The “Black Forest” is an exceptional mountainous region in southwest Germany, on the border of France. The dense, evergreen forests and picturesque villages have made the forest one of the major attractions of the country.
Its evergreen canopy inspires the name “Black Forest” in Germany because the area has a deep, dark, and delicious cherry gateau. It is a picture-perfect setting for a bedtime story, combining deep valleys, thick forests, luscious meadows, and sturdy timber farmhouses. Its forest trails are as inviting as a witch or huntsman, with you half expecting to stumble upon one, cursing yourself for not having brought breadcrumbs to retrace your steps!
It’s a magical land bursting with cultural traditions, complete with elaborate cuckoo clocks, half-timbered houses, and ruined castles. Approximately 160 km long, the Black Forest spans mountains, lakes, and forests, culminating in the Feldberg at 14,931m.
A large part of the region lies between Baden-Baden and the Swiss border, and the Rhine almost reaches the sea. So, no matter what transportation model you choose, you will have the perfect opportunity to take in the incredible views as you pass through the twisty roads.
Things to See & Things To Do in the Black Forest
1. Spa-Town Baden-Baden
A Gothic town dating back to the 13th century, Baden-Baden is a fashionable spa town that is the perfect place to explore the Black Forest and pamper yourself. There are beautiful Victorian-era buildings and old-world luxury in this 19th-century town in the northern forest.
In addition to festivals and exhibitions held throughout the year, Baden-Baden has a vibrant cultural community. The Black Forest National Park is heavily wooded, and you can take a guided tour or an adventure tour or stay in the town center and soak in the thermal waters. Approximately 1810 was the construction year of the baths.
2. Bad Wildbad
While Bad Wildbad is not as popular as Baden-Baden, it is an alternative spa town north of the forest and an affordable way to spend a day or two. Through a tunnel, traffic is diverted so that the area feels completely sheltered from the outside world.
This area of Bad Wildbad faces the Enz river gorge with a beautiful view of endless pine trees. It is also home to thermal baths, which are naturally heated to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). Discover the peaceful village of Niederkirchheim and visit the idyllic Lake Wildsee, which is just outside the town center. Bad Wildbad offers several exciting activities to keep the whole family entertained.
3. Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald
From Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald, one can get an unparalleled perspective of the Black Forest and a chance to connect closely with nature.
Travelers can reach the viewing tower by walking along the 130-foot (40-meter) boardwalk installed and the wooden structure. Finally, travelers make their way to the top of the mountain to witness spectacular views of a dark, impenetrable forest and rolling hills.
4. Funicular Railway at Sommerberg
From Bad Wildbad to the Sommerberg Plateau, the Sommerbergbahn (Sommerberg Funicular Railway) has been transporting travelers since the mid ’20s. After a short journey through the lush Black Forest, the Sommerbergbahn reaches the 1,063-foot (324-meter) plateau. People can view panoramic views of the Black Forest; that view from here gives visitors a feel for the natural wonder.
5. Vital Therme
Bad Wildbad wouldn’t be Bad Wildbad if there were no luxurious spas. With Health & Wellness options galore, Vital Therme melts away all stress, revives the senses, and leaves you feeling radiant.
Whether you’d like to indulge in a relaxing underwater massage or a luxurious mineral mud pack, you have the option of taking a relaxing dip in the warm thermal waters. Vital Therme’s experts will guide you towards the right water therapy option based on any ailment or injury you may have.
6. Palais Thermal
The Halles Thermal Palace is one of Germany’s most popular wellness resorts, a haven for visitors who appreciate the superb sauna landscape, relaxing baths, and medical treatments.
Taking its name from the royal palace, Palais Thermal still provides its guests with an unforgettable royal experience. Choose between an indoor sauna and an outdoor sauna, as well as massages, body treatments, and scrubs.
7. The Fautsburg
The dense vegetation of the Black Forest towers over the ruin of Foutzsburg Castle, dating back to the 11th century and perched between the Kleine Enz and the Enz rivers. Despite the destruction of residential quarters, walls, moats, gates, and courtyards, it stands proudly as a symbol of power and majesty.
A small castle with a mysterious history, it was once a secret abode and later a quarry. There are marked walking paths from Rehmühle, Hünerberg, and Meistern leading to the Fautsburg.
