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Is Freiburg Worth Visiting?
Here’s the thing, everyone is always going to have different impressions of places they visit. And sure, there are some locations in Germany (like my beloved Regensburg) that I am like YES!!! THIS IS A MUST VISIT!!!!
But Freiburg? Meh, I’m on the fence. I do think part of the reason I didn’t fall head over heels, like some people do, for Freiburg was just the time of year we were there. It was a Sunday for starters and combine that with the fact that it was a cold and rainy day in November, and a lot of things were closed up for the day. Probably on a warm, sunny summer day with the cafes open and Biergarten bursting at the seams, there would have been a whole different vibe.
And as for Things to Do in Freiburg, we were able to cross off most of the list in just 1 day in Freiburg.
HOWEVER, Freiburg, Germany has a lot to offer. So, here is why I DO think visiting Freiburg is a good idea:
- If you are wanting more than just a small village in the Black Forest, like Triberg, then Freiburg is not a huge city but is bigger than a small town.
- It’s a great place for exploring the Black Forest. There’s no such thing as getting from Freiburg to the Black Forest (it is IN the Black Forest!!!) so you can be to so many of the other great locations in the Schwarzwald in as short as 30 minutes!
- It is a FANTASTIC base for day tripping!!! Whether you want to use it as a home base for exploring Germany or you want to venture into France and Switzerland, it is in a prime location for all of that! (And there are some seriously fantastic Day Trips from Freiburg, which we’ll obviously cover in this article)
A Few Things to Know about Day Trips From Freiburg, Germany
In this guide, I go over options for both driving and taking trains. I’ll explain which transportation mode is better (in my opinion), but you need to have a few things understood before deciding for yourself:
- Read over all of my Germany Train Guides. You can start with my Understanding Deutsche Bahn, move onto my Buying German Train Tickets, and go from there.
- Driving in Germany is really easy. There are no tolls or vignettes and driving on the Autobahn actually isn’t as terrifying as it may sound but a lot of driving in the Black Forest is driving on the Bundestrasse (which is more like a highway) anyway. Some of the roads can be small and windy though. While it’s all discussed in my Driving in Germany guide, a quick reminder that when you see the letter “A” (as in A5) that will refer to the Autobahn and “B” (as in B500) is going to be the Bundestrasse.
Consider the Baden-Württemberg Ticket for Trains
One thing to know is that for every region or state in Germany, there is a “Regional” Ticket, which is typically a cheaper option and almost always a group ticket option.
The Black Forest is in the state of Baden-Württemberg, so you’ll want to consider using the Baden-Württemberg Ticket, but there are some things you’ll need to know before buying it:
- The most important thing you need to know is that regional tickets are ONLY to be used for regional trains only. If you see the letters ICE, IC, or EC before a train number, those are high speed trains and you can NOT use the Baden-Württemberg ticket on those trains. You WILL get fined for not having the correct ticket. Regional Trains typically will say RE or RB in front of the number
- This is a group day pass ticket that you can use for 24 hours on buses, trams, and all regional (only!) trains within the state of Baden-Württemberg.
- While the Baden-Württemberg ticket and the Bayern Pass are two different tickets, the concepts and roughly the same rules are the same. If you are confused about what trains you can use, etc I go into a ton of details in my Bayern Pass Guide that you can apply to the Baden-Württemberg ticket as well.
Cost: Starts at 25 Euro for One Person (all day). Each additional passenger (up to 5 people) is 7 Euro extra. IE: 2 People on this ticket would be €32.00
The problem with the Baden-Württemberg ticket is that so many routes from Freiburg are with ICE trains. Now, this doesn’t mean that an RE or RB train is not available, but suddenly, that 1 hour train ride (with the ICE train) suddenly became 3 hours long with the regional train, because they are slower. This can be a problem sometimes for day trips when you want to get somewhere quicker. Just know that ICE trains typically are going to cost more.
