Believed to have inspired the Grimm brothers to write their iconic fairy tales, the Black Forest in Germany is a spectacular range of mountains in Baden-Württemberg (southwest Germany). Occupying an area of 2,320 square miles (6,009 square kilometres), the Black Forest is known for its dense, evergreen forests, elaborate cuckoo clocks, half-timber houses, quaint towns, and ruined castles. The forest is bounded by the Rhine Valley and gets its name from its canopy of mostly spruce trees, which in some places prevent sunlight from reaching the forest floor. This corner of the country will offer deeply carved valleys, thick woodlands, luscious meadows, stout timber farmhouses and wispy waterfalls—all often associated with the Grimm’s fairy tales. Explore the forest on foot, by bicycle or behind the wheel of a car and you will be rewarded with one too many twisted roads and sensational views.
The Most Beautiful Spots Of Germany’s Black Forest
1. Jewel Of The Black Forest: Freiburg
A vibrant university town, Freiburg is located on the southern edge of Germany’s Black Forest and is therefore called the gateway to the southern part of the Black Forest. The quaint and colourful town of Freiburg sits at the bottom of Black Forest’s wooded slopes and vineyards and is known for its medieval cathedral (Freiburger Münster) and Renaissance university (University of Freiburg). This cheerful town is filled with gabled, half-timbered houses, twisting cobblestone streets, and also boasts a high standard of living and advanced environmental practices. The city of Freiburg is also named Germany’s warmest city, due to unusually high levels of sunshine it gets throughout the year. Spend your day strolling through the pretty medieval old town of Freiburg, enjoy waterways, cobbled streets, the city’s cathedral and a daily farmer’s market at Munsterplatz.
2. The Historic Spa Town: Baden-Baden
Known as one of Europe’s most fashionable spa towns, Baden-Baden is located on the edge of Germany’s Black Forest. This 19th-century town that has been a popular place to visit since Roman times, features striking Belle Époque-era architecture and old-world luxury. An ideal base for exploring the Black Forest, Baden-Baden is home to 12 famous thermal springs. Today, this little town hosts a variety of spas, hotels, and health-related businesses for tourists who want to try the thermal baths. At Baden-Baden, you can explore its vibrant cultural community, the Brahms house where classical musician Johannes Brahms lived, the shopping district in Badeviertel, and Castle Hohenbaden, a medieval castle that provides breathtaking views of the Rhine Valley.
3. The Michelin Star Town of Germany: Baiersbronn
This idyllic mountain resort town in the Black Forest in Germany is made up of nine scenic hamlets and has gained popularity due to its Michelin-star restaurants and unique food culture. Among the high-end hotels and bed and breakfasts serving incredible cuisine, there are a total of eight Michelin stars, two restaurants with three stars (the Schwarzwaldstube in Hotel Traube Tonbach and the restaurant Bareiss), and one with two stars (the restaurant Schlossberg). Therefore, the little town of Baiersbronn offers no shortage of choice if you want to indulge in fine dining. While gorging on excellent meals in these bastions of fine dining, tourists can also enjoy long walks through the conifer-strewn forests, take a trip to the 12th-century monastery—the Allerheiligen ruins—and burn off calories on ski slopes. Don’t forget to try the Black Forest cake here if you like desserts.
4. A Route Through The Black Forest’s Wine Country: Badische Weinstrasse
The Badische Weinstrasse (Badische wine road in German) is the 160-kilometre long route located in the foothills of the Black Forest. It runs from Laudenbach to Weil am Rhein (near the Swiss border), cutting through peaceful vineyards and going past ruined historic castles. Built-in 1954, the route also has an alternative that encompasses Germany’s third-largest wine-growing region Baden and meanders through it to reach Freiburg. The route offers the most beautiful landscapes along the Rhine Valley where north- or south-bound travellers (with time on their hands, and particularly interested) can sample and buy fine wines.
5. Germany’s Highest Waterfalls: Triberg Falls
Plummeting down a 535-foot (163-metres) mountain slope into the valley of Triberg, the Triberg Falls are one of the highest waterfalls in Germany. Also a landmark in the Black Forest region, these falls are nestled in the forest, just beyond the tiny town of Triberg and are formed by the Gutach river. This seven-tier waterfall is located at the head of the Kinzig and Gutach valleys. They are accessible all year and are illuminated until 10 PM. There are many hiking trails if you want to see the falls, but we’d recommend the walking path that climbs through the steep Triberg forest and stops at seven different viewpoints overlooking the Gutach river as it plunges down. This cascading waterfall creates an ever-changing set of gorgeous natural views as you climb, and it’s worth going all the way to the wooden bridge at the top where you can view the rocky ravine below. You can reach the main entrance from the city centre and you can also pick up a bag of peanuts at the ticket counter to feed the tribes of curious red squirrels you will encounter.
6. Largest Natural Lake In Black Forest: Titisee Lake
This glacially-carved lake is surrounded by a rugged vista of hills, mountains and trees and is one of the most popular destinations for families. Situated in the southern region of the Black Forest in Germany, the Titisee lake is around 1.2 miles (2 kilometres) long and 0.6 miles (1 kilometre) wide. Among its wide range of entertainment possibilities, you can swim, windsurf and sail in good weather. During winter when the lake is frozen you can even ice skate. Other than water sports, you will find beautiful areas for lakeside strolls throughout the year at Lake Titisee. The shore of the lake is a pleasant run of forests and lodgings, and there are plenty of places to stay as well. Enjoy the lake’s natural landscape while strolling through the wide boulevard of boutiques, cafes and gelato shops or rent rowing boats, pedalos, or hop on a larger passenger boat for a gentle lake cruise.
Plan A Slow Tour Of Black Forest In Germany
The Black Forest in south-west Germany is a magical land full of cultural traditions. Bordering France, this region is known for glass making, clock and jewellery manufacturing, and a wide variety of spas, including ski resorts. Wander on its many miles of forest trails and explore this treasure trove of unique, upscale locations to visit and enjoy. This was our guide to some of the most beautiful spots in the area. If you think we have missed any of your favourites, let us know in the comments below.
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