Winter holiday in the Black Forest
When the temperature drops, the Black Forest changes from an impenetrable pine forest into a winter wonderland. Snowflakes gently cover this area’s many castles, lakes, and forests with a small layer of magic. No wonder this is a land where myths and legends come to life.
The inhabitants of the Schwarzwald in Germany are proud of their beliefs and traditions. The enchanting landscape combined with the famous German Gründlichkeit makes this a prime spot for an active winter holiday.
Schnitzel and Wurst with Pommes Frites are widely available. Everything is clean, and the Mädel dress in traditional costume. There is plenty to do, both indoors and outdoors. All in all, an ideal family winter destination.
Skiing in the Schwarzwald
The main ski resort of the Black Forest is in Feldberg. The slopes here peak at an altitude of 1,450 meters.
There is something for everyone on the Feldberg runs. From the leisurely beginner’s downhill run to the challenging FIS World Cup course. The longest run is the Wiesenquelle, with approximately 3 kilometres. Sunny ski slopes, ski and snowboard schools, four fun slopes and various restaurants make your day in the ski area a memorable experience.
The chairlifts are comfortable, with a soft lining and a bubble dome protecting skiers from wind and snow. Even in the high season (Carnival, Christmas), when winter tourism is at its peak, the queues at the lifts are manageable.
Liftverbund Feldberg has webcams and helpful information about snow conditions, lifts and slopes. In addition, the area has a wide choice of ski rental places. Our skis came from “Sports School on Snow” in Feldberg, August Euler Platz 5.
Skis, boots, poles and helmets are part of the standard equipment. For a small fee, you can rent a ski mask as well.
Feldberg has a large parking garage, skiers with a valid ski pass pay a discounted price. The parking garage also has a ski storage facility.
But there’s more. With one ski pass, you can use 38 lifts and 63 kilometres of slopes spread over eight areas in the Black Forest. Altglashütten, Menzenschwand, Muggenbrunn, Todtnauberg, Notschrei, Belchen and Stollenbach are all included in the same ticket.
- The ski area in Menzenschwand has three lifts and 3.9 km of slopes. This area is particularly suitable for beginners and children. When only using the Rehbachlift, a day pass costs just eight euros.
- Belchenbahn has a gondola, which also runs outside the ski season.
- Todtnauberg is more suitable for advanced skiers. This area has 16 red runs and six lifts.
If you do not like skiing, no problem. Other options include hiking in the mountains, spa wellness treatment, or cross-country skiing.
The 120-kilometre network of cross-country trails is well maintained and varies in grade from light to difficult. The tracks run through forests, frozen lakes, quaint villages and enchanting winter scenery.
The Tourist Board of the Hochschwarzwald has published a handy booklet describing the trials with start and endpoints, difficulty, length and height profile.
With the Hochschwarzwaldcard, you can borrow cross-country skis for free at participating stores (based on availability).
If you prefer to go in a group, join a guided tour. Participation is free. However, you need to sign up in advance.
A hybrid between hiking and cross-country skiing is snowshoeing, a sort of cross-country skiing but on short wide ‘Schuhen’.
Hiking trails are described in detail, with a map, altitude profile, length and difficulty. You can get a booklet with 15 tracks in the Black Forest at the tourist office.
Also, guided hikes are regularly organised in winter, some of which (with a torchlight). The time and date will be announced locally at a central location on a notice board. On the poster is a phone number to sign up.
If you had enough strenuous exercise, then a trip to one of the region’s spas (and saunas) is the ultimate way to loosen up those stiff muscles. Get one of those relaxing massages, leaving you good to go for another few days.
The Hochschwarzcald gives free access to various spas and pools. Although in most cases, you must pay for the (nude) sauna.
- At Radon Revital Bad in Menzenschwand, dip in the heated outdoor pool whilst enjoying the snowy views.
- Badeparadies Schwarzwald is located at Titisee-Neustadt. According to one of the readers of this blog, this is “the most beautiful pool I know.” The complex has a palm oasis, thermal baths, a sauna, marble and orchids.
