The Black Forest or Schwarzwald has always had a mysterious history surrounding it. Some of the secrets of the Black Forest have to do with its landscapes filled with a dense canopy and thickness of trees. Dark shadows and black woods have given writers inspiration for decades. The Brothers Grimm were preoccupied with it and I’m pretty sure Game of Thrones (GoT) George R.R. Martin was inspired here as well.
It is on the top of my list for vacation perfection. Its open meadows, winding roads, hills, mountains, waterfalls and streams, cool air and friendly people is what draws me back every time.
I love discovering new things with every visit. Its’ no secret there are hidden treasures of the Black Forest in Germany. Here are a few of my treasures.
We actually found the little town(s) of Todtmoos by accident. I began doing research on a romantic weekend getaway for two that was driveable from Stuttgart. It is also accessible from Switzerland and France. I happened to find an annual Ice Sculpture Festival. This small, quaint local festival draws people from all over the world for their magnificent designs.
It is a 2-hour drive from Stuttgart and yes, it has on winding roads, so it may not be for everyone, but this doesn’t really bother either of us.
I like these WRIST BANDS (affiliate link) if my passengers are sensitive to car sickness however and chew some gum.
By the time we decided to take this spur-of-the-moment trip, we found ourselves in the nearby town of Todtmoos.
Where to stay?
Gerbacherhof, Todtmoos-Au, Germany
Once you meet Roger and Bernadette of Gersbacherhof it will be hard to stay anywhere else in the region. Personal and elegant service from the minute you arrive at your 5-star meals in the restaurant. You will be so fat and happy when you get ready to check out, you may never want to leave.
On a recent visit, we did a little hiking. Roger knows several trails in the area and recommended a 7-mile (out and back) route for us to take as a family. It was an absolutely perfect day.
If you are hiking in the Black Forest, you’ll need hiking boots. It is only in dry during the summer months and muddy trails are quite common. I love mud! Be safe though and maybe bring some poles and rain gear too. These links are to my favorite hiking equipment.
This year we discovered the town of Badenweiler and its location is a mystery to me too. The oldest Roman Therme (ruins) in all of Germany. One of the largest Thermal Spas, Cassiopeia and I had never heard of it.
As a matter of fact, my German neighbor said, “how do you know about Badenweiler?” Evidently, they like to keep it a secret too. This posh, elegant town on the Swiss/French border is a charmer.
Baden – Baden
If you have been on a day trip with me to Baden-Baden, you know how much I love this ancient town. Believed to have been visited by Cleopatra and countless Kings and Queens throughout history this opulent, incredibly beautiful town nestled in Baden-Württemberg is an easy visit to add to any itinerary or a weekend getaway for sure.
The baths are only one highlight of the town. The streets are filled with boutique shops and elegant restaurants. My favorite restaurant in BB is Le Bistro. I have visited so frequently they know me by my first name. The food is always excellent, service and impeccable presented. Especially during the busy months, you will want to make reservations.
Baden-Baden’s casino is another little secret in the forest tourists either don’t know about or has been overlooked its’ presence. Whatever the case may be, I always feel like I am in a 007 movie. There is a dress code, mostly for the men, coat, and tie are required. For women, dresses, skirts or nice slacks.
Be sure to order a martini there just for fun. It’s a bit on the pricey side by YOLO, (You only live once), right?
Rottweil is the oldest town in Baden-Württemberg (BW) and has a tumultuous past. From Roman occupation and Germanic tribes, spooky stories surround it even today. Considered by many to be a gateway city to the Black Forest, with the incredible (newly renovated) gate to the city that overlooks the town and welcomes you in, I can see why they would think this thought.
Rottweil is my go-to town if someone is visiting from the States. Mostly because it is only an hour’s drive from Stuttgart and it provides a taste of the Black Forest, it is surrounded by half-timbered houses, great shops, and restaurants, museums, and the visitors center is located right in the heart of the Altstadt (Old town.)
Rottweil is also home to the most traditional and oldest Fasching festival in the area. This age-old parade that takes place at the end of February marks the end of winter and the beginning of the lent season. The costumes and tomfoolery of this festival are totally family-friendly.
Lake Titisee-Neustadt is definitely a Black Forest secret for the average traveler through Germany but it is definitely a local favorite. Every time I visit this lake village we are surrounded by French and Swiss who love this little respite just across their borders.
I think you will fall in love with it too. During the spring and summer, there is a lake boat available for about €5/person. It is a quick ride and gives you a tour of the glacier lake in both German and English. I learned a lot! Like it is the deepest freshwater lake in Germany and was carved out from a glacier over 40,000 years ago. Also during the summer swimming is available too on their little “beaches.”
If you grew up on a lake like I did in the Adirondacks memories and nostalgia start flooding your thoughts.
This is my favorite restaurant in Lake Titisee! Also, this little town in Baden-Württemberg is available by train, a regional or Baden-Württemberg ticket! Check it out!
The Schwarzwald Tourism does such a fantastic job on promoting outdoor recreation from winter sports, thermal baths, hiking, and fun parks you’ll want to make it your go-to destination too. How do you feel now getting a few of my Black Forest secrets! Cool, huh!
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