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  • Writer's pictureManuela Lenoci

Unexpected Germany: travelling through Baden Wurttemberg and the Black Forest of the Brothers Grimm

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

This is one of the travel to put on the to-do list. This area of southwestern Germany's Baden Wurttemberg hides nature-wonderful places wrapped in an ancient mystery

Germania Baden Wurttemberg Stoccarda e Foresta nera

A great time to visit this part of Germany, called Baden-Wurttemberg, is summer but also spring, from late April to early October. At this time of year the region revives after a long, harsh winter with a rich variety of colors and scents, making the exploration of its trails even more fascinating (especially for hiking and biking enthusiasts having millions of bike paths and equipped trails in nature).

However, if you are a spa or snow lover, the scenery is magical even in winter. Baden Baden (meaning Baths) is called the "Grande Dame" of German spas (accessible to all). Even in the days of Queen Victoria, it was frequented by the wealthy nobility of the time who came here to relax. Its warm waters made it famous throughout Europe.

Where is Baden-Wurttemberg
Germania Baden Wurttemberg Stoccarda e Foresta nera e Bodensee e friburgo

Germany is divided into 16 federal states, also known as "Lander" in Dutch. These states are: Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Brandenburg, Bremen, Hamburg, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia. Each state has its own government and parliament, and they have some self-government in areas such as education, culture and police.

Baden Wurttemberg is one of the largest states in Germany, includes forest-covered mountains, large lakes, and romantic cities, set in a diverse landscape bordering Switzerland and France that make it truly special and international.

villingen  germany baden wurttemberg

A trip to Baden-Wuerttemberg offers attractions for all people and for the whole family. From spas (popular almost year-round because of the cold temperatures) to natural areas to historic cities and towns. The region also includes one of Germany's oldest universities located in Freiburg then Tubinghen, Constance, Kalsrue and Stuttgart, and beautiful forests and bike paths that run through many of the small towns, making life green by being able to engage in outdoor sports.

The Black Forest is one of the most famous destinations in Baden-Wuerttemberg. This area of mountains, forests and waterfalls host small spa towns and excellent ski resorts within a magnificent scenic setting. I've made several stops in the Parco naturale della Foresta Nera meridionale both cycling and walking. The Black Forest also includes numerous lakes that can be visited by boat, such as that of Costanza or Bodensee, and Schluchsee and the Titisee you absolutely must see.

There are many equipped barbecue areas in the Black Forest. Here, the State provides public and communal areas, picnic and barbecue areas where you can bring food and relax. There are also open-air gyms in almost every town in Germany.

visitng stoccarda baden wurttemberg

Among the most famous cities is Stoccarda, a real gem full of historic buildings. Being the capital and largest city of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Stuttgart hosts impressive castles, beautiful gardens, various museums and art galleries. Check out the imposing Castle of Solitude, an 18th-century Rococo Palace located in the Stuttgart-West district, and the lush botanical-zoological garden, called Wilhelma.

Routes to Baden Baden, Stuttgart, Zurich and Basel

I planned my weekend at the end of April departing from Bari by finding a flight for 59 euros round trip to Baden Baden among the Ryanair offers. However, this area is also well served by other airports such as Stuttgart, Zurich and Basel. The picture is about Basel Airport famous for the double international exit that allow people to go out on the France side or the Switzerland part.

By plane: 

There are some airlines that operate flights from Bari or Brindisi to and from the airports of Stoccarda or Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden, Basel Mulhouse Friburgo and Zurigo

1) Eurowings (from Bari e Brindisi to Stoccarda)

2) Ryanair (only from Bari to Baden Baden)

3) Easy Jet both Brindisi and Bari for Aeroporto di Basilea Mulhouse Friburgo.

4) ITA with a stop-over in Rome from Zurich and then a direct flight from Rome to Bari or Brindisi

5) Swiss air From Zurich with a direct flight to Bari

By train:

From Milan Central Station by train, twice a day there is the Cisalpino (fast train).

