The well-known Black Forest (Schwarzwald in German) is undoubtedly one of Germany's best-known regions. It is the source of Europe's favourite river, the Danube. The mountain range, located not far from Stuttgart, got its name from the dark colour of the many coniferous trees.
The main economic sector of the 6,000 km2 area is tourism (it used to be mining). Baden Baden and Freiburg are the most significant cities in terms of tourism, so if you are looking for accommodation, you should look around in that direction.
Map - Where is the Black Forest?
The densely forested mountainous region is located in Baden-Württemberg, in the southwestern part of Germany. It is bounded by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The nearest major German city is Stuttgart. The area can be divided into 3 major parts: southern, northern and central regions.
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- Distance from Stuttgart: 2 hours / 130 km
- Distance from Bodensee: 2 hours / 150 km
- Distance from Zurich: 2.5 hours / 170 km
- Distance from Vienna: 8 hours / 800 km
Black Forest National Park
In the northern part of the region, you can also find the Black Forest National Park, founded only in 2014. The park does not encompass the entire Black Forest. The national park covers an area of 10,062 hectares and stretches between Baden-Baden and Baiersbronn.
The highest peaks
You won't find exceptionally high mountains and four thousand snow-capped peaks in the countryside - rather modest mountains between 1000 and 2000 m. The countryside is much more about easy walks and hiking than climbing. The highest peak is Feldberg (1493 m).
- Feldberg (1493 m)
- Herzogenhorn (1415 m)
- Belchen (1414 m)
- Schauinsland (1284 m)
- Kandel (1241 m)
- Blauen (1165 m)
- Hornisgrinde (1164 m)
Things to see & Attractions
Lush pine forests hide waterfalls, rivers, lakes and gorges from your eyes. Many of the region's breathtaking attractions are linked to wetlands rather than high peaks. Hence, waterfalls, lakes, and rivers were added to our list.
#1 Triberger waterfall
One of the largest waterfalls in Germany is located near Triberg. Through 7 steps, the Gutach river makes a difference in the level of about 163 meters. The fairytale-like waterfall is a particularly beautiful sight at sunset.
- Height of the waterfall: 230 m
- The difficulty of hiking route: easy
- Starting point: Triberg
- Child-friendly program? Yes
- Prices: 6 - 4 euros
You can find many hiking trails around the waterfall. These are usually easy hikes, from which the most popular trail is 2.1 km long.
- Address: Hauptstraße 85, 78098 Triberg im Schwarzwald
- Distance from the centre: 0.5 hours / 22 km
#2 Menzenschwander waterfall
In the tiny village of Menzenschwand, more natural wonders have been gathered in one place than anywhere else. The main attraction is the 30-meter Menzenschwander waterfall is illuminated in the evenings on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays - just like the Triberg waterfall.
If you would like to take a longer hike, then the 10-kilometre circular tour, the Menzenschwander Geißenpfad, is for you.
There are also several "black forest houses" in the area, which mostly resemble barns from the outside and are old farmhouses.
The forest's fauna is also special in this part; in addition to chameleons, there are also hunting grounds for several predatory birds around here. The Scheibenlechtenmoos marsh provides environmental diversity near St. Blasien.
- Address: Hinterdorfstraße 58, 79837 St. Blasien, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1.5 hours / 87 km
#3 Todtnauer waterfall
Between the mountains of Todtnau, the water rushes down 97 meters through the Todtnau waterfall into the valley. You might want to combine visiting the waterfall with a hike starting from the village, which includes a 6.1-kilometre-long route.
In addition to the waterfall, the 2.5-hour trail includes St. John's Church and St. Anne's Chapel. Stairs and footbridges will also border your path in the forest, and you should also prepare for the fact that you will have to conquer very serious climbs in some sections.
- Address: Kurhausstraße, 79674 Todtnau, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1.5 hours / 92 km
#4 Geroldsauer Wasserfall
The Grobbach River makes a 6-meter difference in level from one moment to the next, thanks to which you can see a magnificent waterfall in the northern part of the Black Forest.
