The Black Forest
Germany is a land blessed with so much natural beauty and historical and cultural interest, but those who are fortunate enough to encounter the Black Forest area will experience an altogether different blend of magic and wonder.
About this Germany walking region
From the upmarket spa town of Baden-Baden in the north to the Swiss border of the South and from the French Alsace east almost to Lake Constance is where you will find the renowned Schwarzwald (Black Forest) – a captivating landscape with a varied vista of meandering hills, valleys, rivers and forests.
The Black Forest region is predominantly made up of two large conservation areas: the Central/Northern Black Forest (3,750 km²/1,448 mi²) – Germany’s largest nature park – and the Southern Black Forest (3,700 km²/1,429mi²).
There is an abundance of woodland – around 60% of the area in total – and to the west, towards the Rhine Valley and France, there are some picturesque vineyards. Most of the land lies at 900m (2,953ft) above sea level, with some of the peaks rising to over 1,300m (4,265ft).
The Central/Northern section is characterised by gentle, rolling hills and several small and charming towns which are waiting to be explored. The Southern Black Forest has quite a different landscape where dense patches of forest hide a number of traditional hill farms. It is this half of the Black Forest which offers the steeper climbs and many would argue, the more dramatic scenery.
There are many wonderful old towns to explore in the Black Forest, such as Freiburg and Calw (the birthplace of author Hermann Hesse) as well as some spectacular waterfalls, including the Triberg Waterfalls, which are arguably Germany’s finest.
A visit to this region would not be complete without tasting some of its famous local delicacies, especially Black Forest ham and the chocolatey deliciousness that is Black Forest gateau. And if you want the perfect souvenir, then it has to be a cuckoo clock! They have been the symbol of the Black Forest for centuries and production is still thriving.
Walking in The Black Forest
The Black Forest enjoys more hours of sunshine per year than any other part of Germany and is blessed with a healthy snowfall most winters, making it a year-round holiday destination. From early May to October, the area becomes a haven for walkers, and just about every corner of this region is worth spending time in.
The Black Forest offers an incredible 20,000km (12,427mi) of well-signposted trails which afford walkers some wonderful sights and viewpoints that often cannot be accessed by car, including castle ruins and waterfalls. For those looking for a more demanding hiking experience, there are plenty of long-distance trails waiting to be discovered as well.