Where do you want to go next?
Browse through our interactive guide below to explore destinations all over the world! Contact us to start planning your trip.
Black Forest Overview
The Black Forest ( Schwarzwald) covers birch and pine studded hills along 100 miles (161km) of southwest Germany's border with France. The forest is renowned as a popular holiday destination in Germany, featuring picturesque fairy-tale villages, spa-bath resorts, hiking trails and ski resorts.
The first famous holidaymaker to enjoy rest and recuperation in the Black Forest was the Roman Emperor Caracalla who stopped to sample the natural spring waters in what is now the town of Baden-Baden, around 2,000 years ago. Since then the Black Forest has been the chosen destination for the rich and famous. Everyone who is anyone, from Napoleon to Mark Twain, has come to take to the waters and enjoy the forest's natural beauty.
In medieval times the local people developed the traditional skills of woodcarving, glass-blowing, jewellery-making and clock-making, and these art forms are still cultivated in the region today, to the delight of tourists with spending money in their pockets. The clocks are particularly famous and there are an amazing variety of them. The Black Forest has also become known for its local food delicacies, like Black Forest ham and cherry cake.
The most central town in the Black Forest is Freudenstadt, which is the starting point for hundreds of miles of hiking and ski-trails through the nearby hills. Most visitors, however, prefer to find accommodation in guest lodges in the small villages sprinkled throughout the region, exploring by car, on foot or by bicycle.
Attractions in The Black Forest, GermanyThe Black Forest has been delighting travellers since the height of the Roman Empire, and probably long before. Impressive castles, medieval villages and lovely local handcrafts ensure that visiting the region is extremely rewarding.
The most famous attractions in the Black Forest are the picturesque villages, many of which would not seem out of place in fairy-tales. One of the most renowned is Baden-Baden, which has attracted royalty and aristocracy for centuries with its remarkable architecture and the natural springs that have encouraged a thriving spa complex. Other lovely villages include Triberg and Pforzheim. The cities of Freiburg and Freudenstadt both have charms of their own and make good bases for exploring the region.
Of the many popular things to see and do in the Black Forest shopping often tops the list. This is because the traditional crafts of the region are of an extremely high quality, so much so that there are several wonderful museums dedicated to showcasing the woodwork, jewellery and glassware produced locally. Clocks are the most famous products and the best place to really get to grips with the clock-making tradition is the captivating German Clock Museum in Baden-Wurttemberg.
Another strong contender for the title of most popular attraction in the Black Forest is the Hohenzollern Castle, a massive 15th-century fortress with a fairy-tale facade, spectacularly situated overlooking the surrounding countryside. There are numerous castles and ruins in the Black Forest and others of interest include Karlsruhe Palace, Eberstein Castle and the ruins of Hohengeroldseck Castle.
Stay in nearby Tuebingen and explore the region.
The playground of Europe's royalty and aristocracy in the early 1800s, Germany's famed holiday resort town of Baden-Baden, in the heart of the Black Forest, still draws thousands of tourists who come to relax in the waters and gamble in the casino.
With a name that means 'Bathing Bathing', it's not hard to work out the prime attraction of the town. The Friedrichsbad bathhouse has been the scene of much pampering for more than 120 years. Those seeking rest and recuperation on holiday still enjoy its steamy marble confines, soaking in mineral water in the nude. Male and female facilities remain separate, and the roughly three-hour bathing routine follows a strict regimen of showers, hot-air blasts, steam baths and massages.
Nearby are the equally famous Baths of Caracalla, which feature indoor and outdoor waterfalls, swimming pools and hot tubs. The complex houses a 2,000-year-old Roman bath, once used by the Emperor Caracalla.
The Baden-Baden casino was built in the 1850s in the style of the Palace of Versailles, and is worth seeing while on holiday, even for those who do not gamble. Baden-Baden is also home to several art museums, a concert hall, and the Castle Hohenbaden.
Another charming village in the Black Forest, Triberg has a lot to offer visitors and is something of a cultural centre. The true spirit of the Black Forest is brought to life in the Schwarzwald-Museum of Triberg, which documents the old traditions and lifestyle of this unique region, with displays of costumes, handcrafts (including clocks, naturally) and furnishings. It also boasts Europe's biggest barrel organ collection. Another of Triberg's most interesting attractions is the pilgrimage church called Maria in the Fir, an 18th-century, Baroque church.
Nearby Gutach, a popular excursion from Triberg, contains original Black Forest homes up to four centuries old at the Freilchtmuseum Schwarzwalder. An exceptional waterfall at Gutach, one of Germany's highest waterfalls, drops down the mountainside in seven stages, accessible by a lovely walking trail. South of Triberg, a huge variety of elaborate Black Forest clocks are on display at the German Clock Museum, to be found at Gerwigstrasse in the village of Furtwangen. The Baden Black Forest Railway, which runs through spectacular mountain and forest scenery, winds and tunnels through the area around the town.
Known for its Black Forest cake and cuckoo clocks, the beautiful city of Freiburg has plenty to offer. The recommended way to explore the town and surrounds is by bicycle (there are plenty for hire) along more than 93 miles (150km) of bicycle paths. Visitors will find a wealth of ancient history, some delicious food and wine, and breath-taking natural beauty in Freiburg. The city (really a large town) is known for its university, magnificent cathedral and medieval treasures, and a somewhat bohemian vibe with its street musicians and pavement artists.
The Altstadt (Old City) is picturesque, featuring canals and dozens of historic buildings. A cable car carries passengers on scenic trips up the Schauinsland Mountain from the Stadtgarten to enjoy the view from the mountaintop restaurant. Visitors very much enjoy the local Black Forest cuisine on offer in Freiburg's restaurants, and the local wines produced in the region surrounding the city. The weather in Freiburg is renowned to be sunny and warm compared to other parts of Germany, and the city takes full advantage of this to host several festivals throughout the year. There is a music festival in mid-June each year, followed by a wine festival at the end of June and a wine-tasting festival in mid-August.