Skip to Content

How to Spend a Few Days in Germany’s Enchanted Black Forest

How to Spend a Few Days in Germany’s Enchanted Black Forest

Share with your friends!

The Black Forest is probably best known for its dense green groves, mountainous terrain and cuckoo clocks. But what makes the Black Forest so special are the feelings of folklore, scenic drives, vineyards and villages and quintessential Germany you don’t get anywhere else in the country.

What can you do in the Black Forest? From bathing in ancient spas, to winding alpine road trip, hiking through wineries, to castles and waterfalls…this region is full of incredible things to do.

Like admiring all the adorable little half-timbered houses, sipping Hefeweizen, tree top climbs with a huge slide down the middle, sunset hikes on Sommerberg Mountain to the skihütte, and eating preztels and bratwurst for breakfast!

So much more than cake, ham and Hansel and Gretel, a trip through Germany’s mystical Black Forest is surely an experience you’ll never forget.

Enjoy the slower pace of the charming villages and immerse yourself in the real life fairy tale that is the Black Forest.

Below you’ll find an itinerary and fun things to do in the Black Forest of Germany to keep you busy for a few days.

Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links, in which I may make a small commission if you make a purchase. This is at no extra cost to you and I only recommend products, services and places I love!

How to Best Experience the Black Forest

Baden-Württemberg is the state in southwestern Germany known as the Black Forest. Renting a car and making a road trip for a few days or a week will yield the best experience.

Tips for Renting a Car and Road Trips

If you’re a North American traveler in Germany, you don’t need an international driver’s license, however if you can obtain one prior to your trip it will be helpful. Check out this helpful guide containing information about obtaining an International Driver’s Permit.

Prior to your road trip, I recommend booking a rental car ahead of time as much as possible. Auto Europe is one of the largest international rental car sites and has access to a large network of well-known companies like Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Enterprise.

They also have a free e-book available for download on their website detailing information about renting a car in Europe.

Keep in mind that in Europe, manual transmission vehicles are much more popular than in North America. So if you don’t know how to drive a manual transmission you will definitely need to book ahead of time to ensure you get a vehicle with automatic transmission.

Automatic transmission vehicles are usually more expensive to rent as well.

And in Germany they drive on the right side of the road, the same as the United States and Canada.

Enjoy Historic Spa Treatments in Baden-Baden

Panoramic view of Baden-Baden

Pay a visit for the spa town of Baden Baden. This area is well known for its thermal waters and bath houses that have been used by many for centuries.

The Romans were the first to discover that this area was saturated with healing mineral waters and built roman-like bath houses that are now still enjoyed by many.

Mark Twain made the area well-known to Americans in the late 1800s when he wrote about the spa town in his book A Tramp Abroad:

Here … you lose track of time in ten minutes and the world in twenty

Mark Twain

The most famous bath house is the Friedrichsbad. The other bath house is the Caracalla Spa. For more information about what to expect, here’s an in depth review of each of these Baden-Baden spas.

Where to Stay in Baden-Baden

Being a luxury spa town, Baden Baden is quite expensive. If you want to stay in Baden Baden, you’ll have to book a hotel well in advance for summer visits.

The Aqua Aurelia Suitenhotel an den Thermen is one of the highest rated places to stay in the heart of old town.

For a more budget friendly but highly rated option, Hotel Römerhof is an excellent choice.

If you don’t end up booking a place ahead of time and you run out of options, there are many other surrounding towns nearby.

Where to Stay Nearby

We stayed in the small town of Gaggenau. It’s a great hub because it was close to the towns and attractions we wanted to see. It’s quiet, a little more rural and deep in the heart of the black forest.

We stayed at this apartment in the middle of the quiet town, close to the train station. A perfect choice for an authentic stay in the region. Since it’s not very touristy, it was a great spot to stay less expensive than Baden-Baden.

There are several apartments to rent in Gaggenau and surrounding area, making it a great hub for staying several days in the region.