8. Hohloh Tower
With Black Forest views made abundant by the Hohloh Tower, the Black Forest offers all the scenic delights you could wish for. It stands just south of Bad Wildbad, close to the village of Kaltenbronn.
The Hohloh Mountain features an observation tower at the height of 3,320 feet (1,012 meters). There is an uninterrupted view of the Murg Valley, Palatine Forest, Odenwald, and the Swabian Jura from this vantage point. In addition, there is a chance to see the Swiss Alps and the Vosges Mountains in France. Mountain bikes and trekkers can climb the tower via wide, safe pathways.
9. Bike Park
It’s no wonder that cyclists from all over the world flock to Bad Wildbad’s Bike Park. This mountain biking paradise set in the rolling green hills of the Black Forest offers a multitude of challenging trails that will put your biking skills to the test.
You can sharpen your skills under the watchful eyes of experts if you are new to mountain biking and eager to learn the sport. Bringing your equipment or renting it is an option.
In 1864, 1865, and 1967, the Kurtheater hosted a series of spectacles that drew large audiences and enthralled them. Then, in 1987, the historic theater, which had been neglected for more than 20 years, got a new lease on life.
Today, the magnificent interiors of the building host concerts and world-famous opera performances every year and draw a classy crowd to the venues. Thus, an excursion to Bad Wildbad is often incomplete without catching an account at the Kurtheater.
11. Summer Sports
Sporty travelers have an abundance of choices when it comes to summer sports. Try your skills on a mountain bike or electric bike in the Nagoldtal Valley or the Enztal Valley, or take an excursion on a segway to explore the town.
There is a lovely moor between the Sommerberg mountains and the Kaltenbronn mountains, which is great for rambling, and the Enztal valley makes a wonderful spot for Nordic walking. When you’re in Bad Wildbad, the skies are the limit since you’ll also have the chance to experience paragliding in the clouds.
12. Winter Sports
When the snow falls in Bad Wildbad, athletes will be able to indulge in thrilling winter sports activities. The most popular ski resorts in this area are Sommerberg, Kaltenbronn, and Aichelberg. In addition to their many snowshoeing trails, the Aichelberg and Meistern region offer some excellent skiing at Sommerberg and Kaltenbronn.
Calw, on the northern end of the Black Forest, is considered one of its most attractive towns. Calw was the birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning N, Hermann Hesse (1877-1962), who wrote, among other works, Siddhartha. Museums and a statue honor famous authors in the town.
Start your tour of the city at the picturesque market square. With its half-timbered homes, this Black Forest square is the definition of an ideal town square. Many new nightclubs, shops, and ice cream parlors have opened lately for tourists to serve them.
Baiersbronn lies in the breathtaking Bavarian Alps, in a region made up of nine different villages. The recent opening of high-end hotels and bed and breakfasts serving world-class cuisine has put this mountain resort on the map. The area is home to three three-star restaurants and one two-star restaurant, giving it an incredible eight Michelin stars in total.
Fine dining is available in plenty here, so you won’t have trouble finding something to suit your palate. Aside from enjoying outstanding cuisine and long walks through conifer forests, visitors to this region can also enjoy skiing and golfing. Don’t neglect the nearby ruins of the Allerheiligen monastery, hidden away in a secluded valley from the rest of the world.
16. Badische Weinstrasse
Known as the Badische Weinstrasse, this 99-mile (160-kilometer) route runs along the foothills of the Black Forest. Specifically built in 1954, the Weinstrasse follows the Winegrowing Regions of the Black Forest to the border town of Weil am Rhein.
Instead of boring motorway sights, drivers will pass historic castle ruins and idyllic landscapes along the way to Freiburg from Baden-Baden. Vineyards with a peaceful atmosphere.
A visit to Durbacher Winzergenossenschaft offers a superb selection of locally produced wines at a competitive price.
A university town in the southern Black Forest, Freiburg offers a good starting point for exploring the area. This colorful town lies in the Black Forest, surrounded by woods and vineyards, and it has gabled, half-timbered houses and cobblestone streets.
