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Germany Itinerary - Black Forest

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Hello! I am planning a trip to Germany for next May for my mom and I. I am hoping for some help with our itinerary. This trip is a present for my mom's 60th birthday as she's always wanted to visit Germany. One of her priorities is the black forest, though she can't name anything she really wants to do there. My mom wants to "see the black forest" (your interpretation of that is probably as good as mine) and buy a cuckoo clock. We will be arriving from Lake Constance and departing out of Frankfurt. We could spend 2-5 days. I'd appreciate your help with the following:

1. Where would you suggest for overnights?
2. What places would be best to visit for great scenery? We are both in good shape and wouldn't mind hiking, going on cable cars, etc.
3. Where would you suggest we buy a cuckoo clock? Any advice for finding an authentic one?
3. Do you suggest a car for the black forest? If so, what company would you recommend renting from?

Any other tips for visiting Germany are appreciated as well. Thank you!

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    Your Mom is pretty knowledgeful. The Black Forest is the epitome of German scenery: mountains, deep forest, meadows with grazing cattle, streams, wooden farmhouses etc. And May is the perfect time to go there - still some snow on the mountain tops, but also abundant wildflowers on the meadows.

    I have a second home in the Black Forest, where I spend 3 or 4 months a year, so I can give you some advice.

    Now, your questions. I start with question 4. Technically, you could do it by public transport, but I recommend renting a car, because there are so many scenic drives and it is much more convenient to drive to attractions instead of using trains and buses. Rent from one of the usual companies including the European ones: Europcar, Sixt, Avis, Hertz - it does not matter which one you take. Compare the rates. Sometimes Europcar has great offers for BMWs.

    Now, question 3. A clear answer: Triberg. It is a charming town, with great waterfalls and a pretty museum and several big cuckoo clock stores. The stores are somewhat touristy (with signage in all languages including Russian, Chinese and Arabic) but there you will find the very best choice. You will be impressed.

    Question 2: The region around the Feldberg, the highest mountain, is very scenic. Start with going up onto the Feldberg summit with the cable car and walk a bit on top of the mountain. Consider walking down from the base station (Feldberg Hof) to the Feldsee, a most picturesque glacier lake, surrounded by moraines. You find there a beautiful farmhouse which serves rustic local fare.

    Just drive the small roads around the Feldberg. Bernau has a farmhouse museum. Todtnau has pretty waterfalls. Menzenschwand is the most beautiful historic village in the Black Forest: it has beautiful hiking trails, a small but beautiful waterfall, a deer corral, an easy hiking trail into a glacial valley with impressive moraines and a ultra-contemporary spa built of wood, stone, steel and glass with a thermal indoor/outdoor pool and several saunas.

    The Schluchsee is the largest lake in the Black Forest. You can take the boat from Schluchsee town to Aha, walk the lakeside trail for 4 km to another historic farmhouse with a restaurant and board the boat again for riding back to Schluchsee.

    Rothaus has one of Germany's best breweries which can easily be visited. Also, the brewery's traditional restaurant is recommendable. Nearby, you find the Hüsli, the most beautiful farmhouse museum in the Black Forest. Do not miss the small Cyriakus Chapel in the fields (everything in easy walking distance).

    Sankt Blasien has a baroque monastery with one of the world's largest domes - very impressive.

    Titisee is another mountain lake, yet rather touristy.

    If you are driving northwards, you find the Vogtsbauernhof open-air museum with a collection of farmhouses (however, the Hüsli is better, although it is just one house).

    For a more demanding hiking experience, the Haslach and Wutach gorges would be my first choices - very scenic.

    In the foothills of the Black Forest, you find several picturesque historic towns - Staufen, Freiburg, Gengenbach.

    Now, question 1. I would recommend staying in the High Black Forest. There is an abundance of accomodation. Where you stay depends on your budget and style.

    Do you prefer a Michelin-star awarded cuisine and a hotel in a historic building with a contempary pool and outdoor spa? Then the Adler in Häusern would be your choice.

    Do you want to stay in a middle class hotel right in the center of an authentic village with the scents of firs and the ringing of cowbells? Then stay in Menzenschwand.

    Do you prefer a more buzzy atmosphere with lots of souvenir stores and shops and bars? Then Titisee would be right.

    Or do you want to stay in the middle of the forest, right at he picturesque Feldsee? Then stay in the Raimartihof in Bärental.

    For a stay in a comfortable 4-star hotel with pool and good cuisine, Bernau might be the right choice.

    You have many options. Do not hesitate to ask more specific questions if you have done more research.

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