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Black Forest itinerary and 2 nights between Black Forest and Brussels

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There are two very separate questions that I need help with:

1. We will be in the Black Forest for 3 nights in mid-August on our honeymoon. We are staying in Gengenbach and plan to see Baden-Baden, Triberg (for the waterfall and hike, not for the cuckoo clocks necessarily), the open-air museum, Freiburg and Feldberg/Feldsee, Lake Titisee and Castle Hohenzollern (which I know we will rent a car for - we could potentially do this on our way out of the Black Forest also). I am wondering how to organize our days so that we can fit it all in. This will likely be our only visit to the Black Forest so although I know some things seem kitschy and touristy, we don't want to miss any must-sees.

My plan currently is to take a day trip to Baden-Baden after checking out of our hotel in Strasbourg, then make our way down to Gengenbach for our first evening. Then we have 2 full days and nights, and a 3rd morning which we could potentially stop somewhere before making our way onwards. Does anyone have any suggestions how to fit it all in? If not, what should we cut? We can rent a car if needed. Which brings me to my next question:

2. After the Black Forest, we have 2 additional nights before going to Brussels. We really wanted to go to Munich but realized it's not enough time and should save for another trip. We would therefore like to make our way north(west?) (with car) in Germany, but from said destination could train or fly to Brussels. We were thinking of staying in Stuttgart or Heidelberg and flying out of Stuttgart. We will likely never visit Baden-Wuttemberg again, but might potentially visit the Rhine regions one day. Where should we stay for two nights, which would likely end up giving us only one full day to explore, and give us a taste of Germany? We know that there is a fine-line between "authentic experience" and "must-see" which always feels tricky to navigate. We do not like museums but love beautiful architecture, nature and fine food. I have been to Stuttgart and quite liked it, although I know that many do not. My fiancé has never been to Germany.

Thanks in advance for your help. All suggestions so far have been so helpful in guiding our honeymoon.

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    Heidelberg us beautiful and you cruise along the Rhine.
    Stuttgart is worth a good 2 hours. More of you like cars. And if you like gigantic works the station. Is being completely rebuilt.

    Another possibility is going towards Belgium - Monschau Trier and leave the car at Aachen from there train to Bruxelles.

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    The Black Forest is the quintessential German experience - gentle mountains, deep forests, beautiful valleys with cattle and horses grazing on the meadows, wooden farmhouses, lakes, creeks, waterfalls.

    I have a home in the Black Forest and spend around three months per year in the region. Most of the Black Forest experiences are authentic, the only exceptions might be the huge cuckoo clock-stores in Triberg with their advertising in Chinese. But even a handmade cuckoo clock is an authentic thing.

    So, you want to see the Black Forest.

    First, Gengenbach, Baden-Baden and Freiburg are not IN the Black Forest but in the foothills. Gengenbach and Freiburg are cozy historic towns, but architecture, culture, food and climate on the heights of Black Forest are different.

    Second, Baden-Baden is a spa town which is populated by wealthy senior citizens and rich Russians. There are only two reasons to go to Baden-Baden: First, gambling in the Casino, and second, bathing in a spa (however, there are spas in the Black Forest which I favour over those of Baden-Baden). If you want a spa experience and Baden-Baden is on your way from Strasbourg, just go either to the more traditional Friedrichsbad or the more modern Caracalla Therme and spend there a few hours soaking in warm water, then proceed.

    Third, Gengenbach is a beautiful historic town. However, you need not more than an hour to walk through this small gem of a town and even if you do the walk through the vineyards to the St. Jakob-Chapel, you are done with Gengenbach after two hours.

    By train or by car, you have access to the Vogtsbauernhof open-air museum and to Triberg (which is a real Black Forest town).

    The most typical and most beautiful part of the Black Forest is around the Feldberg. And the main attraction is the scenery. The Feldsee is only accessible by hiking and the Feldberg/Feldsee combination takes at least 4 hours. I also recommend some scenic driving in the area and a visit of the waterfall in Todtnau which is IMO even more impressive than that of Triberg.

    Do not forget to drive through Menzenschwand, the most traditional village in the Black Forest (with another beautiful thermal spa and, you guess it, another waterfall, small, but dramatic). Sankt Blasien has a monastery with a most impressive dome, in Rothaus you find one of Germany's best breweries and a beautiful traditional farmhouse which is open for visiting (Hüsli).

    And you find many traditional restaurants in the Black Forest, including several with Michelin stars (e.g. the Adler in Häusern).

    And finally, you want to visit Burg Hohenzollern which would require a car.

    After considering all this, I would suggest:

    Take the train from Strasbourg to Baden-Baden (if the spa experience is important for you). Then rent a car in Baden-Baden. Drive to Gengenbach, visit the small town, then drive to Triberg for your base for two nights.

    From Triberg, everything would be accessible - the Vogtsbauernhof to the north (just a few minutes) and the High Black Forest (Feldberg - Todtnau - Menzenschwand - Titisee - Schluchsee etc.) to the south. From Triberg, drive to Burg Hohenzollern on the third day, stay overnight in Tübingen (historical university town) and fly out of Stuttgart home.

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