We have been to the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) in Germany for a long week end and it was very refreshing.
Unfortunately, we did not go there in the best of seasons. In fact, it was a very rainy early October which did not really help to enjoy the nature around us. We also could not experience the beautiful autumn foliage because it did not start yet at the time.
Despite the weather, there are definitively many reasons why visiting the Black Forest is a good idea. These include some very nice landscapes, luxurious nature, amazing waterfalls, incredible lakes, nice food and very characteristic little villages that seem to be suspended in time.
We have been based in Triberg Im Schwarzwald which is a quite nice and convenient location to visit the Black Forest – it is quite in the middle of they key locations. From there you find yourself at about 1 hour driving distance from all the main attractions.
The map shows the itineraries we took during our visit to the Black Forest. They all start from Triberg and they correspond to our daily itineraries.
If you want to check our reviews on all the places we experienced during our stay at the Black Forest (e.g. all restaurants, key locations, etc) to build your own micro-itinerary, do not forget to look for our Random Odyssey Google Maps List at this link. Please search for Gianmarco Cicuzza reviews if you want to find out what we experienced.
This is how we organized our trip / time:
- Day 1 – arrival in Triberg – visit Triberg and the waterfalls
- Day 2 – have a bike ride at Titisee and visit the highest mountain of the Black Forest: Feldberg
- Day 3 – visit the beautiful Freiburg and drive up to Colmar in the nearby France
- Day 4 – depart from Triberg and take the scenographic Black Forest Panoramic route to an unforgettable stop at the Waldstatte Butthof and the amazing Geroldsauer Waterfalls.
Random Odyssey Recommends to visit:
We would recommend to visit Black Forest during spring or summer to fully enjoy all that the luxurious nature has to offer and the very well organized trekking and mountain biking paths. However, that part of the year could be quite busy due to the large number of people visiting as this can be considered a peak period.
From a photography stand point, we would also recommend to go there during autumn foliage, even though you might want to account for quite some rain and not so good weather/light.
Day 1 – Triberg & its Waterfalls
Triberg has been our home base for the entire stay in Schwarz Wald.
It is a very convenient location which is at the heart of the entire Black Forest and allows you to have around 1 hour commute to all most famous destinations.
Triberg is one of the Black Forest nicest towns and it is definitively worth a visit even if you are not based there. There are three main attractions which you should not miss in Triberg:
- Triberg Waterfalls – the highest waterfall in Germany
- The House of 1000 Watches – just in the center of town
- The biggest Kookoo watch in the world – just outside Triberg
Triberg Waterfall is the highest waterfall in the whole of Germany with its 163 meters jump.
It is located into a very well maintained natural park which is just at the end of Triberg City Center and it can be reached easily by walk wherever you park your car in the town.
The Waterfalls are contained into a park. The park opening hours is from 10am to 5pm in Autumn / Winter and 10am to 6pm in Spring / Summer. Please note that the park is closed on monday during witner time. The entry ticket is not very expensive (between 5€ and 7€) and it is also recommended you buy a pack of nuts when entering the park because you can try to leave these nuts on the walking path hoping for squirrels to come by and eat close to you – which is in the end a nice photography opportunity (although i do not like feeding wild animals this seems to be quite a common practice here and the squirrels seems very domesticated in the end.
This waterfall is a clear landmark of the whole Black Forest and it is a very good photo spot. Obviously, depending on what type of picture you want to take, it is recommended to visit the park either close to opening or closing time so to have less people hovering around.
Since recently, in the Triberg Waterfall park they also opened a small “bird of prey” park. Some shows are organized in the morning and the afternoon in selected days of the week which is also nice to attend.
The park around the waterfall is extremely enjoyable and it actually hosts many trekking paths which allow you to visit way beyond the waterfall and let you get a real taste of the Black Forest. Please note that the walking path that goes along the waterfall is quite steep because it enables visitor to almost climb the waterfall. It is nothing physically impossible even because the surface of the path is very even but I would recommend you take it easy if you are not extremely fit.
The website of the Triberg Waterfall is triberg.de where you can access anytime the most up o date information on opening, closing times, tickets’ cost and the birds of prey show time.
The House of 1000 Watches
The Black Forest is also very famous for the Kookoo watches.
Kookoo watches seem to have been invented here and this is a very big local traditional item.
There are Kookoo watches stores quite all around. However, the House of 1000 watches is a very peculiar shop because – as anticipated by its name – it contains a huge variety of Kookoo watches. From the very cheap ones (10€ or so) to the extremely complicated and hand made ones (worth beyond several thousands of euro).
If you have a passion for watches (like I do) and you especially like complicated mechanism then you will get lost among all those wonderful pieces of art.
Having a visit into the shop is a nice stop to hear all watches singing at the hours but also see how beautiful some of this works handcrafts can be.
The Biggest Kookoo Watch in the World
Just outside Triberg you can also enjoy the visit to the Biggest Kookoo watch in the world (at least that’s what they claim). The official name of this attraction is Eble Huren Park and you can find it on our Google Maps List at this link.
There is a massive bird coming out of the famous window every hour which makes a loud Kookoo which resonates in the valley. For this reason it is highly recommended that you visit close to the ‘o clock position of the hour so to enjoy the show.
The very impressive thing about this Kookoo watch is that it is all working mechanically with watch wheels that are taller than a tall person.
The building behind the watch hosts a museum. If interested you can actually walk in and visit the massive clock mechanism that moves the watch.
Where to eat in Triberg
We absolutely recommend Restaurant Tresor for dinner in Triberg.
