The idyllic Black Forest (also known as der Schwarzwald in German)….it’s much more than I ever imagined it would be. Since living abroad, this magical region of Germany has always been on our list of places to visit in Europe. We waited for the perfect long weekend to go. When our plans to go to Switzerland was halted (darn Covid), we changed plans and decided, at the last minute, to visit the iconic Black Forest.
Alittle over two hours from the Rhineland-Pfalz region, we woke up early on a Saturday (it was a long holiday weekend for us). We decided to drive to our hotel first, since it was on our way to our first destination. We knew we wouldn’t be able to check in early at 9:00 in the morning, but we wanted to see if the hotel would be willing to give us our Schwarzwald Plus Card (more on this later). This card would give us the advantage of free/discounted rates for things to do in the area; I’ll go over more on that in a few… I promise.
We arrived to our hotel in the town of Freudenstadt. Since we had booked our hotel, literally the day before, this was all I could find in the area. We knew we wanted to visit Triberg (the most touristy area in the Black Forest), but everything was completely booked up for the weekend that was atleast less than an hour away from Triberg. Well, lo and behold, our hotel, the Hotel Hohenried im Rosengarten, alittle under an hour away from Triberg, was a great find! I will write up a separate post on our hotel stay (coming soon). Unfortunately, we weren’t able to obtain our Schwarzwald Plus Card in advance, but we were able to see our hotel and found that it’s a hidden gem!
Ok, so I promised I’d talk about this special Plus Card. I had no idea this was included in our hotel package until I read the fine print after booking our hotel. The Schwarzwald Plus Card (not to be confused with the Schwarzwald Card-totally separate company-but same concept) offers over 80 experiences-from glass blowing, wine tasting, thermal bath visits, mini golf, and more! The experiences are either free or at a discounted rates! Each person in your party gets a card with their own name and you must provide each names to your hotel for them to provide you a card. Just make sure your hotel offers this if you are staying 2 nights or more! You never know until you ask and I wouldn’t have known had I not read the fine print when booking! You’re welcome, hee hee!
Ok, now we can talk about some fun things to do at the Black Forest:
1.) Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof (Black Forest Open Air Museum)
Our first stop, alittle under an hour from our hotel, we arrived at the Black Forest Open Air Museum (also known as Schwarzwälder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof in German), located in Gutach. It’s an outdoor museum full of different German farm-like homes from the 16th to the 19th century. You can visit each homes (mill, woodworking shops, farm, etc) and see how homes looked like and how people lived in the Black Forest back then. Unfortunatley, handcrafts, demos, and some tours weren’t all available, darn Covid, atleast, not during our visit.
We enjoyed walking around and imagining how life would be like to live in these large, quaint farmhouses. It’s a self guided tour and there is an app called Vogtsbauernhof App (which we didn’t realize during our visit) that allows you to tour the museum on your own. The app is available in German, English, and French.
The great thing about this outdoor museum, it gave us the idea of how the homes are possibly laid out in newer farms that we’d see along the side of the road in the countrysides of Germany. Live animals were also present around the farm. In addition, it was neat to see the workshop and the craftsman wood-burning a souvenir for a fellow visitor. The kiddos had fun and I definitely recommend this place for families! Stroller friendly for sure!
Hours of operation: Daily from 9:00am-6:00pm last admission at 5p; in August hours are 9:00am-7:00pm (last admission at 6p).
Season: mid May-November 1
Location: you can find it here; address is: Wählerbrücke 1, 77793 Gutach (Schwarzwaldbahn)
|Adults, Senior Citizens||€10.00|
|Reduced (Students, trainees, persons doing military/social service, severly handicapped)||€9.00|
|Children and Adolescents (6 – 17 years)||€ 5.50|
|Children up to 5 years||free|
There is also a family rate and other rates you can find here– I recommend checking this out! If you have the Schwarzwald Card, it’s accepted at this location. Sadly, our hotel has the Schwarzwald Plus Card and it’s not honored here (we didn’t have it then either).
Parking: 3 euro- you can pay at the parking kiosk at the parking lot or when you buy your tickets.
Corona Rules: They were pretty good about having signs inside the museum of homes and outside adhering to Corona rules. Masks had to be worn inside at all times! When touring inside homes, you were directed to go one way in and out, so you wouldn’t be able to go out the way you came in.