The natural phenomenon near Baden-Baden is surrounded by a short path, where in the spring, more and more beautiful flowers decorate the otherwise green area.
It is hard to imagine a more ideal place for a romantic walk in the area. The lapping of the water, the smell of flowers and the basic noise of the living world provide an idyllic location for a trip with an intimate atmosphere.
- Address: Wasserfallstraße, 76534 Baden-Baden, Germany
- Distance from the Black Forest: 1.5 hours / 90 km
Not far from the village of Simonswald is the Zweribach waterfall, the collective name of 3 smaller waterfalls. Walking only 800 meters, you can admire an 8 m, a 3 m, and finally, a 15 m high waterfall.
Don't be fooled if some locals mention only two because not everyone considers the 3-meter waterfall a waterfall, but don't let that discourage you from stopping to visit it. You are especially lucky to visit here after it rains because you can enjoy an even richer view due to the increased water.
- Address: 79263 Simonswald, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 48 km
#6 Edelfrauengrab waterfalls
According to the legend, fate once found an unfaithful noblewoman here, and this is how the place got its name, as Edelfrauengrab means noblewoman's grave. In reality, what is certain is that a spectacular waterfall bears this name near Ottenhöfen, which tumbles into the depths right next to a cave.
This is only one of the 7 waterfalls, and the others offer a similarly wild sight. If you only go along the short trail, prepare for a 2-hour trip, but if you want to spend more time hiking, you can choose from longer routes, each 10-12 kilometres long.
- Address: 77883 Ottenhöfen im Schwarzwald, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 62 km
#7 Burgbachwasserfall waterfall
The peculiarity of the 32-meter-high Burgbach waterfall is that it blends into the surrounding vegetation with little exaggeration, and almost everything around it is green. The water of the Wolf river trickles down over solidified sandstone, mostly calmly and relatively quietly - but this natural treasure can certainly get wild after rain.
The waterfall is easily accessible starting from the small village of Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach and can be reached just a 10-minute walk from the parking lot. On the way to the waterfall, it is worth looking down on the village; it offers a fascinating view from above.
- Address: Burgbachstraße, 77776 Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 0.5 hours / 27 km
#8 Sankenbach waterfall
Near Baiersbronn, you can find the charming Sankenbach waterfall and the Sankenbachsee lake, where you can go on family-friendly trips.
In just 45 minutes, you can walk around the area consisting of 4 small waterfalls and a lake, but if you want to take a longer trip, you can choose a hiking route of up to 20 kilometres (which takes 6 hours).
You can also admire the equally fabulous Friedrichstal and Christophstal valleys. In both cases, the road leads through atmospheric footbridges, on which you can feel even closer to nature.
- Address: 72270 Baiersbronn, Germany
- Distance from the Black Forest: 1 hour / 50 km
#9 Allerheiligen waterfall
The All Saints waterfall, or waterfalls, are among the most beautiful natural phenomena of the Black Forest. While hiking in the wild gorge, you can encounter 7 waterfalls within a short section.
Together, the waterfalls overcome a 90-meter difference in level, for which the Lierbach River supplies the water. You can complete a shorter or longer hike: if you only want to admire the waterfalls, a section of only 600 meters can satisfy your desires, but you can have more fun if you choose the longer tour route. At a comfortable pace, the 3.6-kilometre trip takes 1.5 hours, with a 113-meter difference.
- Address: 77728 Oppenau, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 46 km
#10 Kloster Allerheiligen (All Saints Monastery)
If we discussed the All Saints waterfall before, let's stay here and talk about the monastery. The Monastery of All Saints was founded in 1192 near Oppenau. In 1248 it was taken over by Premontre monks.
Over the centuries, the building had a mixed fate. It was destroyed by fire in 1470, 1555 and 1804. Compared to this, the remaining part of the monastery is in surprisingly good condition. You can take beautiful pictures here.
