Surely when you hear the words the Black Forest the first thing that comes to your mind is the delicious German dessert, a cherry and chocolate cake. But you should know that this cake owes its name to the real Black Forest. Its German name is Schwarzwald; so it is actually a forest. It is the largest nature reserve in the Teutonic country.
Its name is probably due to the density of its fir and pine trees; it is said that the name was given by the Romans.
The Black Forest is located in the southwest of Germany, in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. With an area of 11,100 km2, it is approximately 230 km long and between 30 and 60 km wide.
If you want to visit the whole of the Black Forest, you should know that it is divided into three regions: north, center, and south. For a better orientation, you should locate the cities that make up each of these sections.
The northern zone: the most important city in this section is Pforzheim, known as the city of gold, it is important because it is the northern entrance to this great forest.
From here you can visit beautiful cities such as Baden-Baden, Calw, Bad Wildbad, Altensteig, Herrenberg, and the last city that covers this area is the city Freudenstadt which I emphasize by a great legend directly related to the forest.
This city is the home of the forest nymphs, they live in the Mummelsee lake.
The central region can be located from the Ortenau district, the Kinzig valley, Oberer Neckar, Offenburg, Gengenbach, Triberg is a city to visit if you focus on the center, for its beautiful and high waterfalls, Schonach, Gutach, Villingen, Sulz, Blumberg, Schramberg, Rust, Altensteig, Bad Urach, Schiltach with its typical and colorful half-timbered houses.
In the southern area, we find the highest peaks of the Black Forest, such as the Feldberg with its 1493 meters above sea level, numerous rivers that cross small and picturesque valleys, lakes such as Glaswaldsee, Kirnbergsee, Feldsee, Titisee, and Schluchsee.
We can also visit the source of the Danube River in Donaueschingen and its valley, the university town of Freiburg in Breisgau, and the charming mountain villages of Titisee – Neustadt, Waldshut, Lörrach. Bad Säckingen, St. Blasien.
Nature, tradition and family travels
This forest is actually a set of large, lush spruce and pine forests that are crossed by several rivers, decorated with waterfalls and lakes, you can even dive into hot springs, discover caves and enjoy the meadows and valleys. All this is replete with its spectacular fauna.
This place is a gift from Mother Nature reminiscent of a painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder.
As you enter its splendorous flora you can visualize two scenarios: the frightening forest of a horror movie or the incredible and wonderful forest of fairy tales. There is room for all tastes in this place.
The Black Forest has great tourist attractions, among them, the possibility of finding in the middle of the forest factories of watch parts for the Swiss industry.
You may be familiar with the Saba and Harman/Baker brands among others, of course.
This in turn is closely related to the traditional German cuckoo clocks.
All over Germany, there is a great interest in the preservation of its traditions, so the Black Forest is no exception.
On the occasion of folk festivals, many women can still be seen today wearing their regional costumes accented with a Bollenhut (a type of hat with red balls on the ends).
A curious thing is that these hats can weigh several kilos, and the intensity of the red color usually indicates the marital status of the woman wearing it.
If you are traveling with your family, you have the option of visiting one of the Black Forest’s amusement parks, the Steinwasen Park in Oberried.
You will find yourself in a beautiful valley surrounded by fir trees. Truly idyllic. The highlight of the park is the slides.
Another excellent option is to go to a small town called Rust, there you will enjoy Europa Park, next to the Rhine River, maybe you can listen to the German mermaids known as: “Lorelei”, they are supposed to swim in this river.
It is also possible to just stay in a quiet hotel and enjoy the fresh air. When the good weather starts, you can also take boat trips on the waters of the lake. The trips are from May to October.
This dark forest is undoubtedly an ideal destination for hiking fanatics. If you travel to the Black Forest, be prepared to hike.
Although you could enjoy quiet days in a hotel, the atmosphere of intrigue and the history of the forest will call you to get to know it. The only way is on foot, so you can thoroughly discover every natural nook and cranny of this paradise.
There are interactive trails, hiking and cycling routes, such as the beautiful “Black Forest Panorama Cycle Tour”. If hiking is your passion and your physical condition allows it, you can’t miss a visit to Lake Schluchsee.
