Vacation in the Black Forest: hiking and relaxing


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The Black Forest is known for its fantastic landscape. It is located in the southwest of Baden-Württemberg.

The Black forest is the largest low mountain range in Germany. A total of around 260 towns and cities make up the Black Forest region – from Achern to Zell im Wiesental. Every Expat should go on a tour of discovery in one of the most scenic regions in Germany or settle for wellness in the Black Forest.

Quick overview and tips for a vacation in the Black Forest

Brief informationThe Black Forest is located in Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany
Length approx. 160 km, width approx. 40-60 km
DescriptionRoughly speaking, the Black Forest forms an elongated rectangle between Karlsruhe, Stuttgart, Basel and Lake Constance.

The places and excursion destinations in the Black Forest can be quickly reached by car via the two motorways A5 (Rheintalautobahn Karlsruhe-Basel) and A81 (Bodenseautobahn Stuttgart-Singen) running west and east of the Black Forest.

The major long-distance railway lines run almost parallel to these motorways. 
There are also some routes that cross the Black Forest, e.g. Murgtalbahn, Kinzigtalbahn, Schwarzwaldbahn and Höllentalbahn, as well as several branch lines.
The length of the Black Forest in north-south direction is approx. 160 km, the width in the south approx. 60 km, in the north a little less. Karlsruhe is on the 49th parallel, Freiburg on the 48th and Basel at about 47 ° 30 ‘degrees north latitude. 

In the west-east extension, the Black Forest lies between 7 ° 40 ‘and 8 ° 45’ east longitude.

The Black Forest holiday region extends over an area of ​​over 6,000 square kilometers. The area is part of the south-west German step country . In the south it is bounded by the Upper Rhine , in the north is the Kraichgau. The Upper Rhine Plain forms the western border and in the east lies the Baar plateau.

The landscape of the north of the Black Forest is characterized by plateaus . There are also deep valleys such as the Murgtal or the Kinzig valley. In the western Black Forest there are wine-growing areas such as the Breisgau and the Markgräfler Land. The Black Forest is known not least for its mountainous regions, for example in the Black Forest or near Belchen.

TIP: How to get to the Black Forest


It goes particularly quickly with the plane. For example, choose the connection from Berlin-Tegel to Baden-Airpark, the airport in Karlsruhe


The arrival by train is an experience for the whole family and also environmentally friendly. So that you are mobile at your holiday destination, there is the Baden-Württemberg-Ticket

Car / Bus

Arriving on the motorway is just as relaxed: either with a long-distance bus or as a comfortable road trip in your own car.

TIP: When to vacation in the Black Forest

Since the Black Forest extends over a wide area, it is difficult to give a uniform climatic classification. 

The Rhine Valley lies in the southwest of the Black Forest – and this is known as the warmest region in the country

The higher areas of the Black Forest are more often affected by rain. In these regions, sudden changes in weather can mean the abrupt end of a hike. Fog is also to be expected. If the average temperature on the peaks is around 2 degrees, in the valleys – for example in Baden-Baden or Freiburg – an average of 9 degrees is reached. 

In the cold time of the year, the Black Forest is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. Especially the mountains in the Black Forest are quite snow reliable.

TIP: Culture in the Black Forest

What do you think of first when you hear about the Black Forest? Exactly: the delicious Black Forest cake. Taste a piece on holiday, because only here is it made with real kirsch from the region.

If you are looking for a nice souvenir, look at the traditional wood carvings

The cuckoo clocks from the Black Forest, which are known all over the world, are a real classic.

TIP: You accommodation in the Black Forest

During your vacation in the Black Forest, you should plan on spending some quiet days in a spa hotel with a wide range of wellness offers. 

For the individual trip, on which you do not have to take fixed meal times into account when planning the hiking, you decide on a holiday apartment. Holidays on the farm are an unforgettable experience for families with children.

The three areas of the Black Forest

The Black Forest is divided into three areas: the Northern Black Forest , the Central Black Forest and the Southern Black Forest / Upper Black Forest . Each region has its very own character and peculiarities.