There is a vibrant nightlife scene thanks to the student population, but anyone can also enjoy the beer gardens located on the canal. According to the German Climate Association, Freiburg boasts Germany’s warmest climate and the longest days of sunshine. In this way, it has become one of the world’s leading centers for solar energy.
Enjoy stunning views of the city as you hike up the Schlossberg mountain or ride the cable car to the spire of Münster cathedral, which you can see from the lookout tower, which is at the top of the Schlossberg mountain.
18. Titisee Lake
Many people visit this lake during their vacations in the area’s southern part, where glaciers carved the lake. A natural lake is the largest in the Black Forest and stretches for around two kilometers (two miles) in length and one kilometer (one mile) in width.
Good weather for swimming, sailing, and windsurfing draws tourists to Titisee. There are times when the lake will freeze enough to let you skate on it during the winter.
It is enjoyable to stroll along the lakeside throughout the year, including the 5-mile (8-kilometer) Hochfirst Mountain trail around the lake. Titisee Lake sits amid dense pine forests amidst low, rolling mountains, offering a romantic destination.
19. Triberg Falls
This waterfall drops 513.5 feet (163.0 meters) down the mountain’s side into Triberg Valley, Germany’s highest. The Gutach Falls are an impressive waterfall formed by the Gutach River at the head of the Gutach and Kinzig valleys.
By standing at the foot of these falls, you can enjoy the stunning natural scenery. When the falls are at their best (and loudest), go after heavy rain or snowmelt.
Triberg is a tourist town with quite a few cuckoo clock shops, and there is a central location for accessing the museums. It looks beautiful at night with the illuminated waters; also, the snowy Triberg Falls are gorgeous in the winter.
20. Kinzig and Gutach Valley
From Baden-Baden, you can travel through the Black Forest on the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse for a scenic drive and see the Black Forest’s charming towns.
A large area of Kinzig and Gutach Valley is heavily forested, and many traditional Black Forest customs originated there, such as the cuckoo clock and the Bollenhut, a red pom-pom-adorned ladies’ hat. Guests will sense the magical and mysterious nature of the Black Forest as they stroll along with these sleepy villages.
If you are in the region, be sure to stop at the beer town of Alpirsbach, and the city of Schiltach has classic timber house examples that brim with character.
German romanticism is reflected in Heidelberg, a town on the Neckar. Heidelberg is filled with majestic cityscapes and a sense of history and is the home of The University of Heidelberg, Germany’s oldest university.
As a red-hued castle built on the northern slopes of Königstuhl mountain, this castle has many Gothic and Renaissance styles, the result of being destroyed and rebuilt for hundreds of years. Take in the city’s breathtaking views from the castle gardens.
View the ancient 1780 stone bridge as you stroll through the baroque-style Old Town. You may also want to traverse Philosophers’ Walk, a famous ramble along the Neckar where Heidelberg’s philosophers and professors pondered their high-minded ideals.
22. Triberg Waterfalls
Almost all Black Forest tourists visit the small town of Triberg. It’s worth stopping for a photo at the Erste weltgrößte Kuckucksuhr giant cuckoo clock and Schwarzwaldmuseum of Black Forest culture, but everything else in Triberg falls short.
Located nearby is a pathway that affords views of these falls, the tallest in all of Germany. Following the trail into the mountains after taking pictures of the falls is a great alternative to turning around and returning.
While Titisee-Neustadt is a small town, it is a very popular destination for visitors, thanks to its relaxed promenade on the Seestraße and easy access to hiking trails. If you wish to enjoy a moment of solitude on Titisee’s glacial lake, you can row out to its center and cast a line.
Take a walk around the lake for 90 minutes or hike Hochfirst mountain for a bird’s eye view to see the lake from every angle. Do you find too many lakes to your taste? Then, ride your bike over more than 8,000 kilometers (4,971 miles) of mountain trails until you can once again see the beauty of the water.
24. Baden-Baden Thermal Baths
Baden-Baden has been a spa town for more than two thousand years since the Romans built its first thermal baths. Bathe in one of two thermal bathhouses in Baden-Baden.
In the Spa Caracalla, a rock cave, a current channel, and grass. Meanwhile, the Friedrichsbad, an ancient Roman-Irish bathing temple that harnesses the power of water to transform body, mind, and spirit. Regardless of how you spend your day, be sure to explore the preserved ruins and check out how the Romans rocked their spa sessions.
