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Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

San Jose, California
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Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

We're deciding to extend a last minute business trip. 2 adults, would like a mix of nature (we love hiking & biking) and quaint towns/villages, maybe a couple of castles/ palaces but not too many. We are in the area for 7 days between 8/18 -8/24. Flying in/out of Frankfurt. Work is based in Freiburg but we want to travel around a little bit. Based on cursory research the following options look interesting.

* A day or two in Freiburg

* Black Forest railway from Offenberg to Konstanz. Biking around the lake looks nice. - Day trip or should we stay overnight somewhere near Konstanz?

* A couple days in France - Colman? Strasbourg?

Any other places we should consider in addition to or in lieu of the above? We love taking public transport but wondering if it makes sense to rent a car to drive to France and for that part of the trip.

Any advice on accommodation - hotels vs. Bed and Breakfasts vs. AirBnB? I plan to do some more research but would love any advice or thoughts, especially given the short notice.

Thanks very much in advance for any help!

6 replies to this topic
Dusseldorf, Germany
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1. Re: Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

From Freiburg, you have excellent access into the High Black Forest, the most scenic part of this mountain chain. Although the train into the Forest is currently under repair, there is an express bus service that transports you in 45 minutes to Titisee and in 30 more minutes either to Schluchsee or to the Feldberg. So, it is possible to do it as a daytrip. But I would recommend staying overnight in the cool, fresh air of the Black Forest rather than in hot Freiburg. At an elevation of 1,000 metres or more, temperatures are 5 to 10°C cooler than down in the Rhine Valley.

Now, what to do in the High Black Forest?

First, you may hike on the Feldberg, the highest summit (roughly 1,500 metres). There are beautiful hiking trails around this mountain. There is a hike to a striking beautiful glacial lake (Feldsee) with moraines at one flank (with a traditional farmhouse nearby which serves organic home-raised beef dishes). You can hike across the summit (which is fairly flat) and enjoying panoramic vistas to the Swiss Alps and over the Black Forest. There is even a curious ham Museum inside a historic tower. Certainly a place to spend a day.

Second, there is the largest lake, Schluchsee. There is a hiking/Biking Trail around the lake which is 18km Long, but you can abbreviate it by combining it with trips on the passenger boat. There are also watersport activities at the lake: Swimming, canoeing, pedal boats, row boats, stand-up paddling and, for the lazy ones, electric boats.

Biking is especially advisable, because you would be able to ride across gentle mountains to interesting spots like historic chapels, viewpoints, traditional farmhouses or one of Germany's most famous breweries, Rothaus.There is a dense Network of hiking/Biking trails in the Forest.

That said, I strongly recommend staying for, say, three nights in Schluchsee. Why Schluchsee? Because of Connection to public Transport, touristic infrastructure and the lake.

Especially in August, you would enjoy a few days in the Black Forest probably more than the longish train ride to Lake Constance which will be rather hot.

Now, a few words about Alsace. From Freiburg, it is a short drive to Colmar, which is a picturesque historic City with fine Museums. Even more interesting is a tour through the wine villages, with Eguisheim and Riquewihr being the most beautiful ones. Rouffach is also a beautiful town and do not miss the Ecomusée, a farmhouse Museum. A car gives you also the opportunity to visit some more sights on the German side around Freiburg, notably Staufen, another historic small town, the nearby monastery St. Trudpert or the monateries St. Peter and St. Märgen (with a clock Museum inside). There are also scenic drives in the Black Forest as well as into the Vosges in Alsace.

After all, you will find enough attractions and activities to spend several weeks there.

Kharkiv, Ukraine
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2. Re: Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

Planning a trip to Black Forest, think about visiting the Oppenau - Waterfall Allerheiligen and Klosterruine - the ruin of the monastery church. There a lot of hiking routes at the North of the lake, we just came back from a 2 day trip near Bodman-Ludwigshafen. There are a lot of nice restaurants and beaches to cool down during this heat.

San Jose, California
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3. Re: Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

This is amazing information, thanks a lot for taking the time to respond. May I ask some follow-up questions?

* I'll look for accommodation in/around Schluchsee. Can we rent bikes there?

* Should we rent a car for the entire time or just for the Alsace part of the trip? Can the Black Forest be done entirely via trains and buses, including hauling our bikes around?

* Any recommendations for where to rent the car from? We have a reservation with Sixt in Freiburg for now, but open to changing it.

* Any recommendations for places to stay in the Alsace area? I'll look at Colmar and surroundings, but would be grateful for recommendations. For this part, I'd be more interested in soaking up the atmosphere in little towns and villages as opposed to natural scenic drives and hikes. We are regular travelers to the mountains and National Parks in the west coast of the US. While we absolutely love that, it would be great to experience the uniqueness of French and German towns, which is a much rarer opportunity for us.

San Jose, California
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4. Re: Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

Thanks Julia! Looking at Oppenau and your suggestions today.

Mannheim, Germany
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for Zurich, Mannheim
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5. Re: Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

In the Black Forest it easily possible to get around using only public transport (though bikes may be a problem - normally the trains can carry bikes, but the current replacement buses lack this facility). Renting a car would add to convenience, though as mentioned not absolutely necessary.

In rural France, public transportation is extremely limited outside of bigger towns in comparison to German side of th Rhine valley. You can easily get to Colmar, Mulhouse or Strasbourg and arounds aid cities without a car, as well as into some of the selected Vosges mountains valleys e.g. to Kruth or Metzeral, but most of the area has nearly no effective local bus network. To reach everything that is not directly on a rail line of TER Alsace network, you need a car.

Middle East
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6. Re: Freiburg/BlackForest: recommendations and car rental

Would there be a better base than Freiberg, to drive around Black Forest area in a car?

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