When you think of the Black Forest in Germany you might think of Cuckoo clocks, the namesake cake and Hansel and Gretel getting lost in the deep dark forests that give the area its name. This picturesque area is located in the south-west of Germany and perfect for families. Here are my top 8 things to do in the Black Forest with kids.
When in the Black Forest with kids Stay Local
Stay locally and take advantage of the KONUS guest card. Of course, you will want to stay overnight in this beautiful region. But another benefit of staying in the area is that you will be issued the Konus guest card. This card allows free transport on the local trains and buses as well and free or reduced entry to many of the attractions in the area. This advantage depends on which town you stay in. You can find a list of the participating towns here.
Ride a Rodelbahn
Ride a Rodelbahn down the side of a mountain. A Rodelbahn is a combination between a luge and a roller coaster. Sit in a toboggan and control your speed as the toboggan follows on a metal track down the hillside. The Rodelbahn we visited in Gutach was 1.1km long. Kids from 3 years old can enjoy the ride with an adult. Thrill seekers can race down to try and beat the course record. Or if you are more like me you can take a slower pace and enjoy the beautiful view across the valley. You control the speed but don”t need to turn to follow the track. We visited the Rodelbahn in Gutach and the first ride was complimentary with our guest card. Another even longer Rodelbahn can be found at the Hasenhorn in Todtnau.
Experience a Farm Stay in the Black Forest
Farm stays, known as Urlaub am Bauernhof are a perfect place to stay in the Black Forest. Farm stays vary from a small bed and breakfast on be on a working farm to small hotels and apartments with more amenities surrounded by farmland. This is a great accommodation option with children, kids will love the opportunity to see the animals up close, enjoy plenty of space to run around and many have well set up outdoor play areas.
The farm stay we stayed at near Gutach had a trampoline, swings, slides as well as go carts, tricycles, and bikes or the whole family to use. We enjoyed racing up and down the private road. The accommodation was cheap, comfortable and included a hearty breakfast. We stayed at Urlaub auf dem Joklisbauernhof.
Learn about Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks
Visit the Largest or the Most Cuckoo Clocks in Triberg Cuckoo clocks are synonymous with the Black Forest.The Black Forests area is claimed to be where the cuckoo clock was originally invented and boasts to be the home of the most and largest of these German clocks.Traditionally carved from wood these pendulum clocks are a work of detailed craftsmanship. Decorated with carved animals and foliage. On each hour the cuckoo appears from a behind a small door to chime out the time. More detailed specimens have the addition of other moving features such as a jumping deer, beer drinkers, wood chopper or dancing children. With a whimsical charm, children will be captivated. Thankfully you won’t have to wait around for the hour since most of the displays have various times set so that there is always one clock ready to chime. You can view these clocks at many stores around the region but the town of Triberg is best known for its clocks.
Triberg is also home to the largest clock, installed on the side of a building just outside of the main town. For a few Euros, you can enter the small museum and see where the interest really lies in the 4.5-tonne mechanism behind the clock.
An animatronic tour guide tells you the process of building the clock. A labour of love over 5 years, an exact replica of a traditional mechanism, entered in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest Cuckoo clock.
We didn’t make it here but those that want to dig a little deeper into the history of clocks can make a visit to the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum a treasure hunt map keeps kids entertained trying to find clues around the museum.
Visit a Waterfall
Visit Germany’s highest waterfall. The Black Forest is a great area for hiking, I always prefer to have something to hike to and waterfalls are the perfect motivator for myself and the kids (oh and also ice cream). The hike we decided to take was to the Waterfall at Triberg. The start of the walk up the waterfall is at the top of the main street of Triberg. This is the highest waterfall in Germany so sure to impress.
There is an entry fee and you can also purchase a bag of peanuts to feed the squirrels, there weren’t many around the day we visited but apparently, it can vary. The peanuts were fresh and the kids enjoyed eating the peanuts that weren’t fed to the 2 squirrels we came across. The walk up is moderately steep in places but it is well paved with hand rails and seats to take a rest if needed. There were excellent information boards spread out along the track giving information on the local flora and fauna, famous historical figures to visit the falls, and the use of the falls in early power generation.It is only a short walk to the base of the falls so for those with kids that aren’t up for a bigger hike it can still be a worthwhile experience. Those with more energy can carry on to enjoy the views from the top and well as ending the walk with one of the alternative scenic routes back down.
Take a Barefoot Sensory walk
Take a walk barefoot Sensory Walk. Barefoot sensory walks can be found throughout Germany. We visited “Park Mit Alle Sinnen”, The “park with all senses” on a drizzly morning in late May.
These parks are designed to walk through barefoot, lockers are provided to keep your shoes and a cleaning station to get feet clean again is located at the end of the walk. The path leads up and down the gentle slope of the side of the valley and has views across the Gutach valley and over the famous Black Forest railway. With 15 different substances to walk over including mud and water. Feeling the mud squelch through my toes took a bit of getting used to since it is not the thing an adult does very often. The kids, on the other hand, took to it immediately.
Along the track, there are different sensory pavilions with smell touch and sound stations as well as meditation huts to pause a few moments and a path through a completely dark room. The experience at times was exhilarating and at times we were shrieking with laughter. At other times it felt very peaceful, centering and relaxing. It really felt like a very holistic experience, walking barefoot is good for the soul. Another barefoot park in the Black Forest region is found in Dornstetten.
Visit the Open air Museum in the Black Forest
Vogtsbauernhof an open air folk museum showing what farm life would have been like in the past in the Black Forest. The original Farm house has been restored, others from the area relocated here and some replicas built. Demonstrations of traditional crafts are scheduled throughout at the day. A free guided tour in English at 1 pm in the summer months. Special interactive displays for children are throughout the museum, indicated by a cartoon farm boy holding lamb. Animals on site to view and able to pet if they come in arms reach as well as a large play outdoor play area make it very suitable for kids.
There is plenty to see and after half a day there we still hadn’t covered it all. A train stop right in front of the museum also makes it very easy to visit by public transport.
Eat Black Forest Cake
Eat Cake. Once you’ve burnt off some energy hiking head to one of the many cafes in the area to try the name sake Black Forest cake. This is made with layers of chocolate sponge, cherry jam and cream that is heavily laden with cherry schnapps. Sorry kids this one is adults only. But there are plenty of alcohol-free (ask for ohne alkohol) options for children.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the Black Forest and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back again. Green hills, small villages, and a peaceful atmosphere make it the perfect place for a getaway but the area is not short on attractions to keep families entertained. Are you planning a trip to the Black Forest? If you enjoyed this posted please pin or share and leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.
If you enjoy the outdoors consider a trip to Norway where we followed the popular Norway in a Nutshell itinerary