Black Forest Travel Guide: 10 Best Things to do in the Black Forest

When you visit the Black Forest, there are several things you need to know in order to get the most out of it. Today we’d like to share those tips with you, courtesy of Discover Germany.

The Black Forest is a region in southwest Germany that was once covered by an ancient forest. It’s now home to some of the most beautiful scenery in Europe, and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures. The Black Forest covers about 1,600 square miles and includes parts of seven German states: Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Rhineland Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), Saarland, Bavaria (Bayern), Thuringia (Thüringen) .

With its famously dark forests and picturesque villages nestled amongst the mountainsides, you’ll find it hard not to be inspired here!

What is the Black Forest Known For?

The Black Forest, Germany

The Black Forest is a mountainous region in southwest Germany, near the French border. It’s known for its dark pine forests and picturesque villages. The forest is also home to many of the world’s best cuckoo clocks, as well as being one of the most popular hiking destinations in Europe.

You’ll find some spectacular views here if you can make it past all those trees!

The Black Forest History

The Black Forest is a large forest in southwest Germany. It covers much of the state of Baden-Württemberg, but crosses into the adjacent German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. The name originally denoted a dark, dense forest lining the border with Burgundy which became a catchment area for trade and goods in medieval times. In the 19th century it became known as one of the “Seven Wonders of Germany”“.

The Black Forest is renowned for its wooden cuckoo clocks, established crafts, traditional architecture, wine classification and rare wildlife. It offers a major variety in landscape design largely shaped by time. Thus various regions can be singled out that offer various touristic attractions and activities.

In the North, it starts with low mountain ranges such as the Feldberg (1,493 m) and Belchen (1,485 m), that both belong to the Randen range. In the east, there is a small portion of hilly landscape around Donnersberg (558 m).

The highest mountains in the Black Forest are in its western part: the Feldberg (1,493 m), the Vogtskopf (1,487 m) and the Villgrat (1,495 m). The Ulster Tower on the Schauinsland (890 m) is a lookout point on the border between Hesse and Baden-Württemberg.

The major rivers in the Black Forest are the Rhine, Murg and Brigach. The Rhine is at its deepest and most impressive near Feldberg where it has carved out a deep valley. In this area it runs directly through meadows flanked by steep woods (Black Forest High Woods or “Hochwald”).

The best-known river of the Black Forest is the Kinzig (“Kinnig”) in its upper reaches during its passage through the High Black Forest (the “Hochschwarzwald”, or High Black Forest). It is a wild mountain stream with steep valleys and rocky bed”.

Most of its length it is not navigable. Another river which has its source in the Black Forest is the Murg. The local dialect assigns it the name “Murgäschtrumm”.

See Related: Best Hotels in Munich, Germany

Black Forest Nature

The Black Forest is a part of France’s Rhine-Alps region as well as Germany’s Central European Plain. Its northern perimeter runs along both the western edge of the Upper Rhine Plain as well as the southern boundary of the Central Uplands.

The most important rivers and their tributaries are Murg, Enz, Alb and Brigach. Their valleys are very narrow.

Why Is It Called the Black Forest?

It’s called the Black Forest because it has large expanses of coniferous tree woods that are dark.

However, the Black Forest is really a very nice place to visit. The name has nothing to do with fear or negativity of any kind; it’s just because the coniferous trees are dark in color.

The Black Forest has some great tourist attractions and there are plenty of things for families to do when they plan their trip. If you want to know more about the Black Forest and what it has to offer, keep reading.

The Black Forest is actually part of Germany but has its own unique identity. The largest city in the Black Forest is Freiburg im Breisgau. You’ll find that there are plenty of things to see and do here as well.

10 Best Things You Should do in the Black Forest

But don’t just take our word for it – read on for 10 reasons why you should visit the Black Forest before you die (we’ve left out number 10!):

1. Breathtaking scenery

The name ‘Black forest‘ was given to it by the Romans, and has nothing to do with the colour of its pine trees: it comes from the fact that dense forest covered most of this area until relatively recently.

Nowadays, with the woodlands long gone, it’s a lush green region. But nothing can beat its rugged beauty, and the Black Forest is home to some of Europe’s most spectacular scenery.

2. Skiing!

The Black Forest is renowned for being one of Germany’s premier ski destinations: there are 15 ski areas within its boundaries, and another 30 or so surrounding it. There are also plenty of cross-country trails for winter walkers.

One of the most renowned ski destinations in Germany is The Black Forest.

This region includes some of the best ski slopes in Europe, such as the Feldberg Ski Resort which is located in the southern Black Forest. With over fifteen ski areas within its boundaries and thirty surrounding it, it’s no wonder that this region is popular for skiing.

3. Forest hiking

You don’t need to be fit to enjoy a hike in the Black Forest: there are routes for everyone’s ability level. And with picturesque mountain vistas to entice you on every trail, you’ll never be disappointed.

But if you want to make the most of your hike, why not try the Black Forest High Trail? This scenic route runs for about 1,100 miles across Germany and takes you through some of the country’s most breathtaking scenery: wanderlust guaranteed!

4. Elegant towns

Most people associate ‘Black Forest’ with its magnificent scenery, but the region is also home to some of Germany’s many beautiful small towns. You can often see these from great distances, perched on wooded hillsides or lining forested valleys.

5. Visit the Playmobil park

Yep, you read that correctly! The Black Forest is home to the world’s largest Playmobil park, complete with miniature castles and knights jousting in the spring!

Playmobil was founded in 1974 by Hans Beck. The Black Forest is full of miniature castles, knights, and all things Playmobil. The Black Forest Playmobil Park is the largest one of its kind in the world. The park’s area is 100 acres and it features more than 40 square kilometers of beautiful scenery.