- The villages Breitnau, Dittishausen, Schluchsee and Grafenhausen all boast a swimming pool. In Grafenhausen, with the Hochschwarzwaldcard, access to the sauna is free.
Snow activities with children in and around Feldberg
Fun in the snow does not stop at skiing:
- Build a Snowman is free and always fun for adults and children.
- Sledge effortlessly the 1.2-kilometre descent at Titisee with the Sleebus takes you to the start of the slope.
- Snow tubing is descending a slope on a tire. Go to the Kuhberg lift in Saig on a 200-meter run.
If the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are plenty of indoor activities.
- Archery, in Eisenbach, is one of the options.
Trampoline, climbing, and ice skating are free again with the “red” card at Feldberg Fundorena. Note that the” ice rink” is not natural ice. Experienced ice skaters probably won’t enjoy this.
Black Forest Practical information
The Black Forest Tourist Board has offices in most towns in the area: Breitnau, Eisenbach, Feldberg, Altglashütten, Friedenweiler, Grafenhausen, Hinnterzarten, Häusern, Lenzkirch Löffingen, Muggenbrunn, Notschrei, Schluchsee, St. Blasien, St. Märgen St. Peter & Neustadt Titisee, Todtnau, Todtnauberg and Ühlingen-Birkendorf.
Download their handy tourism app through the website, which also works offline. If you prefer paper over electronics, get one of those leaflets at the office.
The Tourist Board’s website details the current snow situation. Before a trip, check the condition of the slopes through webcams.
Wi-Fi is a scarce commodity in the Black Forest, and in some areas, data roaming hardly functions. In addition, many bars and restaurants do not have Wi-Fi, and if they do, they are not exactly eager to share the network with their clients.
At the tourist offices listed above, Wi-Fi is available. Use the code on the Hochschwarzwald to get access. Depending on the location, this works very well (Altglashütten) or hardly at all (Liftverbund Feldberg).
An apartment is ideal for families with small children. It allows flexibility in eating and sleeping times.
We stayed in a Kukucksnester in rural Menzenschwand. The apartment has a bedroom, a sitting room with a sofa bed, an open kitchen and children’s amenities. If you suffer from social media dependency, this is ideal for beating your addiction because there is no Wi-Fi.
Many accommodations in the Black Forest cooperate with the Tourist Board. By booking a minimum three-night stay at a participating partner, you get free access to the Hochschwarzwaldcard with all the associated benefits. You might find suitable accommodation here if you do not want the card.
Transport in and to the Schwarzwald
- Public transport, the area has an extensive network of trains and buses.
- Airports nearby the Black Forest are Basel, Strasbourg, Zurich, Baden Baden, Stuttgart and Friedrichshafen.
- Check here which flights are available.
Typical food in the Schwarzwald
Generally, the restaurants in this region have the same dishes. Of course, it helps if you like Schnitzel and/or Wurst. Kids probably won’t object to the crispy Pommes Frites served nearly everywhere. Salmon, ham and cheese are often on the menu, and of course, the famous Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is a must to try at least once.
Servings are generous and generous amounts of food call for copious amounts of liquids. Flush your food down with a local beer from Rothaus.
Most larger towns have a Pizzeria or Chinese restaurant when you crave something different.
Restaurant Zum Kuckuck combines tradition with a hip vibe. The delicious food is excellent. Start here for a hike along the ten kilometres long Geißenpfad and the short but scenic “Wasserfall” walk.
Important in winter
Suitable clothing will make all the difference.
- Especially for hiking through snow, comfortable waterproof shoes are essential. Nothing is more annoying than cold, wet feet during a long hike.
- A walking GPS is helpful in the mountains.
- Remember fleeces, windproof jackets, gloves, long ski socks, hats and sunglasses.
- Do not forget your swim clothes for that relaxing visit to a spa.
So you know
This trip to the Black Forest was made in collaboration with the Schwarzwald Tourist Board; accommodation, ski rental and of course the Hochschwarzwald was sponsored by them.
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