Bad Karlshafen’s orderly streets and whitewashed baroque buildings were built by French Huguenot refugees in the 18th century for Landgrave Karl von Hessen-Kassel. The town was planned with an impressive harbour and a canal connecting the Weser with the Rhine to attract trade, but the Landgrave died before his designs were completed. The only reminder of his grand plans is a tiny Hafenbecken (harbour basin) trafficked by white swans.
Although its original 18th-century grandeur has faded over the centuries, Bad Karlshafen remains a popular summer destination, with motorhomes and tents lining up along the northern banks of the Weser. Take a stroll around the compact town centre on the river's southern bank, with the Hafenbecken and its surrounding square, Hafenplatz, at its western end. The Hafen (harbour) is being restored to its original impressive condition.