15 Best Things to Do in the Black Forest Region, Germany

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Train Running Through the Middle of the Black Forest, Germany

The Black Forest is a mountainous region in southwest Germany that was once completely covered by an ancient forest. Today, it’s home to the most beautiful scenery in Europe while offering endless opportunities for adventure.

With its thick coniferous forests filled with spruce trees, inspirational medieval castles, scenic lakes, picturesque villages, and half-timbered houses nestled amongst the mountainsides, you’ll find it hard not to be inspired here. 

Known as Germany’s largest nature park, the Black Forest is a bucket-list destination for people everywhere. This guide will narrow down the best things to do in the Black Forest, Germany.

Not sure where to start? Book a Baden-Baden, Black Forest and Strasbourg Day Trip from Frankfurt to hit the highlights.

TL;DR

Things to Do in the Black Forest

Black Forest Scenery

The greater Black Forest is one of the best things to do in Germany. Below are just some of our favorite attractions in the rolling hills and evergreen trees of the Black Forest.

1. Visit the Black Forest National Park

Address: Schwarzwaldhochstraße 2, 77889 Seebach, Germany

Humans haven’t touched parts of the Black Forest National Park in over 100 years. Known locally as Nationalpark Schwarzwald, the park spans over 24,000 acres of dense forests, making it a playground for nature lovers. Keep your eyes peeled for wild boar!

When you visit the Black Forest Park area, guests can choose from 55 hiking trails, the longest of which is nearly 55 miles long. Or, adventurous people can enjoy biking, water sports, and rafting opportunities. Enjoy a Culture and Traditions Hike through the Black Forest with a Local for an up-close-and-personal experience with Germany’s Black Forest.

A big part of outdoor culture in the Black Forest is relaxing after your demanding day. Stay at a 4-star resort like Hotel Forsthaus Auerhahn to relax your muscles and soak in the epic views of the surrounding forest. 

For those with extra energy, make a day trip to Stuttgart and enjoy an Exclusive City Walk.

2. Hear the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock Chime

Eble Uhren-Park in Germany
Lia K / TripAdvisor

Address: Schonachbach 27, 78098 Triberg, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

Located in Triberg is the world’s largest cuckoo clock. It chimes every hour on the hour and a half past through its massive 13-foot pipes.

The clock is constructed exactly like any traditional cuckoo clock you’d buy in a local shop. Except, of course, the clock is 15 feet tall and weighs six tons. The cuckoo bird itself weighs 330 pounds and swings on a 26-foot-long pendulum.

The clock can be seen outside for free, or pay a small fee to go inside. Triberg is also home to the world’s smallest cuckoo clock, just about five inches tall and wide.

After your visit, pick up your cuckoo clocks from an authentic cuckoo clock shop like Oli’s Schnitzstube.

See Related: The Ultimate Black Forest Itinerary: How to Spend Your Time

3. Shop the Black Forest Christmas Markets

Nothing beats Germany’s Christmas markets–and the best are in the Black Forest. From mid-November to early January, visitors can expect to find these elaborate markets. 

A popular tradition is purchasing gluhwein and keeping the holiday-themed mug it comes in. The top Christmas markets in Germany’s Black Forest are:

  • Ravenna Gorge Christmas Market
  • Freiburg Christmas Market
  • Baden-Baden Christmas Market
  • Gengenbach Christmas Market
  • Triberg Christmas Market

For an in-depth experience, book a Private Christmas Market Tour in Freiburg or a Yuletide Stroll: Experience the Festive Charm in Baden-Baden

4. Hike to Triberg Waterfall

Triberg Waterfalls

Address: Wallfahrtstraße 4, 78098 Triberg im Schwarzwald, Germany

When Googling “What is the tallest waterfall in Germany?”, it’s not uncommon for the Triberg Waterfall to come up. While the waterfall is worth visiting, the Röthbach Waterfall in Bavaria holds the crown.

That being said, the Triberg Waterfall is still an impressive 535 ft. However, it appears like a bunch of mini waterfalls merging to create one large one. 

