10 Things to See and Do in the Black Forest

Mill in the Black Forest I
Mill in the Black Forest I | © hschmider / Pixabay
Evelyn Smallwood

The Black Forest in southwestern Germany is not only the source of much fairy tale lore – it’s also where the concept of walking in the forest for pleasure was developed. No matter the season, it’s a hugely popular holiday area for Germans and tourists alike. Here’s our pick of the area’s top activities.

Watersports on the Titisee

Stop giggling – it’s pronounced ‘titty-zay’. This 2 km (1.2 mile)- long lake was carved straight out of a glacier, which makes the water a special green blue colour. On the surface, holidaymakers enjoy windsurfing, waterskiing, swimming, kayaking and boating.

Boat on the Titisee

Spend the day at the thermal baths in Bad Wildbad

A day at the baths in Germany is a pleasure no matter the weather. In winter, or after a long day of sport, the heat does wonders, but in summer also, reading or sitting in a warming pool outside is also something special. Bad Wildbad has been a spa town for hundreds of years. These days, there are two baths in town: Palais Thermal, decorated like a Roman Bath, and the more modern lines of Vitale Therme.

Bad Wildbad

Follow the wine route

This is an adventure that will require a car and a designated driver. Once those have been sourced, then you can set off on the 160-km (99-mile) Badische Weinstrasse between Laudenbach and Weil am Rhein. Look out for castle ruins, and plenty of small wineries and small stands selling Flammkuchen. If you want to buy, try stopping off at the Durbacher Winzergenossenschaft, a local wine co-operative in Durbach.

Kinzig and Gutach Valley

Also requiring a car, but also well worth the effort, is a drive along the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse from Baden-Baden through the picture-perfect villages in the Kinzig and Gutach Valley. Plan a stop in the brewery town of Alpirsbach, and get your Instagram ready for the half-timbered houses in Schiltach and Calw.

Kinzig Valley I

Have a Michelin-starred dinner

Somewhat surprisingly, the group of nine villages known as Baisersbronn is something of a foodie hotspot, with no less than three Michelin-starred restaurants embracing the magic of the ancient forest to produce something truly supernatural on the plate. You’ll have to book ahead, but it’s worth making a night out here the focal point of a trip to the Black Forest.

Go for a hike

Of course, the most obvious thing to do in a forest is to walk in it. The Black Forest has delights aplenty, including heather-strewn moors, glacial lakes, virgin coniferous forests and deep valleys. As much as is possible, nature is left to its own devices, with the most untamed section (some 100 square km (39 square miles)) in the north between Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt. You can drive through on the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, but the experience will be so much more magical on foot.

Hiking in the Black Forest I

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