*If you see me say “The BW Ticket” in this article, then I am referring to the Baden-Württemberg Ticket
Buy The Baden-Württemberg Ticket Here
Planning a Trip To the Black Forest? You May Be Interested in The Following Articles:
- Ultimate Black Forest Road Trip Itineraries
- When Is the Best Time to Visit the Black Forest
- Things to do in the Black Forest with Kids
Day Trips from Freiburg, Germany
I know everybody’s definition for “Day Trips” can vary. However, for the purpose of truly keeping this to places you can (easily) get to and back all in one day without rushing yourself TOO much, I am keeping everything in this list of Freiburg Day Trips to locations you can get to by car or train in about 2 hours or less, one way.
To organize this guide, I’ll also break it down into sections of Black Forest day trips, day trips within Germany, day trips over into France, and even some great day trip options down into Switzerland.
You May Be Interested in Reading My In-Depth Day Trips In the Black Forest Guides:
- Things to do in Baden Baden
- Best Spa in Baden Baden
- How to Visit Triberg Waterfall
- Europa Park Tips and Trips
Black Forest Day Trips from Freiburg im Breisgu
- Distance: 8.8km (5.5 miles)
- Travel time: 20 minutes by car. 30 Minutes by tram/train
Let’s start with a really easy day trip from Freiburg! Schauninsland is kind of considered “Freiburg’s Mountain” in the Black Forest and it’s just right outside of the city itself. You can either drive there in less than 20 minutes if you have a car or you can also easily take public transportation.
While not as tall as the Alps in Bavaria, the Black Forest mountains are still beautiful and offer fantastic views and activities. After arriving at Schauninsland, you can take the Schauinslandbahn cable car up. It is supposedly the longest “loop cable car” (not that I actually know what that is, but it sure sounds impressive!) in the world! The views along the 10 minute ride up to the top are just as much of a treat as when you arrive at the summit.
At the top of the mountain, you have plenty of options to keep you busy. If you just want to sit back and relax, then head to the restaurant to grab a bite to eat and a beer and just soak up all the Black Forest views! Of course, there are also plenty of hiking options as well, including guided hikes that you can join.
In the winter you can ski and sled at Schauninsland as well.
Cost For Roundtrip Cable Car:
- Adults: € 14-
- Kids: € 9.50
- See the official site for other fares such as family tickets, etc
By Car: If you have a car for your Black Forest trip, you can get to the Schauninslandbahn station in less than 20 minutes.
By Public Transportation: If you are traveling in Germany without a car, you can still easily get to the Schauninslandbahn station. The easiest way is to:
- Start at the Freiburg Hauptbahnhof (main train station)
- Take the Number 2 Tram in the direction of “Günterstal”
- Ride it 10 Stops. Get off at the Freiburg, Dorfstraße stop.
- Next, take the number 21 Train in the direction of “Schauinslandbahn Talstation”
- Ride the train 7 stops which ends at (and you’ll get off right at the )Schauinslandbahn Talstation
- Distance: 107km (66.5 miles)
- Travel time: A little over 1 hour by car. 40 Minutes by the ICE high speed train
Anyone who has hung out on this blog knows I’m pretty much obsessed with the German Saunas and Spas. And in the Northern Black Forest is the Unesco World Heritage Site of the town Baden-Baden (quite literally meaning “Baths” or more accurately, “Bath-Baths”).
While I like to spend at least 2 Days in Baden Baden, I’ve also done it as a day trip also. If you are just wanting to do the spas, then you can easily zip up to Baden-Baden from Freiburg, soak in the thermal waters, and head back all in one day. If you can get a good head start on the day, I think you can manage to do both the modern Caracalla Spa as well as the Friedrichsbad Roman Baths, but if you’d rather really slow down, you can read this guide to decide Which Baden-Baden Spa is the best for you. If you have a car, I also recommend adding on the Hohenbaden Castle.
