Mystic, panoramic, and pristine – the Black Forest in Germany is undoubtedly one of the most scenic places in Europe. Home to both natural spectacles and charming towns, the Black Forests never fails to attract countless visitors all year round.
Yet, some people are not totally pleased by their visit here. “It has been so commercialized,” they complain. Most tell the Black Forest is a tourist trap. A famous Youtube Vlogger with more than a million followers even agrees.
“Tourist trap” might be valid in some parts, but the Black Forest is just too big to make a quick judgment. It spans more than 600 thousand hectares, and absolutely, everyone can have their own spot to enjoy! 🙂
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I’ve been following Michael Corona’s Instagram for a while now… And in his gallery, I saw that there are almost infinite places to go in the Black Forest that are truly awe-inspiring – away from the crowd, tourist trap not.
But, what is it that really makes the Black Forest special? Is it the Black Forest’s natural attractions? The folklores and fairytales? Maybe the charming town?
Oh! Or is it the Black Forest cakes that make the Black Forest a special place? 😀
Discover it all down below!
But before anything, let me introduce the Black Forest to you well.
Introduction to Germany’s the Black Forest
Forests are magical places. Not because there are mystical creatures in the forest or it is a source of folklore, but it gives us almost unexplainable health benefits when we visit one.
The forest helps us improve almost all our well-being: body, mind, and soul. That’s especially when you hike around and tap its most serene parts. You can check the list of the benefits of hiking in this article.
In Germany, one of the natural areas you can visit to feel better is the Black Forest. It is a protected mountainous region, not just a forest, having many beautiful places and things to discover.
Facts about the Black Forest
There are almost endless forested mountains to hike in the Black Forest; each peak has an elevation of 200-1500 meters (650-4900 feet) above sea level. The highest point in the Black Forest is in the town of Feldberg, reaching an altitude of 1493 meters (4898 ft).
The town of Feldberg is a ski resort known as “the Jewel of the Black Forest.” If you’d be here by chance, you must go to the summit and visit the Feldberg Tower.
Feldberg Tower is one of the spots where you will understand why the black forest is called the black forest. Here you can find panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys covered by thick forest patched by lush, verdant meadows.
On top of Feldberg Tower, you’ll nod and say: “Ah, that’s why!” haha!
Feldberg is the highest place in all of Germany outside the Alps. It’s a place to visit to make a check on your bucket list. Here is the location of the Feldberg:
While exploring the Black Forest, you might notice that it seems almost all the trees in the Black Forest are the same: spruce trees. Well, it has to do something about what the Black Forest was in history.
Back in the day, the Black Forest has mixed species of trees, primarily deciduous and firs. There are spruce trees, too; they were only found in higher elevated parts of the forest.
Industries like mining and intensive forestry came, and they have deforested the Black Forest much. In efforts of the people and government to heal the land, the Black Forest was replanted, mostly with spruce monocultures.
Today, we see the reforestation done. Intended or not, I think the spruces monocultures made the Black Forest looks even more beautiful… picturesque it is, don’t you agree?
Speaking of picturesque locations in the Black Forest in Germany, you should not miss seeing Lake Titi (Titisee in German).
Titisee is the largest lake in the Black Forest, covering 1.3 square kilometers or 320 acres. It is also a glacial lake, with a surface level reaching 840 meters (2760 feet) above sea level.
Since Titisee lies at an altitude that levels with the clouds, it usually appears with mist drifting right above its surface. Especially during calm mornings, you will see it so enchanting, like you’re on a real fairytale!
However, Titisee is also one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Black Forest. It would look ordinary and a “tourist trap” during peak hours/season. Come at the right time to see its real beauty! 🙂
Titisee is located in the laid-back town of Titisee-Neustadt in the southern portion of the Black Forest. Here is the exact location of the lake in case you would want to visit:
When you go to mountainous areas like the Black Forest, another body of water that you can expect to see are the roaring waterfalls.
In the Black Forest, what you can visit is not just an ordinary waterfall. It is one of the highest waterfalls in Germany, called Triberg Falls. The waterfall descends and graciously cascades 7 times down into a plunge pool from a height of 163 meters (535 feet).
