The Black Forest is located in southwestern Germany. It’s known for its lush forests, charming villages, and quaint towns. There are lots of things to do here, like hiking, biking, swimming, horseback riding, and visiting castles.
The phrase “Black Forest” instantly conjures up pictures of dense forests, classic deep-roofed farmhouses, cuckoo clocks, and half-timbered towns that appear to have been plucked from a collection of fairy tales. Of course, there is also the renowned Black Forest cherry cake. And all of them may be found in Baden-Württemberg, a region of undulating hills in the southwest of Germany.
It is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany. It has many attractions that will keep you busy for days on end. Here are some of our favourite things to see and do in this beautiful region.
From Pforzheim and Baden-Baden southward, roughly paralleling the Rhine Valley to the lakes close to the Swiss border, the heart of the Black Forest stretches. Its rural farmland, forests, and picturesque villages are connected by roads that climb and curve through an endless array of picture-perfect vistas. The Black Forest offers a wealth of things to see and do within this beautiful scenery.
Our list of the best Black Forest attractions and places to visit will help you plan your vacation to this stunning area.
1. Exploring the Black Forest by Car
You should drive through the Black Forest’s countryside, following one of the many official tourist routes, to find some of the region’s top tourist attractions. The most well-known of them is the Black Forest Ridgeway (Schwarzwald-Hochstrasse), a breathtaking path that runs from Baden-Baden along the Hornisgrinde to the Kniebis plateau at Freudenstadt. It follows hill crests through lush coniferous forests. From Triberg, the route travels south to Waldshut.
Further north, in Rastatt, the lavish Schloss Favorite—once the summer home and pleasure palace of Margravine Sibylla Augusta of Baden-Baden—with the largest collection of early Meissen porcelain in the world—is where the Black Forest Valley Road (Schwarzwald-Tälerstrasse) starts. After passing the massive Schwarzenbach Dam, the route continues through the Murg valley until it reaches Freudenstadt, where it merges with the Black Forest Ridgeway. Spa visitors should travel through the Schwarzwald-Bäderstrasse, a 270-kilometer loop between Pforzheim and Freudenstadt that passes several spas, including Baden-Baden.
2. Freiburg im Breisgau Münster and Old Town
Freiburg im Breisgau is one of Germany’s outstanding Gothic architectural wonders. Münster is renowned for its exquisite interior and artworks and was constructed between the 13th and 16th centuries. Highlights include the early 16th-century altarpiece in the University Chapel by Hans Holbein the Younger and the 14th-century stained glass in the aisles. The 1330-built, 116-meter-high tower offers magnificent views of the rooftops of the old town centre in exchange for the strenuous trek up it.
The crimson Merchants’ Hall (Kaufhaus), built in 1532 and surrounded by well-preserved historic structures, has an arcade, stepped gables, and oriel windows. The 13th-century Schwabentor, with its wall murals and dioramas, the Late Gothic House of the Whale (Haus zum Walfisch), and the Gothic St. Martin’s Church, with a wonderfully preserved interior and cloister, are other highlights of the old town. Take the Schlossbergbahn funicular railway up to the 456-meter Schlossberg to get a bird’s-eye view over the Munster and the old town from the Kanonenplatz.
3. Baden-Baden Spas and Gardens
This charming mediaeval city on the edge of the Rhine Valley is known for its mineral springs, which have drawn tourists there since the Roman Empire. In addition, from the immaculate Kurpark (Spa Gardens), the gorgeous Lichtentaler Allee follows the Oos river for more than two kilometres of arboretum and gardens. The elegant Friedrichsbad from the 19th century and the contemporary Caracalla Baths are situated side by side. The centrepiece includes a 400-variety rose garden with pools, fountains, and an Art Nouveau pavilion. The Schwarzwald-Hochstrasse tourist route begins in Baden-Baden.
4. Triberg Waterfalls
The river plunges down 163 metres from pool to pool in a continuous white foam as a walking trail ascends through the sloping Triberg woodland, halting at seven various overlooks along the way. As you climb, a series of cascades and waterfalls provide a constantly shifting panorama, making the trip to the wooden bridge at the summit worthwhile for the views down into the rocky valley. The falls are accessible year-round, illuminated at night, and transform into a breathtaking ice cascade in the dead of winter.
Schiltach, unquestionably one of the most charming towns in the Black Forest, has been a centre for artisans and tanners since at least the 13th century. Being surrounded by forests and situated where three rivers converge made it an obvious choice to become the hub of timber rafting in the Black Forest. The oldest section of Schiltach, outside the town walls, is built up of closely spaced timber-framed tanners’ homes since the riverfront site was ideal for tanning hides.
The Museum am Markt and the Apothecary Museum are two of the town’s free museums, and the sloping triangular Marktplatz is bordered by other half-timbered homes. The Schüttesäge Museum is focused on the activities at the former sawmill, which was in use from 1491 to 1931 and had an undershot water wheel with a diameter of over seven metres. However, the town itself is what draws most visitors, so make sure to spend some time here doing a walking tour.
6. Black Forest Open Air Museum
You will undoubtedly pass by several of the distinctive multi-story farmhouses, with their enormously sloping roofs and overhanging eaves, as you travel through the area. Visit the Black Forest Open Air Museum to learn more about these and to take a tour of one with its ground-floor barn and rows of food drying under the attic rafters. The Vogtsbauernhof, a classic self-contained farmstead built in the 1600s, serves as the centre of attention for the Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum.