By Car: If driving from Freiburg to Baden-Baden, you’ll most likely hop on the A5 Autobahn heading North. In about an hour and 20 minutes (give or take depending on traffic) you’ll be to the town of Baden Baden. If you are heading straight to the Spas you can park at this address:
- Bädergarage Parkhaus (Parking Garage): Rotenbachtalstraße, 76530 Baden-Baden
- Cost: For guests using the baths, the cost of parking is €0.50/hour for the first 2 hours. Each additional hour €1.00
By Train: The fastest way to get to Baden-Baden from Freiburg is by taking the high speed ICE Train. From train station to train station, it only takes about 40 minutes total. However, that is only going to get you to the Train Station. If you want to go to the baths, from the train station, go to the bus stops there and get on bus 244 which will take you right to Caracalla in about 20 more minutes and comes every 30 minutes.
Note: If you are traveling Germany on a Budget, then you will need to know that taking ICE trains can be much more expensive than Regional Trains (I go into the difference between these and how to know which trains are which in my Complete Guide To Understanding German Trains). Therefore, you have two main options for getting to Baden-Baden from Freiburg:
- Take the ICE Train. I suggest purchasing these tickets about 90 days in advance for the best prices (the closer to the date, the more expensive)
- Use a Baden-Württemberg Ticket. This is a group day pass ticket that you can use for 24 hours on buses, trams, and all regional (only!) trains within the state of Baden-Württemberg. It’s important to remember that you can NOT use ICE trains with the Baden-Württemberg ticket
Cost: Starts at 25 Euro for One Person (all day). Each additional passenger (up to 5 people) is 7 Euro extra. IE: 2 People on this ticket would be €32.00
Trains: If using the Baden-Württemberg Regional Ticket to Baden Baden, then you will take the RE 26 Train to Offenburg. Change Trains here to get on the RE 2 in the direction of Karlsruhe, getting off at Baden-Baden
- Distance: 57.5 (36 miles)
- Travel time: 1hr and 45 Minutes by Train, 1 hour by car
- Best reached by: Car to see surrounding locations easily
We actually based ourselves out of Triberg during our Black Forest Trip and did a day trip in Freiburg, which obviously means you could do it in reverse!
If you are just doing 1 Day in Triberg, I recommend:
- Starting with the Triberg Waterfalls. Depending on how much time you have and what your interests are, you can just do the 45 minute walk up to the falls or you can spend a few hours hiking around the Black Forest starting from the falls.
- Eat lunch at the Restaurant & Café Bergseestüble (you can either hike from the falls or drive 2 minutes up the road) for AMAZING Schnitzels
- Stay at the Cafe for some famous Black Forest Cake (Schwarzwald Torte)
- Next, stop into the House of 1000 Clocks on the Hauptstrasse (main street) where you can either just oogle at the thousands of clocks or actually purchase one as one of your Fantastic German Souvenirs
- Finally, depending on how much time you have left in your day, try to get to one or both of the HUGE Cuckoo Clocks:
Largest Mechanical Cuckoo Clock in the World: Schonachbach 27, 78136 Schonach im Schwarzwald. You can either grab a bus here or walk about 20 minutes from town
Giant “Dancing” Cuckoo Clock: This one is arguably bigger and actually better than the first one because it has a whole song and dance rather than just the cuckoo bird that pops out but because it is not an “authentic mechanical” cuckoo clock it doesn’t get the title of “World’s Largest.” From Triberg, you can take the Bus 530 to get here in about 10 minutes
Getting To Triberg From Freiburg:
By Car: If you are doing a road trip and have a car, you can easily drive from Freiburg to Triberg in only about an hour. You’ll mostly be on the Bundestrasse (Highways) and it is a beautiful drive, but if you get carsick easily, the roads can get a bit twisty
By Train: Just like going to Baden, Baden, you have a few train options. You can take numerous ICE Trains that leave throughout the day and then one Regional Train and you can get to Triberg from Freiburg in a little under 2 hours. However, if you use the Baden-Württemberg Ticket, it actually is about the same amount of time and much cheaper (just remember you’ll only be able to ride Regional Trains with this ticket)
- Take the RB 26 Train from Freiburg in the direction of Offenburg. At Offenburg, transfer trains
- Take the RE 2 in the direction of Konstanz, getting off at Triberg
Take the Höllentalbahn Black Forest Train Ride
- Travel time: This can vary depending on how far you want to go. It is only about 50 minutes to Titisee or about 1.5 hours to Donaueschingen (plus the same for return times)
- Best reached by: This is a train journey
The Höllentalbahn is often on lists like “Most Scenic Train Rides in Germany” so naturally, it piqued my own interest on our trip in the Black Forest! When the train was originally built, it was quite a feat and is still considered impressive considering the steep gradient that the train has to go on through the valleys. In fact, it is still considered the steepest railway in Germany even today.
