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5 perfect day trips in the Black Forest: Fantastic ideas and excursion destinations

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A day trip in the Black forest is a real experience, because you can expect picturesque landscapes, steep mountains, bubbling waterfalls and adventurous lakes. 

Below you will find the most beautiful excursion destinations in the region, which are so close and perfect for a day trip in the Blacks forest. Discover black Forest cities with an authentic old town and Black Forest culture, bathing locations, deep gorges and wide views over the Black Forest landscape.

1. Ravennaschlucht (Ravenna Gorge)

A day trip in the Blacks forest must include fhe Ravennaschlucht which is located in the Höllental and that is one of the most impressive valleys in the Black Forest. It stretches between Hinterzarten and Buchenbach-Himmelreich and is about 18 kilometers southeast of Freiburg. 

The valley, which is sometimes very narrow, is almost nine kilometers long. In many places it is surrounded by rock walls up to 600 meters high, which give it its extraordinary charm.

Today the Höllental is a popular destination for tourists. The Ravennaschlucht, which is a side valley of the Höllental, is particularly suitable for long walks and hikes. The gorge is traversed by the Ravenna stream of the same name. The various waterfalls are worth seeing. 

The drop height of the large Ravenna falls is 16 meters, that of the small Ravenna falls 6 meters. There are also several mills along the course of the stream, some of which are still in good condition. The almost 40 meter high railway bridge that leads over the gorge is very impressive: the Ravennabrücke

The viaduct leads the Höllentalbahn through the gorge that connects Freiburg with Donaueschingen. 

2. Höllentalbahn

A ride on the Höllentalbahn is an experience for the whole family. It’s not just the view that you can enjoy on a drive through the Höllental that is worth the trip.  

From Freiburg to Villingen

The Höllentalbahn in the Black Forest connects Freiburg with Villingen. It is considered the steepest railway in Germany, because on the section between Himmelreich and Hinterzarten it crosses a gradient of 400 meters over a distance of 12 km.

In the past, trains could only negotiate this section with the help of cogwheel operation, which either pulled the locomotive up the slope or braked it when it came down. Back then, the locomotives were not powerful enough to pull the entire train up the line and the brakes did not hold downhill. Today, thanks to more modern locomotives, this is no longer a problem.

History

The construction of the Höllentalbahn began at the end of May 1882. Starting from Freiburg im Breisgau, the route sections were then gradually added. A special feature of the Höllentalbahn are the many tunnels and, above all, the numerous bridges that are crossed during the journey. Here you can enjoy views over the Black Forest and into valleys. Among the bridges is also the largest in the whole of the Black Forest: the Ravenna viaduct allows a view over the Ravennasschuct.

The entire line of the Höllentalbahn has been electrified since 2019 and is used by Deutsche Bahn trains. A ride on the Höllentalbahn is worth it either way: views of wide valleys, forests and tunnels make the trip an experience for the whole family.

The Höllentalbahn route

The route of the Höllentalbahn begins in Freiburg at the main train station. From here it passes Kirchzarten and Himmelreich before continuing over the famous Hirschprung to Hinterzarten. Via Titisee, Neustadt, Rötenbach and Löffingen you then continue to Villingen. From Titisee there is the possibility to take the 3-Seen-Bahn to Schluchsee / Seebrug. 

3. German clock route

The holiday route leads through the impressive landscape of the Black Forest and the Baar, past extremely interesting museums and attractive sights – all under the motto “Black Forest clocks“.

The German Clock Route leads on a beautiful route through 25 locations in the Black Forest and the Baar and has been awarded the European Route of Industrial Heritage. You will pass well-known museums such as the German Clock Museum in Furtwangen or the Clock Industry Museum in Villingen-Schwenningen. But also smaller museums, such as the monastery museum in St. Märgen or the various city museums are recommended and explain the origin and history of the Black Forest clock.

During your da trip to the Black mountains, you have to make a detour to the world’s first largest cuckoo clock in Schonach. Another highlight are the visits to the watch manufacturers. Here you can find out how an original cuckoo clock is made.
In addition, there are always special exhibitions and other unique events around the Black Forest clock.

The cuckoo clock

In addition to the Bollenhut and the Black Forest cake, it is the epitome of the Black Forest. After the first wooden wheel clocks with a cuckoo call appeared in the middle of the 18th century, it only became a trademark in the second half of the 19th century. This happened because the railway architect Friedrich Eisenlohr introduced a new type of cuckoo clock in 1850. Here the architect hid the woodwork and the cuckoo call behind the facade of a station keeper’s house with a clock face. 

From 1860 onwards, the clock’s facade continued to develop into naturalistic carvings with beech and oak leaves and animals from local forests.
The Black Forest cuckoo clock is still a popular souvenir “Made in Germany” today.

The history of the Black Forest clock

It is unclear when the Black Forest clock production began. The first clocks probably date from the second half of the 17th century. Due to the Spanish Wars of Succession, watchmaking began as a separate trade on a larger scale only from 1730.
In 1852 the Furtwanger watchmaking school began collecting old watches, which can now be found in the German Watch Museum in Furtwangen. The oldest known Black Forest clock to this day came into the possession of the watchmaking school in 1860 and thus also into the clock museum.

