The Black Forest At Its Best

The Black Forest, known as a source of fairy tales, carved wooden cuckoo clocks, smoked hams and cakes of dark chocolate with fresh cream and sour cherries, has for centuries beckoned travelers who want to experience its beautiful scenery and enjoy its long standing traditions and warm hospitality. Nowadays, they also come to dine in Michelin starred restaurants, hike along trails through the dense woods then relax at one of its elegant spas…they want to enjoy the Black Forest at its best.

Click on any photo in the article to enlarge and see a slide show.

Locally known as the Schwarzwald, this storied region in the southwestern part of Germany, is a traveler’s delight. As you travel across mountains, through dense, dark forests and rolling green valleys dotted with farmhouses, you will spot historic castles and pass through medieval town squares filled with traditional half-timbered buildings with gabled roofs and geranium filled window boxes.

Take a walk in one of the quaint villages and you are sure to find a restaurant where you can enjoy a good meal of Black Forest specialties served with wine from the region’s vineyards and finish with a Schnapps made from plums, pears or cherries from area orchards. All of this along with clean mountain air and healing mineral waters, makes for a memorable holiday in one of the most picturesque areas in Germany.

For the past two years, when my husband and I planned our fall trips to the Black Forest, we knew that we wanted to stay at the small and elegant Hotel Bareiss in Baiersbronn-Mitteltal. I’ve written before about its outstanding hospitality, wonderful facilities and the delicious cuisine served at the three star Michelin Restaurant Bareiss and I totally agree with others who say it is one of the best hotels in Germany and one of Europe’s finest luxury wellness hotels.

What makes the Hotel Bareiss so special…I would say everything. There is the lovely setting in the heart of the Black Forest, the tastefully decorated rooms, the relaxing spa and pool areas, the wonderful cuisine, organized activities to keep you busy all day and the finest German hospitality shown by the staff that tries to make everything you wish for possible. They all go hand in hand to create a truly enjoyable holiday experience.

When I made our reservations for our latest stay, I was told there was lovely room available in the same category I wanted that had “a better view” than the room we had stayed in on our previous visit. When I mentioned  that we had really liked the Weissenbachtal room, with its nice living and bedroom area, a walk-in closet and balcony with a pretty view that we had stayed in before, I was told “yes, but of course”. Stepping back into the same room on this visit felt a little like returning home and as for the view…I’ll let you decide.

The hotel has five beautifully designed guest dining rooms and we were seated in the lovely Biedermeier Room during our visit this year. You can also make reservations for dinner in one of the three à la carte restaurants, including the award winning Restaurant Bareiss but you need to book well in advance for it.

After a wonderful nights sleep, each morning we would head down to the breakfast buffet where there is always a large selection of breads, hams, sausages, cheese and both cold and warm specialties to choose from. Just ask and fresh eggs will be prepared to your liking and served along with coffee, tea, juice or even champagne, if you wish.

In the evening, each splendid meal starts with a large salad buffet and finishes with cheese and desserts. In between, you order your meal from a wonderfully varied la carte menu. On Saturday night, there is a special seven course gala menu and a rose is presented to each of the ladies.

After dinner, we would usually head to the hotel bar for a digestif and listen to the live entertainment. What we like about the lounge is that there is a separate smokers’ lounge so that you never have to sit in a smoke filled room while enjoying a cocktail.

The Bareiss makes the ideal base for day trips to popular destinations such as the charming university town of Freiburg to the south and the fashionable spa town of Baden-Baden to the north as well as Strasbourg and Colmar, which are not too far across the border in the Alsace region of France. After a day of exploring the region, we would return to the hotel in the afternoon for something sweet from the cake buffet before heading to the pools, sauna world and the quiet relaxation areas.

All good things must come to an end and after a wonderful five day stay, we needed to say “auf wiedersehen”. We packed, our suitcases were then loaded in our car for us and we were wished safe travels as we drove away from the Hotel Bareiss and headed to Munich for our flight back home. Will we return to the Bareiss if we are ever in the Black Forest again…absolutely.

Packed Up And Ready To Leave Hotel Bareiss


Folklore and fairytales, chocolate cake and Michelin starred meals, winding scenic back roads through small villages and hiking trails through the woods, they are all things that bring visitors to the Black Forest. What I’ve never come across during our many visits to the region are witches, wolves and wicked stepmothers. I think you too would enjoy a visit.


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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

113 thoughts on “The Black Forest At Its Best

    1. Hi Angie, I think the breakfast buffet is one of the reasons my husband enjoys staying at Bareiss so much…it is a spectacular one. 🙂

  1. Another fabulous hotel – that’s an impressive cheese selection and what a beautiful cake!
    I shared a flat with a girl from the Black Forrest when I lived in Barcelona. Her father was a pork butcher and she used to return from visits home, with the most amazing joints of meat and ham.

    1. Hi Mad Dog, The cheese selection at Hotel Bareiss is one the best I’ve ever encountered. You are right about the meat and ham selections you see in the Black Forest…just amazing.

