Tracing Germany’s Roads & Riches: Black Forest Route Road Trip

by | Aug 22, 2023

Picture this: an open road stretching ahead, lined by meadows, peppered with fairy tale castles and timbered houses, leading through the heart of Germany.

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Germany’s Black Forest Route: A Road Trip through the Heart of Europe’s Cultural and Natural Bounty. Picture this: an open road stretching ahead, lined by verdant meadows, peppered with fairy tale castles and half-timbered houses, leading through the heart of one of Europe’s most diverse countries.

From the darkly romantic woodlands of the Black Forest to the serene shorelines of Bodolz on Lake Constance, the charming hamlets of Baiersbronn, the therapeutic tranquillity of Cassiopeia Therme Badenweiler, and the historical highlights of Pfinztal-Söllingen, a road trip in Germany unfurls a kaleidoscope of experiences.

Navigate the winding roads, traverse the lush valleys, and explore the cultural contours of these vibrant destinations on your Road Trip in Germany.

Discovering Germany’s Enchanted Forest: The Black Forest Route

There’s an almost mythical allure to the B500 route, the artery that breathes life into the heart of the Black Forest in Germany. This 233-kilometre road meanders from the spa town of Baden-Baden to Waldshut-Tiengen, snug against the Swiss border, and brings a symphony of spectacular vistas.

Imagine being surrounded by an emerald expanse stretching across the horizon; the B500 emerges as a black ribbon bisecting the green quilt of the landscape. The most magical part of this journey is the 60-kilometre stretch between Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt, known as the Black Forest High Road, taking you to heights of pleasure that transcend the physical ascent.

Germany's Black Forest, Photo by Max Bottinger on Unsplase

Germany’s Black Forest, Photo by Max Bottinger on Unsplase

Crowned with the glacial Lake Mummelsee, near the highest point of the Black Forest High Road – the Hornisgrinde, the vista is as enchanting as the legends that shroud it. As the lore goes, mermaids surface on moonlit nights, adding an extra dash of magic to your adventure.

Lake Mummelsee, image copyright DZT

Lake Mummelsee, image copyright DZT

A pit stop here isn’t complete without a taste of authentic German cuisine at the Black Forest shop, complementing the feast for the eyes with a symphony for your taste buds.

The views of B500, Germany’s  Black Forest Route

A drive down the B500 is a conversation with the landscape. The Black Forest, resembling the setting of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale ‘Hansel and Gretal’, has blossomed into a sanctuary of natural beauty and cultural richness. It offers an irresistible blend of local traditions, encapsulated in Cuckoo clocks, Bollenhut hats, and the deliciously irresistible Kirschwässerle, a cherry brandy as intoxicating as the surroundings.

And then there’s the changing palette of the seasons. Autumn infuses the Black Forest with a spectacular array of colours, setting the forest ablaze with shades of gold, orange, and red. The air takes on a crisp coolness, offset by the warm hues of the falling leaves. However, winter, too, wears its own charm, a white cloak that adds a magical dimension to the landscape.

Triberg, Germany's highest waterfalls, image copyright DZT

Triberg, Germany’s highest waterfalls, image copyright DZT

The Triberg Waterfalls claim the spotlight as one of the Black Forest’s star attractions. An intricate network of cascades winding 163 meters down a hill presents a mesmerising spectacle.

Lake Constance on Black Forest Route: An Artist’s Dream

As your journey continues, the charming village of Bodolz presents itself like an artist’s dream come alive. Nestled at the heart of Germany, its proximity to Lake Constance, known locally as the Bodensee, ensures a scenic spectacle that’s both diverse and dynamic.

Bodolz boasts an architectural heritage that whispers tales of yore, with winding alleys in picturesque old towns making you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time. Its natural surroundings are equally captivating, with the sprawling expanse of Lake Constance in stark contrast with the dramatic snow-covered peaks in the backdrop, even during the summer.

More than 2,000 hours of sunshine grace Lake Constance each year, casting a glow of tranquillity over the landscape. Yet, even in the unpredictable whims of weather, the region retains its charm.

The Lindau Lighthouse at Lake Constance, Photo by Benni Fish

The Lindau Lighthouse at Lake Constance, Photo by Benni Fish

Activities at Lake Constance

Spring and autumn paint the area in mild hues, making it an ideal time for walkers and nature enthusiasts to don their boots and delve into the wilderness.

For the more active explorers, a cycle ride along the lake’s shore from Lindau to Bodman is an experience that’s almost therapeutic in its simplicity. There’s a calming rhythm to the ebb and flow of the water that resonates within the soul as you pedal along, soaking in the majestic mountainous backdrop.

