Please help... we are moving to Germany and need to pick a town to live in (sight unseen). Has anyone been to any of these places and what are your thoughts? We are a couple with no kids or pets and prefer a place with a historic feel where we can walk to pops, shops, etc. I trust my RS travel community :)
I only know Speyer.
Major historical town, gorgeous 1000 year old Dom, extremely important Jewish heritage site as it is one of the 3 SCHUM cities and they have the synagogue ruins and a still functioning mikvah cut way down deep into the rocks.
Popular Christmas market and the town square, old town and shopping streets are pretty nice. I don't know what the other towns are offering, but I would be happy to live in Speyer.
Karlsruhe is a larger city (around 300,000) that is relatively modern (for Germany) so you won't get a lot of historial feel there (although there is a gorgeous palace there from the 1700's), but there is a lot of culture and it's a pretty hip city by all accounts. I was there briefly and liked it a lot. It has the advantage of being on a main train route so it's easy to get to many places from there, including France, which it borders.
There is someone on this forum who lives in Karlsruhe but I can't remember his name and he hasn't posted recently. At any rate, whichever place you pick, I would suggest that you find a place with good rail and/or bus connections as I'm assuming you will want to travel around.
Unless you prefer moving to a small town, such as Speyer which I would suggest too, famous for "der Dom zu Speyer, " I would recommend here Karlsruhe, if a city is more to your liking, spent two nights there in 1989.
Karlsruhe is definitely historical as it was government / military site of Baden. Germany's version of our Supreme Court is located there, the Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), the outside premises I saw.
Later, on the same trip, I back tracked down by train from Dortmund to be in this area again, this time as a day trip to nearby town, Rastatt (from Karlsruhe) to see the military history museum, (ca. half hour walk from the train station, ) there if that interests you.
In 1989 that museum was extensive, comprehensive, all in German. Presumably, audio-phones and all other tech modifications are featured in the museum now.
My thoughts are that I would prefer to stay close to where I work - if this is the case. No fun every day to spend hours on the road or in a train. And I would not trust any travel community because traveling a city is something completely different :-)