Things to Do in Gaggenau

For car enthusiasts, the Mercedes Benz production plant is located in Gaggenau. Fittingly, just outside of Gaggenau is the Unimog Museum. This is definitely a fun way to spend an hour or two, as I’m guessing you probably didn’t even know there was such a place.

It takes you through the ages and the history of some impressive German engineering. It’s a mix of indoor and outdoor displays, and you can even test drive a unimog.

Read More on Germany: The Real Life Fairy Tale Town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Bad Wildbad

Free Yourself in a Thermal Bath

I recommend heading to Bad Wildbad for the best thermal spa experience. Here you’ll find the Palais Thermal. You get to explore 4 floors of different pools, with the top floor being an outdoor rooftop bathing area.

If you want the full experience, you will be textile free. Yes, that means totally naked!

The healing benefits of the thermal waters are best enjoyed when bathing in the nude, according to German tradition.

As this is something we don’t really do in North America, it was quite a unique experience and ended up being one of my favorite things to do on my trip through the Black Forest.

Tips for Visiting a German Thermal Bath for the First Time

As a non-German, I was a little apprehensive to try this experience. But by the end of my two hour soak, I had almost forgotten that myself and the other guests were in the buff.

Upon entry, you’re given a wrist band to wear, and this keeps track of how long you’re in the spa and if you purchase any food or drinks. Because well…you won’t have any pockets to carry cash around!

After you enter the change rooms and drop your trousers, most people either wear a robe or wrap a towel around themselves when they’re traveling between pools.

The first couple people you see in the nude is a little startling, but once you get used to it, it’s quite a liberating experience.

You’ll find small pools and hot tubs ranging in temperatures. Plunge pools and foot baths, and different steam rooms and saunas to try. And they all come with different experiences.

Some saunas are completely silent, some encourage quiet conversation. Some steam rooms include aromatherapy. Take your time and shower after each experience before going to the next.

When you’re finished you’ll be charged based on your time spent.

You Might Also Like: Heal Your Soul With These Natural Mud Baths Around the World

Take the Funicular

Here, there’s the Sommerbergbahn. Essentially an enclosed cable car that takes you up the side of the steep mountainside for breathtaking views of the valley below.

Fun fact, you get to watch this go up and down from the rooftop pool of the Palais Thermal.

Get High Above the Trees on the Baumwipfelpfad

At the top, you can then check out the tree top walk! This is a network of elevated trails through the forest that eventually brings you to a spiral observation tower.

It’s a gradual incline all the way around so it’s accessible for strollers, wheelchairs or those with reduced mobility.

Once you reach the top you’re confronted with 360 degrees of panoramic views of the black forest. And the best part?

The spiral slide down the middle to get back down! Be sure to bring cash for the slide, about 2 euros!

Sasbachwalden for Wine and Schnapps Tours

For quintessential views of the landscapes of the black forest, take the scenic drive down the Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, or Black Forest Highway or B500.

This takes you through the heart of the black forest and will eventually bring you through Sasbachwalden. This is the region known for its wine and schnapps. In my opinion, this is one of the most beautiful places in the Black Forest.

Help Yourself Schnapps Hike

This is a must do experience. Go on a hike and self-guided tour through the schnapps farms of the area. Head to the tourist information center in Sasbachwalden, grab a map and choose a route you’d like to take.

There are a few different routes to choose from, all ranging in lengths. Find the trail head from the visitor center and get ready to enjoy one of the best hikes you’ve ever been on.

You’ll first walk through some forested areas, passing waterfalls, crossing small footbridges and dense trees. Simply follow the trails and the small wooden signs with arrows along the way.

As you gain more altitude, you start to pass by the various vineyards and schnapps farms. At the end of the driveways that you pass by, the schnapps producers leave out bottles of the different liqueurs they produce for you to try.

These are called schnappsbrunnens or schnapps fountains.

Each is a little different, and most leave a few different varieties of either schnapps, beer or wine in tubs of cooled water to keep them chilled.