The wooden clocks were made in small workshops that were part of a residential building until the end of the 19th century. Around 1840 there were around 1,000 watchmaker’s houses in the central part of the Black Forest with 5,000 employees, and around 600,000 Black Forest wooden watches were made every year.

The great success and the comparatively low prices had several reasons – for example, wood was cheaper and easier to work with than metal. However, the division of labor was decisive. A different watchmaker was responsible for every step of production. By specializing as a chain maker or sign painter, for example, sophisticated tools and machines could be developed for each individual work step.

In the second half of the 19th century, together with industrialization, a structural change began from small workshops to watch factories. This also led to the fact that, from the end of the 19th century, companies such as Junghans manufactured new types of mass products based on the American model. Before the First World War, the Black Forest covered 60% of world exports of clocks.

In the course of the 20th century, quartz watches and cheap competition from the Far East came onto the market, which is why the Black Forest watch industry disappeared apart from a few remains. Nowadays, the gears are very often supplied to medical technology or information technology, which has again created a large number of jobs.

4. Hexenlochmühle

Deep in the Hexenlochtal you will find the small mill in Furtwangen Neukirch with an attached restaurant. Not only does it offer a lot in culinary terms, it is also the starting point for many beautiful and varied hiking routes. Or it serves as a comfortable end point of a hiking tour.

The mill was built in 1825 and therefore stands for a living tradition in the Black Forest. It has been owned by the Trenkle family since 1839 and is used as a sawmill. The fourth generation is now running the business. The Hexenlochmühle is the only mill in the Black Forest that is powered by two water wheels. The wheels provide the energy required to operate the saws in the mill. Even today the saws are driven by the water of the hay stream, but the mill no longer saws. It is only used for illustrative purposes for interested and curious visitors.

Black Forest specialties in the Hexenlochmühle

The mill houses a small traditional restaurant with an open terrace, which awaits its guests with all kinds of homemade culinary specialties from the Black Forest . Here Black Forest flair meets enchanted nature and good hospitality. Visitors can choose from the extensive menu or in a small shop they can choose from Black Forest ham, farmer’s sausage, honey, berry wines and other spirits, among other things. The business is directly connected to the mill. In addition to the culinary delicacies to take away, there are also some souvenirs, cuckoo clocks and other gift items.

Hikes around the Hexenlochmühle

There are many hiking trails around the mill in the Hexenlochtal that invite you to enjoy the wonderful nature. Freshly strengthened after a good traditional meal in the restaurant, you can hike from the mill to the Balzer Herrgott, for example. The Balzer Herrgott is a sandstone figure of Christ that has grown into a tree. The tree covers almost the entire torso and only the face can be seen. This place always attracts people and has become a much-visited place of pilgrimage.

5. Kaiserstuhl

The Kaiserstuhl in Baden-Württemberg offers inviting wine terraces, themed trails, bike paths and a quality hiking trail around the Kaiserstuhl.

The Kaiserstuhl in the Black Forest is a relatively small low mountain range in the south of Baden-Württemberg. The highest elevation of the Kaiserstuhl is the so-called skull with a height of about 556 meters, whose name is based on that of King Otto III. executed executions. 

The local climatic conditions are remarkable, because the region around the Kaiserstuhl is one of the warmest in Germany. The climate is characterized primarily by mild winters and warm summers. In addition, the Kaiserstuhl is of volcanic origin, which can still be recognized by the earth covered with loess. Therefore, the region is particularly suitable as a wine-growing area.

Activities around the Kaiserstuhl

Visitors are attracted not only because of the good wine and the pleasant climate, but above all because of the almost natural hiking trails on which the beautiful landscape can be explored individually. There are eight different themed trails plus the Kaiserstuhlpfad, which opened in 2010. This has been awarded the quality seal “Quality Trail Hikable Germany” as a predicate hiking trail. 

The Kaiserpfad has a length of 21.7 kilometers and leads from Endingen to Ihringen. Hiking enthusiasts pass the Ehrletal and the Katharinenkapelle, climb the Bandberg to the Eichelspitzturm and finally reach the Neulindeturm over the Vosges pass until they start the last stage from Bickensohl over the Kreuzbuck to Ihringen.

In addition, the eight themed trails also offer great hiking routes. In total, these are 140 kilometers long, each path is between 15 and 30 kilometers in length and can be chosen according to your stamina and interests. The best known is the Neulindenpfad, also known as the north-south path. Similar to the Kaiserstuhlpfad, it leads over a distance of 16.8 kilometers from Endingen to Ihringen with unique views of the Black Forest and the Vosges.

Cycling fans will also enjoy the Kaiserstuhl, because on the Kaiserstuhl cycle path both the small low mountain range and the Tuniberg, a limestone elevation, can be cycled around in one day.

An absolute highlight is a visit to one of the numerous and hospitable wine cooperatives on the Kaiserstuhl. A wide variety of grape varieties such as Riesling, Pinot Blanc and Ruländer are grown on the seemingly endless vineyards.

The Kaiserstuhl offers great hiking and biking trails with wonderful panoramic views, impressive wine terraces and bathing lakes to cool off – a perfect mix for a day trip!

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