1. Northern Black Forest

The northern Black Forest is the most closed wooded part of the natural paradise – an average of 73% of the region is covered with many beautiful and huge trees. At the same time, it is one of the wettest regions in the German low mountain range.

2. Central Black Forest

The Central Black Forest has the lowest mountains, but many sights waiting to be explored and hiking trails that are at least as beautiful. Whether it’s a wine hike or a vertical meters, there is something for every taste.

3. Southern Black Forest

The southern Black Forest is known for its place Hinterzarten, which is also a synonym for winter sports. There are also countless waterfalls in romantically situated mountains, but also the Titisee and Freiburg, which are worth a visit. If you want to combine nature with a city trip, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

Where should you go on vacation in the Black Forest?

Black Forest is not just Black Forest. If you have decided on the holiday region as your holiday destination, you have to consider which place it should be.

1. A wellness vacation? Settle for a stay in the health resort

Are you planning a wellness holiday? Then you should settle for one of the great health resorts in the Black Forest

a. Sasbachwalden is a good choice . This climatic health resort is located in the middle of three wineries.

Check out the high rope park! If you need a change in between, take a detour to the village’s high rope park. Those with a head for heights can put their climbing skills to the test there.

b. Lauterbauch is a popular climatic health resort . The community is located on the German Clock Route, which connects all the important centers of the Black Forest clock production.

2. Explore the diversity of the big cities in the northern Black Forest

The northern part of the Black Forest scores with a lot of variety. The larger cities of the region are located here . You can explore Baden-Baden or see the sights of Pforzheim .

3. Experience natural highlights in the Black Forest

The heart of the holiday region is the Black Forest . The landscape exudes a fairytale flair like from times long past. You will also climb the highest mountain in the Black Forest, the Feldberg . Those looking for relaxation feel at home at Schluchsee , the widest lake in the region.

The 11 sights in the Black Forest that you should not miss!

1. Get to the bottom of the legend at the “Hirschsprung”

black forest

The historical ” Hirschsprung ” attracts many vacationers. When you reach this narrow point in the legendary Höllental , you not only see the large deer figure , which refers to the animal that, according to legend, is said to have jumped the gorge. He also experiences a picturesque panoramic view of the southern Black Forest and the valley.

2. Make a stop in beautiful Gengenbach

black forest

It is one of the most beautiful “towns” in Germany. Half-timbered houses as far as the eye can see, towers, gates, corners and alleys in harmony. In the center of the market square and the town hall, which turns into the world’s largest Advent calendar house in winter. Then the facade becomes a magical work of art with works by world-famous artists such as Andy Warhol currently. 

Lifestyle and enjoyment are also available à la carte: exquisite Gengenbacher wine and typical Baden cuisine. In the side valleys the real Black Forest. A pleasure place on the German half-timbered and Baden wine route.

3. Quaint alleys in the historic town Zell am Harmerbach

black forest

Zell am Harmersbach will inspire you with its historical charm. You can stroll through the narrow streets, have a leisurely coffee or buy small souvenirs for loved ones at home.

Strolling, shopping, looking: nothing is neglected on a detour to the historic town of Zell am Harmersbach. Cozy alleys and secluded corners, small street cafes and shops, beautiful half-timbered and Art Nouveau houses and a diverse museum landscape that inspires.

4. The “Grand Canyon in the Black Forest”

black forest

At Titisee-Neustadt you will discover an impressive sight in the Black Forest: the rough Wutach Gorge . This is not unjustifiably nicknamed the “ Grand Canyon of the Black Forest ”. The natural region is about 30 kilometers long and presents a rich flora and fauna. Geologists can read different layers of the earth.

5. Make a point to visit Villa Haiss

black forest

The Museum Villa Haiss is a private museum for modern art in Germany. It is located in the Baden town of Zell am Harmersbach, a former Free Imperial City in the Ortenau district, not far from Offenburg.

The house, which was built by a manufacturer in 1830 and is now a listed building, was acquired in the 1990s by the gallery owner Walter Bischoff, who restored the villa and opened it as a private museum for contemporary art in 1997 after a two-year conversion period. A total of 850 m² is available for exhibitions.

