A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts
What comes to mind when you’re deciding where to go on holiday? Maybe it’s Spain, France or even further afield – but if you’re an outdoorsy, active kind of person, southern Germany might just be the ticket.
Bavaria is certainly one of the most beautiful regions in southern Germany but if you love walking, the Black Forest is well worth a visit. Located in the federal state of Baden-Wurttemberg, this vast area consists of some of the most stunning scenery – including rolling hills, valleys, lakes, rivers and beautiful forests. Going on holiday to the Black Forest means that you’ll get good value for money – whatever you like doing.
Surprisingly, the Black Forest isn’t on many people’s lists when planning a holiday in Germany. It tends to be Bavaria or the big cities like Berlin, Munich and Hamburg that attract tourists from around the world. The Black Forest region is actually the ideal location for families and anyone who loves doing outdoor activities. Being close to the Swiss and French borders also make it an ideal location for a day trip to its neighbouring countries.
The historical towns and picturesque villages in the south-west corner of Germany have plenty of things to do to suit all ages and tastes.
Many Germans go to the Black Forest on holiday to enjoy the region’s beauty and culture. The Black Forest has also been a source of inspiration for many poets and writers over the years.
Top places to eat in the Black Forest
Baden-Wurttemberg is well-known for its fantastic cuisine and its great selection of places to eat – whatever your budget. The region isn’t just famous for its Black Forest gateau; chefs also create superb, traditional meals as well as cuisine with a modern twist. No wonder the region enjoys many top-class Gault Mileau and Michelin Star restaurants! For a more casual experience, why not try eating at a Gasthof, a typical Black Forest inn? Most offer good-quality, regional cuisine for a reasonable price.
Spring and summer in the Black Forest
The quiet, peaceful countryside and the magnificent forests are perfect for a relaxing walk. As you pass the farm houses, vineyards and charming villages, time seems to slow down – in a positive way. The walking and hiking trails are well-sign-posted and almost every town will have a tourist office where you can get information and maps of the area. Some maps even have little clues to discover on the way (e.g. a Wichtelpfad) – making a walk more attractive for younger members of the family.
The 1,493m Feldberg Mountain is the highest peak in the Black Forest and is located close to Freiburg in the High Black Forest region (Hochschwarzwald). To enjoy the impressive panoramic view from the summit, you can either walk or take the cable car, where there’s plenty of room for pushchairs, bikes and wheelchairs. The Feldberg Tower (Feldbergturm) is located at the top and is the perfect place to enjoy the view. There’s also a museum where you can learn about the history of the famous Black Forest ham.
Top outdoor activities
There are over 8,000km of cycling routes in the region that caters for cyclists of all abilities. Mountain bikers will love the challenging routes the area has to offer and families will enjoy the many flatter routes that are perfect for smaller children. There are also activity parks, climbing places and toboggan runs to keep families entertained and for visitors who enjoy water sports like sailing, canoeing and kayaking, it’s definitely worth taking a trip to Lake Schluchsee or Lake Titisee. In short, the Black Forest is like a big adventure park and a playground for those who like trying out different outdoor activities.
Enjoy a winter holiday in the Black Forest
During winter, the Black Forest is the perfect destination for cross-country skiing or snow shoe walking. The region boasts over 700km of well sign-posted cross-country routes with plenty of cosy places to rest along the way. Feldberg Mountain stands at 1.493m and is the highest mountain in the Black Forest. It’s the birth place of skiing and the first ski club was founded in Feldberg. The peak can be reached by cable car. Other events in the area include the annual international dog sled races in Todtmoos (held in January) and the ice sculpture events in Bernau.
Discover the spa town of Baden-Baden
The charming spa town of Baden-Baden is great for shopping and sampling some fine cuisine. During the 19th Century, the town’s natural hot springs became an attractive place to visit for many celebrities and people wanting to experience the healing effect of the thermal water. This is why there is a large selection of medical wellness and spa hotels in the area that offer various treatments and medical consultations. Cultural events like theatre, concerts and other attractive entertainment programmes are available all-year-round.
Explore the University City of Freiburg
One of the prettiest cities in the Black Forest is Freiburg. This historical city is almost 1000 years old and well worth a visit if you’re interested in history. The most important historical building is the Minster, which is a masterpiece of gothic architecture.
Triberg – the birth place of the cuckoo clock
Did you know where the famous cuckoo clock originates from? Triberg and Furtwangen are famous for their clock-making – in particular the characteristic cuckoo clock. Up to 60 million clocks were built in the Black Forest region at its peak. Nowadays, tourists can still visit some clock-making places and watch craftsmen building this iconic clock. While you’re visiting Triberg, why not take a trip to see the spectacular Triberg waterfalls?
Medieval cities, traditional events and breath-taking scenery
Stuttgart is the capital city of Baden-Wurttemberg and is a great place for shopping or enjoying a lovely meal with great wine. If you’re interested in cars, why not visit the Porsche and the Mercedes Museums? Both are only a short distance from Stuttgart city centre. Stuttgart is a very green city with many attractive parks – making it a particularly beautiful city to visit in the spring and summer when the flowers are in full bloom. Various museums, castles and palaces can also be discovered in Stuttgart and the surrounding areas.
Stuttgart’s Christmas markets are definitely a highlight at Christmas time. Many stalls offer unusual handcrafted products and regional food and drink. The region is also well-known for its glass factories and carved wooden products and you’ll find beautiful handmade decorations made from glass and wood at the Christmas markets.
Other places worth exploring are the cities of Ludwigsburg, Freudenstadt, Calw, Pforzheim, Karlsruhe, Gengenbach, Baiersbronn, Donaueschingen, Villingen-Schwenningen, Titisee Lake and Lake Constance.
Accommodation to suit any budget
Whatever your preference, you’ll find a good choice of accommodation to choose from. Self-catering apartments, B&Bs, hotels, campsites, holiday parks and AirBnBs all offer good value for money. Germany is a dog-friendly country, so you’ll have no problem finding the right place for the whole family. Having been a popular holiday destination for many years, many people will have a good level of English – so don’t panic if your German isn’t up to scratch! And the children will always make friends – whatever the language.
The best way of discovering Germany is to go by car as you’ll have the flexibility to see more of the area while you’re there. The motorways (Autobahn) are well sign-posted and often quite scenic. For a relaxing drive, it’s worth taking the picturesque routes like the Black Forest mountain road (Schwarzwaldhochstraße) or the Romantic road, which passes by well-known sights as well as having breath-taking views. The Romantic road is approximately 400km long and offers plenty of opportunities to stop for a bite to eat and sample some typical regional food and drink. You’ll also see plenty of classic cars and convertibles on this particularly scenic route.
However, if you’re coming from further afield, your best option would be to travel by plane and maybe hire a car at the airport. Stuttgart is one of the closest airports to the Black Forest. Other options include Frankfurt am Main and Luxemburg.Check flight connections UK-Germany Read my blog about the Black Forest