*This is a free press trip with The Black Forest*
I love what a road trip can offer your holiday that public transport can’t: the opportunity to be spontaneous and the freedom to go off the beaten track and find some truly magical places that trains and buses don’t go near.
The Black Forest is one of my favourite National Parks and so a road trip driving through some of it’s best spots was always on the bucket list! I experienced a rather exhaustive 5 day itinerary discovering the best Christmas markets, wine routes, hiking trails, spa destinations and photography spots the forest has to offer so I could let you know the must have places you need to see for yourself!
We flew into Basel Airport really quite unsure if we had landed in France or Switzerland to be honest with you. It turns out you land in France but can walk straight out of the airport into Switzerland, so we did. We picked up the hire car and drove to our first stop in Germany. From London to France to Switzerland and on to Germany in less than 3 hours!
Our first day was spent in Freiburg.
It was unfortunately raining quite heavily for the first few hours so exploring was limited to coffee and cake shops but I wasn’t going to complain about that!
But luckily the rain eased up as we were making candles and as it became dark we headed off to find ourselves some mulled wine at our first Christmas market of the trip!
I had never visited an authentic German Christmas market before and now I know how cheesy the UK ones really are in comparison!!
We were up bright and early the next morning to discover Germany’s oldest wine route: The Baden Wine Route is the longest at over 500km so we had a lot of wineries to tick off!
Our first stop was a trip to the very modern Weber Winery. All glass and bright white spaces, the winery rents out their space for large parties quite often [Alex and I have decided we are going back for one!] They store 400,000 bottles [so just enough for a party for myself and Alex] and make 150,000 every year. They also make gin, I was very pleased to hear this!!
To explore the vineyard grounds were were each given a Segway to drive. They handed us Union Jack flag helmets they said were especially for us!
I think I rocked it if I’m being honest!
We both did…
We started by practising in the building but were quickly let loose round the grounds. Alex even got me on video showing off, videoing her as I rode my Segway backwards and almost falling off! Oops…
[No, sorry, I’m not inserting the video here!!]
After our exploring we were treated to a ‘vesper’. When we saw this on the itinerary Alex and I honestly thought we were going to be scooting round our wine trail on an Italian motorbike. Unfortunately not! Instead, a vesper in German means snack.
Once we were fed we headed further South through the Black Forest to find our next stop: Alde Gott.
Alde Gott is the name of the vineyard around Sasbachwalden. The quaint town looks like it was the inspiration for all fairytale villages. Such a beautiful setting with vineyards, meadows, waterfalls, forestry and perfect fairytale houses!
Alde Gott produces wine on a much larger scale and sells 1.8 million bottles every year. They can store up to a million bottles and they don’t export anything. That is a lot of bottles of wine that stay inside Germany’s borders every year. How selfish of them not to share!!
Our next stop was to Karlsruhe. As a gateway to the Black Forest, Karlsruhe is apparently considered to be one of the sunniest towns in Germany. The town is in a ‘fan-shape’ thanks to its founder Margrave Karl Wilhelm who, in 1715, built his palace in the centre and created all roads to lead away from it. Standing in an my of the roads means you can always see the palace and it’s such a unique layout of a town!
We clocked up over 10,000 steps as we discovered different parts of the city which was a lovely stretch for our legs that had sat in a car driving around The Black Forest for a lot of the day!
We were taken to three Christmas markets that Karlsruhe had to offer and they were so festive and traditional I must have taken over 200 photos in the first tiny market area alone.
Several mulled wines and chocolate stuffed crepes later and we were very full on Christmas. I even got to see Santa fly over us!
A very good night’s sleep after a long day set us up for a morning hike. We finally got stuck in to the Black Forest on foot, exactly what I had been waiting for!
It didn’t disappoint!
I am never calmer than surrounded by nature and trees especially. This was a really special moment in the trip for me, I was speechless. And not just because it was a two hour hike!
The next day we continued the calming theme by visiting the wellness and health centre Solemar. People with injuries visit from all over Germany as the varying salt-level pools and physiotherapy centre are said to be the best in the country. The centre offers a Dead-Sea-Salt Grotto, sauna area, brine thermal bath as well as therapeutic fitness and rehabilitation centres.
Having enjoyed several of the 13 pools both inside and out containing whirlpools and massage jets we left feeling zen and pampered from head to toe.
This trip was at the beginning of December, every previous year it was already snowing by this point. For those of you who have been long-time readers here you will know how happy snow makes me. So you can image how disappointed I was when the weather forecast no snow on our trip. That was until I woke up on our last day to this…
The most magical moment of my year!
I am already planning another snowy trip there. I’d love to know if you’ve ever been to the Black Forest and if so, where have you been and what did you see? I’d love to keep adding to this guide!
Until next time,