This Freiburg to Black Forest train activity is less about the destination for your day trip since the Black Forest Train ride IS the highlight of the day.
This train journey cuts through valleys of the Black Forest, zips over the Ravenna Gorge, and goes through the cliffs of the “Devil’s Valley”. And that is just the first half! Continue on and the “Höllentalbahn” is now the “3-See-Bahn” (3 Lakes Train) where you can go to/past three separate Black Forest Lakes. It is truly a beautiful and scenic journey!
Since most of your day is going to be spent on the train itself, don’t forget to stock up before boarding. I love to stop into a Bakery or even just a shop at the Hauptbahnhof and grab some pretzels, a delicious German bakery sandwich, maybe some chips, and of course, a bottle of German bier (yes, beer is allowed on the trains)
You can purchase the Höllentalbahn train tickets here. I recommend getting the “Tages Ticket” RVF Fare which is good for the whole day otherwise, note that that is only a one way ticket and you’ll need to purchase a return as well.
By Train: Today, the Höllentalbahn is a part of the Sbahn lines! You can catch this beautiful train ride starting at the Freiburg (Breisgau) Haupthanhof. You can either take the S1 n the direction of Villingen(Schwarzw) or the S10 train in the direction of Donaueschingen which both leave about every 30 minutes.
Tip: If you want to try to combine a few things on this list, if you are here in the summer with plenty of daylight, you can even do the first portion of the train ride to Titisee and then transfer trains to go down to the Feldberg Mountain (highest in the Black Forest). The details for this Black Forest Day Trip is just below
Mummelsee and All Saints Waterfall and Abbey
- Distance: 104 km (65miles)
- Travel time: 1hr and 20 Minutes by car to Mummelsee + 25 minutes to the Abbey
- Best reached by: Car
You’ll need a car for this day trip from Freiburg, but in only about an hour and a half, you’ve got three perfect day trip locations all in one!
The first stop is the small, but beautiful Mummelsee (lake). Nestled into the rolling hills of the Black Forest and surrounded by nature and trees, this is a fantastic stop. Grab a bite to eat, walk around the lake, and just enjoy Black Forest nature.
Next, continue on to the Kloster Allerheiligen (or “All Saints Abbey”). The beautiful ruins of this old Kloster, set nearby waterfalls and beautiful scenery is truly a beautiful place to spend a few hours.
From there, it’s only about a 20 minute walk/hike through the Northern Black Forest to get to the All Saint’s Waterfall.
By Car: You’ll be driving mostly along the A5 Autobahn plus some Bundestrasse (highway)
By Train: Inaccessible
Europa Park (Rust, Germany)
- Distance: 38 km (24 miles)
- Travel time: 25-45 minutes by Car (pending traffic) or 40-50 Minutes by Public Transportation
- Best reached by: Either but car gives you more flexibility for when you want to leave
I’ve been to my fair share of amusement parks (I Loooove all things adrenaline rushes, like when I went Paragliding over the Cinderella Neuschwanstein Castle!) but Europa Park is seriously amazing.