There are small shot glasses for you to enjoy you sampling. It’s based on an honor system, so you usually leave 1 or 2 euros per sample.

The route I took was about 4 miles and included 10 stops at different schnappsbrunnens. You definitely want to pace yourself here!

Indulge in Black Forest Cake

Then, head to the restaurant at Hotel Im Spinnerhof for the best black forest cake you’ll have on your trip in Germany in your life. Once you’ve tried black forest cake in Germany, you realize that all the other black forest cake you’ve ever had is just an imposter.

They don’t mess around here though. This cake is boozy.

Fun fact, black forest cake isn’t named after the black forest itself, but the cherry kirschwasser that’s local to the region and added to the cake.

Where to Stay in Sasbachwalden

If you end up taking the schnapps hike, the RelaxHotel Tannenhof is right at the end of the hiking trail. It’s a perfect mid-range option with the traditional half-timber German aesthetic.

Complete with full homemade breakfast and sweeping views of the Black Forest countryside!

A super cute option would be the Naturhotel Holzwurm. It’s centrally located and the included hearty breakfast uses locally sourced ingredients.

Of course, for easy access to the best black forest cake and the most beautiful views, book a stay at the Hotel Im Spinnerhof. Perched above the vineyards, the entire grounds make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale.

Visit Triberg: Home of the Cuckoo Clocks

Of all the things to do in the Black Forest, you must check out Triberg! This is where you’ll find the best and biggest selection of authentic cuckoo clocks and is one of the items the Black Forest is most famous for.

The history of cuckoo clock originates in the Black Forest as a way for farmers to make extra income in the winter time.

Cuckoo clocks are now almost synonymous with Germany and its Black Forest culture. You could spend hours in the House of 1000 Clocks. Here you can find an authentic black forest souvenir in every price range.

After shopping, enjoy another slice of black forest cake and enjoy the famous recipe at Café Schäfer.

When you’re ready to get outside and maybe burn off a few cake calories, take a walk and marvel at the sights of Germany’s highest waterfall, the Triberger Wasserfälle.

Where to Stay in Triberg

To immerse yourself in the culture and live like a local, try the KM Apartment. It’s 200 metres (or 600 feet) from the waterfalls and one of the highest rated properties on

Because it’s full apartment style complete with a kitchen, it’s a great option for a home base if you’re planning to stay for a few nights or longer.

Visit Enchanting Castles

Lichtenstein Castle

If you didn’t visit a fairy tale castle on your trip to Germany did you even go? Lichtenstein Castle is 19th century castle is built on a cliff side and is a great alternative to the Neuschwanstein Castle.

As it was initially built in the 12th century, and then later added to hundreds of years later, it’s got the perfect mix of medieval architecture and fairy tale fantasy for everyone to enjoy.

As with all the castle attractions, it’s best to get there early and beat the crowds. You’ll only be able to enter the castle on a guided tour, but these run every 30 minutes.

You can choose to pay a few Euros to roam around the courtyard outside, or about 10 Euros to enter inside on the private tour.

If you’ve got your own vehicle, be sure to take the drive about 10 minutes up the hill that is opposite from the castle, for an incredible view of it and the valley below.

Hohenzollern Castle

If you’re looking to get your fairy tale castle fix without the crowds, the Hohenzollern Castle is the one to visit. From the Stuttgart area, you can reach it in just under one hour by car.

It’s stunning location is built up on a steep hill, offering incredible views below. Some say this castle was also the inspiration for the Disneyland castle (in addition to the super busy Neuschwanstein).

Unlike the Lichtenstein Castle, guided tours are offered in English in addition to German. Bring cash to pay to park (2 euros) and then you can either take the shuttle bus or walk to the caste.

It’s about a 10 minute moderate walk up a steep hill (great for burning off that black forest cake)!

Read Next: How to Spend One Day in Munich – the Perfect 1 Day Itinerary to See the Highlights and Maximize Your Time

Happy Travels! Save a pin for future trip planning!