Pathfinder pics: exploring Germany’s Black Forest
With fairy-tale landscapes, quaint villages, ski resorts and one of the best theme parks in Europe, the Baden region in Germany has a lot to offer. Yet surprisingly it’s not a destination I hear about many people travelling to, especially during the summer months.
Less visited than the popular region of Bavaria, and without the pull of Munich’s Oktoberfest, the southwestern corner of Germany was put firmly on the map by the Romans who discovered thermal springs in the town of Baden-Baden. By the 1800s it was a popular destination for royalty and celebrities who visited the healing waters while enjoying the upmarket vibe of the town. But what does the town once known as ‘Europe's summer capital’ and its surrounding region have to offer today?
The best way to see this region of Germany is on a road trip. While travelling along one of the Black Forest mountain roads, I spotted this view. Schwarzenbach Dam is in such an idyllic location, surrounded by thick forest. I spotted a few fishermen, boats and a couple of eager sunbathers… all while being mesmerised by the reflections.
Take a walk on the royal side
The university city of Karlsruhe is home to this beautiful palace. Built in 1715, these days it attracts big crowds in the summer months for Schlosslichtspiele – a free illumination festival with nightly projections by different artists. You can also climb the tower for great views of the city.
Enjoy the scenery
This was another wonderful lake I discovered on my road trip. The mirror-like reflections were stunning. My Lonely Planet guide to the region certainly helped with my route planning and offered some top food suggestions along the way!
Don't forget to scream
I wandered from Shakespeare’s Globe to the blue and white buildings of Mykonos and along a canal in Venice, all while exploring Europe’s second most popular theme park resort. Europa-Park is divided into 14 country-themed areas and boasts some of Europe’s biggest roller coasters along with stunning gardens and a Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s fair to say, it isn’t your average tacky theme park!
Embrace local life
I loved how well kept the spa town of Baden-Baden was – there were flowers everywhere! Colourful blooms outside every restaurant, window boxes outside hotels and the bridges in Lichtentaler Allee (the lush park that runs along the River Oos) were decorated with bright pink flowers. I also made sure I visited Caracalla Spa to enjoy the famous healing waters. Absolute bliss.
Escape the crowds
Mere moments from the screams of thrill-seekers at Europa-Park I found this serene spot. Swimming lakes are really popular in Germany and this one within Rust Nature Reserve was pretty inviting! Close by was a nature trail and cycle route to take you all around the countryside.
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