Bodolz’s culture is as vibrant as its landscape, inviting you to explore the picturesque old towns on foot, savour the local wines at the wine villages or festivals, and engage in a taste of history at the Zeppelin hangar and museum. You could also soar high above the lake in a Zeppelin, an experience that promises to be as thrilling as it is unforgettable.

Meersburg, Lake Constance, photo copyright DZT

Meersburg, Lake Constance, photo copyright DZT

Add to this the rich offerings of Meersburg Castle and Salem Palace, the historical intrigue of the Unteruhldingen Lake Dwelling Museum, and you’ve got a cultural cocktail that’s as intoxicating as it is enriching. For music aficionados, the castle concerts in Meersburg and the Salem “Open Air” festival are a must-visit.

Regardless of when you visit Bodolz, there’s always something magical to discover. In autumn, the colourful vineyards beckon hikers to explore the numerous premium trails and perhaps stop at a cosy mountain inn.

Bodolz, with its old-world charm, captivating natural beauty, and vibrant culture, is more than just a stop on a road trip – it’s a destination that promises to be an experience in itself, a memory etched in the wanderer’s heart.

Soothe Your Senses in the Lap of Ancient Wellness: Cassiopeia Therme Badenweiler

A Sanctuary of Wellness: Enveloped in the idyllic southern reaches of the Black Forest lies a sanctuary of wellness and relaxation – Cassiopeia Therme in Badenweiler. Renowned for its soothing thermal baths, this wellness destination effortlessly blends the Roman culture with contemporary wellness offers to create a rejuvenating oasis that caters to your health and soul.

Awarded five “Wellness Stars”, Cassiopeia Therme embodies timeless elegance and serenity, cocooned in the warm embrace of thermal waters that trace their origin back to the Romans. These ancient settlers first unearthed the healing properties of these warm springs approximately 2000 years ago. They laid the foundation of a health-promoting thermal culture that today forms the core of Badenweiler’s identity.

Preserving this illustrious heritage, the well-preserved Roman bath ruins, one of the largest north of the Alps, stand as a testament to Badenweiler’s ancient origins. Adjacent to these ruins, Cassiopeia Therme continues the rich bathing tradition in its expansive bathing landscape. With the Dome Bath, Marble Bath, and the Outdoor Pool spread across 1000 square metres, the thermal spas are a haven of relaxation and tranquillity.

Baden-Baden The Belle-Époque thermal bath in Friedrichsbad, image copyright GNTB, Francesco Carovillano

Baden-Baden The Belle-Époque thermal bath in Friedrichsbad, image copyright GNTB, Francesco Carovillano

Beyond its soothing thermal waters, Cassiopeia Therme invites you to a world of intense relaxation in its Sauna World. Here, you’ll find an array of indoor and outdoor saunas, each offering a unique temperature experience. Ranging from the mild warmth of the Stone bath (55 degrees Celsius) to the intense heat of the Finnish Sauna (90 degrees Celsius), these saunas are complemented by a large textile-free thermal pool and seasonal infusions with eucalyptus, mint, lemon, and cinnamon.

The unique Roman-Irish bath further elevates the therapeutic experience. This textile-free bath integrates the beneficial elements of Roman bathing culture and Irish bathing tradition in a sequential routine, enabling visitors to immerse in a holistic wellness journey that harmonises body, mind, and soul.

For those seeking a more personal touch to their wellness journey, the Spa-Oasis offers diverse treatments. Let expert hands knead away your stress with a soothing massage, or brighten your skin with a refreshing peeling, facial care, or body pack. The sand-light bath provides a unique environment where warmth and light synergise to cultivate an unparalleled sense of relaxation.

Gastronomic Delights and Natural Splendor in Bad Peterstal-Griesbach and Baiersbronn

Nestled in the heart of the Black Forest region, the picturesque town of Bad Peterstal-Griesbach offers a harmonious blend of unspoiled natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and unparalleled culinary delights.

The town of Baiersbronn, perched along the serene Murg River and graced with the majestic backdrop of the Rinkenkopf mountain, epitomises Black Forest charm. Home to 14,000 inhabitants, the town unfurls across a region steeped in history and resplendent with ancient hill forts like the Rinkenwall. The surrounding forests and landscapes make Baiersbronn an inviting destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts, who can explore the trails under a canopy of thick green foliage or witness the vibrant spectacle of seasonal flora.

