The Church of St Nicholas, half-timbered medieval houses and the historic Stadtschreiberhaus, or town clerk’s house, line the Eiermarkt square in Bad Kreuznach, which for centuries formed the heart of the new town. Every advent, it is transformed into a magical St Nicholas market. Instead of eggs, fruit, fish and pottery as in days of old, the advent period sees stalls peddling mulled wine, gingerbread and sausages, providing reinforcements for a wintry wander along the Nahe through the Salinental valley to the district of Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg, with its romantic Christmas market in the spa gardens.
Mannheimer Strasse leads over the Nahe, a tributary of the Rhine, to Kurhausstrasse, which goes past the St Paul’s Church and straight into the spa district and the Bad Kreuznach spa gardens.
The healing power of salt is evident everywhere. Salt is extracted from a number of brine springs in the Salinental valley between Bad Kreuznach and Bad Münster am Stein-Ebernburg that form the heart of the long tradition of spas in the town. In graduation towers of up to ten metres tall, the brine trickles down through blackthorn hedge walls to form a salty mist.
This is why the valley is also known as the largest open-air ‘inhalatorium’ in Europe. Visitors from all over Europe strolled around Badewörth island in the 19th century. Among them were German kings and kaisers, and big names the likes of Ludwig Uhland, Johannes Brahms and Hoffmann von Fallersleben.