An Excellent connection from Italy to Stuttgart and to the popular tourist destinations of Lake Constance (Schaffhausen/Schaffhausen - and Singen stops), the Giura Svevo, one of the most scenic and diverse regions in southern Germany (Singen, Tuttlingen and Rottweil stops) and the Black Forest (Schaffhausen/ Schaffhausen, Rottweil and Horb stops).

From the Baden Baden airport there are buses leaving every hour bus verso la stazione di Baden Baden from the Baden Baden airport there are buses leaving every hour.

The ideal is to rent a car so you can get around easily

If you fly into Stuttgart you can instead take a train to Baden Baden which in 1h 30 minutes (cost about 30 euros) takes you to the spa town.

Favorite things to do in Baden Wurttemberg

Moving by car allowed me to create a tailor-made vacation by choosing from all the wonderful opportunities this part of the territory offers: Hiking in the Black Forest, visiting the lake and the city of Constance, tasting with typical German dishes, visiting the European Parliament, to have dinner in the Stuttgart Cheese Factory, visiting the waterfalls.

I also treated myself to lots of relaxation at the spa as well as more than one visit to the sparkling university city of Freiburg im Breisgau whose historic center is a little medieval gem.

FREIBURG in Breisgau

The sparkling atmosphere of this German city featured my first step as soon as I landed in Germany. I had read and then realized, that Freiburg is a university city with 30 % of the population under the age of 30, and it is also the city with the most sunshine in Germany.

The mood here is typical of the Mediterranean countries (far from the German stereotypes). People over here have a relaxed lifestyle typical of Baden - west of Freiburg.

I felt the easy going attitude of the People I met on the street right away, who were seated intent on enjoying a coffee or a good wine in the old town, which was full of cafes and small restaurants.

I was impressed by its atmosphere and the details that make it special, such as the Bächle, (canals) small streams of water fed by the Dreisam River, that flow along the streets of the old town where "people" have a habit of chilling bottles of wine for dinner.

Folk tradition: getting married in Friburg

An old folk legend says that if by accident someone falls into one of these canals, they are destined to "marry" a person from the area. "Singles from all over the world" Freiburg could be your big chance to find your soul mate.

If you then do drop the cork on your head while popping a bottle of wine, marriage is on the way, by the end of the year, as the Italian tradition provides.

Münsterplatz, the Cathedral Square, is the vibrant heart of the city of Freiburg and every day of the year (except Sundays) hosts the Münstermarkt, the large market that dates back to the 16th century. The Freiburger Münster cathedral is also a must see.

Where to dine in Fribourg

As a lover of International cuisine, I went to the Markthalle. for a world tour while sitting at the table. It is a market located in a building from the 1800s where you can have German dishes but also Italian, middle-eastern and Asian cuisine. I was in the mood for Asian cuisine of vegetables noodles and rice with chicken curry. Cozy atmosphere and very good food.

Lake and City of Constance

With the 4x4 Jeep I made the trip to Lago di Costanza, più comunemente conosciuto da tutti come il Bodensee. nown more commonly to everyone as the Bodensee. which is the third largest freshwater lake we have in Europe.

It is scenic and very popular with locals who rush this way at the first ray of sunshine to kayak, or take a ride in a pedalo or Sup, or simply to relax and sunbathe. For Germans, the Lake of Constance is a real sea, to the point that they call it "Schwäbisches Meer" .

If you still have time left, I would suggest the southern shore of Lake Constance where the Reichenau Island is located I thought it was very colorful, full of greenhouses and flowers, in other words, a wonderful open-air garden.

If you are around here, the daylight stays until 10 p.m. allowing you lots of time to visit the medieval city of Constance, Germany's most southern city.

The symbol of Constance is a statue of "Imperia". I learned that she was a curvy meretrician and that in this statue devoted to her, she is holding in the palms of her two hands, her father Martin V and King Sigismund, two of the most powerful men of the Middle Ages who were slaves to weaknesses of the flesh. The statue of "Imperia" has the special feature of 360-degree rotation so that it never shows only the "B side" to people coming from the lake or those walking along the harbor.