The Black Forest attracts hikers, while Schluchsee is a favorite spot for those who would rather spend a bit more time outdoors, far from the crowded spa towns.
Located in the village of Schluchsee, it is the country’s highest reservoir formed from a glacial lake. Schluchsee in the summer is a superb place to swim, ride a catamaran, and have picnics on the shoreline. Kids will love the Aqua Fun water park and the amusement park Spass Park Hochschwarzwald.
The pristine Lake Mummelsee is located on the Black Forest High Road just below the Hornisgrinde mountain. Mermaids are said to live in these waters, though you’re more likely to find tourists enjoying their morning cup of coffee as they take the Hornisgrinde trail.
For warm weather, renting a pedalo is a great activity. Why not visit the area when it turns into a winter wonderland? A walk around the lake will allow you to catch a glimpse of the snow-capped mountains.
26. Freiburger Münster
A cathedral isn’t all that the Freiburger Münster is. In Freiburg im Breisgau, a nearly millennia-old cathedral has survived destruction over the last two centuries and bombings during World War II. Throughout the generations, the museum will continue to collect and store the stories of generations of Black Forest folks.
No matter if one climbs to the lookout or enjoys its 300-year construction effort from the farmers’ market outside its doors, a visit to the Freiburger Münster engenders awe and reverence.
27. Museums & Galleries
House of 1,000 Clocks, Triberg
What about stopping by one of Triberg’s famous shops? It won’t take you long to find a moment to spare once you’ve stepped foot inside the House of 1,000 Clocks.
You can slowly pass the minutes by admiring the fine details carved into each of the cuckoo clocks adorning the walls of this fifth-generation family business. Triberg, the ideal place in the area to buy a cuckoo clock, is the place to discover the Black Forest’s quintessential souvenir: the cuckoo clock.
The Black Forest Museum, Triberg
Grimm’s Fairy Tales may paint a picture of the Black Forest, but the Black Forest Museum offers an in-depth look at this beautiful part of Germany’s history, culture, and way of life.
Discover the Black Forest’s mining history, discover its traditional customs and costumes, and be fascinated by the magic of cuckoo clocks among the many handcrafted products offered here.
Creating a Black Forest souvenir is a challenge for Dorothyhütte Glassworks. In this museum and workspace, you can see the history as well as the art of glassblowing. There is even the opportunity for visitors to blow their glass vases to take home.
Of course, you won’t have to blow endless vases for gift giving – instead, drop by the Dorotheenhütte Christmas Village year-round and pick up a few stocking stuffers that won’t exhaust your wallet or your lungs.
German Clock Museum
A visit to the German Clock Museum makes time appear more intriguing. Das Deutsche Uhrenmuseum celebrates timekeeping and clockmaking in its chronological exhibitions.
Its location in Baden-Württemberg makes it ideal to see an uncanny collection of old clocks, such as cuckoo clocks from the 18th century. This landmark in the Black Forest will delight any timepiece enthusiast with traditional pocket watches alongside atomic clocks and Stone Age calendars.
A German bakery is hard to resist. So it is no surprise that the home of the delicious dessert, Black Forest cake, has its share of amazing pastry shops. Those who are unfamiliar with Black Forest cake must prepare it as soon as possible so that they can experience its layers of chocolate and cherry liqueur. Nearly all Black Forest bakeries carry this slice of heaven, but we recommend Cafe Schwarzwaldmaidle in Feldberg or Schöpflins Backhaus in Freiburg im Breisgau as excellent spots to find it.
29. German National Parks with the Most Beauty
The Black Forest is not the only green part of Germany. Those who look for natural beauties and animal kinds in Germany know that the Black Forest is a part of a huge ecosystem. The best recommendation for nature lovers is to book a tour to see all the amazing national parks of Germany. To make it easier to choose and compare, we made a shortlist of the most beautiful national parks in Germany. Search about them to find out more and more about your next destination.
Eifel National Park
The long, narrow expanse of Beech and Ash trees, dark blue volcanic lakes, and wildflower-strewn plateaus stretch across 27,000 acres (11,000 ha) in the far west of Germany, near Belgium. Unfortunately, there are not many untouched areas left in Germany today.