The Triberg Waterfall is a great option to add to your itinerary when visiting the clock shops or enjoying a traditional black forest cake in downtown Triberg. Consider staying at PRISMA Parkhotel Wehrle to recharge for your next day.

See Related: Best Rhine River Cruises to Book Today

5. Tour the Black Forest Open Air Museum

Black Forest Open Air Museum
image by Gerd Eichmann  is licensed under C BY-SA 4.0

Address: Wählerbrücke 1, 77793 Gutach, Schwarzwaldbahn, Germany

The Black Forest Open Air Museum in Gutach offers visitors a glimpse into what life was like in the Black Forest, many centuries ago. There are free, guided Black Forest tours daily at 2:00 PM.

The Black Forest Museum offers a variety of exhibits showcasing the Black Forest region’s unique traditions, including mining, clock making, handicrafts, woodwork, and more. The displays are colorful and engaging, featuring mined minerals, traditional costumes, straw weaving, musical instruments, antique watches, and jewels.

If you’re ending your day in the area, book a stay at the nearby Bollenhuthotel Kirnbacher Hof.

6. Drive the Black Forest Spa Route

Road in Black Forest

The Schwarzwald Bäderstrasse (Black Forest Spa Route) runs between Freudenstadt and Pforzheim. The route takes visitors on a 168-mile loop through historic villages, valleys, thermal baths, spa towns, and monasteries.

Baden-Baden has gained a reputation as the “Monte Carlo Spa Town of Germany.” For those looking to treat themselves, stay at the Maison Messmer – ein Mitglied der Hommage Luxury Hotels Collection

Other popular thermal baths on the Spa Route include:

7. Plan a Trip to Europa Park

Europa Park Attractions

Address: Europa-Park-Straße 2, 77977 Rust, Germany

Europa Park is one of the best and biggest amusement parks in Europe. Spread over 160 acres; this is one of the most visited attractions and one of the best things to do in the Black Forest–guests can easily spend a few hours exploring.

Like Disney’s EPCOT, each section of this theme park reflects a different European country and its architecture. It features hundreds of attractions, including sledding, the iconic Blue Fire Megacoaster, Russia’s Mir Space Station model, and an Arica-themed rafting ride.

Additionally, the theme park hosts different events throughout the year, like virtual reality experiences, “Family Day,” and “HALLOWinter.” Buy your Europa-Park Entrance Ticket here.

See Related: Best Family Vacation Ideas in Germany

8. Ski Feldberg

Address: Dr.-Pilet-Spur 17, 79868 Feldberg, Schwarzwald, Germany

Skiing is a way of life in Germany. The Feldberg Ski Resort is the main Black Forest destination for downhill and cross-country skiing.

The ski resort offers 16 trails, the longest of which is a 3km run. Visitors have access to five chairlifts, nine T-bars, and three conveyors. Book your accommodations at Hotel Schlehdorn to be close to all the après ski action in the Black Forest.

9. Stay Overnight in Freiburg im Breisgau

Red roofs and historical gothic muenster cathedral of Freiburg im Breisgau
Simon / Adobe Stock

There are many quaint villages and charming towns with half-timbered houses scattered throughout the Black Forest, but the city of Freiburg im Breisgau is one of our favorite things to do in the Black Forest.

An interesting element of Freiburg im Breisgau is the Freiburg Bächle. The Bächle are small water-filled runnels lining the streets, giving the city a Venice-like feel.

In addition to its charming architecture and narrow cobblestone streets, Freiburg im Breisgau is recognized for the Freiburg Minster, a beautiful Gothic cathedral. Freiburg is also known for an up-and-coming foodie scene–swing by local restaurants or a bakery to try a traditional Black Forest cake.

For those looking for something a bit edgier, try the Freiburg: Red Light District City Tour to acquaint yourself with a more complicated part of the city.

When you’re ready to rest your head, book your stay at the luxurious Colombi Hotel located in the heart of the city. The hotel has an adjoining restaurant that has won a Michelin star every year since 1983. Or, just hang out in a traditional beer garden.

10. Visit the Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle Architecture and Scenery
bbsferrari / Adobe Stock

Address: 72379 Burg Hohenzollern, Germany

Hohenzollern Castle was built (and rebuilt) in the mid-1400s. It housed Brandenburg-Prussia leaders, Prussia kings, and some German kaisers.