Where to eat in Constance

A Costanza ho mangiato un ottimo burger di pollo e panino multicereale in un posto molto bello, tipo jungle bar che vi consiglio Hans im Glueck

Spa what a passion

The best way to understand German culture is by going to spas or saunas and spending as much time as possible. The saunas here are for naked people. Aside from the initial discomfort no one pays any attention to the others, getting undressed and re-connecting with the water and vapors is part of the culture of this people.

I have been to spas on more than one occasion by taking a spa trip to "Terme Solemar" in Bad Dürrheim with 13 indoor and outdoor pools. The beauty of these places is that the water here is always warm. Pleasant the steambath, but I mostly spent my time by the Jacuzzi jets in the outdoor pool.

This is a European spa that uses salt water, and there are six themed saunas (with a separate entrance) whose heat reaches up to 80 degrees. To get into each of the six, the walking path is in the trees, connected by stone stairs, that you have to walk down in a towel, completely wet at an outside temperature that is I would say freezing but pleasant due to the very high body temperature reached in the sauna.

I went back to the spa several times in the winter months and enjoyed in December the 5o degrees of water and the -10 degrees of outdoor temperature.

However I also visited the Terme di Caracalla a beautiful complex with a huge central pool and spacious relaxation area

Villingen-Schwenningen, a step away from the black forest

As I planned the trip, I became curious about the story of Villingen-Schwenningen and I have been thinking of staying right here and I have been coming to this town more and more often now. It is 1.30 hours away from Baden Baden in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, in the Schwarzwald region, in the Freiburg administrative district.

Two townships Villingen and Schwenningen converging into a modern town in the Black Forest. Villingen used to be part of the Grand Duchy of Baden while Schwenningen used to be part of the Duchy of Württemberg. Villingen is the more attractive of the two because it is sorrounded by high walls within which, the town reminds one of a medieval mountain village with its colorful buildings and peaked roofs. The Saturday morning the must do is the market in the small town square, where people love to go shopping and buying lots of quality and fresh food for the whole week. I highlight the cheese stand and recommend you try the very good French cheese EPOISSES spreadable cheese (it is quite addictive because of how good it is even though it leaves an incredible stink on your hands). Also great is the Cheesecake stand (classic or berry) that you can find at Stefans . The fruit and vegetable stalls are interesting, but so is the bread stand to mark the great connection with Apulia

where to dine in Villlingen - Schwenningen

At Zuma restaurant. An Italian restaurant with a modern ambience. In the kitchen, only local ingredients are used, freshly bought at the regional market. The menu is seasonally varying and offers a variety of dining experiences that involve all the senses.

At Gasthaut Ott is a trendy iconic pub popular with both young people and people of my age. The Beverage selection is interesting and so is the food. I dined outside the evening permitted and it was lovely to be outside. Unfortunately, the images are stock, I had a discharged cell phone and could not take pictures of the tasty dishes with which the pub owner delighted me.

Germania Baden Wurttemberg Stoccarda e Foresta nera e Bodensee e friburgo

It is one of my very favorite restaurants in this city. The staff is friendly and the the food very tasty and delicious. The ambience is total Indian very fancy. I ordered tandoori chicken, that is chicken and curry sauce, and must-have biriani rice which remains my favorite. My partner palak paneer, a vegan dish with cheese and spinach. The cheese bread (like piadina I don't remember the name) was interesting. Excellent Italian Chianti. At the end a mango floral Spirit. It was too strong for me, but I really enjoyed the owner's gift.

Recensione su Google Maps

Germania Baden Wurttemberg Stoccarda e Foresta nera e Bodensee e friburgo

We dined only once with a couple of Mexican friends. Service, hospitality and professionalism really excellent. The quality of the food was very good, and the ingredients very good, although it was not purist Spanish cuisine. Appetizer excellent. Paella was rich in seafood, very good and tasty. I doubled up on it. Wine good and atmosphere warm and pleasant. The jamon was not jamon serrano as mentioned on the menu, it was a good ham but not serrano.

