One of the most beautiful regions of Germany is the Black Forest. Who cannot fall in love with its dense forests, its fairy tale villages, its hot springs, trails and gastronomy…?
This region is in Baden-Württemberg, southwest of Germany and today we will stop at some very good tips for visiting the Black Forest. Aim!
In principle the Black Forest it is a very forested mountain massif that time has become one of the Germany's most precious tourist destinations.
Most of the trees are firs that squeeze into each other and grow into dense forests. Many say that this is where the name of the region comes from, although another theory suggests that it was the Romans who when they arrived noticed the darkness of the roads between those mountains.
The Black Forest begins where Germany, France and Switzerland meet and goes up about 160 kilometers to the north of Germany, shaping a band of flora that is between 30 and 60 kilometers long. There are three rivers, many beautiful lakes, hot springs and the climate, obviously, is very mountainous, with cool summers and icy winters.
The Black Forest has developed its own cultural traits over time, with regional costumes, festivals, parties and gastronomy. And today, in terms of tourism, what it offers is everything that is lakeside: paragliding, hiking, hot air ballooning, kayaking, skiing, horse riding ...
Tips for traveling to the Black Forest
First you have to get here. If you arrive in Germany by plane you can enter better through the city of Frankfurt and from here take a train to Freiburg which in turn is very well connected with Baden-Baden, Karlsruhe, Offenburg and other large cities in the country.
Now, If you are already in Europe and you arrive from an EU country, you can fly directly to Base-Mulhouse airport, right on the border with France and Switzerland and much closer to Freiburg im Bresgau. There are frequent bus services between Basel Airport and Freiburg.
You have to keep in mind that if your intention is to visit the Black Forest using public transport that will require planning. If you are going to fly to a large city then you will want to use the regional rail passes to get to the smaller cities that appear on the itinerary.
If you want to take a train with good scenic views, then the best option is to invest in the Konus Card, a guest card that has a specified validity period and allows you to use local trains and buses. And also the trams and buses of Freiburg and Karlsruhe.
If you have money and you like to drive then always it is possible to rent a car and explore the Black Forest with absolute freedom. There are many rental companies, so you can rent it and have it wait for you at the airport.
From Frankfurt you should take the Autobahn A5 that crosses Offenburg on the west side of the Black Forest. You can also take the A81 that crosses the valley that is on the eastern side of the region. Both routes can become good starting points for driving around the region.
When should you visit the Black Forest? Schwarzwald is a year-round destination, so it will depend on what your tastes are, Biking, skiing, cross-country skiing, climbing? If you like the trekking then you have to go in summer. Spring comes late here, due to the altitude, so at the beginning of March the tops of the hills still have some snow. If you want to see the flora in its splendor, then you have to go at the end of April, the beginning of May.
For cycling or Nordic walks, then the best is autumn. The ocher colors of fall are exceptional, worse still there are some perennials so the photos will be great. In addition, also for these dates there are various cultural festivals and folk events. And in winter? Well, there is a lot, a lot of snow. There are ski jumping competitions, dog sled rides, snowboard and all that. And of course, now in December the Christmas markets are the order of the day adding charm.
Specialists in the Black Forest say that the best way to explore it is to base in one place and from there to plan trips and excursions. You can also choose some rural accommodation, here very popular. You can choose to stay in Freiburg or somewhere nearby that is surely cheaper. For example, Kirchzarten. This option, choosing a base place, is the best when you are not very clear about which itinerary to follow.
Then, the first thing is to make a list of the sites you want to visit, as abbreviated as possible. Then think about how much time you have, if it is a weekend, a week, fifteen days. And yes, you will never see everything on a first trip, you will have things left in the pipeline but without a doubt you will also see wonderful places that will make you want to return.
Let's see then, in the Black Forest are the cities of Freiburg, a lovely university town, with a charming historical case and a mountain with many walking trails and the Lake Titisee You arrive by train in a trip of less than an hour; Y Baden-Baden, super famous spa resort since Roman times. In addition, this city is very close to the Schwarzwald National Park, the Black Forest National Park, with its mountains, glacial lakes and villages.
Another city in the region is freudenstadt, with its old square, the castle that was never built and its charming Gothic-Renaissance church. It is also a thermal town. On the other hand, if you like wine culture you can follow the Baden Wine Route, through the vineyards through the nearby cities of Heidelberg, Freiburg and Baden Baden itself. As always, keep in mind that accommodation in these cities can be expensive, so in the surroundings you will always find better prices.
You also can visit Stuttgart, the National Museum of the Reloj, to see famous cuckoo clocks, the Black Forest Open Museum, where you can see traditional agricultural techniques typical of the area through time ...
In these types of regions walks are always very popular And the truth is that trails abound in the Black Forest. All the big cities, Baden-Baden, Freiburg to Offenburg have their own tourist offices where you can get maps and additional information to make either long routes or short routes. Most of these routes are easy to follow and are marked in different colors: local roads in yellow, regional roads in blue and main roads in red.
In summer there are many people hiking and there are always posts along the routes. In fact, if you are a fan of this activity, you can always do everything walking and never sleeping in a tent. Too there are thematic paths dealing with a certain aspect of the region: farm life, famous attractions, culture, wine ...
Write these down popular routes:
- Schwarzwaldhocstrasse: It is the oldest route, at a high altitude, to the north, and it concentrates on good panoramic views.
- Schwarzwald Panoramastrasse: it is the scenic route, with higher mountains and more spectacular views.
- Badische Weinstrasse: It is the route of the spa as it crosses several thermal towns.
- Klosterroute Nordsschwarzwald: it is the Route of the Monasteries in the north of the Black Forest. There are beautiful monasteries, including the World Heritage Maulbronn Monastery.
These are just some of the best routes, there are some more and others that, although they pass through the Black Forest, are not exclusive to it, such as the German Farm Activities Route, Hohenzollern Route or the Neckar-Alb-Aare Roman Route covering Roman ruins, open-air museums, and excavations.
Finally, a few more tips: in the Black Forest you must visit a castle (the Eberstein Castle, the Karlsruhe Palace, the Hohengeroldseck, the Hohenzollern in the neo-Gothic style, of kaisers and kings, for example); you must also visit a mineral spa (there are 17 sites in this regard), walk, visit its open-air museums, enter a historic mine of medieval times and visit even a couple of villages or small towns, for example Calw, in the Nagold Valley, super picturesque, or Bad Wildbad or the small Breisach am Rhhein, Gangenbach ...