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Black Forest: Celtic Mysteries, Magical Myths, Quirky Swabian Culture

Updated: Jan 1

Overview

The Black Forest is a large forested mountain range in the state of Baden Württemberg in southwest Germany. It is bounded by the Rhine Valley to the west and south and close to the French and Swiss borders. It is the source of the Danube and Neckar rivers.


In ancient times, the Black Forest was known as "Abnoba mons", after the Celtic deity Abnoba. It is believed that the Black Forest represented the border area of the Marcomanni (border people), part of the Germanic tribe, who settled east of the Roman ramparts. Unlike the other parts of Germany, the Black Forest was not colonized by the Romans, but by the Alemanni tribe.


Alemannia was established by the Alemanni, a Germanic confederation that had broken through the Roman provinces in the Black Forest in 213. They expanded from the Main River during the 3rd century and settled on the left bank of the Rhine River from the 4th century.

They were ruled by independent tribal kings during the 4th and 5th centuries. In the 6th century they lost their independence and became a duchy of the Frankish Empire.


Because the Roman Empire in the region started with King Conrad I of East Francia from 911 to 918, the territory of the Alemanni automatically became the Duchy of Swabia.

Baden’s history as a state began in the 12th century as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire. In 1871, Baden later became one of the founder states of the German Empire.


Württemberg was recognized as a Kingdom from 1806 – 1918. From 1952, it became the youngest state of the German Federal Republic of Baden-Württemberg.


Fantastic Celtic sites have been uncovered in the region and have been beautifully preserved and reconstructed to its previous form. When visiting the area, you'll have the privilege of learning more about this fascinating tribe.


The inhabitants of the Black Forest have developed their own cultural identity, including the dialect spoken in the region. They have a popular slogan which says a lot about their outlook on life: “Wir können alles, ausser Hochdeutsch” (we can do everything except speaking Standard German).


This is most probably based on their tenacious nature of making this vast untamed forested area a place that they can call “home”, but it is also linked to ancient customs and cultures.


To discover, explore and experience the culture and history of the Black Forest, you have to visit the enchanting small villages where life is slow and not overrun by the usual tourist hordes.


Steeped in a traditional culture spanning hundreds of years, the artisans in the villages will surprise you with the pride they have for their exceptional woodworking skills.


The forest itself offers intimate small hotels and welcoming guest houses where you can be sure to enjoy great food, indulge in the unique and traditional Black Forest cake and down your drinks with the same gusto that is characteristic to the Black Forest.


The region’s imposing castles which were once occupied by several dynasties, fortifications and ruins dating back to the medieval period are impressive and a delight to explore. Numerous art galleries and museums displaying permanent and other exhibitions offer you opportunities to discover the arts and crafts scene of the region.


The stunning cities and towns offer a host of thermal baths, therapeutic baths, spa hotels and health resorts that will revive you after a day of exploration and discovery.


For hikers and cyclists the forest offers numerous trails and will introduce you to the enormous Black Forest Biosphere Reserve which is one of the most diverse low mountain ranges of Central Europe.

And if you were into fairytales growing up, you’ll be delighted to know that the stories of the world-famous Grimm brothers were inspired by the Black Forest.


The Black Forest is awash with mystery, legends and myths and is an explorer’s ultimate ‘holiday of a lifetime’. What are you waiting for?


Discover the Ancient Celtic Tribes


Heidengraben Celtic Trail

To get a feel for the region’s amazing Celtic heritage, why not go on a walking expedition to discover the fortified settlement dating back to the Iron Age first?


The settlement was in use from the 2nd century BC to the 1st century BC, and is the largest settlement in mainland Europe. The trail starts in Erkenbrechtsweiler, about 35 – 45 minutes from Reutlingen. It is a 6km long path which includes nine information stations.


The trail starts with an early Celtic burial ground dating to 800 – 450 BC, where burial mounds, pottery, jewelry and weapons were discovered. Your next stop will be at a place where the settlers got their water reserves from because the Swabian Alb is a naturally arid area.


