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Black Forest
High peaks and wild, romantic gorges

Stream running through the Simonswald Valley

The Black Forest, or Schwarzwald to give it its German name, is famous the world over. Deeply rooted in its traditional culture and possibly best known as the home of the cuckoo clock, the Black Forest is an area of mountains and forest 200 kilometres long and up to 60 kilometres wide, which borders France in the west, Switzerland in the south, the Swabian Alb and Lake Constance in the east, and the Kraichgau region in the north.

Climatic, hydrotherapy and other health resorts are dotted all over the Black Forest, whose thermal springs have been prized since Roman times, The Enz, Nagold and Alb rivers and their tributaries have carved deep valleys into the densely wooded sandstone massif of the northern Black Forest region. On the plateaus the forest has only been partially cleared. Many spa resorts use the hot or mineral springs in the valleys for a variety of therapeutic treatments. These luxurious spa resorts are the perfect place for a traditional health cure or wellness break.

Town of typical Black Forest houses with church in the background

A journey through the northern Black Forest takes you through forests of fir and pine and across high plateaus. Ferns and foxgloves carpet the woods, while broom and lupins flourish at the sides of the roads. These plants are characteristic of this region between Karlsruhe, Pforzheim, Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt. A true paradise for walkers in both summer and winter with views as far as the Upper Rhine Plains and beyond the river to the Vosges mountains. Hotels are numerous and local attractions include Mount Hornisgrinde, Lake Mummelsee, Mount Schliffkopf, Mount Kniebis and the Schwarzenbach reservoir.

The central Black Forest around Offenburg features a variety of natural landscapes that blend harmoniously with the wooded mountains. In the hilly Ortenau region, Riesling, Ruländer, Traminer, Pinot Noir and Spätburgunder grapes grow on the steep vine-clad hills which drop down into the Upper Rhine Valley. A number of impressive ruins hark back to the region's colourful history.

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Highlights in brief

  • Pforzheim
    Jewellery town
  • Schonach
    Biggest cuckoo clock in the world
  • Triberg
  • Schramberg
    Astronomical clock
  • Eisenbach
    World clock
  • Freiburg
    University town, cathedral
  • Lenzkirch
    Spa resort, nature reserve
  • Wutach Gorge Mount
  • Feldberg
    Nature reserve, winter sports
  • Hasel
    Erdmann Cave (dripstone cave)
  • Maulbronn
    Maulbronn Monastery Complex (UNESCO World Heritage Site)