First things first: Bad Hersfeld is actually pretty good. Bad just means “Bath” in German. It was a title awarded to the town in 1949 to officially recognize Bad Hersfeld for its mineral springs and natural spa baths. Meant to be an honor, the title has been a bit of a marketing problem for the Chamber of Commerce ever since.
However, once you get here you’ll soon start chuckling over the name. Bad Hersfeld has been popular since the Stone Ages as a good place to live and relax.
If poor translations keep away the ignorant hordes, so much the better. You’ll be better able to soak and drink up the mineral waters, giving yourself the rest you need to de-stress and get ready to explore the rest of the town offerings.
The town itself is a bit of a gem. There are 216 buildings in Bad Hersfeld that have been designated as historical sites, which may be an unofficial record. The Old Town has timber frame and picturesque stone houses throughout, including the Küsterhaus which dates all the way back to 1452.
The old stone churches have gotten multiple facelifts over the years — invaders had a tendency to burn them. However, the Hersfelder Stadtkirche remains a major town landmark, and you can use the clock tower to tell time throughout the town.
In the summer, the ruins of an old monastery on the west side of the Old Town serve as a staging ground for the major art and opera festival of the region. Simply called the Bad Hersfelder Festival, it runs in series of concerts and art events throughout June and August. A Jazz Festival also happens in a floating weekend in June.
Check ahead to see what is going on when you are in town, or ask the locals what the current stage shows are going to be.
In addition to the traditional music festival, there is also a counter festival now held in October. Evidently some of the younger locals in Bad Hersfeld had all they could take of the old stuff, so they started the Cross Music Metalfest. Hard rock and metal bands from all over Europe come to the monastery ruins and seem quite at home in the odd setting.
Get pictures — the outfits walking around the old chapels have to be seen to be believed! ;-)