Be sure to check out the souvenir shops on the way out and have your first taste of the Black Forest Cake (aka Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte in German) at the local cafe there (we tried one at the Cuckoos Nest). It’s not the original, but we thought it would be fun to taste the cake in different areas of the Black Forest. This one, was our first try and it was pretty good, the girls didn’t like the cherry brandy they tasted, I don’t blame them, but the rest was good.
2.) SommerRodelbahn in Gutach
Not far from the Open Air Museum (literally less than a minute down the road from the museum) is the rodelbahn (I call it the tobogan ride). It’s a great addition to your trip with the museum. It’s inexpensive to do this ride and bonus, there is food on location. This was our next stop. I didn’t feel like riding the coaster, but the husband and kiddos were able to ride for 13euros (1 ride or the husband and 2 rides for the girls). While I waited, I ate some pommes (aka fries that I so love here in Germany). There is also a bridge where you can take photos of your loved ones coming in from the ride. I got some good shots of my kiddos.
Hours of Operation: according to their website: Daily up to and including 13.09.2020 from; Open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m
Adults (from 15 years)
|1 ride||3.50 euros|
|6 trips||16.00 euros|
Children (up to 14 years)
|1 ride||2.50 euros|
|6 trips||11.00 euros|
More prices here for groups and if you want to ride more than once.
Location: Address : Singersbach 1a, 77793 Gutach (Black Forest Railway)- it’s literally quite almost next to the Outdoor Open Air Museum
Corona: It was pretty crowded when we got there around noonish. There was a long line to get on the rides and most had their masks on. When riding the tobogan, you didn’t have to have masks on. I wore my mask when ordering food. They still had signs around the property to remind folks of maintaining Corona rules and distance.
All in all, a great experience. Though the ride itself was shorter than another tobogan ride we had experienced a few months back in another part of Germany, the girls still enjoyed it.
3.) Cuckoo Clock Shopping
Next up, we headed to Triberg, which was not far from Gutach (where the museum and tobogan was located). We decided we should find one of the largest cuckoo clocks and start looking at cuckoo clocks we could possibly buy. I’ll be writing about our cuckoo clock shopping experience on another post. Our first stop was: House of Black Forest Clocks. Here, we actually found the first large clock. It was neat to see and the 1 Euro to see the clock work/play music was totally worth it! Don’t miss this, it’s fun for the kids. Here is the address for that large clock:
Address : Landstrasse 7, 78132 Hornberg
The rest of the day, we did more clock browsing at other locations in Triberg: House of a 1000 clocks, Olis Schnitzstube, and another clock store next to Oli’s. You can find all cuckoo clocks galore in Triberg and surrounding nearby areas! We were so overwhelmed, we decided to hold off till the next day to pick one if we found one.
In Triberg, parking is not free. We parked over at the parking garage by the Edeka, you can find the address here for Edeka and the parking gargae is underneath it (be sure not to park in Edeka though, unless it is Sunday, you’ll still have to pay for parking at the parking kiosk if you do on Sunday.
On our way out of Triberg, we decided to pick up an authentic Black Forest Cake at Café Schäfer. We took it to-go as we were tired and wanted to make the 1 hour drive or so back to the hotel, grab dinner, and relax.
We arrived back at Freudenstadt and decided to eat at Hotel Gasthof Jägerstuble. Our friends recommended it and bonus, it was in the heart of the town. We parked here at this underground parking garage under the marketplatz (market place) of Freudenstadt. The food was traditional German food. There may not be alot to choose from for kiddos on the menu, but if you are into the authentic German dish, this is the place to go. Otherwise, there are many other eateries in the area. The restaurant also adhered to the Corona rules.
We ended our first night in the Black Forest back to our quaint hotel by having our take away Black Forest Cake from Café Schäfer in the balcony of our hotel overlooking Freudenstadt. Word of advice, eat the cake immediately! We regretted eating the cake 2 hours after we bought it. The whip cream was already melting and the cherry brandy really seeped into the cake. The girls were not impressed. I imagined, if we had eaten the cake at the cafe along with their cappucino, we would have loved it! The crust was, however, really good (the cake from the Cuckoo’s Nest did not have a crust). I would go back to Café Schäfer next time and eat the cake there.
All in all, our first full day in the Black Forest was amazing! It was the perfect weekend to go and the weather for the day did not disappoint! Since this is a long post, I’m gonna break up my post for the second day to be on. a separate one, so you can read our Day 2 adventure (coming soon). I hope you enjoyed reading this adventure so far! Till next time! Bis zum nächsten Mal!