This tourist office can learn from others….
Oh well, what can I say….. In my opinion, this is a very lousy attitude for a town to offer visitors a tourist office which is closed on Sundays. Now when would most of the tourists come to a town ?? And also to close at 4 pm on Saturdays is very much customer desoriented. But I didn’t expect any other attitude from the Darmstadt officials (whoever in the municipality is having response for the tourism affairs).
I once visited it to find out and played the innocent visitor. They have a nice brochure with city map, but for 2 € and are not very helpful at all. I have asked several “test” questions but the answers were…. very much general to say at least.
Just as a comparsion: Worms, Marburg, Speyer, Heidelberg and other important and interesting towns I know do have their tourist offices open on Sundays as well. They have free brochures, leaflets and maps and are usually happy to hand them over to the visitors. For example: I got tons of material from the one in Worms and the girl told me so much about interesting places to visit and asked me a lot to get an idea of what I might be interested to see.
What do you expect from a tourist office ? Definitely help and free information material. If so, forget this one in Darmstadt. Better to consult a website before (haha, which one, as there are not many good ones, and most are in German anyhow…). Oh well, my sarcasm again.... My fondest memory is when I leave the town on the weekend....
The tourist office, BTW, is located at Luisenplatz - left hand side in Luisencentre, the shopping centre.
Prince George's Garden and Palace
This corner of the Castle Gardens, next to the Technical University, is called Prinz-Georgs-Garten. It is a rococo garden which was laid out on a geometrical ground-plan in 1764.
The small palace at the far end of the garden houses a Porcelain Museum that was founded in 1907 by the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig (1868-1937) when he decided to put his private porcelain collection on display.
49°52'44.21" North; 8°39'19.56" East
Nice Spanish Tapas Bar (El Cid)
As far as I know, this is the only Tapas Bar in Darmstadt.
The restaurant itself is nicely decorated with Spanish type ceramic bowls and posters, a bit dark, but it is a bar... (sorry, no interior pictures yet - I am still a bit too shy to take pics inside of restaurants - lool)
They offer only tapas (the spanish type appetizers), however a bit bigger size than tapas are offered usually in Spain.
Approx. 20 cold and 40 warm tapas are on the menu, plus different types of beer, including San Miguel.
Spanish wines as well, by the glass (0,2 l) or the bottle.
Fresh bread is served as a starter, together with olives and a very yummie garlic mayonnaise :-)
mussels marinara, very hot and spicy (5 mussels) - 3,50 Euro,
chicken breast in sherry sauce (very sherry :-) - 3,50 Euro,
tomato salad with anchovies and onions - 3,30 Euro.
Selection was a bit difficult, as they all sounded good - cold mussels in garlic-vinaigrette as well, or Spanish sausage chorizo, empanadas etc.
More or less per tapa between 3 and 3,50 Euro.
And the drinks:
wheat beer (0,5 l) - 2,60
San Miguel (0,33 l) - 2,00
German beer (0,33 l) was cheaper than San Miguel;
Coffee is around 1,60 - 250 Euro, depends on what you take, soft drinks around 1,60 Euro for 0,3 l.
(Prices and my experience are as of November 2005; I didn't visit this restaurant since then. No website as of February 2008).
Coordinates on GoogleEarth:
In the grand building of the palace's Bell Tower is the Palace's own museum. It's collection shows the history of the rulers of the Grand Duchy of Hesse, and includes potraits of the ruling families, furniture from the palace buildings, and paintings of the surrounding countryside.
Residence Castle – home to the police
Haha, yes, the heading is a bit misleading, as not only the police took over some of the castle wings as offices, but there is also a museum and several parts of Technical University and the city administration are housed there.
As with so many historical buildings of Darmstadt, the castle was also often destroyed and finally heavily bombed during WW II. Renovation was slow and is still ongoing. At least, during the 18 years I live here, I never saw the castle without a building crane.
The museum is surely worth a visit if you are interested in local history. I have to confess, I never made it yet. Maybe one day. But it is nice to stroll around in the several courtyards, as it is quiet and a nice place to flee from the crowds. Inside, there is a cafe (at the northern entrance) and during the summer festivals (Burggrabenfest, to be precise) the courtyards are full with little stands and eateries.
The museum is open Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. (maybe that’s why I never made it there – these are "funny" opening hours….). Entrance fee is 3 €, but you can only visit in combination with a guided tour (which is free of charge, once you bougth the entrance ticket).
Update August 2010:
website removed, since it was no longer valid (fourth time since I started writing my page back in 2005). And since I am sick and tired about Darmstadt's city officials' incompetence in context with websites 1) in English and 2) to keep at least a German version for more than a couple of month, I don't bother anymore to add a website.....