The next stop will introduce you to agriculture and animal husbandry which is believed to have been developed around 100 BC and walking further, you will encounter the settlements and farmstead dating back to 130 BC that leads to the entrance of the settlement.


Next, you’ll learn about the trade and crafts of the period at the economic and craft center of the settlement. You will then work your way to the east and further to the Danube, which was a trading route to the Black Sea. At your next stop you will learn how the settlement was protected by walls and gates.


Interested in exploring? You’ll be provided with an app that you can download from the website of the “Celtic Experience Trail”. If you don’t want to go walking, you can view some of the other findings from the area at the museum of the University of Tübingen.


Celtic Museum Heuneburg

If you’re not into walking long distances, a visit to the Celtic Museum Heuneberg will appeal to you.


The Heuneburg is an open-air museum on top of the Heuneburg hill, and is a complete reconstruction of the lost Celtic kingdom.

The Heuneburg was a prehistoric early Celtic center with a fortified citadel. Extensive remains of settlements and burial areas spanning several centuries were discovered here.


The first settlement on the site dates to the 15th – 12th centuries BC. The Heuneburg complex developed quickly and by 600 BC, had become one of the key areas of power and trade in Celtic/Halstatt, Southern Germany.


When you visit the museum located in Herbertingen-Hundersingen, you will discover finds uncovered through years of careful excavation at the site. The exhibits include relics from Greece, the Baltic Sea, Slovenia and Marseilles.


Special periodical exhibitions are offered by the museum, so if you're traveling in a group, contact them for a special guided group tour to the latest excavation sites.


There is an early Celtic residence 2 km from the Museum which is one of the most important archaeological sites in Central Europe. It is believed that the area is one of the places where Celtic art and culture developed.


If you’re into walking, you can do the 2½ - 3 hours "Archaeological Walk" circuit leading from the Heuneburg Museum.


Along the route you will discover important sites associated with the early Celtic settlement, a monumental burial mound dating to the first half of the 6th century BC, the medieval Baumberg which is believed to be an Iron Age foundation mound, the Heuneburg hillfort, the outer settlement, as well as the Hohimichele mound believed to be the largest preserved burial mound anywhere in Central Europe.


Guided tours will introduce you to craft workshops, field trips to gather medicinal herbs, music festivals and traditional religious holidays. The Celtic crafts include weaving, iron and bronze manufacturing, glass-blowing, brewing beer and mead (honey wine – an alcoholic beverage made by fermenting honey).


The Celtic Museum Heuneburg is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, including on public holidays from April to October.


Keltenmuseum: Hochdorf Chieftain’s Grave

Do you want superior explorer bragging rights that will make you the envy of friends and family alike?


Then you should pay a visit to the Keltenmuseum Hochdorf.


The astonishing finds of the Celtic Chieftain’s grave will make you realize that the historical evidence discovered here are among the most precious ever discovered in the world.


The museum is located near Hochdorf an der Enz, where the remains of an early Celtic settlement from the 5th to the 4th centuries BC were discovered.


The finds were very well preserved, making this site one of the most outstanding that you’ll ever experience on your journey into the past of any region.


Excavations revealed the outlines of several farmsteads and the reconstruction of a Celtic farmstead is situated next to the museum. The main focus of the museum is the Celtic Chieftain’s grave which was uncovered during excavations.


The grave's burial chamber contained some very interesting items including the remains of a man laid out in an ornately decorated bronze recliner with eight wheels.


The extraordinary relics found in the burial chamber with him indicate that he must have been a very important figure in the settlement. The burial mound itself has been reconstructed to its original height.


The Celtic museum is dedicated to the “Celtic Prince of Hochdorf”, the timeline of his existence and his culture. Your visit to the museum will transport you back 2,500 years at the original location of the actual settlement.


What I love about the museum is the variety of offers they have for visitors.


The museum's outdoor area is open year-round, depending on certain weather conditions like snow, which might prevent access to the burial chamber. From April to August, the museum offer special exhibitions, which feature archaeological finds from Germany and abroad or on specific topics at random. Their summer programs include demonstrations, hands-on activities, courses and workshops for both adults and kids.


