Named after the black fir trees that cover the landscape, the Black Forest is one of the most popular natural attractions in Germany. It’s not to be confused with the iconic Black Forest cake (although, also a favourite of mine).

This mountainous region is home to spectacular scenery, quaint villages and an indulgent culinary scene. The lakes and spa towns are also a must-visit, with many of them dating back to the Roman era – they are pretty damn cool!

This vast region is packed with cities, towns and villages of all shapes and sizes. Each area offers something a little different, so it’s important to get your bearings beforehand.

If you’ve never been to the Black Forest, deciding where to stay in the Black Forest can be pretty overwhelming. This region is pretty big, with attractions super spaced out, so picking the right area for you is really important.

That’s where I come in! I’ve created this one-stop-shop guide to the areas of the Black Forest. I’ve categorised each by interest and budget to make your decision-making as easy as possible. You’ll also find the best places to stay and things to do in each area.

Whether you’re here for scenic panoramas, cute villages or bustling spa towns –I’ve got you covered!

So, settle in (maybe even grab yourself some black forest cake to get you in the mood) and let’s kick things off.

visit the black forest in germany
Not a bad place to get lost… unless you’re Hansel & Gretel

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Where is the Best Place to Stay in Black Forest?

Colombi Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in the Black Forest

Colombi Hotel, Black Forest Germany

This exquisite 5-star hotel in the centre of Freiburg immerses you in the luxury of the Black Forest. The modern hotel, named after the gorgeous Colombi Park just across the street, is the ideal place to relax in elegant rooms or at the indoor pool after a day of touring. Experience great cuisine at one of three on-site restaurants, which provide both international and regional cuisine and refined fine-dining experiences.

Gastehaus Kaiserpassage | Best Hostel in the Black Forest

Gastehaus Kaiserpassage, Black Forest Germany

This hostel hosts regular social events where you can mingle with other guests, but the spacious rooms are kept separate to ensure quiet sleeping spaces. Expect a wide array of bars, restaurants and cafés within walking distance. With all of the modern amenities it offers, it’s one of the best Black Forest hostels for sure.

FRIZ Holiday Apartments | Best Mid-Range Apartment in the Black Forest

FRIZ Holiday Apartments, Black Forest Germany

This apartment is well-equipped with a love for details. Details of interior design, furniture, kitchen and bathroom facilities stand out amongst other modern amenities. The tastefully furnished apartment is quiet and boasts grocery stores, a bakery and restaurants in the immediate vicinity, with free private parking and good connections to Freiburg city centre.

Black Forest Neighborhood Guide – Best Places to Stay in Black Forest

FIRST TIME IN BLACK FOREST?
freiburg Black Forest
FIRST TIME IN BLACK FOREST?

Freiburg im Breisgau

Freiburg im Breisgau is often considered the Jewel of the Black Forest. For many visitors, this is the main gateway into this stunning region. The historic city centre is like a microcosm of the vast cultural delights that await you across the region.

ON A BUDGET
Baden-Baden Black Forest
ON A BUDGET

Baden-Baden

Baden-Baden is a major spa town in the heart of Baden Würtemmberg. Dating back to the Roman era, the city is actually known for its luxury baths and casinos that attract some of the wealthiest tourists in the world.

FOR FAMILIES
Bonndorf im Schwarzwald Black Forest
FOR FAMILIES

Bonndorf im Schwarzwald

We could go on for days about the stunning villages that are dotted around the Black Forest, and it really took us some time to choose the best. In the end, however, Bonndorf im Schwarzwald won it for us.

Black Forest’s Three Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

The Black Forest is a truly eclectic destination that has something to offer to everyone travelling through Germany. You’ve probably already heard of Black Forest Gateau, and the region’s culinary scene will certainly exceed your expectations. The mountains provide a gorgeous landscape popular among travel photographers and nature enthusiasts, and the historic villages offer an array of cultural attractions.

Freiburg is the most popular destination in the region, as it sits right in the heart of the forest, and has plenty of excursions available. For this reason, it is my top pick for first-time visitors heading to the area. This charming town is in the heart of all the action, with the train station within easy walking distance so you can easily dash to nearby France or Switzerland.

