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Must-sees in the Black Forest?

We will be spending three nights in Freiburg in June, and we will be renting a car (because we really need one to get to a tiny town where my husband's family originated) so won't be using the train pass that I know is available.

Given that we will have a car -- any suggestions for "must sees" outside of Triburg and Baden Baden?

Would you stay in Germany or consider a day trip to France?

Is the Europa Park actually worth the time/money if you've already seen DisneyWorld?

Thanks!!

Posted by
346 posts

First I must say- there is no such thing as a “must do” for everyone. It entirely depends on interests, time, and personal preferences.

Do you love theme parks? I’m not sure why having been to one theme park you’d wonder if you should visit another. A bit like saying you’ve been to one big city you’ve seen them all. If you enjoyed yourself and like idea of rides and that kind of entertainment of course you can visit! There’s no one way or style to vacation.

As for France, no with only 3 nights in the area I wouldn’t pack even more in to your itinerary.

Do you want to go hiking? Tour small towns? Is off the beaten path and quirky your thing or classic sites? Many here will chime in I’m sure and ask for more information to help guide suggestions.

Posted by
361 posts

Gengenbach is an especially charming and well-preserved town.

Not as famous as Triberg, but we found the Geroldsauer Wasserfall to be quite rewarding. It is an easy 2-mile loop through the valley and along a creek. Trailhead from Malschbach. But definitely Triberg is the "must see" for waterfalls in the region.

Mummelsee can be kitschy fun if you like Black Forest ham. What we thought was fog over the lake (large pond really), was actually smoke from them smoking the hams next door. The lake has a gruesome fairy-tale/folk legend associated with it, which makes for lots of souvenirs. (Again, kitschy, but also not a typical stop for most Americans, I think.)

During your stay in Freiburg, I definitely recommend seeking out the Feierling brewery's biergarten. Terrific fun, beer, food, and music. The town's cathedral and Augustinermuseum should also absolutely be on your itinerary while you are there.

Finally, it might seem like a tourist trap, but the Trinkhalle in Baden Baden (which is worth seeing anyway) had a great cafe/wine bar that honestly had the best Black Forest cake of our trip.

I think I've given you more than three nights' recommendations, so I'd say there's plenty in Germany by the time you visit the ancestral village too. Save France for another day...

Posted by
8062 posts

I think the Black Forest open air museum (someone will come up with the name and location) is worth a visit, if you want to see how they lived in the region centuries ago.

Posted by
31007 posts

Black Forest Open Air Museum, Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof, is in Gutach.

Bergbaufreilichtmuseum Erzpoche Hausach is in Hausach, nearby.

Posted by
4490 posts

I stayed in Gengenbach for 4 nights earlier this year and loved it - there was a lot to see and do and the town is extremely picturesque. It's been called a "chocolate-box" village. Wonderful restaurants, too. Definitely worth a day trip.

I especially enjoyed visiting the Vogstbauerhof (Black Forest Open Air Museum) which was a delight. I am so glad I went here - it was fascinating and beautiful and easily accessible by train or car. I spent hours here and really enjoyed it.

Given your lack of time, I would forget about France. You will have a hard time seeing all the Black Forest sights in the time you have.

Posted by
1140 posts

I enjoyed the walk around the Titisee. Lift to the top of the Feldberg and walk around. Many other waterfalls other than Triburg.

Posted by
18855 posts

won't be using the train pass that I know is available

I think you are referring to the Konus Card (website in German, but select "English" under "translation" - upper left). It's the pass that comes with your Kurtax (resort tax) in the Black Forest. It's not just for trains; it's also for buses, of which there is a vast network in the Black Forest.

Before you assume that you need a car to get to that tiny town, look up the connection on the Bahn website (it has more that just trains).

In the last 20 years, I've spent the night in 36 towns in Germany. I can't even begin to count how many small towns I've visited without an overnight stay. 15 of those 36 towns (42%) where I've stayed overnight have been smaller than 10,000 people; 6 were smaller than 5000 people. I got to 13 of the 15 by rail, the other two by bus. So don't just assume that you can't get somewhere in Germany by public transportation.

BTW, what's the name of the town. Is it really near Freiburg, or farther out in the Black Forest. Another major BF town might be a better place to stay.

Posted by
2156 posts

Staying in Freiburg, the KONUS card is not offered.

The Voghtsbauernhof is a top choice - if you like that sort of thing ( I did ). About 100 yards away is a nice alpine coaster which is nexpensive and when I have been there, not crowded.

I wouldn’t consider Baden-Baden a must see unless you want the spa experience.