Whether you visit the museum on your own or with a group, you will not be disappointed at what you’ll learn about the ancient Celts. You and your group can visit the museum with your own guide, but if you don't have your own guide, you can book a guided tour with them.


If your day in the region won’t allow you enough time to get to the museum before closing time, you can book a “Classic Evening Tour”, a “Celtic Evening Tour”, or you can book a tailor-made tour for your own group. Tours include visiting the reconstructed grave so you can have a closer look at what was included in the burial chamber.


The museum tour takes about an hour and includes the permanent exhibition and the outdoor Celtic homestead.


The museum shop offer a large selection of jewelry and replicas, from hand-crafted souvenirs to high quality gold and silver jewelry, based on Celtic and Etruscan motifs.


This is the opportunity for you to shop some classic items for family and friends who couldn't accompany you on the journey.


Imagine their pleasure when you present their gifts to them. Priceless!


Opening times are from Wednesday to Sunday, including public holidays from 10:00 am to 17:00 pm.


Gegenbach

The charming town of Gegenbach is adorned with historic architecture, medieval cobbled streets and stunning half-timbered architecture. It is located amid beautiful natural landscapes, and the entrance to the city is an old stone-arched bell tower with a beautiful old clock.


Altstadt (Old Town)

The main square is located in the market square of the old town, and is the meeting point of the three main streets. The market square is where the weekly market takes place and also where most events are hosted.


Baroque townhouses and historic half-timbered houses surround the whimsical square, while the neoclassical Rathaus (town hall) is the dominant building, the seat of the magistrate and local government which was completed in 1784.

The interesting 16th century Röhrenbrunnen (fountain) sits smack bang in the middle of the square. The statue features a knight in armor holding a shield with Germany’s imperial eagle on it.

The Baroque building on the southern side of the market square served as the city’s grain storage. The houses in Engelgasse together with the Baroque building were erected around 1696.


Both the houses and the Baroque building (except for its Renaissance tower) were destroyed in a devastating fire. The destroyed buildings were rebuilt in 1689.


To take in the full view of the quaint half-timbered houses, take a walk to the area northwest of the main square and head to the two narrow streets of Engelgasse and Höllengasse.


Most of the homes in Höllengasse were built in the 18th and 19th centuries with lots of passages, courtyards and picture-perfect timber-framed houses bedecked with colorful flowerpots. Explore the area and take pictures to remind you of interesting places that you might want to re-visit on a later trip.


There are quirky statues of jesters and fanciful figurines throughout the town which serves as a reminder that you just have to pay a visit to the inimitable Niggelturm Museum (Museum of Fools).

To discover the unique character of this small town, take a self-guided tour so you can discover its highlights at your own pace.



The Town Hall


If you're in Gegenbach in December, you can view the world's largest storied Advent Calendar. During this period, the entire Rathaus (town hall) is transformed into an advent calendar. Each of its 24 windows is decorated with a magnificent festive Christmas scene.


Every night until Christmas, the whole town and visitors from across the world descend on the town square to get a view of each window’s scene as they are revealed.


During the day you can visit the Christmas market which is open from 30 November to 23 December. You will not know where to start exploring, as you will be greeted with over 50 stalls decked with handcrafted gifts, including the famous German Cuckoo clock, classic nutcrackers, smokers and other wooden crafts.


And in-between shopping and admiring the dreamy wares, you can indulge in the seasonal delicacies on offer at numerous stalls.


Gegenbach Abbey & St. Marien Church

The Benedictine Abbey of St Jakobus was founded in the 8th century with the status of an imperial abbey. Around 1700 a large new convent building was erected while the Romanesque abbey church remained.


The tall Baroque steeple, together with the defense towers of the city were added between 1712 and 1714. The façade of the church indicates its Romanesque structure with some Baroque additions.


The interior was refurbished around 1700 and again in the late 19th century, during which time all the Baroque additions were removed to be replaced by a medieval interior.