Triberg Falls is one of the attractions in this region that make the Black Forest special.
If you’re an enthusiast of photography, you’ll be thrilled to take a long-exposure shot of Triberg Falls.
Triberg Falls is located in the middle of the Black Forest, just on the outskirts of the town of Triberg. Here are the coordinates where you’ll find Triberg Falls:
The Feldberg, Titisee, and Triberg are just the “tip of the iceberg” when talking about the Black Forest. To go further, we must first know where the Black Forest is.
Where is the Black Forest?
We can find the Black Forest in the southwestmost portion of Germany, near the German-French and German-Swiss borders. The maps show that it encompasses several towns and villages in Baden-Wurttemberg.
Later in this article, you will discover the 7 towns within the Black Forest that are best to visit. In that section, you will see the highlights of each town, helping you to pick which town to go to. Anyhow, whatever town you visit, it is sure that you will experience the things that the Black Forest is known for.
What is the Black Forest known for?
Based on what the people say in Google Maps and other travel forums, the cuckoo clocks, the watchmaking industry, and the fairytale experiences are what the Black Forest is known for. Though not directly mentioned, the Black Forest is also admired for having countless scenic views and picturesque, quaint medieval villages.
Why is the Black Forest so famous?
The Black Forest is so famous because of the things it is known for and the things that make it a special place. Cultural-wise, there is no other place where you can find as many cuckoo clocks as the Black Forest has. Most importantly, tourism-wise, the Black Forest is just a great package deal. Not only do you see natural wonders, but you also get to have many adventurous things to do and charming towns to visit.
In the Black Forest, you will also find world-class thermal spas and Europa-Park (the second most popular theme park in Europe next to Disneyland Paris).
Aside from that, the Black Forest has an enchanting charm amplified by the fairytales inspired by the region. Hansel and Gretel, The Frog Prince, Rapunzel, Snow White, and the Seven Dwarfs are the most famous fairytales of the Black Forest.
Yes, they are all German fairytales, and all of them are written by the Brothers Grimm. Germany is just the Land of The Poets, indeed?
Why is the Black Forest called the Black Forest?
Suppose it is the first time you hear the “Black Forest,” and you learn that it’s where several German lore and fairytales originated. In that case, you may think that you already know why it is called the Black Forest.
The first time I heard about the Black Forest? I thought there was sorcery going on in there.
Seriously! HAHA! Knowing Europe has a history of witches, I really do so. But, after reading this article from Britannica.com about the Black Forest, I learned that it is actually the trees in the Black Forest which gave it the name “Black Forest.”
The trees (dark-colored pines) grew so densely together that the sunlight seldom reached the ground in this mountainous region. That’s why when you are either within the forest or looking at it from afar, you would see that it’s relatively dark or black – hence it was named the “Black Forest.”
As mentioned earlier, one place in the Black Forest to clearly see why it is named the “Black Forest” is Feldberg, the region’s highest spot.
Do you like mountains, lakes, castles, and fairytale villages? Bavarian Alps has all of those. Check out my 3-day, 7-day, and 10-day itineraries for visiting the Bavarian Alps << click this to open a new tab and read later. I’ve listed 5 towns and 15 tourist attractions to see in that post.
Special Things about The Black Forest in Germany
What makes a place notable are the unique characteristics and experiences it can give to visitors. In the case of the Black Forest, we can look at these four things:
- Cuckoo Clocks
- Black Forest Cakes
- Black Forest’s Forest and Roads
- Black Forest’s Culture and Tradition
Cuckoo clocks are the first thing people can think of as to why the Black Forest is special.
The origin of the cuckoo clock is rumored to be in Bavaria, but it is here in the Black Forest that they were massively produced. When you come to the Black Forest, you can see thousands of them! You will just be amazed by hundreds of rows of exquisitely designed cuckoos in galleries and shops.
Try to find the different types of cuckoo clocks in the Black Forest:
- Traditional-Style – The cuckoo clocks carved out of wood depict the nature and wildlife in the Black Forest.
- Chalet-Style is a cuckoo clock involving animated characters such as woodchoppers, mill wheels, bell ringers, etc.