A beautiful hiking trail in the black forest, germany
Get ya hiking boots on
Photo: @audyscala

Baden-Baden is a historic spa town in the southwest of the Black Forest. With attractions dating back to the Roman era, you’ll also find plenty of spaces for a relaxing break. It’s the largest city in the Black Forest, so you’ll be guaranteed to find some great budget dining and accommodation picks throughout.

Bonndorf im Schwarzwald is the final area I’ll touch on. There are so many great villages in the Black Forest, but Bonndorf encapsulates everything that makes the region so popular. With spas, scenery and stories, plenty is waiting to be discovered. The peaceful atmosphere makes it a great spot for families in the region.

Still undecided? I’ve included more extensive guides to each area below, as well as my top accommodation and activity picks for each!

1. Freiburg im Breisgau – Where to Stay in the Black Forest for Your First Time

Known as the Jewel of the Black Forest, Freiburg is my top area for first-time visitors. This charming town is like a microcosm of the entire region, offering access to the most popular attractions on offer in this German national park.

freiburg skyline in the Black Forest
Freiburg is bustling and beautiful

This vibrant city smoothly combines sustainable initiatives with a rich past. Stroll through picturesque lanes lined with colourful half-timbered buildings, admire the lofty Freiburg Minster cathedral, or explore the innovative Vauban area, a model city powered by solar energy.

Freiburg is near the German, French and Swiss borders and has several transportation options, including a train station that is conveniently located just a short walk away. Locals are known to spend much of their time in either of the two other countries. Strasbourg is just a few minutes across the border, and Basel is only a short drive away.

If you’ve really got time to kill, a day trip to Stuggart would certainly be epic. It’s not too far a drive away if you have a car and want a complete tempo change from the tranquillity that the Black Forest has to offer.

Colombi Hotel | Best Luxury Hotel in Freiburg

Colombi Hotel, Black Forest Germany

This exquisite 5-star in the centre of Freiburg immerses you in the luxury of the Black Forest. The modern hotel, named after the gorgeous Colombi Park just across the street, is the ideal place to relax in elegant rooms or at the indoor pool after a day of touring. Experience great cuisine at one of three on-site restaurants, which provide both international and regional cuisine and refined fine-dining experiences.

FRIZ Holiday Apartments | Best Mid-Range Apartment in Freiburg

FRIZ Holiday Apartments, Black Forest Germany

This apartment is well-equipped with a love for details. Details of interior design, furniture, kitchen and bathroom facilities stand out amongst other modern amenities. The tastefully furnished apartment is quiet and boasts grocery stores, a bakery and restaurants in the immediate vicinity, with free private parking and good connections to Freiburg city centre.

Landgut Stockenhof | Best Airbnb near Freiburg

Landgut Stockenhof Black Forest

Looking for a romantic escape? This quaint studio for two provides a comfortable and affordable haven in the centre of an operating Black Forest farm. Its secluded position makes it ideal for couples. Plus, your lovely hosts are right next door, ready to help with everything you might need throughout your visit.

Things to See and Do in Freiburg

A tree and rolling hills in Frieburg, Black Forest
Aaaaand breathe
  1. Freiburg Cathedral sits in the city centre – make sure to look out for the gothic gargoyles that loom over the main square.
  2. Join a shared walking tour to discover Freiburg’s old town…
  3. …Or if you want to spice things up, explore the city with its unofficial queen, Black Forest drag queen Betty BBQ, on a walking tour.
  4. Head out to Schlossberg, a large tree-covered hill on the outskirts of the town offering views across the Black Forest.
  5. Explore the beautiful city of Freiburg on a self-guided scavenger hunt.
  6. Experience the diverse and exciting pub scene of Freiburg, famous for its bustling nightlife, on a guided pub crawl.
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We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

View on Osprey View on REI

2. Baden-Baden – Best Place to Stay in Black Forest on a Budget

Baden-Baden is not your typical Black Forest village. This sophisticated spa town exudes elegance, with historic thermal baths that have captivated aristocracy and wellness seekers for centuries. Despite this, it’s a super affordable town when compared to the general cost of living in Germany.

