Twin towns

The people of Bad Homburg have been cosmopolitan ever since the mid-19th century, when guests from all around the world started coming to the spa town in search of health and recuperation. Since the end of World War 2, the people of Bad Homburg have demonstrated their eagerness to foster understanding across all borders by entering into town partnerships, of which it now has nine.

Back in 1956 the town took what was then a pioneering step when it founded a partnership ring, which initially comprised five European towns: Bad Mondorf in Luxembourg, Cabourg in France, Chur in Switzerland, Mayrhofen in Austria and Terracina in Italy. They were joined nine years later by Exeter in southern England.

Since 1953, the town had acted as sponsor for Marienbad / Marianske Lazne in what is now the Czech Republic. Following German reunification, in 1991, this liaison became an official partnership. It was followed, in July 1994, with the signing of the twinning contract with Peterhof in Russia, and in 2002, Dubrovnik in Croatia became Bad Homburg’s ninth twin town.

Bad Homburg fosters close and lively contact with its twin towns, which is not just limited to local politics and administration. Youth groups and school classes, and groups from clubs, associations, church congregations and other institutions pay visits back and forth at regular intervals. Public cultural programs fill the philosophy of cross-border understanding with life.

Bad Mondorf, Luxembourg

Bad Mondorf is a charming and tranquil town in the southwest of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; a spa and vacation center with a particularly mild climate. The new spa center "Mondorf le Domaine Thermal" offers the very latest treatments and therapy facilities, together with sports and leisure facilities. The thermal springs in Bad Mondorf have proved to be particularly successful in treating liver and gall bladder disorders, rheumatic illnesses, and respiratory disorders.

Bad Mondorf is home to the only casino in all of Luxembourg, the "Casino 2000". The town spent 127 years trying to set up a casino. It finally opened in 1983, and offers a restaurant, dance floor, and entertainment program featuring internationally famous artists, in addition to the gambling saloons. Sights that are particularly worth seeing in Bad Mondorf include the Kurpark, which spans an area of about 50 hectares, the Baroque church built in 1766, and the Roman Fort. The Moselle valley, which is only eight kilometers away, and the capital Luxembourg City, which is also close by, are perfect destinations for excursions.

Accommodation facilities range from family-run B&Bs to a four-star hotel; modern conference and seminar facilities are also available. Connoisseurs will appreciate the numerous restaurants covering the entire spectrum from simple and hearty, to exclusive gourmet food. Tennis and squash, sauna and swimming pool, and a gym can be found at the sports and leisure club in Bad Mondorf.

Cabourg, France

Back in 1853, Cabourg was still a small fishing village, until Paris attorney Henri Durand-Morimbau decided to build a seaside resort next to the "old" Cabourg. He set up a company that bought up the beaches. Paul Leroux, a young architect from Caen, drafted the plans for the town of Cabourg-les-Bains. The first casino was built of wood in 1854, and hundreds of trees were planted along the boulevards. The first Grand Hotel opened in Cabourg in 1861.

A group of concerned residents built an accessible embankment in 1887, which was 1,800 meters long. In 1912, the town assumed responsibility for maintaining the embankment.

Writer Marcel Proust (1871 – 1922) spent every summer in Cabourg between 1907 and 1914, preferring to reside in the elegant Grand Hotel. This is where he wrote his novel "In Search of Lost Time". Such well-known personages as Edith Piaf and Gilbert Bécaud were also very regular visitors.

Nowadays, Cabourg is a seaside resort with a population of about 4,000. It is situated in the Lower Normandy region of France in the département of Calvados.

The town situated on the Côte Fleurie with its fine sandy beaches has lost none of its "Belle Epoque" charm, and is a two-hour drive from Paris. Equine enthusiasts from around the world flock to Cabourg, which is the center of French harness racing.  Harness races take place on the new track between April and October.

The wonderful 18-hole golf course on the coast and another 9-hole course will appeal to golf enthusiasts.

Chur, Switzerland

Chur Panorama im Winter, © Chur Tourismus/Andrea Badrutt

Fancy some magical mountains or vibrant urban buzz? Situated in the Alps, Chur can offer both. Picturesque alleyways and snow-capped mountains, modern shopping malls and unspoilt nature. But the oldest town in Switzerland is not just rooted in the past. The capital of the state of Graubünden is livened up by cultural events, bars and clubs, shopping centers and small shops. Full of urban joy of life, in the heart of a magical alpine landscape. Celts, Romans, Ostrogoths and Franconians all ruled over Chur at some time in history: it was the gateway to important trading routes and alpine crossings. What has remained is a history spanning more than 5,000 years, evidenced by finds from the Neolithic, Bronze and Roman ages, and by impressive edifices from more recent times, such as the 800 year-old cathedral at the Bishop's seat.