A significant part of the altars and religious objects was moved from here to the churches of the surrounding settlements. Some objects can also be seen in the museum next to the monastery, and if you want a little refreshment, you will also find a charming little cafe on site.
- Address: Allerheiligen 3, 77728 Oppenau, Germany
- Distance from the All Saints waterfall: 15 minutes on foot / 2 minutes by car
#11 Baumwipfelpfad Schwarzwald
If you are wondering what the Black Forest looks like from above, this is your place!
The Baumwipfelpfad canopy promenade rises 20 meters above the forest, and a 1.2-kilometre-long route takes you to the top of the oval lookout. Thanks to its unique design, you don't even have to climb stairs, so even those who struggle with knee or ankle problems can go up easily. After admiring the unique view, you can slide down on the 55-meter-long slide.
- Address: Peter-Liebig-Weg 16, 75323 Bad Wildbad, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1.5 hours / 89 km
#12 Wutachschlucht gorge
The Wutach gorge is a favourite place for many hikers, as many hiking trails pass through the area. The Wutachschlucht is also one of the stops on the Schluchtensteig trail, which will lead you through the Black Forest for 120 kilometres.
Rugged valleys and adventurous wild rivers alternate here, as raging waterfalls, while the extremely diverse flora also offers countless things to explore. You can easily immerse yourself in the diversity of nature here.
- Address: Schattenmühle 1, 79843 Löffingen, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1.5 hours / 69 km
The locals just call it the angry river, referring to the force with which the waters of the Wutach roar. About a third of the 91-kilometre-long river flows within Germany's largest national park, the Naturpark Südschwarzwald. To this day, rivers can flow in the park largely unregulated, in the way nature created it.
In addition to the gorge, the Wutach river is worth a visit because of its smaller waterfalls. The most famous of these is probably the Lauffenmühle waterfall near Lauchringen.
#13 Ravennaschlucht gorge
The area around the Ravenna gorge and the Höllental valley can be a perfect destination if you want to make a medium-long trip in the Black Forest. The 6.6-kilometre loop trail starts near Breitnau.
For the most part, the path leads along the river bank, during which you will come across several waterfalls: the two most spectacular ones have been very creatively named Big and Small waterfalls. The former is 16 and the latter 6 meters high.
If you prefer cycling instead of walking, you have the option here, as you can also cycle through the Ravenna gorge. And if you get caught in the rain, be especially careful because the wooden parts can be very slippery.
- Address: Ravennaschlucht, 79874 Breitnau, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 64 km
#14 Wolfsschlucht gorge
Studded with special rock formations and promising a wild scene, the Wolfsschlucht - or Wolf's gorge - is one of the most beautiful gorges in the Black Forest. The route takes you through easier terrain, which is also recommended for children.
- Opening hours: every day, 00-24
- Free entry
- Address: 79400, Kandern, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 65 km
The area is the most beautiful in the fall - but don't let that hold you back if you're visiting in the summer. You can find the gorge in the southern part of the Black Forest.
The largest natural lake in the Black Forest is Titisee, the nearly 2 kilometres wide and 1-kilometre-long lake. There is an 8-kilometre hiking trail around the lake, where you can take beautiful walks in winter and summer.
This distance sounds much friendlier than the 180-kilometre Schwarzwald-Querweg Freiburg-Bodensee trail, which crosses the entire Black Forest and even goes beyond it, but what the two tours have in common is that they both have an important stop in Titisee-Neustadt.
- Address: Seestraße, 79822 Titisee-Neustadt, Germany
- Distance from the Black Forest: 1 hour / 65 km
#16 Lake Mummelsee
At the foot of the 1164-meter-high Hornisgrinde mountain is the 17-meter-deep lake, the Mummelsee. You can walk around the lake. The fantastic landscape is combined with easy-to-walk terrain, so it can also be an ideal destination for family trips.
