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Black Forest base 7-10 days - public transport

Black Forest base 7-10 days - public transport

Old Aug 17th, 2017, 11:11 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2017
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Black Forest base 7-10 days - public transport

I'm looking to be in the Black Forest 28 Sep to around 4/5 Oct, or a bit longer if I end up enjoying it a lot more.

I am trying to figure out where to base myself that is accessible to public transport and do some day hikes.

Through reading online, it seems Gengenbach is a popular recommendation...I understand it is on the KONUS area. And I can do day trips to some places.

Since I mainly am in the area to do day hikes (moderate), public transport ease accessibility and self navigating hiking trails access nearby are the main factors.

Your thoughts on Gengenbach or other towns suggestions would be much appreciated. And anything else I might need to consider or be aware of. (I don't know German...)

Travelling solo, early 30s.

angec3 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2017, 02:47 AM
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I've spent 12 nights in Gengenbach since 2013. One of my favorite towns.
bigtyke is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2017, 03:59 AM
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Hi angec3,

I spent about 5 nights last year in the town of Schluchsee, on the lake of the same name. Like you, I traveled without a car, wanted to do hikes & walks in the area, and wanted a central location in the Black Forest. I liked the town & the lake but didn't love it.

During the same trip, I spent 3 nights in the town of Freiburg, and I loved it. It's full of history and beautiful, charming streets and architecture. It is THE transport hub in the area, so very easy to get out into the countryside for walks. Many hotels in town also offer the Konus Card.

This past June, I spent 5 nights in Baden-Baden, and I spent one day on a day-trip to Gengenbach. I have to say that I didn't care for it at all. One reason is entirely personal and probably crazy, and that's that I don't care for half-timbered buildings; I just don't think they're pretty at all. The second reason is that there is no pedestrian zone in town. So, while you're ambling through town taking photos and trying to enjoy the atmosphere, autos all around you will be honking, driving, idling, parking, stalling, etc. It just wasn't a very pleasant place imo.

I always thought that if I returned to the BF, I would either stay in Freiburg again, but stay for a longer time and do day-trips out, or I'd stay in Waldkirch.

As for walks, I used two resources, the first is the website of


Though the site is in German, it has a button where it will translate the page for you into English. I personally downloaded the walks I was interested in, then copied & translated the text separately, and then pasted the translated text with the map. You can find walks by your location or length of hike, etc.

My second resource was the book, Hiking and Biking in the Black Forest by Kat Morgenstern, published by Cicerone (who publishes a series of walking books).

I also found a nice walk between St Märgen & St Peter from Rick Steves. Though I can't find a link to Rick Steves' information, this is the same walk:


Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Aug 18th, 2017, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Dec 2014
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Freiburg has a LOT of train traffic and is a good base town if you plan to visit Hinterzarten, Titisee, and other towns along the Hell's Valley Railway. Hinterzarten and other towns can serve as trailheads for the area.


HOWEVER, Freiburg is not so good if you're interested in the Central Black Forest, and it's not a KONUS-card-issuing town.

If you want to visit the Hell's Valley railway locations above, but be closer to Freiburg, Kirchzarten is a good place - and a KONUS town.

OTOH Gengenbach, though very small, is great for the Central Black Forest area for trips to Gutach, Haslach, Schiltach, Triberg, Villingen... it's right on the scenic Black Forest Railway near Offenburg:


And if you want to visit Freiburg (which I agree is a very nice outing) you can be there in just one hour from Gengenbach. Leaving Gengenbach in the other direction gets you across the Black Forest and as far as Donaueschingen (the southeastern end of the KONUS zone and the Black Forest) in one hour.

Gutach: http://www.bensbauernhof.com/gutachimschwarzwald.html

Schiltach: https://www.orte-bw.de/grafik/upload..._2010_1040.JPG

swandav2000 probably wouldn't appreciate these places but I imagine many visitors would.
Fussgaenger is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2017, 11:12 PM
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Wow, thanks swandav2000 and Fussgaenger for your comprehensive details and helpful links.

A few other towns I'm looking at: Zell am Harmersbach, Gutach im Breisgau, Simonswald, Gundelfingen... but I think they require even more train/bus transfers to get to and from..? I don't know whether the savings in accommodation prices will be worth the extra time in some extra commuting to get in and out of places...Thoughts? And have any of you visited those areas?

I see that the Central Black Forest is a popular place people like to visit.

How is Southern Black Forest area?

There's an accommodation place in Zell im Wiesental that I found - is it worth it to base there for a couple days to get a feel of the southern Black Forest? Can I get to Feldberg from there without having to go through Freiburg? Also, I think I can take the bus from Zell Wiesental to Todtnau falls.

As I am flying into Zurich, I will be slowly making my way through the Black Forest then up over to Prague.

I'm wondering if it's worth it to spend a 2-3 nights based somewhere in the Southern Black Forest region, then head up to Central Black Forest for to stay longer and see more places (without having to backtrack down).

Is the Southern Black Forest worth it? Or should I just base myself around Central Black Forest and then say, do a day trip to Schluchsee, for example?
angec3 is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2017, 03:38 AM
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Hi again,

Thanks for the thanks!

