The Best of the Black Forest
The cultural traditions in southwest Germany (think cuckoo clocks, Black Forest ham, and Black Forest cake) offer delights for every budget—whether you’re after the five-star luxury of Baden-Baden’s baths or prefer camping and hiking on the lovely mountainsides of Feldberg.
Black Forest, CO, USA
The Black Forest, Schwardzwald in German, is a gorgeous pine-wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg with a number of historic towns. If the numerous Michelin star restaurants in this area (think black forest ham and black forest cake) aren’t enough to get you there, the numerous long footpaths will. The region includes part of the E1 European long-distance footpath, which passes through neighboring countries and always has plans for expansion. Its highest peak is the Feldberg, at 4,898 ft. But this area is not just for long trekkers, a variety of short walks are possible too. Stop in towns like Freiburg and Calw, and Gengenbach. Don’t miss the All Saints and Triberg waterfalls. Find the perfect shoe for any hike at: http://www.keenfootwear.com/
Schillerstraße 4/6, 76530 Baden-Baden, Germany
Opened in 1872, Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa enjoys a distinguished reputation throughout Germany and beyond. The Shah of Persia, the King of Siam, and a young King Edward VII all stayed here at one point, drawn by the hotel’s remarkable Villa Stéphanie—one of the most advanced, not to mention scenic, medical spas in Europe (it’s set within a picturesque park, bisected by the Oos River). Overall, the hotel balances five-star accommodations with an intimate ambience, thanks to the fact that it’s family-run and has just 104 guest rooms. Interiors are classic but welcoming, and include several stylish public areas and dining options, from the Wintergarten (for Mediterranean cuisine) to the newer Fritz & Felix (a more cosmopolitan restaurant-bar hybrid).
Titisee, 79822, Germany
One of several lakes in the Black Forest, Lake Titisee—a mile or so long and around 130 feet deep—is particularly picturesque thanks to its surrounding hills, mountains, and woods. At the lake’s main shore, about 20 miles east of Freiburg, visitors will find the small, laid-back town of Titisee-Neustadt, with charming boutiques, traditional cafés, and a few restaurants and ice-cream shops. Rent a rowboat to explore the lake, or come in winter to ski the mountains. The Action Forest Kletterwald offers six different climbing courses and two zip lines for kids, and most hotels in the area are family-friendly. If it’s too crowded in summer, head to the smaller but quieter Schluschsee Lake.