Extremely nice restaurant downtown Triberg. It is very characteristic and peculiar. It is built into the old cellar which was used by Deutsche Bank as a safety depot. In fact, the doors and the windows still have the armored shutters. The food is also quite good together with a good selection of beers. Prices are fair and the staff is very welcoming. Make sure you book a table because it is quite easy for this place to be fully booked. Also note that no credit card is accepted. Absolutely worth a visit.
Where to stay in Triberg
This hotel is pretty basic. BUT, it is a great place to spend your time while in the Black Forest for a good number of reasons. First of all the hotel staff is very welcoming and very customer oriented. One day they forgot to make up our room and to excuse themselves they gifted us with a pack of chocolates. The breakfast is very good and complete with a wonderful coffee. The rooms are extremely spacious and the bed quite comfortable. The hotel position is outstanding as it is just downtown Triberg. The prices are extremely fair and with very positive price vs. Quality ratio. The rooms and some of the furnitures are quite old, though. Even if they are in wonderful conditions and all in all they align to the simplistic style of the hotel. Net, if you want to spend appropriate money, be in hearth of Black Forest and enjoy a nice yet simple hotel then this is the place to stay.
Day 2 – Titisee bike ride and Feldberg Visit
In just little bit less than one hour, you can drive from Trieberg to Titisee.
Titisee is another iconic attraction of the Black Forest, even though, to be extremely honest, it is not an unforgettable landscape.
The lake is not surrounded by any specific landmark such as castles, mountains or other nice scenaries offering memorable photo spots.
However, it is very nice to have a walk around the lake which is nearly 7km long and it can be completed in slightly more than one hour.
Another nice alternative to enjoy the lake, is to rent an e-bike in the small Titisee village and bike around the lake but also in the nearby mountain biking paths.
After all this sport activity you may want to stop by the super nice Gastatte Boothaus where you can enjoy an extremely yummy Black Forest cake which is prepared fresh on a daily basis by the chef.
If you do not spend the entire day enjoying nature around Titisee you can also drive from Titisee up to the nearby Feldberg – which is the highest peak of the Black Forest. If the weather is nice and sunny you can enjoy a stunning view from up there.
Day 3 – Freibourg and Colmar
Freibourg is also approximately one hour drive away from Triberg.
While Freibourg is a relatively modern city it has kept quite a good charme from the ancient times – especially in the old city center.
It is very nice to have a walk downtown and get lost a little bit wandering around the very cool buildings. One that is defenitively worth mentioning is the Haus zum Walfich (the House of the Whale) which is where Erasmus from Rotterdam also lived and where Dario Argento also shot one of his famous movies (Suspiria).
Also interesting to see in Freiburg is the main city church – Freiburger Munster – which is just few step away from the city center.
After visiting Freiburg, you can direct yourself in France and visit the wonderful city of Colmar. France border is only 30 minute drive from Freiburg and the ride from Freiburg to Colmar only takes 1 hour.
Colmar is just superbe. The city center has been kept completely like it was in the old days and it literally takes no more than three minutes to immerse yourself into a very charming French atmosphere.
Colmar is also a fairly famous city because it is the home town of the famous architect Auguste Bartholdi who has basically given birth to the Statue of Liberty we all enjoy in the bay of New York (USA).
While you head to the main church of Colmar – Collegiale Saint Martin – you can enjoy the little city streets, the nice smell of croissants just out of the oven and coffee freshly brewed.
One culinary stop we definitively recommend is at Patisserie Salon de The JC Clergue just outside the City Dome. You can sit at the tables outside (if the weather is nice) and enjoy amazing pastries hand made while sipping a good cup of coffee.
After having visited the church, you absolutely need to continue your promenade into the so called Little Venice (Petite Venice). This is a very characteristic part of the town which takes its name by the city of Venice. The reason for the name lies in the fact that there are some very nice canals passing by the city and they give a Venice feeling to this neighborhood. The overall result is actually quite authentic and not at all kitsch. This part of Colmar is actually very elegant, with nice houses facing the canals which are very well maintained and add a lot to the atmosphere.
Day 4 – Black Forest Panoramic Road & Geroldsauer Waterfalls
When leaving Triberg on your last day, we hope you will be heading north.
If that’s the case we absolutely recommend you to drive by the Black Forest Panoramic Road. This road cuts across the Black Forest and while being clearly slower than the highway is a lot more scenographic and will allow you to impress in your memory the unforgettable landscapes and the vivid colors.
When you drive by the Black Foresta Panoramic Road, you also have couple of stop choices on your way to the north:
1- Alternativer Wolf und Baren Park Schwarzwald – while we have not stopped here, this seems to be a widely recommended attraction if you want to watch some bears and wolves almost in their natural environment
2- Seebach – this is a nice little lake on top of the mountain and it is worth a stop to get some stretch and enjoy a coffee at the nearby restaurant.
When you reach the end of the Black Forest Panoramic Road, you have the choice to visit Baden Baden.
We did not do that this time because we have already been there a while ago. We actually continued following the road and by randomly following some street signs (that’s why we are also a little bit of a Random Odyssey) we ended up discovering another little pearl of the Black Forest – the Geroldsauer Waterfalls.
These are pretty hidden waterfalls ad clearly not as big as the Triberg Waterfall. However, they are almost engraved in a very untouched piece of nature. You can get very close to the waterfall by following a semi-private road with your car and then leave the car on the main road and continue searching for the spectacular waterfall.
Apart from the natural appeal of the place, we will always remember this stop because we ended up having lunch at the Waldstatte Butthof. This is a very peculiar restaurant/mountain hut – perfectly maintained – few steps away from the waterfall. They serve very authentic and delicious German food with great seasonal soups. The atmosphere is very intimate.