40km (25 miles) W of Frankfurt, 151km (94 miles) SE of Bonn

This sheltered valley, between the Rhine and the Taunus mountains, has held a spa since Roman times. Today, Wiesbaden competes with Baden-Baden for the title of Germany's most fashionable resort. Its success is based partly on its 26 hot springs, with temperatures of 117° to 150°F (47°-66°C), and partly on its proximity to Frankfurt's transportation centers, which gives the spa a distinctly international flavor.

Wiesbaden also boasts its cultural side. Every spring it plays host to the International May Festival of music, dance, and drama. The major concert halls are in the Kurhaus, a lively, multiroomed structure centered on a cupola-crowned hall. In addition to concerts, the complex hosts plays and ballets, plus a variety of social gatherings, such as international conferences, congresses, exhibitions, and trade fairs. It also holds a casino, a lively restaurant, and an outdoor cafe.

For more active visitors, Wiesbaden offers horseback riding, a golf course, swimming, tennis, and hiking. The streets of the city are nice to stroll, as is the Kurpark, which has a lake surrounded by old shade trees. It's especially beautiful at night, when the water reflects the lights of the spa and the huge fountains are lit. The park stretches for about a kilometer (1/2 mile) northward along the Kuranlagen, ending in a fancy residential quarter, the Sonnenberg.