According to legend, a Nixe, a shape-shifting mythological creature, lives in the lake, as well as the king of Mummelsee. Be that as it may or not, don't forget to admire the lake at sunset, because it also offers a beautiful sight in the evening.
- Address: 77889 Seebach, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 55 km
Erdmannshöhle is one of the few caves in the Black Forest. The most significant attraction of the tiny village of Hasel is the beautiful stalactite cave, which is partially open to the public.
A 360-meter-long section of the cave, which has more than 2 kilometres of passages, can be visited. Legend has it that one of the stalactites is the fossilized figure of a man named Erdmann, but others think its shape is more like a meerkat.
- Traditionally, you can take part in cave tours from the Sunday before Easter Sunday until November, and such a tour is usually 30-45 minutes long.
- Entrance tickets cost 3-5 euros per person
- Address: Wehrer Str. 25, 79686 Hasel, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 2 hours / 118 km
#18 Donauquelle - Source of the Danube
The origin of Europe's second-longest river within the Black Forest has been the subject of decades of debate. It is currently accepted that the Danube begins its continental conquest at the confluence of the Breg and Brigach streams at the settlement of Donaueschingen.
It is also a common view that the town of Furtwangen, located 30 kilometres from here, is designated as the source where the Breg stream also originates. Both places are worth visiting, but if you only have time for one, Donaueschingen is the more spectacular choice, where a beautiful fountain, the Donauquelle, marks the source of the Danube.
- Address 1: Fürstenbergstraße, 78166 Donaueschingen, Germany
- Address 2: 78120 Furtwangen, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 56 km
#19 Lotharpfad trail
The Lothar Trail is a 900-meter-long adventure trail near Baiersbronn. It got its name after the Lothar hurricane devastated the Black Forest in 1999, after which the locals came up with the idea of leaving everything that the hurricane had done on a smaller section.
Since then, the Lothar trail has served the purpose of showing visitors the damage caused by the destruction and how nature recovers from it. The trail, interspersed with stairs, bridges and ladders, can be completed in 1.5 hours at a comfortable pace.
- Address: Lotharpfad, 72270 Baiersbronn, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 43 km
#20 Schluchtensteig hiking trail
Schluchtensteig is one of the longest and most exciting hiking trails in the northern part of the Black Forest. The route consisting of sections is 119 kilometres long, and an average of 20 kilometres must be covered daily.
|Stühlingen – Blumberg||19 km||5.5 hours|
|Blumberg – Schattenmühle||20 km||6 hours|
|Schattenmühle – Fischbach||18 km||6 hours|
|Schluchsee-Fischbach – St. Blasien||20 km||5.5 hours|
|St. Blasien – Todtmoos||20 km||6 hours|
|Todtmoos – Wehr||22 km||7.5 hours|
If you stick to a more sporty and fast-paced schedule, it can be easily completed in 5 days, but you can meet so many natural wonders here that it's not worth rushing.
#21 Alte Schloss Hohenbaden Castle
It is not a unique sight in the Black Forest to have many trees around a castle, but everywhere you look around Hohenbaden Castle, everything is green, and the castle is completely overgrown with plants.
A part of the castle already stood in the 12th century, and due to its prestigious past, many people refer to it simply as "the old castle". This catchy name originates from the fact that this building was abandoned in the 15th century after a new castle took over its former role.
After that, the locals didn't take care of it for centuries, they even let it burn down once, and despite all that, it is still one of the most fantastic castle ruins in the area.
- Opening hours: 08:00 - 20:00
- Address: Alter Schloßweg 10, 76532 Baden-Baden, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 2.5 hours / 160 km
#22 Rötteln Castle
Rötteln Castle played a particularly important strategic role in the Middle Ages. The castle was built on a mountain area near the town of Lörrach and lay just 10 kilometres from the Rhine. Due to its geographical features, it was considered a safe place, and because of this, it often hosted lively cultural discussions and meetings.
