The town’s history is closely connected with the development of the mining and manufacture of salt. The first deposits of this valuable raw material were tapped at the end of the 17th century, and Bad Kösen has officially referred to itself as a “brine baths” since 1859. The historic salt works are unique in Europe as a technical monument, and are still in operation. In the summer months, when the air around the graduation works is enriched with a light brine mist, outdoor inhalations are possible at the works. The modern-day spa facilities and the four highly regarded rehabilitation clinics meet the modern standards for preventive healthcare.
The Romanisches Haus, formerly a farmhouse belonging to Pforta Abbey and the oldest Romanesque secular building in central Germany, houses an interesting exhibition of regional history and the largest collection of Käthe Kruse dolls in the world. The world-famous doll designer Käthe Kruse lived and worked in Bad Kösen from 1912 to 1950. The manufacture of rag dolls and cuddly toys by Kösener Spielzeug Manufaktur, a business almost 100 years old, continues this traditional range of toys today.
Guests young and old are welcome at the zoo. The noisy goings-on can be heard from far away. The zoo is home to more than 50 species of native domestic and wild animals, including exotic species.
Right on the Saale-Wein-Wanderweg hiking trail (a 24 km circular trail: Naumburg - Bad Kösen - Schulpforte) is the state-owned "Kloster Pforta" vineyard. At just under 50 hectares, today this is the largest individual vineyard in Saale and Unstrut. Every Saturday from May to the end of October you can take part in a guided wine tasting and explore the cellar with its sparkling wines and wooden casks, as well as the historic wine archive, where some of the bottles are decades old.
Bad Kösen is known above all for its Romanesque castles, Rudelsburg and Burg Saaleck, and has been a popular place for excursions for decades. A motorboat ride from the Kurpark to the “Rudelsburg und Burg Saaleck” landing stage lasts around 30 minutes. Good footwear is recommended for the walk up to the castles. Once you have reached the top, your reward will be a great view of the Saale valley.