First, it’s called “Europa” Park because each section is completely designed to fulfill every stereotype from different European countries. BUUUT, it’s actually spot on with reality, too. I’ve been to places like Paris, Russia, and Scandinavia and I have to admit, I really did feel like I was being transported back to some of the most idyllic places in those countries wandering around Europa Park. It looked and felt so real!
Second, no matter the ages of people traveling to Europa Park, there are going to be sections of the park that meets EVERYONE’s needs. We went with my then 2 year old and there was plenty for him, my then 5 year old and he had a blast on his first “big kid roller coasters,” our friend’s 8 year old who had an absolute blast, and of course us adults who got plenty of thrills from all the “real” rollercoasters!
You can read all of my Europa Parks Tips and Tricks here
By Car: It is an easy drive from Freiburg to Europa Park. However, no matter where you are coming from, the parking lot lines get so ridiculously long that you’ll waste so much of your time trying to get into the parking lots if you don’t head there extra early. Alternatively, you can find parking in the town and walk 15-20 minutes to the main gates.
By Train: The shortest and cheapest option for getting to Europa Park from Freiburg is to:
- Get on the RE7 in the direction of Offenburg and ride it about 20 minutes, getting off at the Herbolzheim(Breisgau) stop
- Transfer to the 7231 in the direction of Rust, Europa-Park and ride it about 15 minutes right to the park itself
Hike (or Ski) in Feldberg and Ride the Todtnau Rodelbahn (Hasenhorn Coaster)
- Distance: 45 km (28 miles) +12 km to Todtnau
- Travel time: About 50 minutes by Car (pending traffic) +15 minutes to get to Todtnau . 1 Hour 20 minutes by Train (+25 minutes by bus to get to Todtnau)
- Best reached by: Either will work but a car is going to be easier if you want to do both activities
If you are looking for more ways to explore the Black Forest from Freiburg and enjoy its beauty and nature, then head on over the Feldberg, which is the highest mountain in the Black Forest.
You can either hike up the mountain yourself or easily take the chairlift up (in all seasons) and enjoy the serenity of 360 views of the Black Forest. Of course, there are plenty of hiking trails as well as numerous huts and restaurants where you can also just grab a beer and delicious German food to kick back and relax at!
Note: Feldberg is one of the best places to ski in Germany for beginners if you are there in the winter!
And while you are in the area, be sure to head over to one of Germany’s best Rodelbahns. If you want to experience the Black Forest in a fast and fun way, you can zip down and around the mountain on over 3km worth of tracks on this Alpine coaster at the Hasenhorn in Todtnau!!!
By Car: In less than an hour, you can be from Freiburg to the Feldberg Liftverbund (Chairlifts), just be weary of windy roads along the way. If you decide to go to the Alpine Coaster in Todtnau it’s only another 15 minutes (plan on just a little extra for slower driving “mountain” roads).
- There are actually numerous Sbahns that you can take depending on the exact time you are leaving Freiburg (I always recommend having the DB Navigator App but Google Maps will also tell you which one to catch based on what time you want to leave).
- In fact, you can even combine the first portion of the above Höllentalbahn route to get you to the Titisse (lake) and then instead of going north on that route, you would then grab the Bus 7300 at the lake and take that down to Feldberg
- From Feldberg to The Hasenhorn Rodelbahn, you’ll grab the 7300 Bus in the direction of Zell (Wiesental) Bahnhof, ride 9 stops, and get off at the Schönauer Straße Stop. From there it’s just a few minute’s walk to the Rodelbahn
- Distance: 71 km (44 miles)
- Travel time: 1.25 hours-2.25 by Car (pending traffic as well as which route you take) or 1 hour 35 Minutes by Public Transportation
- Pro Tip: Stop over at Offenberg on the way (more on this in the directions)
If you are just in it for the ‘Gram then doing a day trip to Schiltach HAS to be at the tip top of your list! Close your eyes. Picture “Black Forest Villages”
THIS IS SCHILTACH. It is dripping in “Is this real life” vibes because it looks like a picture book of what German Villages should be in every stereotype!!! We aren’t talking about a few houses here and there having the classic half timbered look. Nope. Sit on the main square and do a 360 and you are surrounded by colorful, half timbered buildings plucked straight from a Grimms Fairytale story.