Recensione su Google Maps

Germania Baden Wurttemberg Stoccarda e Foresta nera e Bodensee e friburgo

At Saigon

Cozy place. Food delicious and varied. Very friendly and helpful owner especially offers advice on what to order. I was pleased to find Quality, Price and Goodness. I am a noodle lover, so we ordered a chicken and shrimp rice noodle salad, which was very good.

The Vietnamese rolls are a must and then the fried noodles on a lay of gravy, chicken, shrimp and Vegetables. If you are left with a little space, I would recommend the fried chicken. You share everything, the portions are veryabbondanti.

Germania Baden Wurttemberg Stoccarda e Foresta nera e Bodensee e friburgo

This is the best Chinese restaurant I have dined at in Europe. I always use to go there, every time I get to Villingen. Managed by Chinese people. Great value for money. They do fresh cooking, with an open kitchen. All types of Fried Noodles are fantastic especially with vegetables or chicken but also seafood, with prawns, really good. Delicious ones with fried chicken. The rice with both vegetables and chicken are very good. I do not remember the name of the dish, but the rice is served in the shape of a dome. It also makes take-out. It is one of the very few places maybe the only one that opens in the moorning at 10 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. everyday. You only pay in cash.

We discovered this Italian pizzeria-restaurant in the middle of the Black Forest outside the town, precisely in Konigsfeld, within the Konigsfeld Golfclub. It is nestled in the greenery of the beautiful Golf club. Cozy atmosphere, quality food. The Management is completely family-run, made in Sicily, and that is what makes it special. You can have antipasti, salads primi and second of meat and fish.

We ordered an ortolana pizza, with bufala mozzarella. This last one was very fresh and the pizza dough very light. Being a good Apulian and living by the sea I wanted to try the fried fish. A very good mix with delicate breading. The dessert was the highlight. The owner, Adelina, had prepared tiramisu in the afternoon. I can assure you that it was a true Italian tiramisu with no German influences and no adaption of flavors. It was really delicious. Several pasta dishes in the menù with names dedicated to Italian actresses who brought cinema to the world. By the end of the evening it was pleasant to talk with Massimo, the grandfather, who is a well of knowledge while enjoying a grappa from the local private collection. The olive oil with which all the dishes are seasoned is strictly Apulian, from Andria.

At Yoake

A fabulous Japanese restaurant in the center of town.I have been there only once and it is so good. Excellent Sushi, refined dishes, served in an elegant way with a careful eye for design. Very stylish and elegant atmosphere.

When you get there you can hear Italian speaking and immediately feel at home. 'Carmine opened this iceshop many years ago and has succeeded in bringing the quality of Italian ice cream to Germany, with no need to change the taste or the flavors in any way.All the flavors are there. The hazelnut and pistachio, my favorite flavors really good. I enjoyed the strictly artigian cone

The speciality, Spaghetti Gelato, that Germans all over Germany love so much, consists of putting the ice cream in the potato masher and pressing. The bowls in which they serve it are very large.

Foresta Nera, magical in winter romantic in spring
foresta sera black forest baden wurttemberg

This wonderful forest of more than 150 km was the setting for some of the most beautiful and famous fairy tales written by the Brothers Grimm.

Sadly, the Baden Wurttemberg area was not among those of most inspiration for the brothers Grimm. Nevertheless, foresta nera in his imagery made me become a child again. Being guided by the sound of nature and the twitter of little birds, I have imagined running into the little marzipan house discovered by the little brothers Hansel and Gretel (set in Christenberg) or watching Little Red Riding Hood popping up running away from the wolf (set in the forest near Schwalmstadt) or suddenly reaching the foot of Hofgeismar Castle where the story of The Sleeping Beauty took place. I only guessed because the same are sighted in the northern part of Germany.