- Modern-Style – The battery-operated cuckoo clocks.
The world’s largest cuckoo clock is also here in the Black Forest! Later in the “unique things to do in the Black Forest” section, you will know where and what it looks like.
Black Forest Cake
In the Black Forest, visitors taste an authentic Black Forest Cake – the symbol of the Black Forest’s kitchen. Historians believe that in this region in the 16th century, the Black Forest Cake was first served in a meal.
Give your taste buds one of the most delicious cakes with layers of chocolates and cream with cherries in between!
The Black Forest cakes from the Black Forest have a secret ingredient, which, by the way, is the reason why they are special. They come with a Kirsch, a brandy distilled from the fermented juice of the black morello cherry.
Kirsch brandies are made only in the Black Forest and some surrounding regions in France and Switzerland. They are a bit special, too, as these liquors are produced in traditional methods unique to the locals.
Forest and Roads
The forest area of the Black Forest feels enchanting, especially when you come on a misty morning. Also, thanks to the Black-Forest-inspired fairytales, they make the visitors’ imaginative thinking work. Active imagination while traveling gives people a totally new experience in their journeys!
Primarily, the Black Forest is just scenic. You will definitely enjoy driving along the winding roads of the place. When you leave your car, you breathe the freshest air you will ever have in your entire life!
The Black Forest’s most scenic drive
You can take hundreds of kilometers of roads in the Black Forest. But among these, the Black Forest High Road is considered the most scenic drive. It stretches 60 kilometers of jaw-dropping sights starting from Baden-Baden from the north to the beautiful town of Freudenstadt to the south. See Google Maps below:
The Black Forest High Road is also considered the oldest in the Black Forest, constructed in the 1930s. The road passes through the “eyegasmic” Baden-Baden mountain range ridge. Be sure to keep your sight balanced on the road and scenery!
Black Forest’s famous drone shot.
The forest and the roads of the Black Forest are two of the drone pilot’s favorite things to capture from the sky in Baden-Württemberg. It is not hard to understand why when you see the mesmerizing appearance of the spruce trees from above.
If you are looking for a really Instagrammable drone shot of the Black Forest’s roads, I suggest that you visit the 360-degree road “Hairpin Turn” in Höllental. In Google Maps, it is labeled Kreuzfelsenkurve, and it is just an 8-minute drive from Titisee. See a sample shot below and its location on Maps:
Culture and Tradition
Everywhere you travel, it will always be the culture and tradition that always sets one destination apart from others. In the case of the Black Forest, here are the things you can discover:
- Bollenhut – A traditional had with pompoms on top used by the ladies of the Black Forest, specifically in Gutach, Wolfach-Kirnbach, and Hornberg-Reichenbach. Single women use Bollenhut with red pompoms, and married women use Bollenhut with black pompoms.
- The Black Forest’s traditional wooden houses – are the kind of houses in the Black Forest that are characterized externally by a long-hipped or half-hipped roof that descends to the height of the ground floor. You can see many of these in the Black Forest Open Air Museum.
- Night Watchman (Nachtwacht) – In Wolfach, you can meet Night Watchman to tour you around town. A Nachtwacht character in German culture carries a candle, an ax-like blade weapon, and a massive bull’s horn and is dressed in traditional clothes.
Visiting The Black Forest
Do you want to see the Black Forest already?
The following sections should help you plan your journey in the Black Forest. Here, you will find the best towns to visit within the Black Forest and the unique things to do.
There is also information on how to move around the Black Forest, safety, and other things to help you have a successful trip.
Best Towns to Visit in the Black Forest
Among the dozens of towns and villages, here are the 7 special places you should include in your journey in the Black Forest:
See the map below to see where the Black Forest is, as well as the 7 beautiful towns mentioned above:
Baden-Baden is a town located in the northern portion of the Black Forest. It is known for having the world’s best spa and thermal baths.
Just recently, Baden-Baden became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site, belonging to the Great Spa Towns of Europe. If you want to relax and receive the utmost pampering while in the Black Forest, Baden-Baden is where you need to go!