  2. Looks like you selected another awesome hotel. The room looks absolutely luxurious and the food looks wonderful and delicious, I adore a European breakfast. I am, however, surprised that there is still smoking permitted inside in Germany, France has banned it from public areas! It was such a nice surprise during our last visit!

    1. You are right Eva, Bareiss is considered on of the top hotels in all of Germany. Yes, I’m glad that France banned smoking from public areas. As to smoking in Germany, in all the states except Bavaria, the proprietor can permit smoking in a separate room that is well sealed off from the main room and that is what they did at Bareiss. It is completely sealed off from the bar which is good, you never smell any smoke.

  3. You should review hotels for a living! Always enjoy hearing what you have to say. Terrific pictures, too. Thanks!

    1. Thank you for your kind words John, at one time I wanted to write travel books but I guess my blog is as close to that as I’ll get. Since we travel to many places that most tourists never go to, I try to share our experiences at the places we enjoy visiting. 😀

  4. I love the Black Forest and I can see why this hotel and room with the gorgeous view is so special to you, Karen. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.
    We are going back to Germany this spring, as Munich is very high on my bucket list! 👍

    1. Thank you Fatima, I’m glad that you like the post. I know that you will enjoy your time spent in Germany and we love Munich…I believe you will too.

  5. Looks like a great visit and some outstanding food. We visited the area for a few days many years ago with stops in Strasbourg and Freiburg – still using the cockoo clock we bought

    1. Hi Larry, Yes it was a wonderful visit. We too like to make day trips from the Black Forest into Strasbourg and Freiburg, they are great towns to visit. They do make great cockoo clocks…made to last a lifetime I think. 🙂

  6. Wow, that looks quite a place, but I am not sure what staying with all that food would do to my bathroom scales LOL.. Take care Diane

    1. Hi Diane, Would you believe that we were gone five weeks and I only gained two pounds and believe me, I didn’t skimp on the meals. 😀 I think it is all the walking and spa visits that help.

  7. I remember you writing about this hotel before Karen, and it does look fabulous. It is not far from where I lived many years ago and I loved the little town of Freudenstadt nearby. (That is where I first experienced a German Christmas market!). 🙂

    1. I was a tiny tot in my first year of being a war refugee I spent in Freudenstadt . . . .an unreal experience and a place to return with family in spite of the ‘Rape of Freudenstadt’ . . . by the French and at the end . . . and, if you have the stomach for the other side of the coin, Mr Google will help . . .

    2. Hi Cathy, Yes…we had to return for another visit at Bareiss. It is funny that on almost each day trip that we made from the hotel, we had to drive through Freudenstadt as it has one of the main roads over the mountains. 🙂

  8. Gorgeous hotel. Just beautiful food and surroundings.
    We were in the Black Forrest Sept 2016 on the Viking Rhine River Cruise. It was lovely but just a day trip. We did have see a Black Forrest cake demonstration and had a tasting.
    You certainly know how to travel first class at this hotel.
    I hope to read some more of your posts especially Vienna since we are going there in early May.

    1. Thank you for your nice compliment Bonnie. Our son and lots of friends have taken the river cruise for this area of Germany and they all enjoyed it. I know you will really like Vienna, we thought the city was wonderful.

    1. Hi Linda, I’m glad you liked the post about the Black Forest…you should definitely put it on your bucket list of places to visit in the future.

    1. Hi Pat, The Bareiss is definitely one of the nicest hotels in all of Germany. If you get a chance to visit, I’m sure you would love it as much as we do.

    1. Hi Gerlinde, If you were in Alsace, you were within an easy drive over the border to the Black Forest…we make day trips from Bareiss over to Alsace for lunch on our stays. I know you would enjoy visiting this area as well as Austria.

    1. Hi Pam, I’m happy to take you along anytime. A foodie such as myself thinks I’m in heaven with the food at Bareiss. Each restaurant they have (of course including their three star Michelin one) are wonderful. Thank you for your nice compliment.

  9. Karen you certainly find the most beautiful hotels to visit and this one is no exception! I’ve travelled to Germany many times when I was younger and never managed to enjoy the food so this looks fantastic!

    1. Hi Amanda, I do research for months picking out our hotels and we decided that we had to return to Bareiss as it is one of the best we have ever stayed at. I believe the food has probably changed a lot since your travels to Germany, I know it has since our early visits. I’m glad you enjoyed the post, thank you.

  10. I have only once been to the Schwarzwald when I was 14 – traveling with my two young friends (what were my parents thinking??) and I adored it. As a young teenager, I dreamed of a cuckoo clock, but never got one. Instead, I got memories of the most beautiful rolling mountains and warm greetings from our hosts. The Hotel Bareiss looks incredibly elegant and inviting. Some day…

    1. Well somethings never change David, the beautiful rolling mountains and warm greetings from everyone you meet in the Black Forest is the same as when you visited as a teenager. I do hope that “some day” becomes a reality so that you can make more memories of times spent in Germany.