Hiking trail in Mountain Schliffkopf, image copyright DZT_Günter Standl

Hiking trail in Mountain Schliffkopf, image copyright DZT_Günter Standl

Beyond its natural allure, Baiersbronn stands proudly on the world culinary stage as a haven for food enthusiasts. The town’s gastronomic reputation is underscored by two Michelin 3-starred establishments – the Schwarzwaldstube and Restaurant Bareiss.

The Schwarzwaldstube, a modern and elegant restaurant nestled in a spectacular new building at its traditional location, offers breathtaking views of the valley. Chef Torsten Michel and his team mesmerise diners with dishes that skillfully meld modern and classic influences. Using the finest ingredients, the culinary creations here are an exercise in finesse and flavour, complemented by the extraordinary desserts of Piet Gliesche. Completing the dining experience is the impeccable service led by restaurant manager Nina Mihilli and head sommelier Stéphane Gass.


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Restaurant Bareiss is another gem in Baiersbronn’s culinary crown. As the kitchen’s helmsman since 1992, Claus-Peter Lumpp is integral to the Bareiss experience. The native Swabian chef conjures exquisite dishes that draw inspiration from classic French cuisine, using the best ingredients to craft flavours that resonate deeply with diners. A special mention must be made of the splendid cheese trolley and the mouth-watering selection of sweets and chocolates. The restaurant’s service, led by maître d’ Thomas Brandt and sommelier Teoman Mezda, perfectly complements the dining experience.


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Pfinztal-Söllingen: Where Germany’s Heritage Melds with Green Innovation

Nestled off the Bertha Benz Memorial Route, Pfinztal-Söllingen is a picturesque district that stands as a testament to the region’s rich heritage and environmental consciousness. This enchanting area, birthed from the amalgamation of four previously independent communities – Berghausen, Kleinsteinbach, Söllingen, and Wöschbach – in 1974, encapsulates the charm of the Black Forest.

Named after the meandering Pfinz River, Pfinztal-Söllingen takes pride in its unique environmental commitment. Over half of its territory is dedicated to nature and landscape protection, showcasing a stunning patchwork of forests, meadows, orchards, and vineyards. This commitment extends to sustainable energy, with various innovative initiatives in place to harness the power of the sun, water, and wood chips for public electricity needs.

Cultural discovery & historical exploration at Pfinztal-Söllingen

The charm of Pfinztal-Söllingen extends beyond its natural beauty. Its roots reach back to 1085, and the passage of time has left an indelible imprint on its landscape. From the era of monastic ownership to its transformation into an industrial hub in the 19th century, the district is a tapestry woven with rich historical threads.

Echoes of the past are still evident in structures like the renowned 5-star Villa Hammerschmiede hotel, which stands in the former villa of a significant tungsten factory, symbolising the district’s historical and industrial legacy.

The heart of Söllingen hosts the administrative centre, a captivating Baroque town hall that stands as a sentinel of history on the main street. Sharing its cultural lifeblood with the town hall, a community centre that doubles as a local history museum invites visitors to explore the district’s past and present through rotating exhibitions, music, and theatre performances.

Historical landmarks like St. Michael’s Church, rooted in the late Gothic period, and treasures such as a traditional Roman relief of Hercules add to the district’s allure. The Leerdam Square is a perfect relaxing spot, while the hiking trails along the Pfinz and in the fruit and wine farm areas are popular among nature enthusiasts. The Pfinztal nature adventure trail offers an exciting journey, providing a closer encounter with nature for both young and old hikers.

A visit to Pfinztal-Söllingen offers a delightful blend of cultural discovery, historical exploration, and natural serenity, promising to leave a lasting impression on every traveller.

Discover, Savour and Immerse in the Unique Appeal of Germany’s Black Forest

With its unique blend of mesmerising natural beauty, profound history, enriching cultural experiences, and mouth-watering gastronomy, the Black Forest region and its neighbouring communities provide a retreat that transcends the boundaries of a typical holiday. From the therapeutic thermal baths of Badenweiler-Therme to the idyllic towns of Baiersbronn and Bad Peterstal and the rich cultural tapestry of Pfinztal-Söllingen, each destination promises to offer something unique to its visitors.

The region invites you to immerse yourself in its alluring appeal, savour unforgettable culinary experiences, and embark on outdoor adventures that awaken your senses. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, exploration, or a desire to connect with nature and history, these quintessentially German gems await your discovery, ready to etch lasting memories into the canvas of your travel experiences. ◼

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© This article was first published online in Aug 2023 – World Travel Magazine.

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