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Black Forest - nature at its best and traditional customs

200 kilometres long and up to 60 kilometres wide, the Black Forest is renowned for its stunning scenery, traditional customs and secluded old farmhouses. Situated in the far south-west of Baden-Württemberg right  in the borders with France and Switzerland, the region has a wide variety of landscapes: the north is densely wooded, the centre consists of broad valley meadows, and the south features wide, open plateaus up to 1,500 metres in altitude. Only about two thirds of the total area of this holiday region consists of mountains. The rest is made up of the fertile Rhineland Plain and wine-growing regions such as the Markgräfl erland and Kaiserstuhl regions. The Black Forest is famous around the world for its cuckoo clocks.
Vogtsbauernhof Open-Air Museum - 400-year-old Black Forest farmhouses
The film industry discovered the idyllic countryside of the Black Forest back in the 1950s, putting the region on the map with the film "Schwarzwaldmädel" (The Black Forest Girl; 1950), and making it a popular holiday destination. The region later became an international hit in 1985 as the setting for the popular German soap opera, "Black Forest Clinic". Few other regions in Germany embody the image of wild and romantic scenery as perfectly as the Black Forest with its secluded spots, idyllic lakes and waterfalls. Its castle ruins, palaces and abbeys are popular attractions that provide the perfect setting for a number of festivals and concerts.

The Black Forest countryside has been formed over the centuries by the effects of farming and has taken on its unique form through cultivation. Today, you can still find the typical wide-roofed Black Forest farmhouses nestling in rolling meadows all over the region. Visitors can enjoy guided tours and a number of special activity days at the Vogtsbauernhof Open Air Museum, at which they can see a variety of farm buildings from the 16th to the 19th century and learn how the Black Forest farmers used to live and work.
Lake Titisee - the largest natural lake in the Black Forest
Lake Titisee is one of the most famous lakes in Europe, formed by the Feldberg glacier. You can explore the lake and the remarkable Black Forest scenery on an enchanting cruise boat or even on the reconstructed Roman galley Titus. From Mount Hochfirst, just outside the health resort of Titisee-Neustadt, you can enjoy impressive views of the Feldberg mountain and Lake Titisee, sometimes stretching as far as the Alps.
Rottweil, Baden-Württemberg's oldest town
Freiburg, Karlsruhe and Baden-Baden are probably the most famous towns and cities in the Black Forest. But the region is also home to Baden-Württemberg's oldest town, Rottweil, which was founded in the 12th centuryby the Hohenstaufen dynasty. At the heart of this picturesque town is an ensemble of listed buildings. Built in the Late Renaissance style in 1599, Freudenstadt is home to Germany's largest market square. With its beautiful old quarter and host of small shops and cafés, it is a good place to browse, stroll and sample some regional specialities. You can also soak up the romantic atmosphere at the Christmas market with its traditional trumpeters.
Mineral, radon and mud treatments in the Black Forest
The Black Forest has the highest concentration of spas, health resorts and thermal baths in the spa region of Baden-Württemberg. Of the 46 hotels in Baden-Württemberg whose wellness facilities have been assessed in accordance with a strict classification system, 36 of those with three to five 'Wellness Stars' are in the Black Forest. The region also has 14 award-winning thermal and mineral baths, including the famous thermal baths in Baden-Baden and Bad Wildbad. The radon spa in St. Blasien and mud spas in Bad Peterstal and Bad Rippoldsau also offer an unusual range of packages. Treat yourself to a Gutedel wellness spa in Badenweiler - a selection of health and beauty treatments using wine essence and grapeseed oil.
Black Forest gateau and ham - culinary superstars
Regional specialities such as creamy Black Forest gateau, Black Forest ham and fruit brandies (Kirsch schnapps, Zibärtle) are enjoyed by people far and wide. Badensian wines are also very popular, in particular the pinot noir and riesling. The Markgräflerland is the only region in Germany that produces the Gutedel wine in significant volumes. You can enjoy a range of typical Black Forest dishes at one of the many simple snack bars, vintners' taverns or country inns. Visitors will also find a fantastic selection of restaurants serving haute cuisine. The Black Forest is home to 378 excellent restaurants featured in the five leading restaurant guides. Baiersbronn, in the northern Black Forest, is home to star chefs such as Harald Wohlfahrt and is the only place in Germany with six stars shared between three restaurants.

Tradition and history

  • Freiburg: Church of our Lady (Gothic minster with ornate tower)
  • St. Blasien: cathedral with the third-largest church dome in Europe
  • Casino in Baden-Baden and Festival Hall
  • Furtwangen: German Clock Museum
  • Swabian-Alemannic Carnival Bollenhut (pom-pom hat) maker in Gutach in the Kinzig Valley

Hospitality and gastronomy

  • Black Forest gateau festival in Todtnauberg every other year (next one in 2008)
  • The Black Forest is the 'fruit basket' of Germany - cherries, plums and strawberries are grown
  • Bibbliskäs (cream cheese with herbs) and brägele (fried potatoes)
  • Pretzels (especially in Kandern)
  • Freiburg's wine festival

Romanticism and charm

  • Black Forest Music Festival with around 40 concerts at 25 venues throughout the region; classical, jazz, choirs, musical entertainment (every year from April to July)
  • Ettlingen Castle Festival
  • Medieval tournaments in Horb (June)

Countryside and scenery

  • Climbing on Battertfelsen rock near Baden-Baden
  • The Kaiserstuhl dormant volcano, a region with rare fauna and flora
  • Taubergiessen: meadowland around the Altrhein river near Sasbach (nature conservation area)
  • Southern Black Forest: Wutach gorge (nature conservation area)
  • Wildsee Moor, Gernsbach
  • Southern Black Forest nature reserve
  • North/Central Black Forest nature reserve