Baden-Baden Town Highlights
- Friedrichsbad Spa is a beautiful renaissance-style bathhouse where you can experience Roman and Irish bathing traditions. It has an awe-inspiring dome with fresco paintings to give you more memorable insights into centuries-old bathing traditions.
- The Casino. Do you want to have an idea of the life of a wealthy European from the 19th century? This is the place to be. See slot machines, poker, roulette, blackjack, and other old-school games reminiscent of the luxurious Belle Epoque era.
- Caracalla Spa – Experience just relaxation and extensive pampering in one of the largest spas in Baden Baden. Dip into attractive pools, enter a Roman-style sauna complex, and have a leisurely walk around the picturesque castle gardens!
At the north-central portion of the Black Forest, one can find Baiersbronn – an idyllic town and Germany’s center of haute cuisine. Here, we can see the majority of the Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany. If you are a food lover, you need to visit Baiersbronn’s place in the Black Forest!
Baiersbronn Town Highlights
- Eat on a Michelin starred Restaurants. According to guide.michelin.com, there are 9 restaurants in Baiersbronn; two have 1 Michelin star (Asian-influenced, creative, classic, and modern cuisine), and another two has 3 Michelin star (Classic french, creative and modern cuisine).
- All Saints’ Abbey – A 12th-century monastic structure now in ruins after being set on fire by powerful lightning. Entering the ruins feels like you are a character in a video game like Zelda or Final Fantasy.
- Sankenbach Waterfall is a 40-meter tall waterfall controlled by a wooded lever. You can play around and adjust the lever to regulate the volume of water that drops in the falls. Be amazed at how cool the mechanism is!
Calw is the town on the northeastern tip of the Black Forest, home to the picturesque Timber Framed houses. Its town center was not much affected by war, so you’ll mostly see the authentic and original structures already more than 500-600 years old.
Suppose you love wandering around charming houses or are an enthusiast culture discoverer. In that case, Calw is the place in the Black Forest for you to see!
Calw Town Highlights
- Discover the Music Culture – Calw loves music, and it attracts not only full-blooded wanderers but also music lovers. You can find diverse music in Calw, from boy’s choirs to Jazz musical artists. There are concerts and street performers to watch every now and then, mainly during the evenings.
- Hirsau Monastery – A complex built in the 11th and 12th centuries and once one of Germany’s most important Benedictine abbeys. Some parts are in ruins, but it’s still a lovely place to explore. It gives a nostalgic sensation to anyone who visits. If you are lucky, you can witness some medieval festivals occurring.
- Learn about Hermann Hesse (Join a tour) – Hermann Hesse is one of the most notable German Authors of the 20th century, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946. He has a profound connection with Calw. Join a tour to learn more about Calw and this writer together at the same time.
Like Calw, Gengenbach is also a charming town filled with postcard-perfect houses and cobblestone streets, which look like a scene out of a fairy tale! Actually, it was shown in movie theaters already. Gengenbach was inaccurately referred to as Dusseldorf in the 2005 film version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Gengenbach is located in the mid-west section of the Black Forest. In Gengenbach’s quaint, medieval old town, you can find the world’s biggest advent calendar. It is a must-visit destination during Christmas! Nevertheless, it’s a lovely place to go to all year round.
Gengenbach Town Highlights
- Stadtkirche Sankt Marien – See the beautiful church with jaw-dropping murals on the church’s walls and ceiling. It has a lovely garden just behind the church for a leisurely walk or quiet moment.
- Narrenmuseum Niggelturm – A museum inside a tower that tells the stories of the witch-burning in Gengenbach. You can see many fascinating but slightly creepy carnival costumes and horror masks in the museum.
- A stroll in the town – the ultimate highlight of the visit to Gengenbach is actually the simple stroll in its old town. It is the part of the Black Forest so charming that people visiting it wonder if it is real or made by Disney.
Heidelberg is the town in the north of the Black Forest, considered an epitome of German romanticism. It attracts more than approximately 12 million visitors every year!
It is because this town is for everyone to visit. Heidelberg has natural attractions, historical places, and lots of enjoyable things to do. You’ll never get bored here.