The Benedictine Abbey of Gegenbach is the only surviving monastery

complex out of four previous major monasteries in the Ortenau region. These monasteries were regarded as being important for the development of the region.


The monastic settlement dates back to the early 8th century and was subjected to the Benedictine rule by Primin between 724 and 727.

From this point onwards, the abbey underwent an eventful period of ownership until its secularization in 1803. In 1896, the monastery church was renovated in the neo-Romanesque eclectic style and it now houses a technical college.

The St. Marien Church in Gegenbach serves a few communities in the area, and is a 19th century Baroque-style building with a prominent tower of the former monastery of St. Jakobus Abbey, which is adjacent to the church.


The beautiful interior of the church is complemented by some stunning frescoes. The church also has a year-round nativity scene which can be visited during the day outside of service times.


The nativity scene was created in 2009 and apart from depicting the birth of Jesus, it also features other Biblical stories about the gospels and the religious festivals of the church. These are presented through Egli figures (a type of doll with movable limbs originating in Switzerland in 1964 and became popular in German Christian circles for telling Bible stories).

There is a donation box near the crib that switches on the fountain and lighting when you insert a coin. It must be the congregation’s way of thanking visitors. The donations are used to purchase materials such as additional figures, clothing, repairs, etc. This could be your “good deed for the day” since the crib builders work on a voluntary basis and will surely appreciate your contribution.

So, be a sport and add your gift toward the continued support of the effort made by the volunteers to entice travelers to the many attractions of their town!


The Monastery Herb Garden

The herb garden was created within the former monastery complex of the Benedictine Abbey of Gegenbach. It is located on the east side of the St Marien Church and was completely redesigned in 2003.

The Benedictine monks laid out and tended the herb garden on instructions by the founder of the order, Benedict of Nursia.


The herbs were used to produce medicines which were available to the public in the monastery pharmacy.


The oldest surviving plan of a herb garden can be found in the plan for a monastery complex created around 820. It can be located in the monastery on the Bodensee island of Reichenau known as the St. Gallen monastery plan.


The herb garden in Gegenbach is open daily from 08:30 to 18:00. Take a break in this stunning space, relax and recuperate - you still have a few places to check out.


Haus Löwenberg (StadtGalerie)

Haus Löwenberg is located in a former patrician house located in the old town of Gegenbach.


It offers contemporary art and photography exhibitions that span themes, epochs and disciplines. These include historical marionettes, a hall of mirrors, a figure organ, an overhead marble run and kinetic objects on the ground floor.


The museum shop is interesting in that it has reading materials, and many playful and curious gift ideas which may help develop your maybe non-existent artistic abilities.


They offer guided tours for individuals on the museum’s ground floor. There are different opening hours for different periods during the year, so check with them before visiting.


Narrenmuseum Niggelturm

The Niggelturm is located in the town's former medieval fortification and was erected in the early 14th century.


The tower is named after its first owner, a local nobleman named Niggi von Egenbach and consists of five floors with a spiral staircase leading to the top floor of the tower. From here you will have excellent views of the town as well as the surrounding Black Forest.


The tower served various purposes over the years, including a watchtower, a prison and a storage facility for gunpowder. The museum has a special attraction for those interested in history and architecture.


The Narrenschopf, also located in the tower, is dedicated to the traditional carnival culture of the region.


The museum showcases a collection of oversized masks (known as Häs in the local dialect) worn by carnival performers during parades and other events. The masks date back to the 19th century and represent the rich history and the diversity of the carnival culture in the Black Forest.


Masks from different areas and eras will give you more insight about the traditions and meanings behind the different characters, as well as exhibits relating to other aspects of the carnival culture; such as traditional costumes, musical instruments, and other artefacts.

To visit the museum and immerse yourself in the lively carnival traditions of the Black Forest, you can take a guided tour for groups which include:


1st Floor: Multimedia show - you will be greeted by extraordinary busts, will learn more about the carnival through a multi-media show, as well as view a model of the Niggel Tower.


2nd Floor: Gegenbach Carnival Figures - the reproduction of typical Gegenbach carnival scenes, displays of historical pictures and the first wooden mask from Gegenbach will pique your interest in the carnival.