The museum shows a representative collection with paintings , photographs andSculptures of European and American art since 1945. In the park opposite there are five original elements of the Berlin Wall from the museum collection since 1999. These are the only five contiguous parts outside of Berlin.

6. Visit Neuried

black forest

A holiday resort that impresses with its beautiful half-timbered houses.

Neuried is located in the three cities of Offenburg-Lahr-Kehl and the new “Pierre Pflimlin” bridge over the Rhine connects Germany with France. On the signposted Mühlenrundweg all cyclists get their money’s worth without much effort.

7. Swim in the Titisee

black forest
  • The Titisee is located in the southern Black Forest about 30km east of Freiburg
  • Size: about 2km long and 1km wide
  • Possibilities: swimming, surfing, sailing, pedal boat rental, tours with the excursion boat

The Titisee owes its formation to the last ice age. Up until 10,000 years ago, a glacier stretched from the Feldberg to what is now Lake Titisee. The basin carved out by the glacier and the terminal moraine form the Titisee today.

The lake is 850 m above sea level, is 2 km long, almost 1 km wide and 40 m deep. The Titisee invites you to swim, sail, windsurf, pedal boating and stroll along the promenade.

8. Visit the Schwarzenbachtalsperre

Just because you are in the Black Forest doesn’t mean it has to be the Titisee or the Schluchsee. The dam of the Schwarzenbachtalsperre, built in 1926, is impressive in every season. Now in autumn the forest around the clear lake shines in the most beautiful colors. In summer you can rent a small pedal boat or just go for a swim. After crossing the dam, a signposted hiking trail leads along the lake.

9. Visit Alpirsbacher Brauwelt

A must for all friends of beer, because the monks in Alpirsbach brewed the barley juice 900 years ago. The brewery museum guides you through the history and present of the art of brewing and in the monastery distillery the refinement of beer to high proof is explained.

10. Climb the Tree Top path in Bad Wildbad

You have never experienced the Black Forest like this before: a wooden walkway leads over the forest floor over a total length of 1,250 meters and at a height of up to 40 meters. In addition to informative boards about the forest, it is the mere view of the treetops that amazes young and old. The highlight of the nature trail is climbing the wooden spiral.

11. Go river bed hiking

Various organizers offer river bed hikes along the Murg near Raumünzach. What sounds like a quiet morning quickly turns out to be a full-blown adventure. Depending on the provider, entry into the river bed is only possible by abseiling from a bridge and there are no pebbles in the river bed, but meter-high rocks that you have to climb over.

Why is the Black Forest actually called the Black Forest?

Two thousand years ago, the Romans moved north from what is now Italy to expand their empire. Back then there were no rolling hills, meadows and pastures like today. There was only one large, contiguous area of ​​forest. The Romans gave this the name “silva nigra”. This is Latin and means something like “black forest”.

The name comes from the trees that stand there: They are mainly spruce. These conifers are not black either, but they grow very quickly and densely. This is why the forest looks particularly dark where the spruce trees are. Almost black.

Black Forest cake: A must for every coffee table

Black Forest cake is one of the most popular and well-known cakes in Germany and even in the whole world.

Since when has the Black Forest cake actually existed and who invented it in the first place? Opinions are divided on this. According to tradition, the confectioner Josef Keller is said to have created it as early as 1915 – but not in the Black Forest, but in Bad Godesberg near Bonn. Other sources show that the idea for the Black Forest cake came from pastry chef Erwin Hildenbrand from Tübingen , where the classic has been served since 1930.

In the literature, however, there is also talk of a dessert that was extremely popular many years earlier, especially in the southern Black Forest, and that was made from cream, cherries and kirsch. On the other hand, the so-called Black Forest cake with a sponge cake base, cherries and walnuts comes from Switzerland . These two variants are also conceivable as the original form and forerunner of the Black Forest cake.

There are also several approaches to the origin of the name “Black Forest Cake”. One theory says that the cake with its cherries and chocolate shavings is reminiscent of the classic Black Forest women’s costume with a red Bollenhut. Another variant is based on the fact that the dark chocolate flakes are a symbol for the trees of the Black Forest.

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