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The Black Forest
The Schwarzwald, German for ‘Black Forest’, in southern Germany is known as an ideal winter destination: however, the regional culture, traditions, gastronomy and the great outdoors appeal all year round. Whilst catering to different tastes and interests, it is also the sunniest part of Germany!
The Black Forest National Park is the Schwarzwald at its best. Nature is still wild in this 100 km² forested area. A short hike or bike ride from most towns will get you in the middle of a rural countryside dotted with traditional farmhouses or in the thick of the densely wooded forest.
The great outdoors
Almost the entire Black Forest is a protected nature reserve. The North Park runs from the centre to the north of the Black Forest. ‘The Südschwarzwald Natural Park lies in the south. The two parks are joined in the town of Triberg.
The environment is ideal for outdoor activities:
- There is a clear signage system for hikers.
- Several lakes, such as the Titisee, are suitable for water sports: sailing, paddle surfing or rowing are a few of the many possibilities.
- In summer the mountain roads are good fun cycling. The hilly roads can be a bit of a challenge for the less fit person. Not to worry, E-Bikes are available for rent in different places.
- And if you are inclined to you can also play golf at Freiburg, which boasts an 18-hole golf course at par 72 and Breisgau with both 9-hole and an 18-hole course.
Tradition and Culture
If the magnificent landscape is not enough to lure you in, then you must try the local tradition and culture. Try on a bollenhut, admire cuckoo clocks, glassware or stay overnight in a local farm.
The Bollenhut (hut is a hat) with big red fluffy balls is the symbol of the Black Forest. Unmarried women wear eleven red woollen balls on their hat, married women wear black ones. The headgear can weigh up to two kilos. Although the hats were traditionally only worn in three villages (Gutach, Kirnbach and Hornberg-Reichenbach), they are now widely used as a generic symbol of the Black Forest
The production of Cuckoo Clocks is another well-known tradition. The clock is still produced locally, although the labour-intensive manual work has been mostly taken over by machines.
The clock museum
The Clock Museum has over 8,000 clocks and is located in the village Furtwangen at the Robert Gerwig Platz 1. Opening times are 09:00 to 18:00 hours in summer and from 10:00 to 17:00 hours in winter.
As early as the Middle Ages the Black Forest acted as a generous supplier of raw materials and energy for the production of Waldglas. This hand-blown glassware is generally of a greenish-yellow colour. A few glassmakers are trying to keep this endangered tradition alive. Go and see for yourself how the glass is made in Todtnau and Gersbach glass factories.
One of the ‘heftier’ traditions is the gateau – cherry pie from the Black Forest. The main ingredients are locally ripened cherries and schnapps produced in the Black Forest. Yes, it is delicious and yes it is full of calories.
Fortunately, there is also a local solution to get rid of all those unwanted calories. Try a long distance hike through those hills and you will get rid of most of them.
The old charming farms in the Black Forest are made from wood, i.e. including walls, foundation, roof and hayloft. The grand old buildings are now fully equipped with fitted kitchens and central heating. Some of these farms are available for rent as holiday homes, ideally suited for families.
The Black Forest is traditionally known as a health resort due to the presence of its thermal baths, in Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt. Wellness is an ancient tradition in this region; luckily it is no longer solely reserved for the ‘happy few’. Relaxing in bubbling waters is quite affordable these days.
The Badeparadies Schwarzwald Spa is one of those places where you will find absolute peace and quiet. As only guests of 16 years and older are admitted there will be no shouting children around. Whilst floating in the water of 33º C or sipping a cocktail at the pool bar, your brood can entertain themselves at the nearby lake (Titisee) sailing, swimming surfing or boating.
The beautiful Hotel Sonneneck Titisee is only 500 meters from the spa and opposite the lake. This family hotel offers rooms decorated with comfy wooden furniture. To check prices or book click here.
In short, it is an ideal place for family holidays. The region offers something for everyone.
So you know, the trip to the Black Forest has been made in cooperation with the Schwarzwald Tourist office.
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