3rd Floor: “Schalk, wake up!” – the traditional “Schalkswecken” heralds in the official beginning of the Gegenbach street carnival. This will give you insight as to how the merry carnival is started.


4th Floor: The Foolish Workshop – this floor gives you fantastic insight into the traditional craftsmanship that goes into the Gegenbach Fastnacht. The presentation is offered in a replica workshop. It gives you the opportunity to learn about the creation of a Gegenbach wooden mask and straw shoes.


5th Floor: Fooling Around – this floor puts you in the middle of the Gegenbach street carnival so you can get a “real” sense of what the carnival is like.

6th Floor: Swabian-Alemannic Carnival Figures – this floor showcases the diversity of the carnival through a selection of jester figures of the southwestern German folk tradition.


7th Floor (top floor): Outlook & Exhibition – this floor focuses on constantly changing exhibitions on the topic of the carnival.


These are just some of the sites that you can visit in Gegenbach. There are still so much to discover in this interesting town. But it’s up to you to make the effort to pay a visit.


I would recommend that you visit during the town’s busiest periods … even if you hate crowds. The museum's focus is on the Swabian-Alemannic Fastnacht Carnival.


This is a unique event of the Black Forest that is worth tolerating the crowds for who flock to the town to experience genuine Swabian folklore.


The Carnival runs for a few days in February and each day has a different theme. Contact the Gegenbach Culture & Tourism offices for more info about dates, themes and the cities, towns and villages that will host the event in the Black Forest in 2024.


Other Museums of Interest


Other museums in the area are more ‘specialist oriented' and will appeal to those with an interest in timber rafting, transport and military exhibitions. So I’ll just mention them briefly for those who might have an interest in them.


Timber Rafting & Transport Museum

The museum is located in a former signalman’s house and the thematic areas apparently have a 2,000-year history.

Visitors can learn about raft transport on the Kinzig river and in other places in the area, the Kinzig river as a waterway, the forestry and timber industry and the Baden Forest rail.


Military History Museum in the Kinzigtor

The Kinzigtor Tower is the main entrance to the city and was used to levy a municipal toll to the merchant rafts entering the area on the Kinzig river, as a fire watch station, as well as announcing the time of day (night watchman). The tower was renovated in 1991 and installed as a museum.


The museum features the history and function of the tower, the military history of Gegenbach, as well as various displays of guns, bandoliers and swords.


The watchman’s apartment is situated on the top floor so you can see what his living conditions were like.


Gegenbach Night Watchman

To experience some authentic old world charm, join the night watchman on his tour around the nooks and crannies of the town. The night watchman will share thought-provoking stories about the town with you, entertain you with the traditional song of the night watchman and teach you about the purpose of the town's 12 stations.


You can learn more about the evening tour from the Gegenbach Culture & Tourism offices.


Schloss Staufenberg – Durbach

Not far from Gegenbach, on a hilltop overlooking the town, you will see the castle of Schlaufenberg. It is located in Durbach, but it seems like many visitors think it is part of Gegenbach.


You will find the castle’s long and iconic history dating back to the Middle Ages extremely fascinating.


First mentioned in historical documents from the 12th century, it was owned by one of the most powerful families in Germany at the time, the Hohenstaufens. The castle played an important role in the political and military strategies during this period and in the 14th century it was sold to the Counts of Fürstenberg.


In the 16th century, during the Reformation, it was used as a stronghold by Protestant forces. The castle was badly damaged during the Thirty Year’s War in the 17th century. In the 19th century the castle was extensively renovated in the neo-Gothic style and expanded by Count Fürstenberg.


It remained in the family’s possession until the 20th century when it was sold to a private owner.


The castle was used as a military hospital during WWII by the German army and was heavily damaged by Allied bombing in 1944. It was later restored and today it is known as Schloss Staufenberg Hotel and Restaurant.


When you visit, you can explore the castle grounds, visit the tower for some more great views of Gegenbach and the town of Durbach, as well as stroll through the rustic vineyards surrounding the castle.


