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Calw

Calw, the main town in the Black Forest’s Nagold Valley, is a collection of streets filled with colorful half-timbered houses, most of which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries after a fire destroyed the town. Calw’s most famous resident was author Herman Hesse. Though Hesse was born and raised here, he spent most […]

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Höllental, or Hell Valley Gorge

The Höllental is an imposing nine kilometer-long valley so steep and enclosed tightly by rocky slopes that some parts don’t see daylight until late-morning. It lies between Himmelreich and Hinterzarten, stretching east of Freiburg en route to lakeside town Titisee. Though this passage isn’t considered hellish by modern standards, it was basically impassable until a […]

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Hotel Colombi, Freiburg

Hotel Colombi was recommended as a good place to spend Christmas, and we were not disappointed. Freiburg’s five-star hotel is well-located on the western edge of the city center. The service was impeccable and the room was clean, large and comfortable. The 112 rooms are individually furnished and range from singles to suites. Like many […]

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Freiburg im Breisgau

We chose to make Freiburg home-base for exploring the Black Forest because it’s the largest town in the region and accessible to many of the areas we wanted to explore. Though the Black Forest is a well-known Christmas destination, this time of year is very quiet so we wanted to make sure to stay somewhere […]

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Schiltach

A missed turn brought us through the tiny village of Shiltach. I was so enamored by the half-timbered houses (why can’t I get enough of them?!) that we stopped the car and wandered around. It took half an hour to see the town, including lingering. Everything was closed, of course, but that didn’t take away […]

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Schwarzwaldhöfe, or Black Forest Farmhouses

As my husband and I drove through the central Black Forest, these ubiquitous farmhouses captured our attention. Most of them are enormous, somewhere between a boutique hotel and an airplane hangar. At first we weren’t sure if they were residences or not, but most of them look very lived in, with laundry hanging across the […]

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Black Forest Hike

I knew hiking was popular in Germany, but I didn’t realize to what extent. It turns out 40 million Germans (the whole country only has 82 million people) claim hiking as their favorite activity. Of course, I don’t know what the other choices on the questionnaire were, but I’ll bite. On Christmas Day, my husband […]

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Freudenstadt

Freudenstadt lies on the eastern edge of the Black Forest, high on a plateau bordered by two rivers, Murg and Kinzig. The best way to reach it is from Baden-Baden, along the 60km-long Schwarzwald-Hochstrasse, or Black Forest Highway, which was once used to transport lumber. Freudenstadt was the first planned town north of the Alps, […]

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Schwarzwald, or The Black Forest

I’ve been intrigued with the fabled Black Forest for years. Maybe it was all the Grimms’ folk tales I loved as a child or maybe it was my sweet tooth piquing my interest in the famous chocolate gateau, but when my husband and I were seeking a Christmas destination this year, the Black Forest was […]

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