Those who first hear about the town of Iffezheim usually don’t know what to expect. Like, how do you manage to shine when your neighbors are places like Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe in Germany, or The Style Outlets over in Roppenheim, France?
I’ll tell you how you shine, you hold not one, not two, but three outstanding racing events every year. That’s right, Iffezheim is home to the internationally renowned Galopprennbahn Iffezheim. Since the year 1858 horse racing has been a big part of the local culture.
The first of Iffezheim’s racing events is the Frühjahrs-Meeting, held at the end of May. This is followed by Große Woche, or Great Week, held at the end of August/beginning of September where you’ll find celebrities, women in beautiful hats, and genteel men fashionably dressed. However, the highlight of this racing week is the Großer Preis von Baden, the Grand Prix of world-wide attraction.
The last of Iffezheim’s racing highlight is the Sales & Racing Festival in October. And let’s supposed you’re not really into horse racing, you can still visit the track this time of year — it’s got great places to eat, or just people (and horses!) watch.
In between racing events this town does have other places to see, and things to do. Iffezheim is part of the PAMINA Rheinpark, an affiliation of 31+ French and German municipalities along the Rhine — from Lichtenau (Baden) to Leimersheim — with museums, nature conversation centers, and a multitude of informative “stations” along the way.
And for a grand example of good, old-fashioned German (and French) efficiency — go see the Schleuse. This extraordinary lock/sluice is quite busy. It includes a Kraftwerk (Power Plant) that produces about 750 million kilowatts of hydroelectricity that supplies around 150,000 people — and this since 1978 already — all the while having a “fish pass” for the local salmon to get by.
Of course if you want something a tad more, ahhh what’s the word, serene — then go explore the Black Forest.
Long before Iffezheim became an international horse racing star, it was once a small town with Stone Age roots — and was once a place of religious pilgrimage in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Speaking of religious history, while you’re here go visit the Church of St. Birgitta. While the church you see today might have been built in what was once the Weinbrenner style, its tower dates back more than 500 years.
And when you consider Iffezheim also hosts such popular events like a Oktoberfest (in September), a Töpfermarkt (Pottery Market, June), and a Blütenfest (Blossom Festival, in May), it’s apparent how easily the town sparkles brightly among its more famous neighbors.
Especially when it’s so easy to get here as the Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden Airport [FKB] is just one town over in the southwest.