But pampering isn’t the only thing that Baden-Baden does well. Discover a system of picturesque trails that take you right into the heart of the Black Forest once you leave the town centre. Breathe in the clean mountain air, stroll through verdant surroundings, and take in the scenic splendour that contrasts with Baden-Baden’s urban allure.

Tree covered hills in Baden-Baden Black Forest
How’s that for a view?

It really is a city of contrasts and is an excellent destination for those backpacking in Germany or travelling on a budget. Despite being considered a playground for the rich, Baden-Baden is actually one of the most affordable destinations in the region.

As the largest city in the region, you’ll find some great accommodation deals, including some of the best budget hotels and hostels in Germany. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect German pit-stop whilst saving some euros.

Huber’s Hotel | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Baden-Baden

Huber’s Hotel Black Forest

This beautiful family-run hotel is located in the heart of the city and offers elegant rooms and individualised customer care from extremely friendly and attentive staff at the tour desk. It has a lovely breakfast room with beautiful fresh breakfast offerings on the house! The breakfast buffet is incredible, and free breakfast tastes even better.

Gastehaus Kaiserpassage | Best Hostel in Baden-Baden

Gastehaus Kaiserpassage, Black Forest Germany

This vibrant hostel is right in the heart of Baden-Baden. You will find a wide array of bars, restaurants and cafés within walking distance. The hostel hosts regular social events where you can mingle with other guests, but the spacious rooms are kept separate to ensure quiet sleeping spaces. With all of the modern amenities it offers, it’s one of the best Black Forest hostels for sure.

Schönes Appartement mit Gartenblick | Best Budget-Friendly Apartment in Baden-Baden

Schönes Appartement mit Gartenblick, Black Forest Germany

This apartment is conveniently located in a beautiful neighbourhood and is within walking distance of the quaint town. The neighbourhood is intriguing, serene, and close to shops, a park, and the well-known Lichtentaler Allee. The flat is wonderfully furnished, with cosy rooms and private parking. Everything you’ll need for your stay is provided, including milk in the fridge, spices, tea and even pasta!

Things to See and Do in Baden-Baden

the skyline in Baden-Baden Black forest
  1. Take a peaceful stroll down the Oos River that winds through the heart of the city.
  2. Put on your hiking boots and enjoy one of the numerous hillside hikes in the area.
  3. Visit Caracalla Spa, a thermal bathhouse surrounded by the forest offering exclusive spa facilities.
  4. The Frieder Burda Museum is a must-visit for creatives – it houses an exquisite collection of German Expressionist art
  5. Release your inner child at Europa Park, Germany’s largest theme park.
  6. Spend an afternoon at Museum Frieder Burda, a modern art museum.
  7. Discover the top sights of Baden-Baden on a guided walking tour.

3. Bonndorf im Schwarzwald – Best Neighborhood in Black Forest for Families to Stay In

The Black Forest is a region full of lovely neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct charm. However, if you want to experience the essence of the Black Forest without paying a high price, Bonndorf im Schwarzwald should be at the top of your list.

Dense green hiking path in Bonndorf im Schwarzwald Black Forest
Green, lush and bloody beautiful!!!

Bonndorf, located in the southern reaches, is surrounded by breathtaking nature. I would argue that it’s one of the most beautiful places in the whole of Germany. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the network of trails that lead through lush forests and rolling hills.

It also boasts thermal baths at a fraction of the cost of the more famous facilities found in Baden-Baden. Best of all, Bonndorf im Schwarzwald enjoys a calm atmosphere and is a very safe area of Germany, making it a great pick for families.

Mohringers Schwarzwald Hotel | Best Mid-Range Hotel in Bonndorf

Mohringers Schwarzwald Hotel, Black Forest Germany

The Möhringers Schwarzwald Hotel is best known for its exclusive spa facilities which use the waters of this historic spa town. A wide selection of holistic therapies are also on offer, and they also boast an outdoor pool, indoor pool, hot tub and fitness centre. There is an on-site restaurant whipping up Experience great cuisine at one of three on-site restaurants, which provide both international and regional cuisine and a complimentary breakfast buffet in the morning.

