Did you always want to save the Red Riding Hood from wolves but wondered which forest she is in, well it’s the Black Forest in Germany. While you are doing that, you can also warn Hansel and Greta about the nasty witch dressed up as an old lady 🙂
Black Forest has not only inspired these childhood classics but is also famed for cuckoo clocks, pretty tiny villages, half timbered houses, spa and hikes. It takes it name from the dark canopy of evergreens, so dense that it is difficult for sun light to pass through them.
My encounter with Black Forest was a part of road trip from Alsace region in France to Black Forest in Germany ending in Switzerland. There are many towns and villages to explore and best way to do so is by making two bases, one each for the northern and southern parts of Black Forest.
With the little one we prefer countryside over the cities as it gives him an opportunity to run around and not be tied to the buggy. So, we chose two pretty villages, Sasbachwalden in the north and Eisenbach in the south. If you prefer towns, then I will suggest Baden Baden and Freiburg.
Drive to Sasbachwalden enroute Baden – Baden, the Spa city
We drove from Obernai in France to Baden-Baden, it is a definite stop for the best spa experience of Black Forest. The thermal water originates almost 6,500 under your feet, is rich in minerals and has therapeutic properties. Emperors, queens have bathed in this magical water and now it was my turn. There are two very different spas to choose from, the Friedrichsbad Roman-Irish Bath, a traditional thermal bath housed in a magnificent building or a more modern one Caracalla Therma.
Spa with a baby could be tricky but they have a baby nursery/kindergarden in Caracalla Therma which could be used by parents taking treatment at either of the two spa’s. We tried leaving our little one there but he wasn’t ready to let go, so we took turns going to the spa. There’s a small garden outside the spa building and lots of restaurants/cafes around to keep you and the little one busy.
Sasbachwalden: Flower village
Post lunch we left for Sasbachwalden, a pretty little flower village of half timbered houses surrounded by vineyards (what else could you ask for!). We chose a small B&B Pension am Weinberg on the outskirt of the village by the vineyard ran by Spinner family (https://www.pension-am-weinberg.eu/english/) They were very hospitable, polite and spoke good english, Heidi was very helpful. They told us about the restaurants, the hikes around that we could do with a kid and scenic places frequented by locals.
We went for a walk in the village, admiring the flower decorated, whitewashed, black timbered houses, appreciating the charmingly simple way of life. There are many restaurants, even a Michelin star one (I surely didn’t expect that in a village) located on what could be called a gourmet mile. We had dinner at Otto’s, highly recommended if you are in the area.
We woke up full of energy to a well laid out breakfast. After devouring everything on the plate, we left for the hike to Gaisholl Waterfall recommended to us by our lovely hosts. The hike was small one, enough for my little one to walk by himself. There were stairs, bridges, little water bodies and butterflies to keep him entertained.
Next stop was Mummelsee, the mystic lake. According to legend, King of the Lake and his mermaids reside in it and come out in moonlit night (Very romantic!). Unfortunately for us the car started having some trouble and we decided not to proceed and came down looking for garage.
And from there we proceeded to Eisenbach.
Eisenbach: A typical Black Forest village
Eisenbach is a small, lovely, laid back, picturesque village (All the qualities of a typical Black forest village) surrounded by deep forests, lush green meadows,unspoilt nature making it perfect for relaxing. Completing the picture with music are cow’s bells from nearby village farm.
We booked an Airbnb here, our hostess again was lovely and helped us with the information of places around. No matter how much research I do, I always like to talk to locals on places to visit. Airbnb gives me access to a local and I really value that. (https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/10931657)
Eisenbach is a good base to explore lake Titisee which was next on our list. Titisee is the biggest lake in Black Forest surrounded by pine trees and low mountains with many options for outdoor activites. There’s a hiking trail of 8km around the lake running close to water on one side and up the mountains on other side. And if you have done enough hiking, you could just paddle boat in the lake leisurely or swim or watch kids play in water. The lake is not only surrounded by pine trees but cukkoo clock shops and plenty of restaurants as well.
We returned to our airbnb, went for a walk in the village and took K out in the meadow for play. Came back and finished the day with home cooked dinner of fresh egg’s omelette from happy chickens of the village procured by our host for us.
Woke up to an early next morning and went to a small lake near airbnb, one of the favourite spots with the locals. K had lots of fun playing in the water and feeding the ducks, Black forest indeed is a big outdoor adventure playground.
This is where we said good bye to Black Forest and entered Rhine falls in the car’s navigation. More on that in another post!
I’ll wrap up this post here with some handy tips and recommendations:
BambinoTip: With little one country side locations work better than cities as it gives them space to run around in our experience. Black forest as a whole is kid’s friendly with lots of outdoor activities.
ShakahariKhana: You might think that being in Germany you won’t have many vegetarian options but you can’t be more wrong. The big cities, towns have Indian, Italian restaurants where you can get good veg options. Tarte Flambee (think of very thin crust white sauce pizza), a French dish from neighbouring Alsace region is available and comes with vegetarian toppings.
I would highly recommend Otto’s in Sasbachwalden, they have big salads, pizza’s options for veg and vegan visitors. Good collection of local beer and they are very happy to recommend one according to your taste. They do get very busy so book ahead.