A guided tour around the town is a real journey of discovery for history enthusiasts.

The town even has its own mountain, the Brambrüesch, which is a haven for winter and summer sports alike. In summer, hikers can start out from Chur or visit vineyards in the Bündner Herrschaft region. Chur is the gateway to the Bündner mountains. 26 vacation and spa resorts are less than one hour's drive away from Chur.

The Swiss Bernina railway, which was added to Unesco's world cultural heritage in 2008, runs between the cantonal capital of Chur in the Swiss Rhine valley via St. Moritz and Pontresina in Engadin through the Valposchiavo to Tirano in the Italian region of Veltlin, and is regarded as the loveliest and only open route across the Alps.

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik,  Croatia

The "Pearl of the Adriatic", as Dubrovnik is frequently called, is regarded as the most fascinating and most impressive city in Croatia. After visiting the city, the Irish poet George Bernhard Shaw remarked: "Those who seek paradise on earth should come to Dubrovnik."

The rocky promontory was inhabited as early as Roman times – Dubrovnik itself dates back to the 7th century. Initially under Byzantine rule, Dubrovnik became a free city state in the mid-14th century, and remained independent until Napoleon occupied the city in 1806. The Congress of Vienna brought Dubrovnik into the Austro-Hungarian empire. Following World War I, Dubrovnik became part of the new Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was later to become Yugoslavia after the Second World War.

A lot of time may have passed, but the city has lost none of its charm and magic.
A visit to the city wall is a must when strolling around Dubrovnik. The mighty ridges and fortifications offer a magnificent view over the red clay tiles of the Old Town and out to the deep blue sea.

The main sightseeing attractions of the town definitely include the Sveti Spas Chapel of the Redeemer with its magnificent marble altars, which is located opposite the impressively huge Onofrio fountain, and the Franciscan monastery next door. Sponza Palace, built in the transitory style from late Gothic to Renaissance and situated opposite Sveti Vlaho, is one of the few buildings that survived the earthquake in 1667.
 
A tour of Dubrovnik should definitely include a visit to the Dominican monastery, which was originally located outside the city wall, and features an impressive cloister and a monastery museum that houses large-scale altarpieces.

The former junction of the trading routes between Venice and the eastern Mediterranean is a popular destination for cruise ships and yachts.

Exeter, Great Britain

(c) Tony Howell

Exeter is one of the oldest cities in Great Britain. Even before the Roman conquest (around 50 AD), the British Dumnonni tribe had settled in the area where Exeter now stands. The Romans built a settlement here, and surrounded their town with a wide fortified wall, which is largely still preserved to this day.  Now, as in earlier times, the old city wall encloses the lively center of Exeter with its modern retail and business district and numerous bustling shopping streets.

Exeter was an important Saxon stronghold in the 9th and 10th centuries, who withstood the Danes for a long time before finally capitulating in 1003. Exeter became a diocese in 1050. The city surrendered to William the Conqueror in 1068. The ruins of Rougemont Castle, built by William I the Conqueror in the 11th century are well worth a visit. St. Peter's Cathedral is, without doubt, the most famous building in Exeter, and was built between the years of about 1280 and 1369. The Gothic-style cathedral is famous for its unique transept towers. The cathedral library safeguards valuable manuscripts (including one called the Exeter Book, which dates back to the 10th century).

The Guildhall, built in the 15th century, is regarded as England's oldest city hall. The old customs house and the weavers' guild house are well worth a visit, as is Mol's coffee shop, which was a popular haunt of Francis Drake and Walter Raleigh.

To the west of Exeter lies Dartmoor, a wild moor landscape with forests and hills. There are numerous charming places to visit in the vicinity and on the coast of Devon, which is just 15 kilometers away. One highlight of the year is the Exeter Festival in July, where international artists present a colorful pot pourri of cultures.

Marienbad, Czech Republic

Marienbad, or Mariánské LáznÄ� as it is officially known, forms part of the so-called west Bohemian spa triangle, together with Carlsbad and Franzensbad, and is also known as the "Jewel among the Czech spas". The promenades stretch for nearly 70 kilometers and are ideal for strolling around the city with its impressive architecture from the 19th century. Numerous buildings have been lovingly restored in recent years.