  11. It IS a Fairy tale:) What a place..actually everywhere you go 5 stars follow you:)You both travel exceptionally well:)

    Karen..I just read your comment at Susan’s..I did a quick search for you and Amazon .com has the brand of House – Shichimi Togarashi I use..the one I get in Asian shops.It’s terrific.

    1. Hi Monique, It really is like living in a fairy tale and we are so lucky to be able to travel as we do. Thank you so much for relaying where I can buy Shichimi Togarashi as I would never have found it in our small town. 😀

    1. Hi Susan, I totally agree with you about Black Forest and the Bareiss Hotel being dream spots to visit. After our last visit, we knew we had to return again.

    1. Thank you Darlene, for your lovely compliment. I’m happy that you enjoyed the post and photos. Yes, one visit to Bareiss just wasn’t enough…we had to go back. Oh and those desserts, they were delicious. 😀

    1. Hi Sherry, It is hard to capture how beautiful the area and the hotel really are…I wish there had been more sunshine for the photos. Every time I look at the photos of the food at Bareiss I get hungry too. 🙂

    1. Hi Liz, I believe that Bareiss is true perfection in a hotel…we loved everything about it. I do hope you get a chance to visit someday, I believe that you would really enjoy it.

  12. My husband and I have been to Bavaria only once and weren’t able to get ‘up’ to the Black Forest in the one week of time we were there. What an absolutely beautiful wellness resort with all of the special German amenities the area is famous for. I would love to be able to visit someday since we are anxious to return to Bavaria and drive to the Black Forest. I’m saving this post for sure!!!

    1. Hi Roz, I do hope you get a chance to return to Bavaria and then on to the Black Forest. They are two of our favorite areas in Germany to visit. If you plan a trip, let me know if I can give you any suggestions. I know you would love a stay at Bareiss if you were in the area.

  13. Oh my. What beautiful memories I have of this region, but your photos are just stunning! Makes me wish I was a better photographer when we were there! Love that dining room. Reminds me of the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Park City/Deer Valley, Utah, even though that is more Scandinavian in design. It’s just so European! Love it! (just a note – I think we bought this house we now live in because when we walked in it look like a pub! We even have beams on the ceiling! I love European charm.)

    1. Thank you for your kind words about the post and photos Mimi…I just use a small point and shot camera when we travel. I’m glad that my post brought back nice memories of this beautiful region.

  14. We lived in the Black Forest area for a year, loved it! So much to see, do and eat!!! Enjoyed your post, Karen!

    1. Oh how nice that you got to spend a year in the Black Forest region Pam. You are right, the area has so many wonderful places to visit and explore. I’m glad you enjoyed the post…thank you.

    1. Hi MJ, Your comment gave me a smile as it is hard to leave the hotel. We usually had breakfast, went out for the a ride through the area and then back in the hotel in the afternoon to enjoy all their wonderful facilities.

  15. Another gem! Thank you for your beautiful photos and info about the Black Forest area!
    Always enjoy seeing your travels and adventures! Lovely!! 🙂

    1. Hi Anna and Liz, I’m glad that you enjoy following along on our travel adventures. Thank you for your nice compliment about the post and photos.

  16. What a wonderful post, Karen! The photos remind me of our trip to the Black Forest last summer, and I’m absolutely putting Hotel Bareiss on the list for a future trip…Laura and I said we want to go back there and spend more time! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you David, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. If you do go back to the Black Forest, I think you would love staying at Hotel Bareiss, we think it is wonderful.

    1. Hi BT, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, the Black Forest has so much to offer anyone visiting the area. Bareiss offers some of the best food, from their three star restaurant to their pool cafe, all delicious.

  17. Karen your photos are so lovely and what a wonderful trip! I can hardly get over how gorgeous everything is. And I’m becoming slightly obsessed over that Black Forest Cake. I don’t think I’ve ever really “gotten” Black Forest Cake until now!

    1. Thank you Mollie for your lovely compliment, I’m glad to know that you enjoyed the post and photos. And Black Forest cake…yes, it really is delicious.

  18. Whenever I read your posts about Black Forest holidays and I see those photographs of nature, luscious food…. I’m almost tempted to switch for once from my beloved city stays… The Black Forest cake looks extraordinary! Just like it should in Schwarzwald, I guess 🙂

    1. Hi Sissi, One day you should indeed go on a holiday to the Black Forest. Not only is it a beautiful area with great hotels and food, it is also right across the border from the Alsace region on France. It is like two holidays at once.

  19. What a fabulous place to spend a few days, Karen. The view from your room is spectacular and the food looks absolutely scrumptious. I could really get used to that lifestyle, but my waistline might suffer somewhat. 🙂

  20. Fabulous, indeed! How wonder to be able to spend a few day there enjoying the beautiful views and food. Thank you for sharing, Karen. 🙂

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