In Any case, trekking in the Black Forest, whether on foot or by bike, is an essential stop all the times you pass through these parts. Since I frequent this part of Germany, I have been milling kilometers on foot and by bike, immersed in the thickest vegetation and towering old trees that barely filter the sun's rays.

It lies in southwest Germany, as we mentioned, in the Baden-Württemberg region. It were the Romans who gave it this name (Latin Silva Nigra), for its vegetation made of dark green trees and so dense that the sun's rays do not shine through. The Black Forest has many activities for both adults and children. Among these is the lake Titise e le cascate Triberg, Triberg waterfalls, the highest within the Black Forest.They are reached by walking along a path through the woods. Here the Gutach waters form a beautiful waterfall with 7 leaps on the granite rocks

Trekking, walking and biking, with departure from Villingen to see the Madonna of Lourdes in the Black Forest

No matter if you are a fan of scenic views, long-distance cyclists or short-distance runner, or walkers. The Black Forest can be explored with a lot of pleasure by bicycle and on foot. The bicycle trail network in the Black Forest tourism region is very extensive. From this link Percorsi TREKKING e BICI Foresta Nera or by downloading the app you can easily have a guide at hand and following in addition to road signs indicated by road, very easy, accurate, with an explanation of the kilometers to be covered to get to your destination, find your way with the paths traced in the phone.

Watch the video of Our Lady of Lourdes. Experience the great emotion

From Villingen, I visited the Lourdes-Grotte zur Elsenau for convenience I also give you the coordinate di Google della grotta. Among other suggestions, with a 25 km flat trek. The Lourdes Cave at the Marian pilgrimage site "Elsenau" is wonderfully nestled in nature on the country road between Obereschach and Kappel. The prayer place is visited all year round with pleasure by many faithful coming from near and far.


The Rhine Falls, Rheinfall, in Schaffausen, Switzerland.

You'll be amazed by them and love them. The Cascate del Reno Rheinfall are a sight not to be missed, created 15,000 years ago. They are in Switzerland, in the City of Schaffhausen, that has a lively medieval center. This Swiss town is an appropriate starting point for visiting the Rhine Falls, the largest in Europe.

Watch the video of Rhine Falls Experience the great emotion

Powerful jets of water make a 23-meter drop from a 150-meter-wide basin. A majestic rock rises in the center of the falls, which can be reached by a boat ride or, as we did, from a path traced in the rock at the foot of which gives you have the sensation that the water is about to come over you..

schaffhausen baden wurttemberg rheinfalls

You can reach the falls by car from Basel by taking the A3 highway, exit Laufenburg, and from Zurich by taking the A4 towards Schaffhausen, exit Schaffhausen-Süd. Or by direct train departing from Schaffhausen and arriving at Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall Connections depart every 30 min, and operate daily. which takes 7 min and costs €9 - €17 - Swiss Railway

The cheapest way to get from Schaffhausen to Rhine Falls is to 634 bus which costs €2 - €4 and takes 15 min departing from Schaffhausen, Bahnhof and arriving at Neuhausen, Zentrum. The connections depart every 10 min, and operate daily

The quickest way to get from Schaffhausen to Rhine Falls is to get a cab which costs €28 - €35 and takes 5 min.

And that is not all: also within a short distance is Adventure Park am Rheinfall, one of the most spectacular adventure parks in Europe. (I have not been there yet but plan to go)

Visit to the Danube source in Donaueschingen

schaffhausen baden wurttemberg rheinfalls danubio nonauschingen baden wurttemberg

On the eastern slope of the Black Forest, the Course of the Danube begins, the source of which is officially indicated to be in the town of Donaueschingen. The Danube's course through Baden-Württemberg is rather short but characterized by a lovely landscape.

schaffhausen baden wurttemberg rheinfalls danubio nonauschingen baden wurttemberg manuela lenoci

The source is located in the garden of the Palace of Princes von Fürstenberg.

'Donaueschingen is a picturesque town located between the Black Forest and the Swabian Jura, right near the source of the Danube. The River Brigach flows through Donaueschingen and to the east of the town joins with the Breg to form the Donau, the great European river.

