A royal plush

It’s been described as the world’s most beautiful casino. It may not have the size of Las Vegas, but Baden-Baden makes up for that in glamour.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and has travelled the world full time since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

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Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

Marlene Dietrich called it “the most beautiful casino in the world”. But the glamour, I imagine, loses its lustre if you’re not winning.

The great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky immortalised it in his novel ‘The Gambler’, which he wrote to pay off debts he accumulated at its tables.

And so the famous Baden-Baden Casino became infamous and a getaway for the rich and powerful.

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

“In the nineteenth century Baden-Baden became internationally famous when people came here to the gambling house,” local guide Valeria Casagrandi tells me.

“At that time it was open only between May and October and that’s why Baden-Baden was the summer capital, or the summer residence, of Europe.”

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

We walk through the large glass doors and into a striking room with soft yellow lights, mirrors, and wood finishings.

“This is the oldest casino in Germany and one of the oldest in Europe and this is the reception,” Valeria says.

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

“In the afternoon if you want to come here to gamble you have to register yourself at the reception desk,” she says.

“The entrance fee is five euros, you have to show your identity card or your passport and you have to wear a tie and a jacket.”

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

It’s still the morning right now and this is when the casino is open for public tours. The tables are all shut, the bar is quiet, and it feels like a museum.

An extremely elegant museum, that is.

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

As we walk further into the casino, through the different rooms with their different games, I’m reminded of a recent visit to the Palace of Versailles near Paris.

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

It turns out that’s no coincidence. Valeria explains that the interior design was modelled on the grand French palaces, with their chandeliers, rich royal curtains and intricate wall decorations.

“The French loved gambling and we are close to France and so that’s why we have this French influence and in the nineteenth century people didn’t speak German here, they spoke French.”

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

The Baden-Baden casino was more elite back in those days. Today, anyone is welcome to spend the evening here (assuming you are dressed appropriately and at least 21 years old).

There is a dress code for gambling – for example, men need a jacket and tie (which can be rented at the entrance).

It may look like it should be full of high-rollers or James Bond-style gamblers, but it’s largely full of tourists… albeit visitors from nearby areas.

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

“Royalty is in the past,” Valeria tells me.

“But nowadays they are normal people.”

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

We stop at a roulette table, empty at the moment with so much promise of winnings and so much peril of loss.

It feels so indolent but hides an animation that will begin when the first customers arrive this afternoon. Fortunes are won and lost on this felt top.

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

“The minimum stake is depending on the table, two euros or five euros,” my guide explains. “Then you can also have – it’s unique in Germany – a chip which is worth 50,000 euros.”

“And here you can have fifteen people or seventy people and at this table there are four croupiers. And the croupiers work an hour 45 minutes at the table then they have 15 minutes break because they have to concentrate themselves.”

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

I don’t know how they concentrate even for that long. With so many distractions around them – in the architecture, the design, and the people – this is one of the most interesting places to visit in southwest Germany.

Baden-Baden Casino, Germany

And maybe Marlene Dietrich was right, one of the most beautiful too.

Where is Baden-Baden Casino?

The Baden-Baden Casino is at Kaiserallee 1, 76530, Baden-Baden.

You can see it on a map here.

When is Baden-Baden Casino open?

The casino is open for tours between 9:30 – 11:40am (summer) and 10:00 – 11:30am (winter).

It is open for gambling from 2pm to 2am (weekdays) and 2pm to 3:30am (weekends).

How much does it cost to visit Baden-Baden Casino?

Admission to the casino for gambling is €5 and you must be at least 21 years old (and have a valid passport or identity card with you).

More information

For more information, you can visit the website of the Baden-Baden Casino.

Time Travel Turtle was a guest of Baden-Wurttemberg and DB Bahn but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own

12 thoughts on “A royal plush”

    • I think a dress code is very common for casinos in Europe. This isn’t Vegas. Imagine how the Americans who are used to wearing shorts and trainers to casinos would react to having to wear a jacket and tie!! 🙂

      Reply
  1. Michael Turtle, where do you dig up these places?? I have never heard of this casino before! One day you’ll have to take me on a tour through Germany…:)

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    • Ha ha – what do you mean you haven’t heard of the casino? Don’t you go there every weekend and spend a little more of your personal fortune? I thought all the Germans were just rolling in the euros!! 🙂

      Reply
  2. The dress code makes it seem so glamorous to gamble. Reminds me a bit of the casino in Monte Carlo. Definitely the complete opposite of Vegas, where anybody wearing only god knows what can wander in.

    I used to live in Vegas and I worked at Caesar’s Palace while I was in college, so I generally try to avoid casinos. It brings back bad memories of hours and hours of the slot machines dinging. But I would take a peek in this casino!

    Reply
  3. Most people wouldn’t pin Germany as a country with memorable casinos, but this one is gorgeous, and it is renowned in literature and entertainment! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  4. My friends and I came across your post and decided to take this trip for this place, and it was absolutely amazing. We hit almost everything on your list in just two days, and it was easily one of the best weekends I have ever had. Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Reply

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