Located in the south of Hessen in the metropolitan Rhine-Main region, Over three-quarters of the city was destroyed during the Second World War.
However, a number of historic buildings have been rebuilt and restored and some of the city's original, charming character remains. With countless magnificent Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) houses and a handful of unique modern buildings, Darmstadt is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts.
The Waldspirale apartment complex, designed by by Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is an excellent example of his unique vision of housing. The Mathildenhöhe, a former artists' colony established in 1899, is famous for its Art Nouveau architecture: browse the impressive collection of Jugendstil objects at the on-site museum and visit the iconic Wedding Tower. Also in the complex is the striking gold and turquoise Russian Orthodox chapel, set in a peaceful grove of plane trees.
Home to publishing houses, art galleries and design studios as well as internationally-acclaimed institutes for literature, music and art, Darmstadt also boasts a vibrant music and entertainments scene. Highlights include the Hessen State Museum (Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt) home to the world's largest collection of works by German artist Joseph Beuys, and the Centralstation, a historic former power station that's now a venue for concerts, exhibitions, theatre and clubnights. If you're in Germany to party, be sure to visit Darmstadt during its annual Heinerfest in July. First held in 1951 amid the ruins of the city, the festival stands as solid proof that the people of Darmstadt know how to have a good time.
As well as being highly regarded as a cultural and creative hub, Darmstadt is also known as the City of Science. The city is home to a technical university and numerous major scientific institutions including the European Space Operations Centre. UNESCO World Heritage site the Messel Fossil Pit, 9km outside Darmstadt, is a disused oil shale quarry of significant scientific importance thanks to its extraordinary abundance of fossils. Exhibits can be viewed at the museum in the town of Messel and also at the Hessen State Museum in Darmstadt.
How to get to Darmstadt
Darmstadt main train station is served by Intercity-Express (ICE), InterCity (IC) and Eurocity (EC) trains as well as regional (RE, RB and S-Bahn) services. There are frequent connections to Frankfurt (Main) train station (duration: 20 minutes), from where you can change trains and travel onwards to Frankfurt Airport.
Plan your journey and book train tickets online on the multilingual Deutsche Bahn site.
Darmstadt is 25km from Frankfurt Airport and can be reached by car/taxi in approximately 20 minutes.
Getting around Darmstadt
Available as a one or two-day card, the Darmstadt Card includes use of all public transport in the area as well as free or reduced admission for participating tours and attractions.