Top 10 Fun Facts About The Black Forest

An idyllic landscape, picturesque villages, a rich culture, and multiple tourist attractions, that’s what you can find here.

It’s definitely one of the most mesmerizing forests in the world, and in this post, you’ll discover the ultimate list of facts about the Black Forest!

1. The Black Forest is located in the southwest of Germany

The Black Forest is a wonderful region located in the utmost southwestern part of Germany. It stretches all the way from the High Rhine in the south near the Swiss city of Basel to the Kraichgau Region in the north. It’s also bounded by the Rhine Valley in the west.

The region has a total length of about 160 kilometers (99 miles) and a width of about 50 kilometers (20 miles) in the south and 30 kilometers (20 miles) in the north. It covers a total area of about 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles).

Black forest location Germany
Location in Germany / Sitacuisses / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

2. It’s home to the highest mountain in Germany outside of the Alps

The forest is a hilly region that shared the same tectonic activity with a famous mountain range in the region called the “Vosges.” At some point in history, millions of years ago, both regions were separated from each other and the Rhine Valleys between them were formed.

The highest mountain in the region is located in the south of the forest and is called the “Feldberg.” It reaches a total elevation of 1,493 meters (4,898 feet) above sea level.

One of the most amazing facts about the Black Forest is that the Feldberg isn’t just the highest mountain in Germany outside of the Alps, but the mountain is also home to the most popular skiing resort in the country outside of the Alps. There are multiple hotels and resorts which welcome winter sports enthusiasts each year.

The mountain has been popular as a ski resort for over 100 years as the first of the 14 ski lifts was built in the year 1907!

Feldberg in Black Forest
Feldberg from the north / Jörg Braukmann / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en

3. You can see a famous cathedral from the slopes of the Black Forest

The Black Forest is completely located within the borders of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. The biggest cities located within the boundaries of the forest are Pforzheim, the spa town of Baden-Baden, and Freiburg, the largest city in the region with over 230,000 inhabitants.

The forest is also surrounded by even bigger cities, including Basel in Switzerland to the south, Karlsruhe to the north, and Stuttgart to the northeast.

The west of the Black forest consists of the Rhine Valley and here we can find the French city of Strasbourg. The most famous landmark in this city is Strasbourg Cathedral, one of the most amazing churches in the world of which was constructed started in the year 1015 and completed in the 15th century.

From the western slopes of the Black Forest, Strasbourg Cathedral can see towering above the surrounding landscape.

Strasbourg Cathedral black forest
View from Strasbourg Cathedral with the forest in the background / Pixabay

4. The area once formed part of the border of the Roman Empire

In ancient times there was already a name for the Black Forest as it was called “Abnoba Mons.” This name refers to a Gaulish Goddess who was worshipped in the region.

Ancient Roman historians such as Pliny and Tacitus referred to the forest as “Silva Marciana.” This translates to “Marcynian Forest” and probably refers to the “Marcomanni,” a German tribe called the “Border People” by the Romans.

This also means that the Black Forest was an area that was an integral part of the border of the Roman Empire. They never managed to expand their border beyond this point because the “Alemanni,” the general name of the German tribes beyond the border, managed to defend it from various Roman campaigns.

Black forest facts
Valley in the forest / Pixabay

5. The second-longest river in Europe originates in the forest

One of the most fascinating facts about the Black Forest is that the second-longest river in Europe originates in it. The Danube River starts near the town of Donaueschingen in the east of the forest with the confluence of two smaller rivers called the Brigach and Breg.

The Danube eventually releases about 2,730 kilometers (1,700 miles) to the east in the Black Sea before passing through 4 capital cities. These are Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary, and Belgrade in Serbia.

The Danube River was a long-standing border of the Roman Empire as well in Ancient times!

Source of the Danube River
Danube Origin / Drombalan / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/

6. The area is divided into 6 natural regions

The Black Forest has been divided into several distinct regions for many decades. In 1998, the current regions were officially published and are now part of the nature conservation administration. These natural regions are:

  • Black Forest Foothills
  • Black Forest Grinden and Enz Hills
  • Northern Black Forest Valleys
  • Central Black Forest
  • Southeastern Black Forest
  • High Black Forest

Most of these regions consist of between 60 and 70% of dense forest except the Black Forest Grinden and Enz Hills which consists of over 90% dense forest.

Central Black Forest
Central Black Forest / Adrian Thomale / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

7. A National Park was established in the forest in 2014

Perhaps one of the most remarkable facts about the Black Forest is that the first National Park in the region was only created in the year 2014. The “Black Forest National Park” was established on January 1, 2014, and covers an area of 10,062 hectares, or 100.62 square kilometers (38.85 square miles) in the northern part of the Black Forest.

This doesn’t mean, however, that the forest hasn’t been protected until this National Park was established. The forest consists of multiple nature reserves, protected areas, forest reserves, and bird reserves.

One of the most famous animals native to the Black Forest is the “Black Forest Horse,” known in Germany as the “Schwarzwälder Kaltblut.” It can easily be recognized by its chestnut color and long blond manes.

Black forest horses
Black Forest horses / Pixabay

8. The most popular tourist attractions in the Black Forest are 2 lakes

The Danube isn’t the only river that originates in the Black Forest as there are 19 other rivers as well. What’s remarkable is that some of these of the Atlantic Ocean drainage basin while others are part of the drainage basin of the Black Sea.

That’s because the Black Forest is located on the continental divide of both basins.

There are also multiple glacial lakes located within the forest, and some of these wonderful lakes have become popular tourist attractions.

To of the most popular ones are the Titisee, located in the southern part of the forest, and the Schluchsee, a reservoir lake not too far to the south of the former. Both lakes are extremely popular for water sports.

Titisee
Titisee / Ignaz Wiradi / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

9. Black Forest women wear a hat revealing their marital status

The Black Forest is mainly an agricultural region and a place of strong cultural values. Distinct farmhouses can be found all across the forest in small villages.

Most of these villages have annual festivals in which the people dress up in traditional costumes that have been worn for hundreds of years.

If you see a woman wearing a “bollenhut” while she’s wearing the traditional “tracht,” it means that’s she’s still single (and probably available).

Bollenhut in 1898
Bollenhut worn by a woman in 1898 / Wiki Commons

10. The region is full of extremely picturesque villages

When we say picturesque, then the villages in the Black Forest make the definition of this word come to life. If you want to discover these villages you can drive along the Schwarzwaldhochstraße, one of the most popular themed routes in Germany.

This route, which is about 60 kilometers (37 miles) long, starts in Baden-Baden, a popular spa town in the forest, and ends up in Freudenstadt.

Along the way, you will get some of the most amazing views of the Black Forest and the tiny villages which make the region such an amazing place to visit!

Altenteig
Altstadt Altensteig / Stefan Karl / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en