If you want to travel back in time in peaceful surroundings, you can see the exhibition created from period objects in the castle museum.
- Address: Burg Rötteln, 79541 Lörrach, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 2 hours / 130 km
The skyline of the city of Waldkirch would be unimaginable without the Kastelburg. The special feature of the castle was built in 1280. At the edge of the road, it is surrounded by 8 life-size statues of knights, which is why the locals call it the road of the knights.
In 1634, during one of the battles of the 30-year war, the castle was damaged and was not restored. If you are curious about what it might have looked like in its original glory, you can see a model in the Elztalmuseum in Waldkirch.
If you like music and musical instruments, you should visit this museum, because hundreds of years old musical instruments are on display here.
- Address: 79183 Waldkirch, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 40 km
#24 Burgruine Zavelstein Castle
The ruins of Zavelstein Castle, built at the beginning of the 13th century, are equally popular with lovers of nature, history and architecture. The signs of the Romanesque-style inner courtyard can still be seen today, as well as the fact that it had to be renovated several times over the centuries.
After the Battle of Nördlingen, which took place in 1634, they no longer did so. One of the most significant battles of the 30 Years' War also had an impact on the state of the castle. Fortunately, only the castle tower remained - which is the jewel of the building.
- Address: Bergfried, 75385 Bad Teinach-Zavelstein, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1.5 hours / 89 km
#25 Hohenschramberg Castle
Schramberg Castle was built in the 15th century, then became a castle ruin during the War of the Palatinate Succession between 1688 and 1697. Although it has not been restored to its original state, it still offers a monumental live performance. The huge bastion and the chapel's tower offer an enticing sight from afar.
Families with small children also like to visit the castle, as it is a short and comfortable program. It is worth preparing for the fact that Hohenschramberg is surrounded by a lot of stairs to climb.
- Address: Hohenschramberg 1, 78713 Schramberg, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1.5 hours / 89 km
#26 Windgfällweiher reserve
The Windgfällweiher reserve is formed between two lakes - the previously presented Titisee and Schluchsee. The lake of the same name is at the centre of the 20-hectare protected area.
There are plenty of active options around the lake. You can rent a bike, a boat, or a SUP, and you can also swim in the lake. It is a perfect program for families and couples and even promises ideal relaxation with friends.
- Address: 79853 Lenzkirch, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1.5 hours / 76 km
#27 Schwenninger Swamp
The wooden path around the 3 km2 marsh is a real curiosity in the area. The Black Forest's only developed marsh area is easy to walk even with small children. Admission is free, and there are no opening hours.
The environment shows a different face in summer and autumn - just like in winter. So if you live in the area, it is worth visiting again in several seasons because of the varied scenery.
- Address: 78054 Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 1 hour / 50 km
#28 Feldberg (1493 m)
The 1493 m high Feldberg is the highest point of the Black Forest. If you like hiking and climbing, then conquer the peak. Feldberg is also the highest point in Germany which is not located in the Alps. The peak is located next to Lake Titisee. In winter, you can go skiing, supported by 28 lifts and numerous cross-country trails.
- Address: 79868 Feldberg, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 2 hours / 100 km
#29 Black Forest Open Air Museum
The purpose of the open-air museum is to bring the culture and traditions of the region closer to you. Here, visitors can choose from several programs. There are handicraft and equestrian programs and musical and culinary events. Before your trip, it is worth checking the website to see what program the museum is preparing for that week.
- Opening hours: From May to the end of October - every day, 09:00 - 18:00
- Address: Wählerbrücke 1, 77793 Gutach (Schwarzwaldbahn), Germany
- Distance from the centre: 15 minutes / 4 km
#30 Schwarzwald museum
To learn more about the history of the Black Forest region, you should visit the Black Forest Museum. The museum can also be exciting for children and is a perfect alternative for rainy days.
- Address: Wallfahrtstraße 4, 78098 Triberg im Schwarzwald, Germany
- Distance from the centre: 30 minutes / 20 km
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