Chocolate-box towns with half-timbered houses; rolling green hills, fabulous spas and a galaxy of Michelin-starred restaurants. Whether you’re after the great outdoors or a spot of pampering, the Black Forest in Germany delivers. With so much to see and do, flexibility is key and that’s where an Airbnb-style holiday cottage in Europe’s best-known forest comes in. You’ll have the freedom to cater for yourself and come and go as you please. Here’s our pick of the best Black Forest bases, bookable on Culture Trip.
One of the deepest and largest vales, Murg Valley is a hiker’s and biker’s paradise with trails through dense forest and along the meandering river. This cosy one-bedroom apartment, sleeping two, offers a garden, barbecue, terrace and deckchairs. It’s a natural pick for summer, though skiers visiting in winter won’t be disappointed either as the nearest lift to the slopes is just 2km away.
These one-bedroom apartments, sleeping two, offer the best of both worlds. Set in Freiburg, with its medieval old town and lively food market, you can mix your days in the Black Forest countryside with dining at urban restaurants or visiting galleries and museums. Whitewashed and dressed in modern furnishings, the compact pads – some with balconies – provide a contemporary contrast to the region’s more traditional stays.
On the outskirts of picturesque Heidelberg, these studio apartments, sleeping two or three, are a short drive from the city’s main sights – including the 14th-century Heidelberg university and grand, postcard-gracing Church of the Holy Spirit. With views over rooftops to green hills, you’re not far from the countryside either. Spas, Michelin-starred restaurants and outdoor activities can easily be visited. Don’t fancy putting the kitchen to use? Restaurants are nearby, too.
With so much to do, the Black Forest is a great choice for families and this two-bedroom apartment, sleeping four, ticks the boxes when it comes to kid-friendly amenities. Located in Schiltach, in the eastern Black Forest, a heated pool, games room and DVD player come as part of the package, as does a barbecue so you can enjoy an alfresco dinner on a covered bloom-cloaked terrace. Blonde wood-lined bedrooms give the stay a rustic, cabin-like feel.
With all the comforts of home, from full kitchen and spacious dining area to modern, plant-lined lounge and terrace, this one-bedroom apartment near Karlsruhe city, sleeps four and has everything you need to settle in for a week or more. Enjoy a traditional German breakfast of bread, meats and cheeses, then head out to explore baroque Ettlingen Palace, around 10 minutes’ drive away, or the local Erlachsee nature reserve, filled with birdlife.
Larger families, look no further. This apartment in Rietheim sleeps six across three bedrooms and is just the ticket for your brood. The look is cosy, with a wood stove in the living cum dining room and lots of warm hues throughout. Thanks to a private terrace with barbecue, it’s just as great for summer stays as it is for winter. Cots and high chairs are provided on request and the supermarket is a convenient 2km (1.2mi) away.
A ski hotspot in winter and a hiking and mountain-biking escape in summer, Todtnauberg draws outdoors enthusiasts throughout the year. This one-bedroom apartment, sleeping two, lets you get stuck into it all. From your terrace, views extend out to green hills, lined with bushy pines, so you can enjoy them over a morning coffee or evening barbecue. There’s on-site parking if you bring your own car although public transport is only 1km (.6mi) away.
Big groups visiting the area, look no further – this place in Baiersbronn, sleeps 10 people in four bedrooms and comes with a private indoor pool, fitness centre and sauna. A generous terrace and lawns, comfy lounge with fireplace and airy open-plan vibe lets you spend precious hours together catching up over locally-brewed beers or home-cooked feasts. Black Forest National Park is only a seven-minute drive away when you’re ready to head out and explore.
Enjoy the nature of the Nagold Valley, with the river only a two-minute walk away. If even that is too much effort, simply enjoy the view from the bungalow’s south-facing balcony. Amenities include a terrace for breakfast, a hammock for lazy afternoons and a small pool for cooling off after some intense forest exploration.
This adorable little cottage in Steinach is located in the middle of the Black Forest between Offenburg and Freiburg. Thoughtfully laid out with a massive bed, a good-sized kitchen, living room corner and firepit, this cottage in Germany is true holiday heaven.
Evelyn Smallwood contributed additional reporting to this article.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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