thus, if you want to travel to Karlsruhe in October or April, you are well advised to book way ahead or you might end up homeless with a couple of thousand of equally room-free undergraduates.
Karlsruhe might be worth as an emergency overnighter if you plan on heading into the Black Forest, to which the city is kind of the northern gate. Train connections to all parts of the country are frequent from here! Getting around in town with the tramway is also easy and affordable, as is bus transportation.
Hi, I'm gagalichen,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Karlsruhe hostels. Welcome.