The castle vineyards produce a variety of local wines, namely Weingut Markgraf von Baden. Weingut Markgraf von Baden is one of the most iconic wineries in Baden and Schloss Staufenberg maintains a portion of its operations. You can take a tour of the vineyards and during a tasting session you will learn more about the world of fine wine.


Purchase a bottle of this first-class wine directly from the winery in Durbach when you shop for souvenirs.


To really enjoy the delicious traditional fare served at the restaurant, you can either settle for dinner on the terrace, in the restaurant or around a wooden table in the wine bar.


If not, there are a number of restaurants in Gegenbach that specializes in regional cuisine as well as international gastronomy.


Great local wines are featured on their menus and the region is particularly well-known for its Black Forest ham, which is served with local cheeses and bread.


Other regional specialties are served with spätzle (some kind of egg noodle), sauerkraut, and, of course, the famous Black Forest cake. Like most regions of the Black Forest, traditional cuisine is made with locally-produced ingredients and a mix of German and French influences is part and parcel for the delicious fare.


Genieβe dein Essen!


Bad Dürrheim

Bad Dürrheim is a harmonious spa town located between the Black Forest and the Swabian Jura. It has a history of more than 150 years of health expertise and is graced with chic and extensive parks.


The region has a triple rating “Brine Spa”, “Climatic Health Resort" (premium class) and “Kneipp Health Resort” which represent three different recreational landscapes around Bad Dürrheim.


The famous Solemar wellness and health center is located in stunning surroundings and offers a variety of water-based activities.


The six thermal saunas at the Black Forest Sauna Complex and a Dead Sea Salt Grotto with pure, ionized air combined with subtle sound and lighting is part of the wellness and health center.


The salt water treatment is said to relieve pressure in the muscles and joints, strengthens the cardiovascular system, clears the airways and boosts skin regeneration.


A visit to the health facilities will be beneficial to your health and mental well-being and introduce you to a spa region that is not as well-known and overcrowded as Baden-Baden.


Museum Narrenschopf

Located in Bad Dürrheim’s Kurpark, it is a virtual carnival museum that offers a wide range of activities.


The Fastnacht Carnival is one of the most popular carnivals in the Black Forest, attended by thousands of people around the globe.


If you don't like to attend the "live" carnival because of the crowds, this is the ideal opportunity for you to get to know more about the carnival and what makes it one of the most colorful and exciting street parades in the world.

The museum introduces you to the main characters of the carnival and displays the masks that are used by these characters. The museum consists of three characteristic domes where 73 jesters' guilds, mainly from Germany and Switzerland, present their carnival custom.


In the first dome, you will learn about the origin and general history of the carnival and can view historical documents relating to the carnival. You can also view several disguises from different carnival traditions, as well as watch entertaining 3D films and film animation in the cinema.


The second dome concentrates on introducing you to the Fastnacht Carnival through figures replicating the jesters and shows you the production of the masks used in the carnival.


The third dome is surrounded by 74 colorful carnival figures from the various guilds and there are several screens for you to watch specific traditions of the festival. This dome is also used by the public for special events like weddings, birthday celebrations, etc.


Pay a visit to the museum shop where you can purchase souvenirs to take home with you.


If you have kids who are not accompanying you on your visit to the area, you can surprise them with colorfully illustrated children’s books; for adults there are numerous books about the Swabian-Alemannic carnival. There are also a variety of carnival props, games and souvenirs to remind you of a visit to a very unique museum.


If you have a phobia of over-crowded festivals, a visit to the museum might just be the cure!


Local History Museum

The museum is located in a former salt works building and opened in 1986. It showcases the development of Bad Dürrheim, from its first mention in 889 up to the discovery of the saltwater warehouse under the town. It shaped the history and community over a period of 150 years.


This history is presented through the exhibitions on display in the museum. It features the history of the museum, as well as the history of the successful development of the spa industry in the region.


