As long, dark, and flavorful as its popular cherry gateau, the Black Forest gets its name from its evergreen canopies. With intensely shaped valleys, dense woodlands, heavy timber farmhouses, fresh grasses, and mysterious waterfalls, it looks like heaven naturally planted on earth.
Measuring 174km, the Black Forest is a ludicrously graceful expanse of lakes, hills, and forests. This corner of the country is made for slow touring: by bicycle, on foot, or behind a car’s wheel on one of many roads with breathtaking views.
What is the Black Forest Famous for?
The area is famous for its watchmaking, cuckoo clocks, tourism, and skiing. There is a high-tech light manufacturing industry in the region originating from the watchmaking and gold-mining days. Almost all tourists are from Switzerland or Germany, but tourists from other countries are also entering the hilly gates.
How to reach the Black Forest?
The closest airports are Karlsruhe, Konstanz, Basel (Switzerland), Strasburg (France), Zurich (Switzerland), Stuttgart, or Frankfurt. Then hire a car or take the train.
Top attractions in The Black Forest
Upper Danube Valley Nature Reserve
Theatrically set against limestone cliffs, dotted with beech and pine woods that turn gold in autumn, and embracing the Danube’s banks, this reserve besieges you with rugged glory. To fully explore the nature reserve, slip into walking boots or a bicycle saddle, and hit the tracks.
The Gutach River serves the seven-tiered falls, which drop 163m and are brightened until 10 pm. A concrete trail accesses the waterfalls. Pick up peanuts at the ticket counter to feed curious red squirrels. Entry is cheaper in wintertime. The falls are located in central Triberg.
An airy wonderland of heather-speckled moors, cold cirque lakes, mountains, deep valleys, and near-untouched forest, the Black Forest National Park is really the Schwarzwald at its untamed best and the wildest. Nature is well preserved in this 100-sq-km pouch in the northern Black Forest, hidden between Freudenstadt and Baden-Baden and centered on the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse (Black Forest Highway), Mummelsee, and the Murg Valley.
Holding out above Rottweil like a thumb, the striking, environmentally progressive Testturm is the baby of steel-engineering giant Thyssenkrupp, aiming to speed up skyscraper planning. At 246m high, it’s the tallest lift test tower in the world. At the time of the study, it was open to the public, with Germany’s most elevated visitor platform (232m) presenting staggering 360° views of the Swabian Alps, Black Forest, and – on not so cloudy days – the Swiss Alps.
Things to do in the Black Forest
Hike to the Triberg Falls
Centrally placed (by nature) in the Black Forest, you can enter the Triberg Falls on a trek along a forest trail, up from the station at the city of the same name. Water from the Gutach river runs down the falls’ 7 levels even in the wintertime – tread carefully as the polar viewing platform can get dangerously slippery.
Stroll through Hohenzollern Castle
It’s one of the most magnificent castles near the Black Forest, set on a mountain of the same name. Hohenzollern is about an hour’s drive northeast of the Triberg falls – worth the journey for the breathtaking views, as well as tours through its vibrant exhibitions and art galleries. It’s the Prussian royal family’s original residence – take the Royal Castle Stroll tour for a chance to walk through the preserved royal chambers.
Sail Across the Calm Lake Titisee
As one of the Black Forest’s most striking lakes, Lake Titisee is fantastic to visit year-round. In the summer and spring, swim in its calm waters, set sail, or hire a boat for a dirt-cheap price. Summer usually sees more of the crowds, though. In the wintertime, this ancient glacial lake’s frozen surface becomes a popular open playground for, guest what? Ice-skating.