There are about 40 mineral springs in Marienbad, which are mainly used to treat respiratory, kidney and urinary tract disorders, and the musculoskeletal system. The treatment of illnesses and spa applications have a long tradition in Marienbad. The reputation of the Czech spa attracted numerous artists and prominent people. Among the most famous spa guests were Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Richard Wagner, Johann Strauss, Stefan Zweig and Franz Kafka. King Edward VII of England was a particularly loyal guest, and visited Marienbad nine times in total.  Nowadays, the methods used for applications in the spa facilities are totally state of the art.

The city offers a very varied cultural program. Spa concerts take place in the famous Colonnades in summer; they are joined by theater performances, concerts and dance evenings. The annual Chopin Festival in August is the absolute high point. Day excursions should be taken to Eger, Carlsbad, Franzensbad or the Tepla Monastery with its unique library.

Mayrhofen, Austria

Mayrhofen is situated at the highest point of the Zillertal and offers its guests a broad selection of relaxation and sports facilities. The town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Austria, thanks to its wonderful scenery and hospitable residents.

In summer and winter – Mayrhofen is the perfect choice for anyone looking to actively recharge their batteries. The tended hiking trails stretch for more than 200 kilometers and are particularly attractive for hill walkers and ramblers, as is "Zillertaler Hauptkamm", a nature reserve spanning 372 square kilometers. More adventurous guests can go kite flying, mountain biking, canoeing or wild water rafting. Summertime activities also include tennis and squash, and the adventure pool in Mayrhofen. The winter sports facilities are extensive in the skiing region. The area of more than four million square meters offers numerous cross-country skiing trails, sledging trails and curling courses, and an ice-skating rink.

Guests can enjoy the evenings in numerous cozy restaurants, pubs, bars and discos, and in the "Europahaus" cultural center. The people of Mayrhofen are particularly fond of their very young visitors, offering them special children's programs, a huge party in summer, four children's ski schools and "Wuppys Kinderland", a guest kindergarten for children aged between three months and seven years, in winter.

Peterhof, Russia

Peterhof, the former summer residence of the Russian Czars, is situated 29 kilometers to the west of St. Petersburg. During the warmer months, the world-famous "Russian Versailles" on the southern shores of the Gulf of Finland is a preferred destination for numerous visitors from around the world.

The origins of Peterhof date back to 1704, when Peter the Great built a simple timber house on the shore leading down to the Finnish Sea. When St. Petersburg became the capital of Russia in 1712, the construction of a generous palace complex designed to the ideas and plans of the Czar commenced. Peterhof was festively inaugurated as the Czar's residence in 1723. Work on the palace continued after Peter's death. Nowadays it is one of the most important palace garden complexes from the 18th and 19th centuries. Peterhof is particularly famous for the fountains and cascades in the palace park: the Grand Cascade alone comprises 17 statues, 29 reliefs, 142 water jets and 54 water sprays, and was created around 1725.

Nowadays, the town of Peterhof has a population of about 83,000. Guests enjoy the small cafés and restaurants, and affordable accommodation facilities. Peterhof is, moreover, home to the largest branch of St. Petersburg University, where all natural science faculties are housed.

Terracina, Italy

Terracina is situated one hundred kilometers to the south of Rome and was mentioned for the first time as a Roman colony in 329 BC. The town was not only important as a crossroads of the Via Appia and as a port; it also provided a refreshing summer destination for the citizens of Rome in search of rest and relaxation. To this day, a magnificent temple complex high above the town bears witness to this past: the 1st century BC Temple of Jupiter Anxur on Monte Sant' Angelo, which is 227 meters high.

Numerous monuments evidence the rich historic past of Terracina: The 12th century cathedral and the 13th century Venditti Palace, together with Palazzo Braschi, the residence of Pope Pius, which was inaugurated in 1795. Further sights worth seeing include the Forum Severiano and the Marina and Neptuniae hot springs.

Bathing is possible from April to October from the sandy beach, which is ten kilometers long. Terracina enjoys about 530 more hours of sunshine each year than Venice, which is why the famous, sun-blessed Muscatel wine from Terracina grows on the slopes of Monti Ausoni. Accommodation is available in all price categories in numerous hotels, B&Bs or on the large camping site. Delicious Italian cuisine and the Mediterranean hospitality of the residents guarantee an enjoyable and relaxing stay.