Durlach is the largest, oldest, and one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods of Karlsruhe. It’s older than the city itself, so it’s filled with historical and cultural sites, beautiful buildings, and lovely cafes and restaurants. If you’re wondering about what to see in the historical Durlach neighbourhood of Karlsruhe, read this article.

What to see in the Durlach neighbourhood of Karlsruhe

I visited Karlsruhe on a press trip organised by Karlsruhe Tourismus in April 2022 and created this Durlach neighbourhood travel guide after my visit. This post contains some affiliate links.

If you’re going to visit Karlsruhe in Germany, be sure to reserve some time to see its charming neighbourhood of Durlach. It’s located outside the city centre. However, it could be easily reached by tram from the central part of Karlsruhe. With around thirty thousand inhabitants, Durlach is the largest neighbourhood of Karlsruhe.

You could easily spend the whole day in the Durlach neighbourhood. So, reserve enough time for exploring that charming area of Karlsruhe.

Read more: What to see in Karlsruhe

Durlach neighbourhood history

Durlach was the residence of the Baden-Durlach rulers since the mid 16th century. It was their centre until Margrave Karl Wilhelm founded Karlsruhe in 1715. The new city became the capital and grew so much that in 1938 Durlach became only a neighbourhood in the new town of Karlsruhe. That’s the reason why Durlach neighbourhood is often called the ‘Mother of Karlsruhe’.

Although a part of Karlsruhe today, when visiting Durlach, you still feel that you’re visiting a small independent town. A combination of romantic cobbled streets, timbered houses and historical buildings makes this place a must-see in Karlsruhe.

Read more: Karlsruhe Museums Guide

What to see in the Durlach neighbourhood

Before I visited this area, I wondered what to see in the Durlach neighbourhood. However, when I started researching the Durlach highlights, I was surprised by how many beautiful places you can visit there. Here is my selection of the best things to do in the Durlach neighbourhood in Karlsruhe.

Ride in Durlach funicular

The best way to start your visit to the Durlach neighbourhood in Karlsruhe is by taking a ride in its funicular to the top of Turmberg Hill.

Durlach funicular, officially known as Turmbergbahn, is one of the Durlach highlights that shouldn’t be missed. It’s the oldest funicular in Germany, opened back in 1888. The ride takes only around three minutes, but you’ll have a beautiful view from the top of Karlsruhe and its surroundings.

TIP: The cost of the ride is quite affordable and is only two euros for the one-way ticket or three euros for the return ticket. You don’t have to worry about the timetable either. The funicular departs every few minutes or when it has enough passengers.

Enjoy the view from Turmberg Hill

The funicular will take you almost to the top of Turmberg Hill. The upper station is located just next to the observing platform from which you’ll have a fantastic view of the Durlach neighbourhood, Karlsruhe and their surroundings.

Turmberg Hill is the northernmost edge of the Schwarzwald forest, and you can also enjoy some beautiful nature while there. I was so fascinated seeing some beautiful vineyards on it, too.

TIP: If you’re short on time but would still love to explore the Durlach neighbourhood during your visit to Karlsruhe, check out the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus. It rides through Durlach as well. And one of its stops is just in front of the observation deck on Turmberg Hill. Here is the link on which you can buy the Hop-On-Hop-Off bus ticket.

Karlsburg Castle in Durlach

Built during the 16th century, the beautiful Karlsburg Castle is one of the Durlach neighbourhood highlights. Although still impressive today, the castle was initially even larger. Only one of its wings still stands today.

The castle was demolished and rebuilt a few times in history. In 1715, Margrave Karl Wilhelm decided to build a new palace in his newly established town and moved his seat to the Karlsruhe Palace. Although the entire court moved there, Karl’s wife decided to remain in the Karlsburg Castle in Durlach until her death.

The palace was renovated in the 1970s and 1980s and is in excellent condition today. With its beautiful architecture, definitely put it on your list of what to see in the Durlach neighbourhood.

Visit Pfinzgaumuseum

Located inside the Karlsburg Castle, Pfinzgaumuseum is a great place to learn about Durlach’s history. The museum is very small and free of charge, so you won’t need more than thirty minutes to visit it.

The Pfinzgaumuseum exhibits artefacts showcasing Durlach’s history, culture, art and objects belonging to its everyday life.

Basler Tor

Like other medieval towns, Durlach was protected with solid walls and could only be accessed through the town gates. Only one of those town gates is preserved today – Basler Tor. It got that name because it was situated where the old road to the Swiss town of Basel was located.

The gate was almost completely burned in one of the French sieges of the town. It was rebuilt later on in the 1760s. Today, the Basler Tor is protected as a cultural heritage site.

Durlach Market Square

Visiting Durlach Market Square will make you feel as if you have travelled back to the Middle Ages. A small charming square is a home to the Town Hall, town church and a lovely fountain.

The Town Hall is a traditional German building with a massive stepped gable. You’ll see the figure of a knight on its balcony. Holding a flag and the Baden coat of arms, the knight represents Margrave Karl II, who made Durlach their residence.

I especially loved the fountain located in the middle of the Market Square and decorated with lovely statues of animals. If in Durlach, be sure not to miss it!

Getting lost in its charming streets

Although seeing all these historical sites in Durlach will give you a great overview of Durlach highlights, probably the best way to experience that area of Karlsruhe is by just strolling around it. While wandering its cobbled streets, you’ll stumble upon some lovely houses, residential areas, small fountains, statues, and the little details that make Durlach so charming.

Tips for visiting the Durlach neighbourhood

How to get from Karlsruhe to Durlach: Although it’s located a bit outside the city centre, it’s so easy to get to the Durlach neighbourhood with public transport. You’ll need only around fifteen minutes by tram to get there from the Karlsruhe city centre. Depending on where you will depart from in the city, you can check the best options to travel to the Durlach neighbourhood with the public transport on a link here.

How much time to spend in the Durlach neighbourhood: My advice would be to get to the Durlach neighbourhood in the morning and spend at least half a day there. If you’d like to have lunch and do some shopping there, I’d reserve the whole day for visiting Durlach.

Watch my video below to learn more about Karlsruhe and Durlach:

With the charm of an old medieval town and so many beautiful historical sites, the Durlach neighbourhood is one of the must-see areas of Karlsruhe. Hopefully, this guide will help you decide what to see in the Durlach neighbourhood.

Have you been to Durlach? Would you add anything to this list?

I visited Durlach neighbourhood on a press trip organised by Karlsruhe Tourismus. Many thanks to everyone at the tourism office for organising such a wonderful visit for me. This ‘What to see in the Durlach neighbourhood’ travel guide was created as a part of that campaign. 

This post contains some affiliate links.