Heidelberg is also Germany’s cradle for knowledge. In this town lies the country’s one of the oldest educational institutions: Heidelberg University. Heidelberg is not a scientific hub, by the way. This town also houses countless works of art and literature created throughout the centuries.
Because of that, UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network has designated Heidelberg as the “City of Literature.”
Heidelberg Town Highlights
There are literally almost a hundred enjoyable activities you can find in Heidelberg. Here are the three highly rated and most famous things to do in Heidelberg:
- Heidelberg Palace – This castle is an early 13th-century structure in the hills above Heidelberg, considered one of the most spectacular Renaissance structures located north of the Alps. You will be awe-filled by the palace, especially its Ottheinrich building, Barrel building, and ancestral portrait gallery.
- Old Bridge – A beautiful spot in sightseeing Heidelberg. A stroll on the Old bridge of Heidelberg will let you see the skyline of Heidelberg. By facing south, you view the towering structures of Heidelberg, an impressive gate, picturesque timber-framed houses, and the Heidelberg Palace on the top of a hill.
- Schwetzingen Castle – A castle famous for its spacious and ornate gardens, theater with a mixed “French” and “Italian” layout, and a “Turkish” style mosque. This castle is one of the most Instagrammable places in Heidelberg, or probably, in all of the Black Forest.
Schiltach is an 11th-century town on the eastern central portion of the Black Forest, full of restored but picturesque half-timbered houses. Definitely, it’s a charming place to transport you back in time.
You will never get tired of taking photos and wandering around in Schiltach. But if you need to re-energize, the town has tiny cafes where you can buy drinks partnered with authentic Black Forest cakes.
It’s a town perfect for a chill date with your loved partner, especially since it is not a touristy place compared to other locations in the Black Forest.
Schiltach Town Highlights
- Historische Altstadt – A visit to Schiltach will not be complete if you don’t visit its historic old town. Walk over the cobbled streets in between the charming timber-framed houses. Do not forget to visit the riverside and the flower-embellished bridge!
- Schüttesäge Museum – This is the museum where you will learn about the livelihood of the town’s ancestors. See objects used in their forestry economy, timber rafting, and tanning.
- Schenkenburg – Hike to the ruins of a 13th-century castle and see a view of Schiltach Town.
In the south-central part of the Black Forest, we find the Triberg, a town where the most enormous cuckoo clock in the world is. From this town also we can start hiking to one of the largest waterfalls in Germany, the Triberg Falls. Triberg is called the Cuckoo capital of the Black Forest, though still unofficial.
Come here to experience what the Black Forest is best known for.
Aside from the most enormous cuckoo clock in the world, here in Triberg, we can find the two best and most famous cuckoo clockmakers: Oli’s Schnitzstube and House of 1000 Clocks. They make quality cuckoo clocks manually, by hand!
Triberg Town Highlights
- Erste weltgrößte Kuckucksuhr – The largest cuckoo clock in the world! With your watch/digital timer, you can enter inside and see the giant clock mechanism move precisely and accurately with your watch/digital timer. It has a gift shop for souvenirs, etc.
- Schwarzwaldmuseum – See an exhibit of cuckoos, things used by the locals, traditional costumes, and many more depicting the culture of the Black Forest. There are also mechanical musical instruments in working order you can play by giving in a euro or two.
- Triberg Waterfalls – From the town center, you can follow a trail heading to the tallest waterfall in Germany, the Triberg Falls. Within 20 minutes, you can arrive at the waterfall area and wander around on the wooden boardwalk.
All the unique things to do in the Black Forest
As I’ve mentioned earlier, a destination is special if it has unique things to show. Again, in the case of the Black Forest, yes, it is indeed special as there are experiences that are only found here and nowhere else in the world.
Here are the 7 unique things to experience in the Black Forest:
- Treetop Walk
- WildLine Hanging Bridge
- Largest Cuckoo Clock
- The Black Forest Open Air Museum
- Freiburg Minster
- Europa Park
- Vitra Design Museum
Here is the map of the locations of the activities listed above:
Climb the Treetop Walk
Nothing can make the Black Forest special except its thick, dense forest.
Suppose you are looking for a fantastic lookout where you can feed your eyes with scenic views of the Black Forest. In that case, the Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald (Treetop Walk Black Forest) is the place to be.
