It’s probably been about 15 years (or more!) since I holidayed in the Black Forest in Southern Germany as it was a firm family favourite whilst I was growing up. This year we decided to revisit the Baden-Wurttemberg area as parents with our two kids in tow.
Here’s my top 5 great things about holidaying in the Black Forest:
1. Karneval or Fashing (not ‘fishing’!!)
Fashing is the German version of carnival, but it is a week-long series of festivities during February, culminating in Rosenmontag, where a traditional parade takes over the streets of every village, town and city. The parade is made up of every local club and association, each having their own theme, float and characters. Sweets are thrown at the children and confetti thrown at the crowds. It’s great fun and a great taste of local tradition.
2. Pine forests and snow
Winter in the forest is beautiful, and we got a couple of day’s skiing in as well as sledging and some awesome tabogganing. The area is really well equipped and you can also hire snow shoes or cross country ski gear, or simply go hiking along the trails (which are really well marked).
You can hire sturdy sledges at the Rodelbahn to sledge a 3km long taboggan route through the forest. Take the chair lift up and slide back down!
If you’re willing to try something different then you are sure to find it in the Black Forest! Game is a favourite, so be open to trying Wild Boar or Deer. Fish is more popular here than in the rest of Germany as they have access to River Trout, and the traditional egg noodle ‘spaetzle’ is delicious. You’ll get some juicy Wiener Schnitzel and of course a great range in Bratwurst sausage.
BUT (* here’s the reason for the asterisk above) there is very little in the way of variety for vegans, vegetarians or anyone with a diet that doesn’t involve meat. Meals are rarely served with vegetables, so you will need to order a salad as a side dish to make sure that you get your 5-a-day!
4. Great adventures
There’s loads to do beside winter sports or rambling, for instance:
- The Rodelbahn in Todnau is (perhaps) the longest mountain rollercoaster in Germany. It winds its way along a 2.9km track down the side of the hill. It was closed when we went due to the huge amount of snow, so a return trip is called for to experience it!
- The city of Freiburg which lists the minster amongst its many historic buildings – and is great for a day out.
- Indoor and outdoor spas such as this one in Titisee-Neustadt which boasts 18 slides and a wave pool. We ran out of time to go there, but are planning a visit on our next trip!
A warm welcome is pretty much guaranteed to people travelling with children as the folk in this area of Germany are very family focussed. If you make a little effort to speak some German – even if it is rudimentary – then your efforts will be appreciated by the locals. We stayed at the excellent Haus Erika guesthouse, which is run by ex-pat Lesley and her German husband, which is perfect for British families trying the Black Forest for the first time.
If you’re visiting the Baden-Wurttemburg area of the black forest then flights to Basel-Mullhouse-Freiburg are your best bet. Happy travels!