The Heimatstrube houses pictures, documents and graphics of this development. The rural character of the former village is brought to life through the exhibition of traditional costumes, agricultural implements and furniture. This includes a wooden hot bath tub, utensils from the former bath houses and a small kitchen showcases important items used at the time.


The reading corner provides you with literature of the local history of the region.

Admission to the museum is free and opening times are from 14:00 pm to 17:00 pm. Special tours can be arranged on request after prior registration.


Kur-und Erlebnispark

To experience the environment of Bad Dürrheim, take a walk through the peaceful Kur-und Erlebnispark.


This well-kept area features walking paths stretching from Hindenburg Park in the middle of the city, to the nature and adventure park between Kurhaus and the Solemar Wellness and Health center.


The brine avenue is the main axis of the nature and adventure park which connects three works of art on the subject of brine, namely, the brine pillar, the brine gate and the salt spring. You can learn more about the healing climate concept at the climate pavilion behind the playground for younger visitors.


The Kneipp Health Resort can be visited in the themed gardens surrounding it, where you will learn about Kneipp's herbal theory.


The Prädikats along with the Prädikatsalle contains a graduation tower and the Kneipp pool. Kneipp's teachings can be experienced at the water treading pool, the arm fountain and the barefoot path.


Sports Activities


Bad Dürrheim has a healing climate combined with outstanding outdoor activities. There are numerous paths and nature trails, Kneipp and spa park facilities and a stunning Saline lake, giving you enormous opportunities to get to know the area better whilst improving your overall health.


Before ending your day in Bad Dürrheim, you can participate in several sports activities.


If travelling in a group, the Adventure Golf Course is where you should head to. This attractive golf course has 18 holes to play around bridges, heights and streams, and you don’t have to be an expert golfer to play.


Another leisure activity would be to go for a stroll to revel in the magnificent countryside landscapes.


There are three Nordic Walking routes that are between 5 km and 12 km long with different levels of difficulty and distances. So if you've never attempted Nordic Walking before, you can start with the beginner's walk. The walks can be combined with guided tours and you can rent walking sticks at the tourist information center in the guest house.


Into cycling? You have a choice between mountain cycling, racing and e-biking. The cycling activities can also be combined with guided tours so you can experience the .sights of the town as you cycle along.


For example, the KliMobil route has some special themed tours for you to explore a few places in and around the town. Another tour is around Bad Dürrheim where you can discover sights like the source of the Neckar or the Fürstenberg Castle. These are only a couple of the tour routes on offer, giving you a great selection to choose from..


Dining in Bad Dürrheim: Restaurant & Café Kurhaus


Doing health therapy, participating in fun ways to explore magnificent nature and exploring storied cultural sites are extremely good for the tummy. Which means that by now your huge appetite will be a danger to any animal or greenery that crosses your path. Please don’t add to the world’s environmental woes by attacking endangered animal or plant life in your path.


Rather head to the Restaurant & Café Kurhaus instead to satisfy your growing hunger pangs.


The glamorous restaurant lies on the edge of the nature and adventure park where you can binge on whatever is put in front of you. The restaurant offers some fun dining themes, which, of course, you will have made a reservation for.


The first option is for those who love to enjoy mystery thrillers coupled with exciting culinary delights. The "Crime Dinner" in the Kurhaus will be right up your alley where you can eat your way through regional cuisine whilst trying to solve a ghastly crime; which of course, won't spoil your appetite. After all, you have a very strong constitution that can withstand any type of situation you find yourself in!


The second dining option is for those who are in the region between March and November, the cold season of the region. During this period, the restaurant is converted into a rustic alpine hut and decked out with hut decorations to add to the adventure. In this cozy atmosphere you will be treated with a feast of raclette, cheese fondue and other great delicacies accompanied by the appropriate hot and cold drinks.


Bon appétit!


Schonach

Schonach is located in the Central Black Forest with a number of very interesting cultural heritage sites.


The magical town is blessed with a beautiful hiking area and has perfect terrain for a number of winter and summer sport activities.