It is a very picturesque lookout (not only the view but the structure itself), which you will surely post on your Instagram.
The Treetop Walk is an observation boardwalk and tower with a 1250-meter long ramp that goes up and up until you reach 40-meters high above the forest ground. The ramp is unique as it is made from wood and has a spiral shape.
Climbing the 40-meter-high tower seems tiring. It’s equivalent to a 12-story building!
But don’t you worry. It is not stairs, and the ramp has an inclination of only about 6 degrees. Just stroll, and enjoy the view. You will not break a sweat.
The fun never stops, even you reach the top of the tower. You will be able to see the forest and faraway places such as Kraichgau, Stuttgart, and the Swabian Alb. Down halfway, you can take a shortcut back to the ground with a 55-meter metal tunnel (1 ride = 2EUR).
Walk over WildLine Hängebrücke
Add a thrill to the experience from the Treetop Walk with the WildLine Hangebruke, located south, a few minutes away from the first-mentioned tourist attraction.
WildLine Hangebruke is a suspension bridge, an architectural and engineering marvel in the middle of the forest. This 380-meter suspension bridge hangs almost 60 meters above the ground.
WildLine Hangebruke isn’t like the usual suspension bridge. While traditional hanging bridges sag, creating a curve that opens upward, WildLine Hangebruke does the opposite.
That’s why before you make your first step on the bridge, you cannot see the other end, but you see the middle instead. As you start walking through the bridge, you get better views of the verdant meadows.
You also see spruce trees point up to you, which is a pretty amusing thing to see.
The entrance fee to WildLine Hangebruke is 9 EUR for adults and 7 for kids. It is open from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. (4 p.m. during the winter season). Check the official website of WildLine for more information.
Go Inside the Largest Cuckoo Clock
Visiting the Largest Cuckoo Clock is one of the things visitors do in the Black Forest. It is really special, and it is so big that you can walk inside.
The largest cuckoo clock is a masterpiece of traditional craftsmanship. It has a cuckoo that’s 4.5 meters tall and a pendulum 8 meters long. It’s taller than most of us, impressive, eh?
Millennials, and Generation X readers, have you ever wondered how our mechanical watches work? (GenZ-ers won’t relate! Just kidding, LOL) Going inside the largest cuckoo clock will show you how a clockwork operates. What’s even more fantastic is that you’ll feel that you are the Antman!
The clockwork of the largest cuckoo clock in the world is said to work by purely mechanical force. Your knowledge in science will be challenged: if it is not powered by battery/electricity, is perpetual motion even possible?
See in person how it works!
You can check the exact location of the biggest cuckoo clock on the map given at the beginning of this section.
Discover the Black Forest Open Air Museum
Again, if there is something that will make a place very much distinct from another, it would be the towns/cities/region’s culture and tradition. In the case of the Black Forest, you can discover much of the region’s culture from the Black Forest Open Air Museum.
The Black Forest Open Air Museum is a recreated village farm that transports visitors back to the18th-century Black Forest and earlier. It showcases different buildings constructed during that time and the Black Forest tradition that flourished back in the day.
One of the most notable structures here is the 600-year-old country manor, the Little Castle of Effringen. If you have been to Japan, you can notice the similarity of the houses in Shirakawa-go to some of the reconstructed traditional Black Forest houses like the Vogstbauernhof, Lorenzenhof, and a few others.
There are also mills, chapels, and storehouses in the open-air museum that describes the lives of the early inhabitants of the Black Forest. In some parts of the day, people dressed in the Black Forest traditional costumes walk around the museum. It will be your chance to see ladies wearing Bollenhut!
The Black Forest Open Air Museum offers tours and workshops too. If you already have kids, they will love the activities that teach the crafts of the medieval Black Forest inhabitants.
You can visit the Open Air Museum from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday to Tuesday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Wednesday to Friday. The entry fee for adults is 10 EUR, kids 5.50 EUR, and free for children younger than 5 years old. Double-check the opening hours if they were updated from the museum’s official website.
You can check the location of the Black Forest Open Air Museum on the map posted at the start of this section.
