If you are looking for a terrific day or weekend of activities with the family, head to the Black Forest in southwest Germany and start exploring. A better idea: do it on a bicycle.
Black Forest on a Bike: Getting Started
Begin your adventure with an old iron railway line that has been paved over to create a family-friendly and very scenic bike route. It’s called the Bähnle-Radweg and stretches approximately 30km each way between the picturesque towns of Titisee and Bonndorf, while passing through Lenzkirch.
Go to Titisee first. The tourist office there is open seven days a week. There you’ll find a bike route map, as well as information for finding the Bähnle-Radweg’s starting point at the train station in Titisee.
Following the special Bähnle-Radweg signs, you will pass by farmyards, fields full of cattle and horses, campsites, forests, several waterfalls, a huge viaduct and one or two breweries along the way.
The route is not circular. So once you arrive in Bonndorf, you will return along the same stretch. There isn’t too much to do in Bonndorf, and if you arrive much later than 1 pm you may struggle to find somewhere open for lunch, so perhaps pack a picnic just in case.
Alternatively (or if a full 60km return trip is too much for any of your group) then the almost-middle point of the 30km stretch to Bonndorf is Lenzkirch. Here, you can stop and have lunch (at either the Brewery or the Campsite) before returning back to Titisee.
Apart from occasional steep climbs and drops (which are short enough to walk) the entire route is relatively flat and accessible for all members of the family.
Geocaching Along the Way
If you and your family are also geocaching fans, then your day out may be even better, as there are some fantastic caches to find all along the route: one or two are challenging to find, but very rewarding if you do.
There are several more in and around each town on the route. But be careful not to be spotted finding the treasure!
Other Titisee Activities
When returning to Titisee-Neustadt there is still more to enjoy. While Titisee is a sleepy town that pretty much closes down at 8:30pm, during the day it’s absolutely bustling.
Consider booking one of the electric donut boats to take out on the lake, which are easy for anyone to use. It is recommended that you pre-book, as they get very busy during the summer and weekends. Alternatively, you can just jump in the lake for a swim, find the outdoor pool that is also situated on the lake or simply stroll through the town for a bit of shopping in the many tourist and cuckoo clock shops. Make sure you also stop for a slice of Black Forest cake, too!
If the biking got your adrenaline pumping but didn’t tire you out then head to the Action Forest, which has a variety of parcours activities… if you dare!
If the weather isn’t cooperating, there is a terrific indoor water park in the town, with several different areas to suit every taste. It boasts a relaxing wellness area with indoor/outdoor swim-up cocktail bars for adults as well as a more lively area with over 18 water slides and a wave pool for kids (or big kids). This area is nicely sound-proofed too so that those who choose the relaxation area are undisturbed. Genius.
The Rothaus Brewery also isn’t too far from here (by car), and you can arrange in advance to join a tour and a tasting.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of options for accommodation – from camping areas to holiday-apartments (called Ferienwohnung), nice, but expensive, hotels and the possibility to stay on a family farm and help feed the animals! The city of Freiburg or the town of Feldberg is also close by if you would like to stay and explore the area further.
The local tourist office is very helpful: although the website is in German, if you email or call in English they will be able to help.
Story and photos by Michelle Purse