For France you might look at Colmar ( Unterlinden Museum ) and Strasburg ( Petite France, canal boat ride ) and the various wine villages in between.

Gengenbach and Schiltach as well as other towns along the Kinzig River are charming.

Posted by
6220 posts

"We will be spending three nights in Freiburg in June..."

The charm of the Black Forest resides in its smaller towns and villages, where townfolk lead a somewhat simpler life that is less influenced by the big world outside. I should think you might gain a better understanding of the culture and history there if you actually stayed in places that are "Black-Foresty." Freiburg really is a world apart from the Black Forest. The same is true for Baden-Baden (think casinos, spa treatments.) While Freiburg and B-B might be interesting places to visit for some, and while they enjoy prominent space in Rick Steves' less-than-thorough handling of the Black Forest region, I suggest that you find base-town accommodations somewhere else.

Below is a link to Bavaria Ben's webpages for the Black Forest. Ben and his friends/acquaintances have collectively spent thousands of days exploring the Black Forest, and their experiences and finds might be helpful. While the site is dated now, the point of it is to show you the types of places you might stay instead. Some inns/farms/B&B's are likely operational - you might do a search for them.

http://bensbauernhof.org/farmscentralbf.html

main page: http://bensbauernhof.org/index.html

I am on the same page as Lee regarding public transport. Small town size is not an indicator of isolation. I've had a car in the BF (once) and have done multiple visits to different parts of the BF by train. I vastly preferred the rail trips - and the occasional bus trips - I took in connection with those trains worked out just fine too.

The Vogtsbauernhof is a major must-see if you believe in must-sees.

Gengenbach (where you CAN get the KONUS card) is both a charming and effective base town for rail travel, as already mentioned. Nice restaurants there, but look also into Baiersbronn for Michelin-class dining if you're into that. It would be fairly simple to day trip by train from Gengenbach into Freiburg and Baden-Baden (if you have reason to visit those places.)

Posted by
6687 posts

Because you're going in June, I'd be ready for crowds. Maybe I had bad luck, but although the Titisee TI was well-staffed, I got behind several foreign tourists who took forever to make themselves understood (no English, French, or German.) All I really needed was the hiking map, which I probably could have downloaded and printed out at home. Although that hiking was simple, safe, and non-demanding, there were three different levels of trail for the same route.

Posted by
113 posts

thanks so much for all your help! Will definitely get to Gegenbach and a few others, and will take those suggestions for beer garden and ham! will probably also stick with Germany... hubby has never been to Europe, so stepping foot in France sounded fun -- but maybe not worth the effort lol!

I picked out Freiburg specifically because it's a direct shot from Berlin where we're starting from AND an easy trip into the parts of Switzerland we'd like to see -- and I really did do the research to find that my husband's roots are in a town so small that while, yes, we could take a bus, it would be a pain the bleep to do so. So yeah, Konus is probably not gonna work for us... but that's ok, it's just a few days out of our trip. We will be getting other passes in Switzerland, etc.!

Posted by
1 posts

The Voghtsbauernhof is a top choice - if you like that ( I did ). About 100 yards away is an excellent alpine coaster which is expensive and when I have been there, not crowded.

I wouldn’t consider Baden-Baden a must-see unless you want the spa experience.

For France, you might look at Colmar ( Unterlinden Museum ) and Strasburg ( Petite France, canal boat ride ) and the various wine villages in between.

Gengenbach and Schiltach as well as other towns along the Kinzig River are charming.

Posted by
4490 posts

I really did do the research to find that my husband's roots are in a town so small that while, yes, we could take a bus, it would be a pain the bleep to do so.

I don't blame you, Lisa. When I went to Germany earlier this year, I used the train to get around most places but decided to rent a car for my stay in Ostbevern, which is where my great-great-great grandfather came from. The train station was several miles out of town, and buses were not that regular. It would have cost me so much time to use public transportation, so I opted for the rental car. 😊

Posted by
2129 posts

we will be renting a car

In that case, I would make a trip to the source of the Danube, more precisely, to the longest source river of the Danube, the Breg. The source is located at an altitude of over 1000 meters in a beautiful location of the Black Forest (near Furtwangen), which is also invites for some nice hiking. After all, this is the source of the longest river in Europe, apart from the Volga.

By the way, I met up there this summer an elderly man from Romania, who explained to me in impeccable Italian that he lives in the Danube delta on the Black Sea and that he had dreamed all his life to see once the source of "his" river. And I told him that I live on a tributary of the Danube, not far from where it flows into the Danube, and would like to see where the Danube flows into the sea. Next year, hopefully, we will see it together.