Come to the iconic Freiburg Minster
The culture of the Black Forest goes along with Christianity, which also shaped the region’s history. In all of the Black Forest, you can observe the pinnacle of Christianity in a cathedral in Freiburg: the Freiburg Minster.
Though most churches are everywhere in Europe, they will never ever be the same, don’t you agree? Freiburg Minster contributes and will always be adding to the uniqueness of the Black Forest, no matter how little the essence may be.
It’s worth visiting, anyway. Architecture-wise, Freiburg Minster is a marvel that will surely drop your jaw:
Freiburg Minster is an early 13th-century cathedral located in the city of Freiburg im Breisgau, famous for its iconic spire. The tower of this church is recognized by the Swiss Historian Jacob Burckhardt as the “Most beautiful spire on earth.”
You will be deeply mesmerized by the spire, especially when you look at it from the inside, directly under the tip of the tower.
The Freiburg Minster houses 19 bells, which, if combined into a single bell, would weigh 25 tonnes. These bells compose one of the biggest peals in Germany.
Freiburg Minster is just a culmination of art and religion in the Black Forest, definitely not to be missed when you visit. You can check the exact location of the Freiburg Minster on the map posted at the beginning of this section.
Enjoy the Europa Park
Just north of Freiburg im Breisgau lies Europe’s second-largest theme park: The Europa Park… This is also a destination in the Black Forest that makes the region special.
There are numerous theme parks in Europe, but what separates Europa Park from the others? Well, it’s because Europa Park is all about Europe. It is the fantasy version of the continent, as per theGuardian.com. The park has 15 areas representing different countries in Europe.
The park is too immense and has many fantastic features to tell in this post. But, absolutely, Europa Park is one of the most recommended places to visit in the Black Forest, with hundreds of thousands of recommendations posted online.
You can learn more from this Europa Park 2021 Review (Is Europa Park worth visiting?).
See its location on the map at the start of this section.
See Vitra Design Museum
Last but not least:
At the very tip of Germany’s southwestern territory, near the point where the German, Swiss, and French borders meet, we can find a very Intragrammable place called Vitra Design Museum.
It is the twist in the journey in the Black Forest you should seek, or try at least, especially if you love architecture and design. Stylish and minimalist homeowners can call this heaven.
Actually, inside the complex, It has a factory design too good to be just a factory. You’ll be surprised!
Vitra Design Museum is a large exhibit focused on furniture and interior design created by contemporary architects. They mostly do rotating exhibitions. Do not forget to check first Vitra Design’s website to know what to see before visiting.
Check Vitra Design Museum’s location on the Maps at the start of this section.
Transportation in the Black Forest
There are three ways you can explore the Black Forest:
- Private Car – To go wherever you want
- Bus and Trains – Best for intertown travel
- Bicycle – for shorter distances
Driving a car and/or getting a private car tour are the easiest and most efficient ways to explore the Black Forest. These are your best options, especially if you are on a time budget and want to visit many places far from the towns or not reached by public transportation.
You can also hire a driver who is very familiar with the Black Forest. They will surely help you maximize and enjoy your trip to the Black Forest. You can ask for a recommendation and be answered immediately.
Renting a car and driving it yourself is okay, too, as you get total freedom! You do not have to worry if you will get lost. GPS should work unless you go underground or come across a magnetic field that is significantly less unlikely.
You can easily find your way as long as you have a smartphone and know how to navigate, at least using Google Maps.
Public transportation in the Black Forest is excellent; everyone who visited the region can attest to that! Almost all towns in this region are linked with railways, though smaller villages are served by buses.
A part of the train network in the Black Forest you should try at least once is the Scenic Black Forest Railway. It passes through the most spectacular scenery you would ever see from a train in Germany:
- Offenburg – Donaueschingen – Konstanz
- Freiburg – Seebrugg
You can book a train ride from bahn.de.
If you can have a KONUS card given by some holiday locations for FREE, you can access all public transportation in the Black Forest as many times as you want without paying even a single cent. This is why the Black Forest is so special! LOL!
KONUS Card and the public transportation in the Black Forest is probably the best choice you can have if you are under budget constrict. You can learn more about the KONUS card using this KONUS card PDF Flyer.