Schwarzwaldperle | Best Budget Airbnb in Bonndorf

Schwarzwaldperle, Black Forest Germany

Nestled between Lake Constance, Feldberg, Fribourg, and Switzerland in the heart of the Black Forest, this charming flat begs you to stay on after your adventures in the surrounding area. You’ll find cosy rooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a comfortable living area, and amazing views. The setting is beautiful, there is much to do and it is wonderfully quiet.

Apartments Sunny side duplex | Best Mid-Range Airbnb in Bonndorf

Sonnenseite Black Forest

This spacious apartment offers panoramic views of the meadows, woodland and lake. The warm and intimate atmosphere of the property is characterised by exposed beams and other design details. The apartment features elegant rooms, with a sizable living and dining area and a contemporary kitchen with unobstructed Black Forest views.

Things to See and Do in Bonndorf

A tree lined lake in in bonndorf, the black forest
There’s so much to explore in the Black Forest
  1. Bonndorfer Schloss is the fairytale manor house right in the heart of this quaint town and offers stunning views across the Black Forest.
  2. Try the local brews at the microbrewery Brauereigasthof Rothaus and unwind in the beer garden.
  3. Put on your hiking boots and travel to Wutach Gorge, a picturesque river valley spanning 33 km that features towering canyons and a lush forest.
  4. Take a swing with beautiful views of the Alps at Golf Club Obere Alp.
  5. Head out to Schluchsee Reservoir Lake, perfect for sailing or taking a brisk dip.
  6. Learn about the heritage of the area at Heimatmuseum Hüsli Museum.
  7. Try Black Forest ham, a local delicacy, at Hans Adler OHG Schwarzwälder Fleischwarenfabrik butchers.
  8. Spend an afternoon at the popular hiking trail Drei-Schluchten-Wanderung.
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FAQs About Where to Stay in Black Forest

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Black Forest and where to stay.

What To Pack For Black Forest

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Where is the best place to base in the Black Forest?

Baden-Baden is an excellent place to make your base for visiting the Black Forest and the perfect spot to stay for maximum relaxation. The 19th-century hamlet, nestled in the undulating hills of the northern portion of the forest, is brimming with popular hiking paths and stunning Belle Époque-style architecture.

What is the main town in the Black Forest?

Freiburg is the main town in the Black Forest. This remarkably warm and popular Black Forest town boasts a well-preserved heritage as well as modern activities for everyone to enjoy.

Where is the best area to stay for families in the Black Forest?

Bonndorf im Schwarzwald is the best neighbourhood for families in the Black Forest. The area is packed with STUNNING scenery and epic hikes. Plus, it’s got all the amenities you need for a comfy stay at an affordable price. Round up the kids and head to Bonndorf im Schwarzwald and you can thank me later.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Black Forest

Unfortunately, things can go wrong when you least expect it. This is why good travel insurance is essential before you head on your trip to the Black Forest.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in the Black Forest

The Black Forest is a magical destination that must be seen to be believed. It’s mesmerising forests and quaint villages will have you feeling like Hansel and Gretal in a classic German fairytale.

If I had to pick the area that really stands out to me, it would have to be Freiburg. Its central location benefits from great connections to the rest of Baden-Württemberg, as well as onward to Switzerland. If you want a touch of luxury, Colombi Hotel is the perfect place to unwind after a long day of exploring.

That being said, the best place for you really depends on what you want to get out of your stay. If you prefer a more urban vibe you can’t go wrong with Baden-Baden. Gastehaus Kaiserpassage is a great hostel for meeting other travellers in Baden-Badeen whilst Bonndorf offers a calmer experience if you want to recharge your batteries.

Now is the perfect time to explore the wonders of the Black Forest, so grab your hiking boots (and a voracious appetite for the local cake!) Past the idyllic villages and castles are hiking paths that snake through emerald forests, undiscovered waterfalls, and revitalising thermal spas.

Take in the rich history, enjoy the regional specialities (don’t miss the schnitzel) and even try your hand at learning a few German phrases to win over the locals.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

lush trees and rolling hills in the black forest
Like something out of a fairytale
Looking for more info on travelling to Black Forest and Germany?

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