Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, commonly referred to as Bad Homburg, is a spa town just outside Frankfurt in Hesse, Germany. With a sizeable castle and old town, the thermal springs and a casino frequented by kings, as well as its present highest per capita wealth in all of Germany, the city adopted an apt motto Champagnerluft und Tradition (“champagne air and tradition”). Despite its many attractions, the town is perhaps most known globally as the origin of the homburg hat.
The town was only formally recognized as a spa in 1912, which allowed it to use the prefix “Bad”, therefore for most of its history it was known as just Homburg. Historic research has proven for the town to have been in existence since the late 12th century. It has been a minor noble residence and market town for most of its history, until mineral springs were discovered in the 19th century and spa facilities along with a casino were built in the 1840s. It was actually the casino in Homburg that served as direct inspiration for the casino in Monte Carlo, which the Monegasque Prince ordered to be built “in the German style”.
Homburg’s popularity with the rich and famous drew the German Imperial family to declare the city its summer residence and invite numerous relatives, including Edward VII of the United Kingdom. Edward left lasting influence on men’s fashion with his innovative dress choices, one of them being a simple and versatile felt hat, which he first acquired in Homburg. Thereafter it became known after the town’s name.
Arguably, the main attraction in Bad Homburg is its Kurpark, a large park near the centre of the city within which are many mineral water fountains and monuments. The Kurpark roughly runs parallel to Louisenstraße, a long pedestrian mall lined with shops and a few nearby attractions such as the Landgrave Castle. One should consider walking through the Kurpark in one direction and along Louisenstraße in the other.
Bad Homburg sees no long-distance traffic – getting there in general requires taking a local train or light rail from Frankfurt or its immediate surroundings. There are two stations in Bad Homburg on two separate railways:
- 1 Bad Homburg station. This is the main railway station in town, served by line of the Rhein-Mein S-Bahn and the RB15 regional trains. It has a nice historic station building
- 1 Bad Homburg Gonzenheim station. This is the terminus of the line of Frankfurt’ U-Bahn (a deceptively named light rail system), located in the Gonzenheim district of Bad Homburg
The RMV website has schedules. For 2-5 people travelling together on a day trip from Frankfurt, the RMV group day ticket (Gruppentageskarte) is more economical and more convenient that using single trip tickets.