My family and I have been living in Kaiserslautern for almost three years. We have taken countless day trips and overnight trips, and we have had the privilege of visiting 12 different countries. There is one place on our list, however, that we still haven’t visited. It is only a couple hours away and has picturesque villages and scenery with an abundance of things to see and do all year round. So many of our friends have raved about all the things they have seen and done here, yet we have not been. What have we been waiting for? It’s time to visit the Black Forest.
For quite some time, I have been doing research on the Black Forest and all it has to offer. I have spoken with many friends and co-workers about their favorite experiences and what they recommend. But when planning a trip to the Black Forest, I get stuck trying to commit to one town, one hotel or which season we should go. It is a situation where there is so much we want to see and do, we have not decided on doing any of it. To help others plan their trip, here is a compilation of all the wonderful things the Black Forest has to offer:
Accommodations — Whether traveling alone, with a friend or with the whole family, there are are number of resources available to help you find a place to stay. The Black Forest Tourism website, www.blackforest-tourism.com, is a fantastic resource for finding accommodations that match your personal preferences. Choose from farm stays, camping, apartments, wellness hotels or traditional hotels. Heizmannshof Bed and Breakfast, between the towns of Titisee and Hinterzarten, comes highly recommended. With a two-night stay, you are given the Hochschwarzwald card, complete with 50 free things to do and see including ski lift passes, three hours free at Badeparadies Schwarzwald, lake tours, parks, golf courses and more!
Parks — Many people travel to the Black Forest to soak in the peaceful countryside, get a little fresh air, and escape from the bustles of daily life. However, those who want a little more action can find this as well. There are many choices for family-friendly parks, including Europa Park, Funny World, Schwardzwald Park and Steinwasen Park, which boasts having the longest rope bridge in the world.
Pools — The whole family will enjoy visiting one of many pools in the Black Forest. Badeparadies Schwarzwald in Titisee has 16 high-tech slides and wellness areas, and the towns of Buhl, Sasbachwalden, Freudenstadt, Gegenbach, Rottweil, Schluchsee, Weil am Rhein and Lauchringen all offer family pools and relaxation areas open year-round. If you are more interested in thermal and mineral baths, Baden-Baden claims to have the most beautiful thermal baths in the Black Forest.
Hiking — As one of the most popular activities in the Black Forest, visitors can hike thousands of kilometers of trails, varying in length and difficulty. Try one of these popular hiking trails: “Westweg,” meaning “west trail”; “Mitteweg,” meaning “middle route”; “Ostweg,” meaning “east trail”; “Ortenauer Weinpfad,” meaning “Ortenau wine route”; Markgrafler Wine Trail; or “Schluchtensteig,” meaning “gorge trail.” Trails are located all over the Black Forest and are extremely well marked.
Winter activities — Winter is also a very active time in the Black Forest with hiking, down-hill skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing and ice skating. Skiers of all levels should feel welcome, as there are slopes for beginners as well as those more experienced. Many people visit the Black Forest High Road for skiing, although there are many opportunities further south where the mountains are a bit larger. Feldberg resort ski area is great for families and beginners and includes a snow park. This area also has a wide variety of restaurants. Triberg, famous for Germany’s highest waterfalls, also has a natural ice skating rink.
Boating — The Black Forest is a low mountain range with many small- or medium-sized lakes and reservoirs often used for pedal boats, kayaking, rowboats, canoeing and tourist boats. Boating can be done on a number of lakes including Sulz am Necktar, Titisee and Schluchsee. The Rhine flows around the Black Forest in the south and west, offering tourist boat trip starting points.
Barefoot parks — If you have not ever partaken, the Black Forest is a fantastic spot to experience one of Germany’s barefoot parks. The idea is that walking barefoot on a variety of surfaces makes people more naturally aware of their environment. It’s an interesting concept, but more fun than anything. For more information, visit www.barfusspark.de.
Summer coasters — Try out an alpine slide while visiting the Black Forest. Gorgeous views and exciting rides make this experience fun for the whole family. “Schwarzwaldhochstrasse,” or “Black Forest High Road,” offers a year-round bobsleigh coaster, bungee trampoline and ski lift in the winter. Another option is the Hasenhorn Coaster in Todtnau, which is open all year and claims to be the most exciting mountain coaster in Germany with a length of 2.9 kilometers.
Beer tour — The Badische Staatsbrauerei Rothaus is a brewery located near the village of Grafenhausen in the southern Black Forest. It is one of Germany’s most successful regional breweries. Their most popular product is their pilsner-style beer, Rothaus Tannenzapfle. Take a tour of this brewery founded in 1791.
Museums — There is a wide assortment of museums to visit, including the Black Forest Open Air Museum in Gutach, the Black Forest Museum in Triberg, and the German Clock Museum in Furtwangen. Visitors can also tour many historical mines in towns such as Freiburg, Neuenburg and Freudenstadt.
Whatever your interests or desires, the Black Forest is rich in history, tradition and possibilities. For more information on places to see and things to do in this region, visit www.black-forest-travel.com.