There are some places that all Britons in Germany should have seen: the Reichstag in Berlin, the Hofbräuhaus in Munich and the fairytale castle of Mad King Ludwig II. But one region is an absolute must: the Black Forest!
The home of the world-famous cuckoo clock, the Bollenhut, the legendary Black Forest houses and the Black Forest gâteau today stands as a modern cultural landscape, as a Mecca for mountain bikers and as one of the largest walking regions in Germany. In addition, with the Europa Park, the region is also home to the German version of Disneyworld.
The holiday region, which spans over 11,400 square kilometres and borders both France and Switzerland, owes its name to the highest sub-mountainous region in Germany. The mountains of the Black Forest loom larger than those in all other sub-mountainous regions. Meanwhile, the two natural parks found in the Black Forest are each larger than Majorca, and together comprise more than half of the region.
Throughout the world, the Black Forest stands for an exciting combination of a modern region of culture- a home and place to spend their leisure time for millions of people- and natural landscapes that have maintained their wilderness. As a result, the Black Forest has reached the final of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. You can vote for the Black Forest at www.new7wonders.com.
Vast expanses of forest-bedecked mountains, sunny mountain pastures, green peaks, panoramic views of the French Vosges to the west and the Swiss Alps to the south alternate with deep lying river valleys, small towns made up of timber-framed houses, and picture-perfect villages. The spa towns, such as Baden-Baden and Badenweiler, have been renowned for decades- whilst the 'Green City' of Freiburg continues to be dominated by the intricate sandstone tower of the Münster to this day. It has been considered to be the 'most beautiful tower in Christendom' by many since the Middle Ages.
Vines grow on the western edge of the Black Forest, and the resulting wines can be found in the greatest wine guides and in the wine cellars of connoisseurs across the globe.
Autumn is the season of wine festivals and the 'Strauß-Wirtschaften'. The winegrower use brightly decorated birch-brooms to announce that they are ready to serve their own wines, together with dishes from their own kitchens and cellars. People sit together, drink wine, and eat sauerkraut, Schäufele (shoulders of pork), farmhouse bread and Flammkuchen (pizza-like dish).
If you don't arrive in Germany until winter you should make sure that you visit the Christmas markets in the towns full of small timber-framed houses, for example the Christmas Markets in Gengenbach, in Baden-Baden or in Freiburg. Also be sure not to miss the 130-metre-high stone viaduct arches of the legendary train journey that runs through the Black Forest via the Ravennaschlucht gorge. Then there are 'Germany's tallest waterfalls' in Triberg another must. They fall a distance of 135 metres, passing several cascades en route. But between Christmas and the end of the year, around 750,000 candles and lights illuminate icicles and snow drifts over the gurgling mountain stream.