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your favorite towns in the Black Forest area

We are going to be based in Freiburg for a few days and have a car. There are many towns in the Black Forest area within driving range. I have the RS book but there are more places listed than one could visit! I was hoping to get advice on towns that you loved to visit, or on the flip side thought that if you had it to do again you'd skip.

Posted by
8122 posts

John: I would prefer swing a little farther east and south of the Black Forest. Many like Fuessen, Germany and southern Bavaria. I personally love Tirol and the mountains of Western Austria, especially with a rental car. The Austrian Alps is absolutely stunning in beauty and very easy to travel throughout.
Southwest Germany (Black Forest) is okay but not truly stunning in scenery.

Posted by
704 posts

Towns we liked: Staufen, and Titisee (town and lake). Also, Breisach and Neuf-Brisach (in France). Enjoy.

Posted by
6620 posts

Your best source of ideas on the Black Forest will come from folks who have actually explored it in some depth. I suggest you have a look at the trip reports at Bavaria Ben's website (he might just as well call himself Black Forest Ben, as he's probably spent as much time there as in Bavaria.) Scan the page below for "Black Forest" or "Schwarzwald" and you'll get great photos and details from Ben and his traveling friends. Bavaria Ben's trip reports Gengenbach is a stunning little place of old town walls, towers, and half-timbered buildings. You might enjoy the Vogtsbauernhof in Gutach, one of Ben's favorite stops. Schiltach, Wolfach, Villingen, and Haslach are other stand-outs for me. Finally, don't pay for a rental and $9/gal. gas; these towns and many others are connected by hourly trains. Stay in Gengenbach, not Freiburg, and make daytrips to Freiburg and the other towns. Why? Gengenbach and 130+ other small towns offer you a guest card that you cannot get in Freiburg for FREE train travel during your stay. REALLY. The scenic Black Forest Railway gets you from Gengenbach to the other villages I mentioned above.

Posted by
19090 posts

My favorite part of the Black Forest is the northern part, the towns of Calw, Bad Herrenalb, Bad Wildbad, Freudenstadt, and Alpirsbach. I also enjoyed the ride on the Schwarzwaldbahn. But I agree with Russ. Don't rent a car until you thoroughly explore the public transportation options, which are FREE if you stay in many Black Forest towns.

Posted by
6620 posts

Like Lee, I like Calw and some of the other towns in the extreme northern end of the Black Forest. But I did not suggest these since you seem intent on visiting Freiburg, which is near the opposite end of the BF. You could possibly visit Calw from Gengenbach, but it would take upwards of 2 hours to get there. Lee's suggested towns of Freudenstadt and Alpirsbach would be much simpler to visit from Gengenbach - around one hour or less, just like all the other towns I suggested in my post. The double-decker trains along the Black Forest railway are good for sightseeing. This MAP shows the Black Forest railway in red and the location of some of the towns mentioned above. Gengenbach isn't on the map but lies close to Offenburg.

Posted by
252 posts

We have stayed in Staufen and Gengenbach. We were charmed by both places.

Posted by
12040 posts

If you're interested in the mountain scenery, the southern Black Forest is the far more impressive region. This contains the highest peaks in Germany outside of the Alps. The rest of the Black Forest, though? Pretty much indistinguishable from any other low mountain range in the country... large portions of southern and central Germany consist of a series of similar interconnected ranges. That being said, the only two towns I've really visited along the whole range are Baden-Baden and Freiburg. Baden-Baden is OK, but nothing special. I liked Freiburg well enough.

Posted by
32685 posts

We love Gengenbach but that is the other end of the Black Forest from where you will be.

Posted by
7248 posts

One reason people take the free train is because easy forest hiking is so popular in the Black Forest. I happened to stay in Hinterzarten, at a luxury hotel. After a nice day in Freiburg, I got off the train in Titisee (which turned out to be too much like Provincetown, MA) for the purpose of walking back to Hitnerzarten. Although I'm not an outdoorsy guy, I enjoyed it very much. The TI line was so long I couldn't get a trail map, and I ended up straying onto the "intermediate" trail from the "easy" trail, but it wasn't so hard. Also, the driver will not get to enjoy the views, because it's like driving in the mountains here in the U.S. The roads are narrow, hilly, and curvy. I had a car to see waterfalls and things on the way in and out, but I didn't use it while in my BF hotel.