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Splitting Trains & Stunning Views in Schwarzwald

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

Destination: Schwarzwald (Black Forest)

Time of Year: Spring – May 2023

Mode of Transportation: Car ~4.5 hrs from Frankfurt

A trip to Germany’s Schwarzwald – the Black Forest – is a must for outdoorsy travelers, with its beautiful landscape, amazing hiking trails, and quaint traditional villages. This trip is one I have been wanting to do for a while, and it did not disappoint. We spent three and a half days exploring the nature and villages around the area, keeping the small town of Löffingen as our home base. While it is possible to travel around the area by train, to get the most out of your trip, we suggest traveling by car – it allows you to access so many beautiful spots a lot more efficiently.

We spent our first day in Schwarzwald exploring Titisee, a small town nestled next to the still and peaceful Titisee (lake). Walking trails lead visitors around the lake as well as through the nearby forest. A beautiful pedestrian promenade through the center of the town offers touristic shopping, dining, and drinks. We enjoyed a drink at Schwarzbrennerei and a German dinner at Lessig Gastronomie. It is important to note that we found many restaurants closed around 6pm during the week, which made finding food that also was appropriate for my dietary restrictions quite difficult. Offenkartoffel mit salat (baked potato with salad) is usually a good fallback option in Germany! As the evening approached, we headed back to the Titisee train station to take an S-bahn back to Löffingen – an easy 20 minute direct train – or so we thought.

And here comes our biggest caution from the trip: Beware of splitting trains!

As the S-bahn rolled into the station, we could see from the front that it was the specific train we wanted (S10) going in the direction we needed. So when it stopped, we boarded the cabin closest to where we were standing on the platform. The train stopped for quite some time and at one point rolled backwards for a bit, but Arya and I were just chatting away, paying no attention. When it finally left the station it was headed in the correct direction so we were not concerned… until the next stop was not one we recognized, and we realized that our train said S1, not S10. We asked some other passengers and they said that at the Titisee station the train split apart – the front section went towards Löffingen (our destination) and the back section (where we were seated) turned into S-1 and went towards a different destination. We got off at the next stop to retrace our way back, but because of the infrequency of trains in the area, the mistake caused a 2-hour delay in arriving home – not so fun in the chilly dark. But we headed to a nearby Lidl, got some beers and prosecco and made an evening party at the deserted station as night fell.

The next two days we spent hiking in Black forest. We hiked the Wutachschlucht (Wutach Gorge) which was a beautiful hike along the Wutach river, through different landscapes like the forest, mountain, and prairie. We hiked past an incredible “raining rock” where we also met a herd of pet sheep who were also out for a hike with their people. We had a bit of difficulty following the trail back to the parking area and ended up having to take a few roads to get back which felt scary and dangerous due to fast-moving cars and blind turns, let alone not very scenic. The following day, we hiked two waterfall trails: Triberg waterfall, Germany’s highest waterfall, and Todtnau waterfall (our favorite).

Triberg waterfall is a relatively easy trail that is well maintained and would be ideal for people who want to see an incredible view but might have some mobility concerns. This trail is mostly paved with resting benches all along the trail and lots of hand rails. There are multiple viewing points for the waterfall and additional nature trails you can hike beyond the waterfall path. Just note that the trail does require an 8 Euro per person fee, but this also covers a couple of additional attractions in Triberg. Make sure you check out the cute town of Triberg after your hike! The beautiful Gutach river flows from the waterfall right through the town’s old city. The colorful streets are lined with beautiful old buildings, offering touristic shopping or dining.

Todnau waterfall is less popular of the two we visited, but we found it much more exciting. We parked at the Black Forest Line, an impressive suspension bridge extending across the valley with direct views of the waterfall from the middle. The suspension bridge doesn’t open until this fall, which Arya and I both agreed was the only reason we didn’t go across it (not at all the fact that our knees were shaking just looking at it from the parking area). From the parking, the Todnau waterfall trail was a short walk through some residential streets. The start was clearly marked and we were greeted by two very fat goats grazing on the other side of a fence. The waterfall trail starts quiet, serene, and peaceful, following the Stübenbächle river, until it makes a dramatic shift from meandering river to powerful waterfall. The views all along this trail were so incredible that instead of doing the full rundweg (roundtrip), once we reached the bottom, we decided to go back up the way we came to take in the views again. The trail was truly incredible but a bit difficult if you are not used to climbing many stairs. We were truly stunned with the waterfall’s beauty and enjoyed this trail the most.

In the evenings of our hiking days we drove the car to visit a few villages in Schwarzwald: Villingen and Schluchsee. Villingen was very fun as they had a festival going on with typical German street food (pretzels, sausages, candied nuts, etc.), crafty vendors, and beer stands. The town was also very beautiful to walk around and explore. We had a great dinner at an Indian restaurant, Shiva’s Garden before heading back to our Airbnb.

Schluchsee was also very nice, nestled around the Schluch lake. We grabbed a Glühwein (mulled wine – yes it was cold enough, and yes they were serving it even though it was not Christmas season). Arya had a slice of the famous Black Forest cake at Café am See (loaded with rum) while reminiscing his last visit to the same café 9 years ago amidst waist high snow. It was the perfect relaxing end to our intensive waterfall hike day.

On our way back home to Frankfurt, we stopped at Freiburg. It was an exciting and bustling city with a really beautiful altstadt (old city). We wanted to stay and explore for longer but we were too exhausted from our multiple days of hikes. We grabbed a big (and delicious!) breakfast at Erste Liebe Freiburg, then continued on our way back home.

Things we’d do again:

  • Take the car, it allowed us to visit so many places in just a short time.

  • Waterfall hikes – truly amazing views!

  • Day trip to Freiburg – but stay longer, maybe do this at the beginning of the trip!

Things we’d do differently:

  • Purchase a hiking app like Komoot or Outdoor Active so that we didn’t get lost and have to walk the roads back to the car.

  • Bring warmer clothes- Black Forest was much colder than Frankfurt and neither one of us were prepared!

  • ·Be aware of splitting trains!

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Hey there! If we are meeting for the first time, we are Carly & Arya, a binational couple living in Germany and traveling the world. Arya is from India, and Carly is from the US and we have been married since 2021. We hold steady 9-5 jobs while traveling the world. We are excited to share our story and unique perspectives with you. Take a look around, and don't forget to subscribe to our updates and follow us on Instagram

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