European Parliament and Strasbourg visit

parlamento europeo strasburgo strasbourg wuropean parlament emiciclo

You can experience Europe in Strasbourg! In order to better understand how the EU works, I took the opportunity of my tour of Strasbourg to visit the European Parliament. Strasbourg is one of the rare cities in the world (with New-York and Geneva) to house the headquarters of an international institution without being a state capital. The only transnational parliament in the world that is directly elected democratically.

parlamento europeo strasburgo strasbourg wuropean parlament emiciclo

The European Parliament visit was a unique opportunity to see the hemicycle (the hall) where members of parliament from the 27 member countries of the European Union are seated each month. The European Parliament in Strasbourg is open to visitors six days a week all year round. Visits are free. The tour will take you on a discovery of the hemicycle of the European Parliament, the Simone Veil Parlamentarium, and several exhibitions. All information on the website of the PARLAMENTO EUROPEO

Raclette and Cheese Fondue Eating in Strasbourg

Raclette and Cheese Fondue Eating in Strasbourg

Winters in France or Switzerland are the ideal time to enjoy cheese melts, warming the bellies and souls of foodies.

France offers an amazing varieties of cheeses by the way, which are a greatest source of pride in French cuisine between soft cheeses, such as Camembert, Brie, Coulommiers, Munster, blue cheeses, such as Roquefort and Bleu d'Auvergne, and hard cheeses, such as Comté most likely, the most well-known and beloved French AOP cheese.

A few words: fondue (fondue) and Raclette cheese. Are two reasons to love the cold season so immensely. I would recommend two must-go eating places for two unforgettable cheese dinners.

Raclette and Cheese Fondue Eating in Strasbourg

An historic cheese factory in Strasbourg. Perhaps the best in Strasbourg. Very beautiful venue in true French style. Cozy. Fine restaurant has a wide selection of cheeses. Offers an original all you can eat formula of fondue and raclette. It brings bread and fondue to your table at all times until you are full. For the raclette same formula, you are left with a half-moon of cheese at your table with a dedicated tool to melt it at the moment. Good wines and nice atmosphere. Only drawback is an intense smell of cheese at the entrance of the restaurant. It is very difficult to get a table for dinner; there is a 6-week waiting list. Do not take the appetizers even though they are very good. We were 4 people. We got 1 raclette and 1 fondue and 1 hors d'oeuvre, Always order for 1 person even if you eat with 4.

Raclette and Cheese Fondue Eating in Strasbourg

Very characteristic bistro. Romantic and with an exquisite wine list to exalt and inebriate every taste. Outstanding. Take the Fondue directly with extra bread accompanied with some salad flavor ideal to match the cheese

Turning into children by going to Europa Park (near Freiburg)

So if you have children or grandchildren, this is a great place for the family where the adults have the most fun. I have promised my grandchildren I will bring them here next spring. Europa Park is located in Rust, in southwest Germany, between Freiburg and Strasbourg, near France. Full details here EUROPA PARK

Usually open from just before Easter until the beginning of November (summer season) and from the end of November to the second week of January (winter season) until January 8. There are 3 thematic areas devoted to as many European states (plus the peaceful oasis of "The Land of Adventure, "Grimm's Enchanted Forest," and "Children's World" designed especially for young children), over 100 attractions, cinemas, theaters, bars, restaurants and stores in what is Germany's largest park and second in Europe only to Disneyland Paris.

Illusion Museum in Stuttgart

museo delle illusioni stoccarda

If you are in Stuttgart and want to get around easily, I would recommend you rent a VESPA through any of the sharing apps. We have visited it like that and it was really beautiful. Make a stop at the Museo delle Illusioni of Stuttgart, perfect for family entertainment and more. Nothing here is as it seems. there are kaleidoscopes and infinity-rooms, chambers that play on the absence of gravity and vortex tunnels, to be amazed by what our five senses can do, and also to reflect on our perception of reality and the world around us. Cost 13 euros. Museo delle il

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