After spending a week in the Austrian and Swiss Alps, I knew no hike in Germany’s remote, southwestern Black Forest would leave a lasting impression on us. But we weren’t there for the hikes, despite the nature-bound name. We came for the rich Bavarian culture, the villages oozing with quaint adorableness, and the widely known Black Forest Cake and Black Forest Ham! And better yet? Despite being just as cute (if not more cute) than Germany’s famous Rothenburg, the Black Forest still remains quite untouched by foreigners. Instead of being flooded by buses full of tourists, the smidgen of towns we visited in the Black Forest were primarily dotted with German tourists. It is probably still too soon to say, but I’m going to say it: the Black Forest just might have been my favorite region to visit in the large country of Germany.
We began our quick trip in the Black Forest with a wonderfully quiet night in the parking lot across the street from the foot of the Feldberg ski area. In the morning we “hiked” the simple, not too steep hill to the highest point in the Black Forest: Feldberg Peak at 1,493 meters.
Views from the peak were surprisingly disappointing; the views from the next lower peak, Seebuck, were prettier. Rolling hills of black forests:
After our quick hike, we headed over to Triberg, home to the original recipe of Black Forest Cake, Germany’s tallest waterfall, and the world’s largest cuckoo clock (har har). School bus groups turned away our interest of the mediocre waterfall; instead, we simply strolled through the town adorned with wooden clocks and tasted the region’s culinary delights.
Black Forest Ham!
The original Black Forest Cake at Cafe Schafer, drowned in schnapps. Seriously, anyone could get drunk off this slice of cake.
The Black Forest is famous for its high quality, handmade wooden cuckoo clocks. During the brutally long winters, the people, with plenty of time on their hands, became masters of clock making, and the legacy continues today. Below is the House of 1000 Clocks, a famous souvenir shop in the area.
Clocks, clocks, and more clocks, and even local delicacies such as beer jam!
Just several kilometers north of Triberg is the world’s largest cuckoo clock, if it can even be considered a real cuckoo clock. Silly, cheesy fun.
Our day ended with perhaps our highlight of our Black Forest visit: the tiny village of Shiltach, arguably the cutest village in the Black Forest. Wandering the streets between the half timbered houses left me in awe the same way Rothenburg did, except hardly anyone knows about Shiltach. To top it off, the tiny town even offered a donation-based lot for motorhomers, equipped with water and electricity! All the motorhomes can be seen on the left of this photo, with the village to the right:
The tiny, quaint villages of Shiltach and Triberg don’t actually offer a whole lot of activities to do, which is ideal because it brings out the true definition of the simple pleasures of life: walking through quiet streets, admiring architecture and nature, trying new foods, and relaxing amidst serene forests. Because the Black Forest remains relatively off of Germany’s tourist radar, the region is a wonderful place to visit in the summer. There are plenty of other villages, and even a couple of lovely cities, but we kept our visit to the Black Forest a short one due to time. It was still worth it.