Although the Black Forest is located in the sunniest area of Germany, its name dates from a time when thick tree cover shielded the forest floor from light. There are more clearings now but the country’s largest and most renowned forest remains a 3D Grimm fairy tale dotted with gingerbread villages and serene wood-fringed lakes.
The landscape rises from the Rhine Valley through gently undulating ground perfect for hiking, to the slopes of the Feldberg, a winter sports center. Firs and other evergreens predominate but the hills and valleys are garnished with enough deciduous trees to ensure spectacular fall displays.
If you’re driving, the 60 kilometer-long “Schwarzwaldhochstrasse” starts at the elegant spa town of Baden-Baden in the north and takes in some of the region’s most scenic villages and breathtaking vistas. Otherwise, take advantage of the numerous scenic railway routes through the Black Forest. Try the romantic steam train journey Sauschwänzlebahn.