Sorry, I don't know the area very well outside of the towns I mentioned in my first post. But I can say that, when the train went through the towns of Hinterzarten and Kirchzarten, I thought they were really charming and pretty places. You could look them up at google and look at images. However, I don't know if there is a range of accommodation in these small towns.

You may want to check the transportation options from a prospective base to the towns, villages, & trailheads you might visit. You should use the German rail site to give you the information:


It'll give you the connections, schedules, and whether it's a train or a bus or a combination.

I also thought that if you have 10 days, you would have the time for two bases -- maybe 4 or 5 nights in each one. That would give you half a day to explore the small base town, and 3 or 4 days to take excursions to see villages or to hike. However, I don't know the area well enough to say if you should base in the south & central or north, etc.

I'll also say that Fussgaenger was very helpful to me when I was planning my trip (thanks again Fussgaenger!!). That I didn't fall in love with Schluchsee is more a result of my expectations than the advise & suggestions given. I was expecting more green rolling hills, and the landscape was flatter than that. But that's why I went -- to check it out.

Anyway, I hope you hear again from Fussgaenger to help you find a perfect base!

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Aug 19th, 2017, 03:42 AM
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Ok, I have to amend my statement about hotels. I just looked at Hinterzarten at google maps, and searched for hotels, and a **ton** of hotels came up. So I would say you can pick your base according to your preferences and the transport links, and you should be able to find a great hotel anywhere.

swandav2000 is online now  
Old Aug 19th, 2017, 07:52 AM
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"I don't know whether the savings in accommodation prices will be worth the extra time..."

Steinach is a town on the BF Railway near Haslach. We stayed at the Schöner farm and did day trips for a few days from our 2-BR apartment (€36/night.) Nice place less than 10 minutes walking from the Steinach station. But a solo traveler might want to stay in the little studio-apartment they have on the top floor under the roof line. Click on the link below then the main house photo, then move to the 3rd photo of the back of the house with tractor at the left:


The top level with 2 windows is a 28 sq. meter studio apartment for 1 or 2(Doppelzimmer - Giebelzimmer) which you could perhaps rent inexpensively for a few days (no price is indicated at the site.)

So you might use the email address at the page above and send Herr Schöner a note of inquiry. Herr Schöner is a friendly guy and speaks/writes some English. Maybe it's available.
Fussgaenger is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2017, 03:05 PM
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I have a differing opinion of Gengenbach...stayed there for 2 weeks a few years ago (apartment). I love half-timbered houses.
Saw nary another American in late September. Not crowded at all, so traffic was not a concern. Many cafes serving alsatian foods and local wines. Try Flammkuchen-a cracker-like pizza with sour cream, ham, bacon,onion or other toppings..hmmmm.
I day-tripped to Schiltach, Gutach (DO be sure to visit the Vogtsbauerhof-open-air museum of BF) and Alpirsbach (brewery and glass-blowing).
A great hike in the BF is from St.
Maergen to St.Peter.
Staufen is another sweet little town with a castle ruin and wine-tasting.
mokka4 is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2017, 03:11 PM
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BTW, I was travelling solo, using only public transport, in my early 40's then. Gengenbach was well-enough connected for me. Freiburg, while beautiful, is a city-too big for my base, but yes, I daytripped there as well. Colmar was also lovely, though a little longer transit required, via Offenburg.
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Old Aug 19th, 2017, 03:38 PM
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Freiburg (Freiburg im Breisgau) IS a Konus card issuing town! At least it has been on our last two visits there.

Whether or not it's a good base for the Central Black Forest...no idea.
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Aug 19th, 2017, 04:09 PM
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Melnq8: I believe your statement is in error. Freiburg has never participated in KONUS AFAIK. And it is absent from the Black Forest Tourism site as a participating city - here is the list, click on the red "KONUS flyer" link on this page:


Freiburg is an eligible DESTINATION with the KONUS card but innkeepers there do not issue it.

Is it possible you've confused it with the SCHWARZWALD Card, or some other promotional card?

Fussgaenger is offline  
Old Aug 20th, 2017, 05:53 AM
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Fussgaenger -

We were issued transport cards by our hotel in Freiburg on our visits in 2015 and 2016. I just looked at my trip reports from those trips and it seems I have the name wrong - we were issued KOMBI cards. They covered local transport as well as trips further afield - we used them to get to Titisee, Staufen, Munstertal, Breisach and Feldberg.

I assume KONUS covers a wider area?
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Aug 20th, 2017, 06:32 AM
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It sounds like you got the 3-day Kombiticket or "Welcome-karte" which normally costs €26 p.p. but may have been provided to you free of charge by the innkeeper you patronized as a promotional offer, or possibly as part of a vacation package.


Flyer shows area of coverage: https://www.rvf.de/fileadmin/user_up..._flyer_web.pdf

The free KONUS card covers much broader territory - as far north as Karlsruhe, south to the Swiss border at Basel. Map:

Fussgaenger is offline  
Old Aug 20th, 2017, 07:13 AM
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Thank you Fussgaenger (and I appreciate your tact in pointing out my error).
Melnq8 is online now  
Old Aug 20th, 2017, 11:43 AM
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