Today, this fairy tale castle serves as an art gallery and a reminder of the Middle Ages and Germany’s early history. In the 1970s, two earthquakes caused damage to the castle. As a result, entrance fees to explore the castle go toward the continued renovation of this gothic-styled treasure.

If you’re staying in Frankfurt, book the Hohenzollern Castle: Full-Day Tour from Frankfurt for an in-depth guided tour. 

See Related: Best Castle Hotels in Germany

11. Go Boating at Titisee Lake

Titisee Lake is a popular outdoor recreation area for tourists and locals in the Black Forest. Visits can rent paddle boats and motorboats or sign up for a guided cruise. There is also a beach and pool for those who want to spend their day lounging. 

There are biking and hiking trails around the lake for those uninterested in brushing off their sea legs. Additionally, Titisee Lake is about a 90-minute drive from the iconic Ravenna Gorge hiking area.

Maritim TitiseeHotel is an affordable lake-side hotel perfect for an overnight excursion. 

See Related: Top Islands in Germany to Visit

12. Visit the Spa Town Baden-Baden

Fountain in Square of Baden-Baden, Germany
daliu / Adobe Stock

When looking for the best things to do in the Black Forest, Germany, you should add the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Baden-Baden to your list. 

This famous Black Forest spa town is a popular destination for relaxation due to its plethora of natural hot springs. To experience the ultimate luxury in Baden-Baden, book your stay at Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa – an Oetker Collection Hotel.

In addition to the spas, be sure to swing by the Kurhaus Baden-Baden–a grand casino and spa that dates back to 1824. Or, take a stroll through the Lichtentaler Allee, a beautiful waterfront park.

Marktplatz is a picturesque market square in the heart of Baden-Baden’s Old Town. Here, you’ll find the town hall, Old Steam Bath, and picturesque cobbled streets. Another highlight of Baden-Baden is the famous Rose Garden, called Rosengarten auf dem Beutig in German.

Of course, the best way to get to know any city is through a guided tour. Book the Best of Baden-Baden – Stadtführung to ensure you don’t miss a thing. 

13. Catch Views at Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald

Address: Peter-Liebig-Weg 16, 75323 Bad Wildbad, Germany

In the northern Black Forest region, Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald is a 1,250-meter-long and 20-meter-high observation deck and adventure park. Perfect for families, the Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald offers visitors a chance to soak in the stunning natural beauty of the Black Forest along a treetop path.

The forest turns into your personal playground with a children’s play area, 20 learning stations, picnic areas, snack kiosks, and even a forest slide. Your kids are sure to have so much fun at this unique spot!

Book your overnight stay at Hotel Restaurant Auerhahn for easy access to the adventure park– it’s just a 3-minute walk.

14. Reach New Heights on the Wildline Suspension Bridge

Address: Heermannsweg 100, 75323 Bad Wildbad, Germany

Just 850 meters away from Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald in the Black Forest is the 60-meter-high Wildline Suspension Bridge. Here, visitors will test their fear of heights by walking across this 380-meter-long bridge.

Past guests have reported that you need change for parking, so have a couple of euros on hand to avoid a lengthy hunt for an ATM in the Black Forest.

Want to add some luxury to your active day? End your night at Mokni’s Palais Hotel & SPA for some well-deserved R&R in the small town of Bad Wildbad.

15. Visit the German Clock Museum

Inside the German Clock Museum
tipwam / Shutterstock.com

Address: Robert-Gerwig-Platz 1, 78120 Furtwangen im Schwarzwald, Germany

Situated in the southern Black Forest village of Furtwangen, the German Clock Museum is one of the oldest technical museums in the world. Established in 1852, the museum has over 8,000 clocks and watches. 

It features everything from primitive sundials to atomic clocks. While it may not be a traditional Black Forest tourist destination, it is an impressive and quirky stop to add to your Black Forest itinerary.

When visiting the picturesque town of Furtwangen, stay at Höhengasthaus Kolmenhof at the source of the Danube. This hotel offers country-style accommodations three minutes from the historic St. Martin’s Chapel.