There are four different zones in the park: Adventure Land, Knight’s Castle, Village, and Castle Square. And there are many fun activities to do too! Visitors can spend a day at the Playmobil Fun Park with their family without ever getting bored– no matter how old they are.

6. Wildlife

The Black Forest is an important nature reserve: a haven for plants, animals and birds that depend on forest habitats to survive.

Here you’ll find European bison, deer – including fallow deer, mouflon and roe deer – and many kinds of birds, including the red-backed shrike.

The Black Forest also has a wide range of flora, offering a diverse range of hiking trails for everyone’s schedules.

7. Fairy tale towns

The Black Forest is best known for its fairy tale-esque villages: unique places like Triberg, Bühl, Hornberg and Schiltach that come straight from a storybook!

Some date back to the 13th century, and all are a perfect setting for a fairytale break.

Triberg, Germany

Triberg is a small and picturesque town located in southwestern Germany. It is a famous destination for tourists especially due to its surrounding Black Forest and the many waterfalls.

It’s also a very popular ski resort which has attracted visitors for winter sports. It was visited by nearly 600,000 people every year who want to enjoy the stunning views of the Black Forest while skiing or hiking.

The mountain village is around 20 kilometers southeast from Titisee-Neustadt, about 120 kilometers southwest from Freiburg, and about 140 kilometers south of Karlsruhe.

Bühl, Germany

Just a 40-minute drive northwest of Stuttgart lies the small town of Bühl. This fairy-tale town is home to many paths, bridges and waterways, which offer an escape from your daily worries. The town is also full of history, as there are many medieval sights worth exploring in this small town.

Hornberg, Germany

Hornberg is a small town in the Black Forest of southern Germany. The city dates back to at least 1162 when it was referred to as Hornberc.

It is primarily a tourist destination and has many sights worth exploring. The most famous attraction in the town is the castle. There are also other historic buildings, like churches, which merit exploration.

While Hornberg is not known for any particular industry, there are many tourist attractions that contribute to its economy. Tourists come from near and far for day trips or stay on for extended vacations in our hotels or camp sites.

Schiltach, Germany

Schiltach is a medieval town in the Black Forest. It is located on the Kinzig River, in a small valley between the Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains.

There are many natural wonders to see here, including waterfalls and woodlands with beech trees that go back hundreds of years. One of its biggest attractions though is its old town with its old baroque buildings. Many of its buildings date back centuries, so it is a great place to see some history and culture.

Schiltach also has many historical and cultural sites which attract tourists all year round, especially during Christmas time when the Black Forest becomes incredibly popular.

See Related: Best Christmas Traditions in German

7. Discover the story of Pumpernickel bread

In 1589, King Wilhelm declared that only rye could be used in baking bread within his territory. The result? A type of dark bread called pumpernickel! It’s like a kinder version of rye bread.

Pumpernickel, also known as rye bread, is a kind of dark bread that was created in the Black Forest region in the 16th century by King Wilhelm. The Black Forest area was a region with rye farms and rye bakers. The rye flour contains more phytates and other substances which react with gluten and lead to the creation of tasty carotenes like those found in carrots.

Pumpernickel is available in most supermarkets but bakers from the Black Forest region are considered to make the best pumpernickel.

8. Visit a sports school in the Black Forest

The Black Forest is popular with many thrill-seekers. There are numerous sports schools here that offer skiing classes, trampolining and even horse riding lessons!

There are probably more than a dozen ski resorts here, ranging from smaller to larger ones. Whether you prefer cross country or downhill skiing, there’s something for you. It’s also perfect for those who are looking to improve their skiing skills.

There are many indoor swimming and outdoor pools here, too, so if you’re not a skier but still want to enjoy the Black Forest waters in the winter, there’s no need to worry!

And last but not least, horse riding schools will make you feel like a real cowboy or cowgirl. You can take your pick of English style riding, trekking tours and even horseback archery!

9. The Black Forest Gateau cake

This German sweet treat is made using cherries, bitter chocolate and whipped cream – basically the perfect summer indulgence!

The Black Forest Gateau Cake is a decadent dessert that features cherries, chocolate, and whipped cream. This classic German dessert is made up of layers of cake, cherry filling and whipped cream frosting. The cake was invented in the Black Forest region by accident.

In 1825 in a bakery in the Black Forest area, they didn’t have enough ingredients to make cakes for their customers so they used what was available to them and created this sweet dessert.

10. Chocolate, of course!

The Black Forest has some of the very best artisan chocolatiers in Germany: Lindt & Sprüngli, Dreistadt and Teuscher have all set up shop here! And the German Chocolate Day – which takes place on October 26th each year – is a great time to try them out.

Remember: after you’ve finished your Black Forest Gateau, head back to your hotel for one of these delicious chocolate bonbons!

Travel Tips for the Black Forest

Watch this video for several travel tips for visiting the Black Forest.

Black Forest Travel Guide Conclusion

If you’re visiting the Black Forest and want to make sure that you get the best experience, we recommend following these 10 tips. If not, then don’t worry! The beauty of this region is too great for a single visit; come back again soon so that you can explore more of what it has to offer.

We hope our guide will help your journey in the Black Forest be as enjoyable as possible. Enjoy exploring one of Germany’s most beautiful regions on your next trip!

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Updated: August 9, 2021 — 11:10 am

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The German Tourists

We are The German Tourists. We love everything about German food, beer and travel. So, why not provide you all the information that we've learned and explored in Germany along the way.