One of Germany’s most scenic regions, the Black Forest (Schwarzwald), attracts numerous tourists all year long. Most of them come from Germany and Switzerland, but the region deserves more of international recognition. In case you don’t know much about it, it’s time to learn – that’s why here’s a list of 12 facts about the Black Forest.
Size and location
The Black Forest is located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, in the southwest corner of Germany, which is very close to Switzerland. It stretches from the lovely town of Baden-Baden to the Swiss border and, from the western and southern side, is bounded by the Valley of Rhine River. The region’s 99 miles long and 37 miles wide.
The mountains of Black Forest aren’t really sky-high. The highest one, Feldberg, is 4,898 feet tall. Nevertheless, Feldberg’s the highest German mountain outside of the Alps, and it offers lovely panoramic views.
Getting in and around
There are several airports located relatively close to Schwarzwald. You can fly to Karlsruhe, Stuttgart or Frankfurt in Germany, Strasbourg in France, or Basel and Zurich in Switzerland. From there catch a bus/train to Baden-Baden, Offenburg or Freiburg. You may also rent a car. The last option is the most convenient since you can, later on, use the car to move around the region. Schwarzwaldhochstraße (the Black Forest High Road) is a beautiful route to drive along.
The region’s very rural and a big part of it is dominated by woods. Forests cover about 60% of the land. Charming valleys, creeks, and rivers come in the package. There are lots of traditional farmhouses and cows walking gracefully on the green grass.
Many small, touristy towns are situated within the Black Forest. One of the most popular destinations is Titisee, a spa town with a small, pretty lake. Baden-Baden is also famous as a spa town. It’s built on thermal springs and scenically set in a wooded valley.
First of all, there’s Freiburg, known as the “Jewel of the Black Forest.” Freiburg, lively and sunny, definitely deserves this lovely title. It’s a university town, so students add their youthful vibe to its character. With the small canals, historic buildings and beautiful surroundings, Freiburg’s a must-see destination. For wine lovers, Offenburg (known as a capital of Ortenau, the wine region) is another place to visit, especially when the Wine Festival is being held there. In Pforzheim, the so-called “Gateway to the Black Forest”, you can buy some gorgeous jewelers and watches.
Even though the Schwarzwald Mountains aren’t very high, they’re enchanting. Dotted with pristine lakes, crossed by clear rivers, the land’s incredibly picturesque. A variety of animals live in the woods and on the farms. The rare breed of Black Forest Horses and Hinter Wald cattle originate from there.
Hiking is very popular. The trails are well-marked and accessible. Before you start hiking, visit one of the tourist offices and get a map. Mountain biking and motorcycling are also great ways to explore the area. Paragliding enthusiasts often fly above the Forest – wonderful views are guaranteed. Because there are so many lakes and rivers, Schwarzwald is an ideal destination for water-sport enthusiasts. The lakes of Schluchsee and Titisee are perfect for windsurfing, sailing and altitude diving. When winter comes, the Black Forest is overtaken by skiers and snowboarders.
In the villages, you can find comfy Gasthauses, traditional German guest-houses. You’ll not only get a bed to sleep in but also tons of local food and homely atmosphere. Prices start from approximately 20 Euros per person. You can also look for hotels; the cheaper ones cost about 50-60 Euros per night for a double room. For adventurers, the Black Forest has a lot of campsites.
The region’s known for its prettiness, warmth, natural wonders and… clocks, cuckoo clocks, to be precise. They’ve been produced in the Black Forest since the 18th century. To find out more, visit the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum in Furtwangen, it features an impressive collection of cuckoo clocks.
Even at first glance, the Black Forest seems mysterious. Very dense, dark and atmospheric – it looks like a place where strange things might happen. That’s why many legends are telling about sorcerers, wizards, dwarves, werewolves, and witches living in the Forest. Many famous German tales are believed to be set there, including the famous story of Hansel and Gretel. When you walk amongst the woods, soak up the magical atmosphere and look around carefully – you might see something even more magical than the old trees and ruins.
All across the region, you can find a lot of fantastic restaurants, both in the towns and villages. The typical food of Schwarzwald is filling and heavy, so be ready to get some extra calories. One of the classics is the original Schwarzwälder Schinken. The restaurants serve tons of meat with delicious gravies. There are also many traditional desserts, including the Black Forest Cake. As for drinks, German beer is the most popular one, especially Rothaus and Alpirsbacher. Some excellent wines are produced in the region as well.
So do you feel like to visit the Black Forest? It’s worth it! Before you book a flight and start packing, share this article with your friends. Want to read more about the Black Forest? Read our post about the best things to do in the black forest.