Harz National Park
The Harz National Park covers over 62,000 acres (25,000 hectares) of forested land, rivers, and mountains in north-central Germany. Some of the woods date back over 250 years, and there is no better example of a virgin European forest than this. There are a small number of lynx and European wildcats that roam these woods (like a domestic cat, but a bit larger and with a bushy tail), as well as roe and red deer.
Berchtesgaden National Park
An unreal experience awaits you: a vast, 52,000-acre (21,000ha) swathe of rugged limestone peaks towering over a radiantly blue glacial lake. It is extremely rare to see them unless you are in the glass-walled National Park Center or if you’re on a tour of the park with an on-site ranger.
Jasmund National Park
The natural beauty of the Jasmund National Park has probably struck you if you are familiar with the works by German artist Caspar David Friedrich. This painting of the Königsstuhl chalk cliffs in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in the far north-east of Germany, maybe his most famous.
Saxon Switzerland National Park
At Germany’s easternmost corner, the Saxon Switzerland National Park sprawls over more than 89,000 acres (36,000ha) of eroded geological formations dating back to the Cretaceous Period, covered in more than 89,000 acres of vegetation. Landscapes are incomparable, from sandstone cliffs to deeply carved valleys, table mountain ranges, river canyons.
Lower Oder Valley National Park
The area provides excellent places for birds to rest and winter, so twitchers and wildlife lovers come here in droves year after year. It is an unforgettable experience to see more than 13,000 cranes descend to the roosts that they prepare for their migration each year.
Black Forest forests are known for their dense forestry and picturesque views. Several native trees grow in the southwestern German region, including pine, linden, and many others. Additionally, it is known as the home of the cuckoo clock.
The Black Forest once had entire communities dedicated to building cuckoo clocks by hand, and even today, a watch produced there is considered the top of the line in terms of quality and function.
It is not just complicated mechanisms and fine craftsmanship that make cuckoo clocks. History, compassion, and nostalgia are all part of them. Moreover, as symbols of family and togetherness, they serve a dual purpose of aesthetically pleasing and serving their primary function.
Several of the cuckoo clocks are adorned with animals that are native to the Black Forest region in Germany. Different animals bring different energies and significance to each timepiece.
The Cuckoo Bird
Cuckoo clocks are not all built upon the cuckoo bird, as is popularly thought because of its popularity in the Black Forest region. The popularity of the cuckoo bird might lead people to believe that it’s a popular bird, but it’s actually shy and rarely travels in groups.
Around the globe, cuckoo clocks are known for their distinct call. Two wooden bellows are used in watches with a cuckoo bird to make the “cuckoo” sound. The bellows force air out quickly, each creating a “coo” or a “koo” noise.
Cuckoo clocks are usually adorned with white-tailed eagles. The Eagle symbolizes wisdom, strength, and freedom as it perches high up in the treetops. Hunting in treetops is the norm for these large birds.
With a wingspan of 7.2 feet, they possess the largest wingspan of all eagles. It is not uncommon for cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest region to have a cuckoo atop the casing as a protector, provider, and in some cases, a predator.
The Brown Bear
Brown bears top the list of animals most commonly depicted in cuckoo clock designs. Although the brown bear no longer tends to be common in Germany, it is frequently featured in modern cuckoo clocks due to its iconic whimsy.
Almost as if they were from a fairytale. Collectors of clocks and enthusiasts continue to choose cuckoo clocks featuring brown bears as a popular option.
In cuckoo clocks, the rabbit represents innocence and wonder, one of many reasons for its inclusion in the Black Forest. It is not unusual to see rabbits included in cuckoo clock designs, which brings an extra element of whimsy to the piece.
But wherever a rabbit is present, there is a predator as well. For example, a cuckoo clock frequently depicts rabbits and eagles at odds; the rabbit is oblivious below as the Eagle stands above.
The way you explore the Black Forest determines the quality of your journey through it. Don’t go for a simple jungle with tall trees and special animals. In the Black Forest, you will see a combination of natural wonders and cultural treasures. This mixture is exactly attracting tourists from around the world for many years. Here you can encounter a community with centuries of cultural background. Never miss this unique opportunity.