© Dominik Ketz

Historic spa district

Since July 24, Bad Ems is part of the UNESCO World Heritage!

On 24 July 2021, UNESCO decided to recognise Bad Ems as part of the "Great Spa Towns of Europe" World Heritage Site. The spa town on the Lahn has thus received the highest international distinction that can be bestowed on a cultural site. It certifies that Bad Ems has an outstanding cultural heritage, the preservation of which is in the interest of all mankind.

The recognition as a World Heritage Site was given as part of the "Great Spa Towns of Europe". This is because Bad Ems received this distinction together with ten other of Europe's most important spas, including, for example, Karlsbad (Czech Republic), Vichy (France), Spa (Belgium) or Bath (England). Here you can experience at every turn how people once spent their spa days and holidays in Europe.

"The small town of Ems is situated in a deep gorge between wooded hills. The little town leans on rocks, the most picturesque in the world. There are promenades and gardens - and everything is charming."

Fyodor M. Dostoevsky, Russian writer (1821-1881), about his stay in Bad Ems)

Bad Ems - a prime example of a historical spa town

Due to its compactness, its location, its facilities and its socio-political events, Bad Ems is virtually exemplary for the European bathing tradition. The health resort was the scene of important political events and decisions, pioneer in playing and deeply connected with the musical heritage. The thermal springs are close together and the spa landscape, with challenging therapeutic hiking trails and high rocky vantage points, is directly adjacent to the spa district. The bottling of Bad Emser mineral water has a long tradition, as does the use of salts in the famous Emser pastilles.

The must-sees in the Kurviertel 

You should not miss these sights in the historic spa district

  • Must-see 1
    Die Lahn und das Kurhaus

    Baroque bathing castle

    The magnificent building par excellence of Bad Ems

    A princess from the House of Nassau-Oranien had her private bathing palace built in 1711-20 on the site where the medicinal springs were already being used in the Middle Ages. The later Emperor Wilhelm also stayed here during his vacations.

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  • Must-see 2
    Marmorsaal Bad Ems

    Marble Hall

    Architectural jewel and "holy" cult (ural) site

    Emperors, kings and tsars once indulged in cultural enjoyment here. Even today the magnificent hall with its wall paintings and columns made of Lahntal marble still enchants its visitors.

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  • Must-see 3
    russische Kirche

    Russian Orthodox Church

    Impressive church with golden domes and valuable iconostases

    The highlight of the visit is the magnificent gilded iconostasis, a rare monument of extraordinary importance in the history of art.

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  • Must-see 4

    Fountain Hall

    Tasting the famous medicinal spring water

    In this portico, three different springs come to light: the "Kesselbrunnen", the "Kaiserbrunnen" and, the most famous, the "Emser Kränchen".

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  • Must-see 5

    Historical spa gardens

    Garden art oasis of peace

    The spa gardens, today a place of rest and relaxation, date back to the late 17th century. It consists of a French and an English garden section, each with its own unique style.

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  • Must-see 6


    Germany's oldest casino

    As early as 1720, gambling on the river Lahn was already being pursued. The original roulette table from 1720 can be admired in the town museum.

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  • Must-see 7


    Former bath house with 30 bathrooms

    The bath house, built in 1845, comprised 30 baths fed by the new spring and was used for cures until the 1960s.

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  • Must-see 8

    Spa theatre

    Big stage in neo-rococo style

    When the Marble Hall was no longer sufficient for the abundance of events and spectators, the Kursaal building, in which the Marble Hall is located, was expanded to include the Kurtheater.

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  • Must-see 9

    Spring Tower

    Landmark of Bad Ems

    The outstanding structure on the left bank of the Lahn was built in 1907/08 above the four outlets of the Neuquelle and from then on supplied the neighbouring bathhouse with thermal water.

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  • Must-see 10

    Haus Vier Türme

    Summer residence of Tsar Alexander II

    Its four corner towers gave the Baroque building from the late 17th century its name. Prominent figures such as Carl Maria von Weber and other aristocrats from all over Europe once stayed here.

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  • Must-see 11

    Balmoral Castle

    Place of origin of Richard Wagner's "Parsifal".

    The mixture of villa and white knight's castle was once used as a hotel. Even then, artists and musicians came and went here; Richard Wagner, for example, completed his opera Parsifal here.

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"Great Spa Towns of Europe"

Bad Ems and the most important spas in Europe

Why is Bad Ems so important that it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the other "Great Spa Towns of Europe "? What exactly are the Great Spas and what does the World Heritage title actually mean? If you are interested in history, architecture and cultural heritage, take a look here.

Experience the World Heritage Site

Here are our package deals and guided tours, with which you can experience the historical spa district particularly well.

Overnight stay in the middle of the historical spa district

If you stay here overnight, you will be right in the middle of the fascinating history of the Kaiserbad