Ok, so even if you aren’t just wanting those Instagram shots, if you want a quintessential and picture perfect Black Forest Town to visit, this is it.
However, you need to know that this isn’t a hugely popular or touristy town. Not because it’s not worth it, but more so because there really isn’t a ton to actually DO here. But that is why it actually makes for a pretty great day (or half day) trip. There are a few museums in town but they are more for people who may have very specific interests (listed next). But if you want to go sit at a cafe with a coffee (or beer) and wander the cobblestone streets taking photo after photo, THIS is the place to do it!
Museums in Schiltach:
- Apothekenmuseum: Located in an old pharmacy, there are tools and displays of chemists’ works through the years
- Hansgrohe Aquademie: Not sure what clientele this one is for, but if you’ve got an infinity for things like bathroom design, then head here (founded by a company who makes shower heads that operates in Schiltach)
- Flößer- und Gerbermuseum: Tanneries once were a major piece of the Schiltach economy as well as trade along the river that runs through town. This museum covers the importance of those trades to Schiltach and the area
- Museum am Markt: Located on the main town square, this is the museum for the history of the area and town as well as an overview of what life has been like for decades and decades for the people of Schiltach
Pro Tip: You don’t need a full day in Schiltach, but in order to get there by train from Freiburg, you have to stop through Offenberg. This is another very cute Black Forest Town to spend even just a few hours. Combined with Schiltach it could actually make for a lovely day trip from Freiburg!
By Car: It’s best to check with Google Maps for the best route the day/time you are driving. There are a few options for how to get from Freiburg to Schiltach. The Bundestrasse (the streets that start with B) are like highways and are almost always going to be more scenic but you can also take the Autobahn a lot of the way there as well.
By Train: Important: When putting into the DB Navigator App, you’ll want to put in Freiburg to Schiltach Mitte. This is the station that is closest to the center of Schiltach
- Most likely, you will be taking a train up to Offenberg first and transferring there. You can get there in about 35 minutes on an ICE Train (but remember, those will typically be more expensive) or you can grab one of the RE7 Trains to Offenberg if you want to use the cheaper Baden-Württemberg Ticket.
- From Offenberg you’ll most likely then take the SWE RB20 train in the direction of Freudenstadt getting off at Schiltach Mitte
- Distance: 62-73 km depending on exact route (38-45 miles)
- Travel time: 50 minutes – a little over 1 hour by Car or by train, times can vary anywhere between 50 minutes by ICE train to 1 hr with the BW Ticket to 1.5 hours by BW Ticket
- Best reached by: Both driving and train are relatively easy
- Pro Tip: Stop over at Offenberg on the way
You know a town has to be idyllic and picture perfect for movie director Time Horton to decide he needed to film there for the Augustus Gloop part!
When I made the name “Wander In Germany” it is towns like Gengenbach that inspired it. Some towns in Germany are practically made for just wandering and Gengenbach is one of them. There isn’t a ton of actual “Things To Do” in Gengenbach and that’s ok! Instead, get lost in the stereotypes of the Black Forest. Get lost in the back cobblestone alleys. Just soak in the moment as the churchbells ring out as you gaze up to a colorful, half timbered house adorned with flowerboxes bursting with the most vibrant blooms! If you are lucky enough to be there on a Wednesday or Saturday, do NOT miss the bustling farmer’s market!
Alternatively, you are literally right at the edge of some amazing vineyards. Take a hike through the rolling hills and be rewarded with fantastic views out over the village!
Pro Tip: If you are visiting Germany in Winter or coming for the Best German Christmas Markets and will already be in the Black Forest, Gengenbach has the world’s largest Advent Calendar. They turn the Rathaus’ (Town Hall) individual windows into the little doors/windows of the “advent calendar.” Each day, a new window is revealed with decorations just like a classic Advent Calendar.