Things to Know About Black Forest

Now that we’ve discussed all of the best things to do in the Black Forest, let’s dive deeper into what exactly the Black Forest is, its history, and how to prepare for your adventure.

Where is the Black Forest?

Black Forest Landscape Scenery

The Black Forest region is in the southwest corner of Germany in Baden-Württemberg state. The Rhine Valley bounds it to the south and west and near the French and Swiss border.

If you’re not renting a car, the best way to see all the things to do in the Black Forest is on the pine-forested Nagold Valley Railway. Grab a rail pass, find a train station, and hop your way through the area.

The forest covers part of France’s Rhone-Alps region and Germany’s Central European Plain. Its northern perimeter runs along the Upper Rhine Plain’s western edge and the Central Uplands’ southern boundary. 

The weather can get quite cold in the winter. Therefore, consider packing a warm jacket or puffer coat while hiking in this mountainous region.

To help you better understand all the things to do in the area, here is a map of the Black Forest that includes key small towns, landmarks, and sights to see during your visit.

See Related: Best Places to Visit on the Rhine River & Things to Do

Map of the Black Forest, Germany
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

What is the Black Forest Known For?

Hollental Architecture

Germany’s Black Forest is known for its dark pine forests, picturesque villages with half-timbered houses, spa towns, and rushing waterfalls. It is home to the Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, giant cuckoo clocks, and the highest non-alpine mountains. 

It is hauntingly beautiful, majestic, and home to centuries of German history. Covering an area of about 2,320 square miles, there are endless things to discover. Overall, this forest is one of the most popular hiking and tourist destinations in Europe.

History of The Black Forest Germany

Black Forest Aerial View

The Black Forest is a large landscape in southwest Germany. Though it covers much of the Baden-Württemberg state, it also crosses into the adjacent German states of Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse. The forest became known as “Black” not because of any dark history but due to how many dense forests there were.

The Forest was home to several migrant tribes for centuries. In the 19th Century, this expansive forest came into the “Seven Wonders of Germany” list for its breathtaking natural beauty.

It features a wide selection of mountains and hills. The highest mountains in the region are the Feldberg (1,493 m), Herzogenhorn (1,415 m), and Belchen (1,414 m). 

Travel Tips for the Black Forest

Do you still have a few questions? Watch our video for several travel tips to make the most of your travel in Germany and its top attractions.

Some key things to remember when traveling through Germany are:

  • Cash is king. Have physical bills and coins on your person whenever possible.
  • Learn a few phrases. A simple “Halo!” goes a long way.
  • You’ll likely have to pay to use the toilets (hence always having coins on hand)
  • Most local businesses are closed on Sundays.
  • Germans love their sparkling water. If you want still water, you need to specify.

FAQs

What not to miss in the Black Forest?

In the Black Forest, one should not miss visiting Europa Park, skiing at Feldberg, exploring the city of Freiburg im Breisgau or Baden-Baden, visiting the historic Hohenzollern Castle, and enjoying boating at Titisee Lake. 

What activities can tourists take part in the Black Forest?

Tourists will enjoy some of the best things to do in the Black Forest, like seeing the largest cuckoo clock in the world, driving the Spa Route, relaxing in Baden-Baden, and visiting Black Forest National Park.

What is the Black Forest famous for?

The Black Forest is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, secluded setting, dense forest floor, and rich cultural heritage. It’s also known for its famous cuckoo clocks, culinary delights like the Black Forest Cake, and historic landmarks like the Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Baden’s rose garden, Triberg waterfalls, and Freiburg im Breisgau.

Is it worth going to the Black Forest?

A visit to the Black Forest is worth it. The Black Forest region offers visitors a chance to hike, boat, relax at the beach, purchase authentic cuckoo clocks, visit an amusement park, and explore a charming town or two like Baden-Baden.

How many divisions are there in the Black Forest?

The Black Forest has several divisions, including:

– Southeastern Black Forest
– Black Forest Foothills
– High Black Forest
– Black Forest Grinden and Enz Hills
– Central Black Forest
– Northern Black Forest Valleys

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Kyle Kroeger
WRITTEN BY

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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