Eble Clock Park

Start your day by visiting the Eble Clock Park located in Triberg with its eye-popping Cuckoo Clock. Known to be the world's biggest Cuckoo Clock, it present you with the finest in original Black Forest craftsmanship. The cuckoo bird itself is 4.50 meters tall, made completely of wood, weighs 150 kg, while the pendulum is 8 meters long and weighs 100 kg.


And if you think it’s a static clock for viewing only, you’ve got another think coming.


Like Big Ben in London, it is fully functional and announces the time every thirty minutes as well as every hour. The clockwork measures 4.5 m x 4.5 m which you can view when you climb the staircase inside the clock.


The clock earned a mention in the prestigious Guinness Book of Records. Awesome!


To learn more about the clock and how it was built, you can take a tour of its interior which can accommodate a maximum of 60 people. There are guided tours in English, German, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish and Chinese.


Pop into the adjacent Eble Uhren-Park to view fine clock art craftsmanship in all its forms. A range of floor clocks, original handmade cuckoo clocks, wall clocks, as well as other themed merchandise will make you realize that the Black Forest truly lives up to its name of being the world’s top woodworking arts destination.


Choosing a souvenir from the vast collection on offer will make your head spin, but you just have to purchase something. Perhaps a miniature of the world’s largest cuckoo clock will do?


The venue is open from Easter to the end of October, Monday to Saturday 09:00 – 18:00 and Sunday from 10:00 – 18:00; from November to Easter, Monday to Saturday 09:00 to 17:30 and Sunday from 11:00 – 17:00.


Rombach & Haas


Rombach & Haas was founded in 1894 in a farmhouse in the village of Schonach where it's still located today. The current owner, Ingolf Haas is the fourth generation of a family of clockmakers and manages the company with his wife Conny Haas.


They still manufacture the special Black Forest clocks according to the decades-long tradition, and their clocks carry the authentication of the Association Black Forest Clock (VdS) certificate of authenticity.


The husband and wife team both earned international reputations and are recognized for intricate art work and design. Ingolf Haas is also chairman of the Black Forest Clock organization. The couple is also responsible for the development of the third generation of the "Modern Cuckoo Clock".


The company produces traditional clocks, designer watches, art clocks and collections, as well as shield clocks.


You can pay them a visit at their factory to watch how they make their wonderful creations and learn more about their superb crafting skills.


The Black Forest Clock Museum

You simply cannot give this astonishing museum a miss!


Located in Furtwangen, you will discover an amazing collection of 1,300 Black Forest clocks on display, but only 30 are in operation.


As you stand in awe at the displays in the museum, you will be startled by the cuckoo call of a mounted clock to shake you out of your reverie. With a height of 1.8 meters, it echoes throughout the museum every 15 minutes.


The museum isn’t only about clocks, but will also give you insight into the lifestyle of the clockmakers in the past.


The museum holds temporary and permanent exhibitions of various kinds of clocks including a Stone Age calendar, kitchen timers, a Baroque altar clock, a time-punch machine, an atomic clock, the first radio-controlled wristwatch, cuckoo clocks, tower clocks, and other instruments relating to clock-making. A permanent exhibition that has run since 2010 takes you through the development of clocks and other timepieces, as well as the concept of timekeeping.


Opening times at the museum are:

* April to October: Tuesday to Sunday from 09:00 to 18:00 and guided tours at 11:00;

* March to November: Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 to 17:00 and guided tours at 14:00.

Note: Mondays are only open to group guided tours.

Daily guided tours are as follows:

* April to October: daily at 11:00 – you have to register for the tour.

* November to March: daily at 14:00

Duration: 45 min


Dinner: Museum Restaurant Hofengel


The next cuckoo call will remind you that it’s time to slake your thirst and silence your your growling stomach!


After a forty-minute drive from Furtwangen, stop at the the Museum Restaurant Hofengel.


Located on the Vogstbauernhof (German Open-Air Museum) premises, you can dine in the restaurant or in the beer garden. This is a great way to get a sense of the environment you'll encounter the next day when you visit this exciting open-air museum. Better hurry, they are only open until 18:00!


Enjoy!


Happy travels and ... Carpe Diem!


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