In Southwest Germany, there is a home to the cuckoo clock, Grimm Brothers' fairy tales, and world-famous thermal resorts. That is the Black Forest. This is a popular vacation destination for locals and tourists. The Black Forest is known for its hills, valleys, rivers and forests. If you are planning a vacation in Germany, take the time for the Black Forest because it is worth it.
HISTORY OF THE BLACK FOREST REGION
The name " Black Forest " is derived from pine trees stretching 100 miles, too thick that the sun struggles to be able to reach the forest floor. 2000 years ago, when the Romans came to the area, they brought communal bathing, which today plays an important role in ancient Roman culture and society. The natural hot springs in Germany are a perfect place for relaxing after every battle.
When healing springs were discovered by Europeans and in the early 19th century, the Black Forest officially became a popular destination for the Kings and Emperors.
It's not surprising that forestry is one of the largest industries in the region. Logs cut from the German Black Forest have been used for shipbuilding in the Netherlands and buildings in Japan.
Before industrialization, many farmers used wood to make cuckoo watches to earn more income during the winter months. Nowadays, the black cuckoo watchmaker is still preserving the region's rich history, using the same facilities as their forbearers to produce famous carved cuckoo watches about their quality and ingenuity.
Today, the spa town of Baden-Baden, the national park that surrounds 12 hot springs and small towns dotted the landscape attracts visitors from all over the world to Germany's lush Black Forest.
CITIES AND TOWNS IN THE BLACK FOREST
Baden Baden has been a popular spa destination for over two thousand years. The resort offers twelve thermal spas and is a favorite of both foreign and domestic tourists. Barak Obama and Victoria Beckham are guests who have been here.
Gengenbach, a town of about 11,000 inhabitants, is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Black Forest area. In addition, it is easily accessible for independent travelers because it has a large train station in the regional network.
Freiburg is one of the main destinations of the Black Forest (it is well connected to cities in France, Switzerland and, of course, Germany). And, for some visitors, that's all they see in the area.
This town, located on the banks of the Rhine and the border between Germany and France, is another gem in the region.
All the towns I discussed, are in the West of the Black Forest. Triberg is located in the central part of the area. Triberg is the perfect place to get the story. You will be greeted by colorful structures, dozens of cuckoo watches and vintage statues (reminiscent of the ones used in the Christmas tree).
THINGS TO DO IN THE BLACK FOREST
You can spend a week in the German Black Forest and still not reach all the hot spots. Whether you are looking for a romantic weekend getaway, a passionate walk or relaxing dip, there is plenty to do in the Black Forest area.
Head to Geroldsau Waterfall
This small waterfall can be reached by a short route. There are other marked trails in the area if you want to hike. It is located 10 km from Baden Baden.
This adventure park has ropes courses, hanging bridges, treetop paths and a big toboggan. It is a great place to visit with kids. Children as young as 6 years old are allowed to complete certain circuits.
Scharzenbach - Talsperre
This reservoir provides swimming areas (during summer) and boat rentals to visitors. It is located 30 km from Baden Baden.
This is a great stop for those traveling with kids. This game reserve allows you to observe deer and wild boars (among other creatures). It is located 30 km from Baden Baden.
If you are a lake lover, this is one of my favorite spots in the Black Forest. The lake is not too big but it's very scenic and surrounded by legend. Because it is located next to the main road crisscrossing the area, so it is considered a popular spot for walking or hiking, rent a pedal boat or eat something at the Mummelsee Hotel.
This is a small town and its bordering area are known for its well-preserved historic mills.
The “All Saints’ Waterfall” is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The waterfall has a drop of 83 meters over 7 steps. Walking from the parking lot to it is easy. The step and bridges in the area are easy to conquer too. You can extend your hike by walking to the All Saints’ Abbey.
Located in the Schliffkopf Nature Reserve, the Lothar Path is an 800-meter platform made from dead wood. There is an observation deck from where the tallest mountains in the area can be spotted on a clear day.
This is another beautiful lake in the Black Forest. It is located near the main road. In a land of many lakes, I especially like this one because it has an island in the middle (covering most of the lake’s surface). That thing makes it special.
Giant cuckoo clocks
You’ll kick yourself if you miss this. The largest cuckoo clock, built by Joseph Dold in 1980, you need to add this activity on your holiday itinerary. Joseph also explains the history and inner workings of the clock. There is nowhere else in the world that offers this opportunity, and it will certainly make for a great story when you end your tour.
This clock is located in Schonach, three kilometers away from Triberg. There is even a bigger clock located in Schonachbach.
If you don't stop by one of the Cafe Shafer, you won't have a complete trip to the Black Forest. There’s no better place to indulge in this than at Café Schafer, where you can be treated to a traditionally prepared gateau, made with cherry brandy, whipped cream and shaved chocolate. This is an experience not to be missed! The cafe is located in Triberg.
The Triberg Waterfall, one of the highest waterfall in Germany, descends 535 feet (163 meters) in seven tiers. Just paying a small fee, you can walk an easy one-mile trail around the falls. The waterfalls are located only 2 miles from the center of town.
BEST TIME TO VISIT THE BLACK FOREST
If you are interested in visiting Black Forest Germany during the summer, make reservations in advance for spas and hotels. The area is especially crowded from June to August. Early spring and late fall, when the Black Forest is less crowded and the temperature is milder, is another great time to visit. But no matter when you plan your trip, there's always an interesting thing to do or see, from skiing down Feldberg in January to windsurfing on Lake Titisee in July.
HOW TO GET THERE
The nearest international airport is in Frankfurt, Germany. German railways operate outside the area, so nearly every point in the Black Forest can be reached by bus and train. Renting a car is always an option. The two-lane highway passes through areas, but the side road is definitely the best way to see the scene.
FIVE FACTS YOU CANNOT KNOW ABOUT BLACK FOREST
Educate your friends and family with five interesting facts about German Black Forest.
1. The largest cuckoo clock in the world - the size of a house in the Eble Uhren-Park area in Triberg.
2. Streams in Baden-Baden have reached 17,000 years old and emit about 800,000 liters of hot water every day.
3. The most famous landmark of Freiburg, Münster Unserer Lieben Frau, takes three centuries to build, from about 1200 to 1515.
4. The Gospel of Freudenstadt, a Renaissance church influenced by Gothic architecture, was built in 1608, with an L-shaped space for men and women to be separated in services.
5. Black Forest cake is not named after the Duc Duc Black Forest but is a specialty wine from the Black Forest. Distilled from sour cherry fruit, Schwarzwälder Kirschwasser is what gives its Black Forest flavor.
Yes, the Black Forest is as lovely as it's said to be: gentle hills and meadows, delicious food, friendly towns and sustainable tourism. Being Green means more than just a color here.
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