7. Kloster Maulbronn
The Cistercian monastery of Kloster Maulbronn, built in 1147, is located in the little town of Maulbronn at the northern edge of the Black Forest. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kloster Maulbronn’s stone and half-timbered structures make up one of the most exquisite and well-preserved remaining German monasteries.
With its picturesque Altstadt of stone towers and half-timbered homes clustered around a market square, the village of Gengenbach is located at the western edge of the Black Forest. The town hall’s 200-year-old façade, which is well known for playing a significant part in Gengenbach’s Christmas Market, lines one half of the square.
The town hall transforms into a massive Advent calendar for 24 days in December, with each of its 24 enormous windows turning to present a detailed scene. These are based on yearly themes that go beyond the traditional Christmas symbols and are frequently alluded to in works of great literature or art. Every afternoon at six o’clock the whole town seems to gather in the square to see the window open.
9. Lake Titisee
Titisee, the tallest lake in the Black Forest, is a favourite destination for families with a variety of entertainment options. While there are many places to stay, the lake still retains its natural beauty along its beaches, which are a pleasant mixture of trees and accommodations. You may wander along the Seestraße in Titisee-Neustadt between the shore and a variety of stores and cafes (a good place to stop and sample Black Forest cherry cake). Or go for a 90-minute trek around the lake on the route.
10. The Augustinermuseum, Freiburg
The Augustinermuseum, which is located in the ancient Augustinian Hermits monastery, is a cheerful, energetic space brimming with historical artefacts and Black Forest and Upper Rhine treasures. The building was expertly modified by architect Christoph Mäckler, resulting in galleries that are well-lit and encourage viewing from various angles, thus there are no dim showcases here.
Works from the Middle Ages through the Baroque era, as well as paintings from the 19th century, are specialties. Highlights include authentic stone figures, stained glass windows from the Munster, mediaeval wood sculptures, and panel paintings.
11. Fine Dining in Baiersbronn
Three restaurants in the little town of Baiersbronn, which is made up of nine picturesque hamlets, have received an astounding number of Michelin stars, making it famous in the culinary world. Three stars each go to the Schwarzwaldstube in the Hotel Traube Tonbach, three stars each for the Restaurant Bareiss, and two stars each for the Restaurant Schlossberg, giving a total of eight stars to these three eateries.
Tourists can find other attractions and things to do in between meals in these bulwarks of gourmet dining. Due to their remote location and tragic past, the atmospheric remains of the Kloster Allerheiligen, or Monastery of All Saints, are even more eerie.
12. Ravenna Gorge
The nine-kilometer stretch of road between Freiburg and Hinterzarten, often known as Devil’s Valley, plunges steeply into a small gorge flanked by steep, heavily forested hillsides. The picture is made even more ominous by the soaring stone arches of a viaduct that carries the Devil’s Valley Railway 190 feet in the air.
13. Black Forest Christmas Markets
In the Black Forest, December is particularly enchanting since most of the larger towns host a Christmas market with stalls selling presents, seasonal decorations, and a variety of delectable dishes. Some include kid-friendly rides like carousels, while others have gift-making booths where people may manufacture candles or pastries.
The town hall in Gengenbach, which is already a half-timbered, fairy-tale village, is transformed into a massive Advent calendar, with a new window opening each evening at six to unveil a fantastical sight. Under cabins selling spicily spiced gingerbread, loaves of fruit-filled stollen, candied fruits, and jelly-filled doughnuts, the sidewalks of Freiburg’s historic centre are adorned with small glittering lights.
14. Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks
The most enduring — and lovable — Black Forest folk art piece also boasts a long history of excellent craftsmanship. Their history began in the 1600s, when impoverished farmers used the easily available local trees to carve out extra money. They also constructed intricate wooden clocks with moving figures because metal clockworks were pricey. The area quickly gained a reputation for its painstakingly produced and exquisitely carved clocks, each of which had a small bird that protruded and made the sound “cuckoo” on the hour, regardless of their size or intricacy.
Germany’s largest theme park features more than 100 performances and activities, as well as themed areas dedicated to 15 different European nations. Visitors can interact with dressed-up characters in these and the three fantasy-themed sections.
Children adore the elf ride, and in Pirates of Batavia, they may explore a fascinating fantasy city underneath while searching for the fabled Dagger of Batavia. A sequence of 13 roller coasters offers thrill-seekers the chance to put their daring to the test. The fastest and closest to cliff edges is the Blue Fire Megacoaster, which accelerates from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just 2.5 seconds.
16. Donaueschingen and the Source of the Danube
Although it has been “officially” decided by the administration of the state of Baden-Württemberg that only the Donabauch spring near Donaueschingen, where the Brigach River begins, can claim to be the source, the precise source of the Danube River is still a matter of debate. It was formerly claimed by the town of Furtwangen since the Breg, the larger of the two streams that merge to produce the Danube, starts there at the Bregtal spring.
In the Schlosspark in Donaueschingen, on the eastern edge of the Black Forest, you may visit the Donabauch spring, which is appropriately enclosed in a beautiful iron grill and stonework. Schloss Donaueschingen is home to lavish state rooms adorned with tapestries and antique furniture, a court library filled with ancient manuscripts, and a collection of paintings by Swabian painters from the 15th and 16th centuries.
Hike through the forest.
If you love nature, then you should definitely visit the Black Forest. This area is known as “the green lung of Europe” because of its lush forests and meadows. There are plenty of hiking trails here that take you through the woods and past lakes and rivers. You can also go horseback riding or mountain biking.
That was all the information around Top Things to do in Black Forest Germany. Do let us know if you think we have missed anything.
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