Have you ever read the story of Hansel and Gretel? This fairy tale about two children who got lost in a dense forest was written by the German Brothers Grimm. The forest in the fable is believed to be the Black Forest or Schwarzwald for Germans.
Located in Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, the Black Forest is more than just the setting for Brothers Grimm fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, and Rapunzel. The famous cuckoo clock has been in production here since the 1700s. One of the most famous cakes in the world, the black forest, as the name suggests, originates from here.
The Black Forest is a very beautiful area with lakes and trails through cypress forests. If you like trekking there are many options such as the Wutach Valley and National Park area or hiking to Herzogenhorn (1415m) and Feldberg (1493m).
To reach the Black Forest you can drive from Basel, Karlsruhe, and Stuttgart. In addition, there are 5 airports in the Black Forest region and dozens of train lines from various cities.
Here are 8 exciting destinations in the Black Forest that you must visit.
Baden-Baden, one of the most fashionable spa towns in Europe, is the ideal place to explore the Black Forest as well as to pamper yourself to the fullest. Enjoy a dip in the hot springs built around 1810.
Nestled in the hills of the northern Black Forest, this 19th-century town is filled with striking Belle poque-era architecture and old-school opulence. Baden-Baden recently, precisely in July 2021, was included in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The largest city in the Black Forest, Freiburg, is filled with Gothic buildings and surrounded by vineyards. Freiburg is a university town with a vibrant feel. From here you can explore the southern side of the Black Forest.
While hiking to Mount Schlossberg or taking the cable car you can enjoy views of the city with a view of the iconic 11th century Münster cathedral tower. Freiburg is called Germany’s warmest city because of its unusually high levels of sunshine. The city was then a center for solar energy.
Heidelberg, the old town on the banks of the river Neckar, is the epitome of German romanticism. Home to Germany’s oldest university, Heidelberg University, the city has stunning views and a strong historical atmosphere.
One of Germany’s most popular castles, Heidelberg Castle, sits on the northern slope of Mount Königstuhl. Built over hundreds of years, the architecture is a mixture of Gothic and Renaissance styles. The ruins can still be enjoyed as an interesting tourist attraction. Also here is the Baroque-style Old Town and a stone bridge built in 1780.
If you are going to explore the northern region of the Black Forest, Calw is a great base. The historic city center is filled with attractive pedestrian areas. Surrounded by half-timbered 18th-century houses, Calw is one of the classic Black Forest towns.
The famous German writer who won the Nobel Prize, Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) was born in Calw. Some of his writings describe the city of Calw in a fictionalized version. Hesse had visited India which he later reflected in his famous novel, Siddhartha (1922).
The municipality of Titisee-Neustadt in the southern part of the Black Forest has a very beautiful view. Lake Titisee is often visited by tourists for swimming, sailing, or surfing when the weather is nice. In winter, the frozen lake is used for ice skating. The snow covering the lake makes it look magical and mesmerizing.
Surrounded by cypress forests and winding hills, Lake Titisee with its beautiful panorama is like being in another world. For trail running lovers, you can ride 8 kilometers around the lake and then hike to Mount Hochfirst.
Germany’s tallest waterfall descends the Triberg valley at 163 meters into the Gutach river. After heavy rain the waterfall fell so hard, the sound was roaring and the natural scenery became so beautiful. In winter, the beauty of Triberg Falls covered in snow makes it even more charming.
Just before the entrance to Triberg Falls, there is the largest cuckoo clock shop in the Black Forest region which is well known for its cuckoo clock crafts. Triberg has dozens of cuckoo clock shops. You can buy the typical Black Forest souvenir at one of them.
Donaueschingen, a favorite base for tourists to explore the central and southeastern Black Forest region, was once the Principality. The Fürstenberg aristocrats who once ruled Donaueschingen have a legacy for this city in the form of palaces and art collections in museums.
The Donaueschingen is the source of the Danube River, the second longest river in Europe after the Volga River in Russia. The Danube or in German called the Danube flows from the Black Forest to the Black Sea through 10 countries, the most in the world. Starting from Germany, the Danube River flows through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine before arriving at the Black Sea.
- Bad Wildbad
Bad Wildbad has beautiful views of the seemingly endless pine trees and the gorge of the Enz river. Although not as famous as Baden-Baden, this city is also a spa town filled with natural hot springs with a temperature of around 35 degrees Celsius. Some tunnels make this area seem isolated from the world.
Visit the Wildsee, a lovely little lake just outside the city. Take a cable car that has been in operation for more than 100 years to the Sommerberg Plateau. After a few minutes through the dense vegetation of the Black Forest, you will arrive at an altitude of 324 meters. From here you can spoil your eyes with a spectacular panorama of the Black Forest as far as the eye can see.
So, are you ready to explore the Black Forest? Don’t forget to taste the black forest cake where it came from!