The Black Forest
The Black Forest is Germany’s largest nature park. The vast forests, beautiful mountain vistas, isolated lakes, and charming valleys make the Black Forest a popular destination for German and foreign tourists alike. Mountain climbs offer views of the jagged alps and bog walks meander through delicate ecosystems with highly specialized flora and fauna.
The Black Forest features the highest peaks of Germany’s southern mountain ranges including Feldberg Mountain (1,493 meters), Belchen Mountain (1,414 meters), and Freiburg’s very own mountain, the Schauinsland Mountain (1,294) to name a few. Many of the mountains can be reached easily with bus and train services, or with a motorbike or your own car. You can even make your own ascent by bicycle.
Many guidebooks and websites exist to help you craft your own perfect experience. As a starting point, the Black Forest Tourism Bureau and the Southern Black Forest Nature Park both provide a great deal of helpful tips on their websites. (The sites’ language can be changed from the dropdown menu in the upper right.)
Baden Wine Region
At the doorstep of the Black Forest is the Baden Wine Region which is characterized by natural beauty, gourmet food, and a carefree lifestyle. Mild temperatures, abundant sunshine, and excellent soil make this one of the best wine cultivation areas in Europe. Five out of the nine wine-growing areas in Baden are located in the Black Forest, and the area is home to more than half of Germany’s Pinot Noir. The wine area is easily accessible from Freiburg and once there, it can be explored by car, by foot or in the Rebenbummler, a historical steam train chugging through Baden’s vineyards whose cars originate from 1905.
The wine season in the Baden region extends from the beginning of March until the end of October. Each weekend there is at least one wine or wine-growing festival, and often you can find an invitation from a wine-growers’ cooperative to enter an open wine cellar to taste and purchase its regional wines.
Main red grape varietals: Blaue Spätburgunder, Pinot Noir, Schwarzriesling, Regent
Main white grape varietals: Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gutedel, Pinot Blanc
The Hohenzollern Castle is close enough to be visited on a short day trip. Hohenzollern has been called the prettiest castle in Germany . The Hohenzollern family dates back to the year 1061, and the castle itself was constructed around 1267. Contemporary sources praised it as “Crown of all Castles in Swabia” and as “the most fortified House in Germany”. However in 1423, the Castle was completely destroyed.
The castle was rebuilt and allowed to fall into disrepair a number of times since its first destruction until 1844 when King Frederick William IV of Prussia wrote in a letter: “The memories of the year 1819 are exceedingly dear to me and like a pleasant dream, it was especially the sunset we watched from one of the Castle bastions, … now this adolescent dream turned into the wish to make the Hohenzollern Castle habitable again…” The result of that reconstruction is the castle we see today.
Other nearby castles include the Sigmaringen Castle and the ruins of the Hohenstaufen Castle.
Europa Park is Germany’s largest theme park and the second largest in all of Europe. It is located just 30 minutes outside of Freiburg in the village of Rust along the Rhine river. More than 5.5 million people from all over the world visit the park each season to enjoy the excitement offered by more than one hundred attractions and shows. The innovative European theme concept; one of the largest hotel resorts in Europe; the various decorations for each season; and the large number of diverse and colorful events make Europa-Park a one-of-a-kind getaway destination all year long.
New in 2017: In the Voletarium, the continent’s largest Flying Theater, visitors take a breath-taking journey across Europe. In two theaters, up to 140 passengers will explore the sensation of gliding through the air in chairlift-style flying machines. The captivating movie by MackMedia, which is shown on the 21 meter wide screens will mesmerize the guests as they are carried to more than fifteen unique European destinations. Special effects such as scent, wind, and water intensify the flight and make it a truly unforgettable experience.