If you plan to use public transportation instead of renting/driving a car, riding a bicycle is your option (aside from hiking) to visit relatively far tourist attractions from the towns. You can ask the local tourism offices in the Black Forest to give you a list of bicycle rental shops.
The cycling paths in the black forests are well marked, even in most parts of the woods. You won’t get lost, especially if you will use technology such as Google Maps and so on. However, it is suggested that you still get a traditional map from the tourism office if you encounter some technical difficulties.
By the way, most of the cycling routes run along the local train lines.
Since the cycling routes run parallel with the railways, you can shortcut your path to your destination through a train ride (in case you get tired from cycling). Train operators in the Black Forest allow the bicycles to be transported in a train, yet they are charged at the adult rate.
Is the Black Forest in Germany Worth a Visit?
Many think of the Black Forest as a tourist trap and see it as an ordinary place. However, with the things that make the Black Forest special, it is easy to understand that it is still a beautiful destination worth visiting.
For me, the question should be, “which attractions/towns in the Black Forest are worth a visit and which are not?
Where To Go After the Black Forest?
Southern Germany, where we can find the Black Forest, is packed with fairytale towns, historical landmarks, and breathtaking views. You can find them concentrated in Upper Bavaria and Franconia. They’re the two most beautiful places in Germany, in my opinion.
Franconia is a part of Bavaria and a region of Germany northeast of the Black Forest. Here, you can find more half-timber framed houses and landmarks/attractions to give you insights into the history of the Holy Roman Empire. I suggest you discover:
- Rothenburg ob der Tauber — it’s the face of Germany on the internet. Know why from this post: Is Rothenburg ob der Tauber Worth Visiting? (7 Best Reasons).
- Wurzburg — in the Wurzburg Residence lies the largest fresco artwork in the world! Learn more here: See 5 Reasons To Visit Wurzburg & 20 Attractions.
- Bamberg — this place has a unique landmark built in the middle of a river. See it here: 7 Reasons to Visit + 12 Worthy Things To Do in Bamberg.
- Nuremberg — it’s the largest city in this region. It has castles, beautiful churches, and attractions about Nazi Germany. 15 Reasons To Visit Nuremberg.
On the flip side, Upper Bavaria is the part of Bavaria east of the Black Forest. It’s the most scenic part of Germany (more panoramic than the Black Forest, in my opinion) because of the Bavarian Alps. However, it’s not only picturesque; you can also find historical sites in this region:
- Neuschwanstein Castle — it’s the fairytale castle of Germany. Rumors that it’s the one that inspired Walt Disney. Check it out: How to visit Neuschwanstein Castle & Nearby Beautiful Places
- Garmisch-Partenkirchen — in this town, you can stay to visit the highest peak in Germany, Zugspitze, and the very picturesque Eibsee. Here’s why you should visit GaPa: 10 Reasons To Visit Garmisch-Partenkirchen
- Mittenwald — here you can access Skiroute Dammkar, Germany’s longest ski route. It also has scenic hiking trails and gorges. Learn more about Mittenwald here: 10 Worthy Things To Do In Mittenwald
You can find more attractions in southern Germany from this list of the most beautiful places in Southern Germany.
Here are cities I suggest you can visit before or after traveling to the Black Forest:
- Stuttgart — is the largest city closest to the Black Forest in Germany.
- Strasbourg — is the largest French City nearest to the Black Forest. It’s the “capital of Europe,” too.
- Munich — is a beautiful city and the capital of Bavaria. It has train routes/bus routes to almost all destinations in Bavaria.
As you may have discovered from this post, the Black Forest has fairytale villages. Do you want to see places like them but in a “more sunny” region? See my list of 10 Most Beautiful Villages in the South of France.
Photos to make you want to visit the Black Forest
If you want to see more photos of things that make the Black Forest special, I got some for you! Let these photos inspire you to visit the Black Forest:
Discover more places!
Hello, before you go, I just want you to know that I have articles that can help you discover and visit different places worldwide. Mostly, they are about historical cities and scenic attractions. You may click the images below to find your next fantastic destination!
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