It is the largest lake in the Black Forest and the highest in Germany. Here it is possible to walk 18 km “tracing” the contour; simply fascinating.
Is it a vacation in the countryside, without luxury or relaxation?
Yes, it is an encounter with nature, but you can enjoy luxury accommodation and relaxation without having to walk all the time – it depends on your goal and your taste.
The region of the Black Forest is particularly rural tourism, but in its cities and towns are also developed the forestry industry, mining, precision parts for watches, glass, jewelry, agriculture, wine, and technology.
So you will not miss a good wine and some beautiful souvenirs. Getting away from the hectic pace of the city never hurts anyone. If you are looking to clear your mind and fill your lungs with the life you must visit this rich area.
The same if you are someone looking to establish a deep relationship with mother earth. This place is perfect for that. To meditate and simply enjoy the lush Black Forest.
As I already told you, you will find different routes for hiking, but also for cycling and mountaineering. These will take you to visit beautiful and picturesque villages with their colorful half-timbered houses.
You can visit medieval castles, ancient monasteries, churches, baroque palaces, a whole architectural tour. Not forgetting the various museums, and the creatures of the forest, especially the forest elves made of wood or stone.
The Baden Wine Route allows you to get to know the wine-producing towns in the Black Forest, taste the typical gastronomy. Simply delicious.
The Route of the Summits is for those who have courage and their body allows it. It is extremely beautiful because you can admire the picturesque scenery from the high mountains. The mountains stretch from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt.
Speaking of landscapes and panoramas, if you travel from Waldkirch to Feldberg you will admire dreamlike landscapes, fascinating valleys, crystal clear lakes, visit beautiful villages.
If your goal is to buy an exquisite cuckoo clock. The middle zone is the right place for your visit. Of course, you can tour this part simply to observe this beautiful craft by the different villages of watchmaking tradition, from the eighteenth century to the present day. This includes an exuberant landscape with deep forests, rivers, waterfalls, and crystal clear lakes.
The romantic route is perfect for a couple; it goes through the romantic valleys of the Kinzig River to Murg, enjoying a variety of thermal baths, baroque palaces, picturesque charming villages.
The architecture route although you can enjoy the wonderful buildings throughout the area, north of the Black Forest you can visit three architectural and cultural jewels of Christian spirituality, the Benedictine monastery of Alpirsbach in Kinzig, the Cluniac monastery of Hirsau in the city of Calw, the birthplace of Hermann Hesse, and the Cistercian monastery of Maulbronn, which is also a world heritage of humanity.
From my point of view, this forest that inspired the Brothers Grimm is worthy of knowing it in parts and with time, going through it as if you were tasting a Black Forest cake, finding the acid of the cherries and the sweetness of the chocolate, the creaminess of what in Mexico we call bitumen, which is the cream, the pleasure of having the richness of the bread melt in your mouth. Every spoonful and every slice of cake counts equally.
This is my proposal to unravel all the possibilities offered by this forest known as the Black Forest. Go on an adventure with your backpack on your shoulders or on the extreme side pay for a luxurious hotel and never leave it.
Everything is valid as long as you remember to savor every moment of this beautiful place.
For me the cherries are all the firs and pines on the hiking trail, the chocolate is the beauty of the place, the bitumen is the possibility of going with the family and renting a small cabin and the spongy bread is the great palette of activities that I can do while vacationing in this great set of forests.
It is a place to which I could return continuously and also simply to spend a weekend contemplating the splendor. Because it is undoubtedly, a great masterpiece of nature, but quite coupled to the needs of today’s society.
In the exquisite Black Forest, there is a wide range of hotels for all tastes, styles, and budgets. From hostels for the adventurous, camping areas for those who enjoy this activity, with family or alone, beautiful rural hotels to rest, charming typical country houses for more privacy, comforting Spas, and luxurious international hotels for those who love nature but want extreme comfort and pampering, as well as numerous services of excellent quality for the tourist.
No matter what your style, motive, or budget is, you can live your story of mystery or magic in every corner of this enchanted and extensive forest. As a recommendation, if you visit the Black Forest respect its flora and fauna, try to adapt to it without damaging it. But above all, enjoy its majesty.