There is also quite a Karneval Celebration as well in the week leading up to Lent.
By Car: The two main ways to drive to Gengenbach from Freiburg is to choose either the mostly Autobahn (A5) route or the Bundestrasse (highway) option. The Autobahn will get you there in about 50 minutes versus an hour and some change for the highways. However, Bundestrasse is almost always going to be more “scenic” than an Autobahn.
By Train: As with all the other locations, depending on if you want to spend the money on an ICE train vs use the Baden-Württemberg Ticket is going to determine just what trains and routes to take as well as costs.
- Most likely, you will be taking a train up to Offenberg first and transferring there. You can get there in about 35 minutes on an ICE Train (but remember, those will typically be more expensive) or you can grab one of the RE7 or RB26 Trains to Offenberg if you want to use the cheaper Baden-Württemberg Ticket.
- You can also use the faster ICE trains, for example, the 372 in the direction of Berlin or the ICE 200 in the direction of Münster both zip you up to Offenburg in about 30 minutes, where you’ll then transfer to a bus or regional train
- From Offenberg you’ll most likely then take the SWE RB20 train in the direction of Freudenstadt or the RE 2 in the direction of Konstanz getting off at Gengenbach
Burgbach Waterfall (Burgbachwasserfall)
- Distance: 78 km- 116 depending on exact route
- Travel time: 1.5-2 hours by car. 2-2.5 hours by train
- Best reached by: Car
- Pro Tip: Stop over at Offenberg on the way
The Black Forest is known for its many waterfalls and the Burgbach is a beautiful one that is also pretty easy to hike to from the town of Rippoldsau (it is well marked both where to park in town as well as good signage along the hike). In just about an hour from parking your car, you can hike to the Burgbach Wasserfall which has an impressive 32 meter (over 100 foot) drop. Along the hike, you’ll pass quaint Black Forest homes, wander through the forest, and get good views of the beautiful countryside.
By Car: You can either take the Bundestrasse (more scenic and actually faster) or the Autobahn. You’ll drive towards the town of Bad Rippoldsau. Shortly after the “Bärenpark ” you’ll see a sign for at the junction of Wolftalstrasse and Burgbachstrasse. There is a small car park here if you can find an open parking spot.
From here, just follow the hiking signs to the falls
By Train and Public Transportation: Like many “off the beaten path” locations in the Black Forest/ Germany, it is pretty difficult and not very efficient to get to the Burgbach Wasserfall by public transportation, but it is possible.
- The fastest (but most expensive) option (about 2 hours one way) is to take the ICE 276 Train in the direction of Berlin Ostbahnhof, transfer in Offenburg and switch to the SWE RB20 in the direction of Freudenstadt HBF getting off at Wolfach. (Be sure to time this correctly, as buses only come every 40-70 minutes here!). Grab the 7266 Bus in the direction of the Kniebis Skistation and get off at the Bad Rippoldsay Letztes Gstehr (Guesthouse). From this stop, you can take one of the hiking trails straight to the falls.
- At just 30 extra minutes (but much cheaper with the BW Ticket), you can take the RB26 to Offenburg where you’ll then transfer to the SWE RB20 in the direction of Bad Greisbach (Schwarzwald) and get off there. Transfer to bus 118 (be mindful of the times and look up a schedule, as the bus may only come every 2 hours!) in the direction of the Kniebis Skistadion and get off there. At the Skistadion, hop on bus 7266 in the direction of the Hausach Bahnhof and get off at the Bad Rippoldsay Letztes Gstehr (Guesthouse). From this stop, you can take one of the hiking trails straight to the falls.
Towns Nearby In Germany from Freiburg
While Freiburg to Black Forest towns is a great option, you can also do plenty of day trips from Freiburg to other popular places in Germany as well.
- Distance: 184 km (114 miles)
- Travel time: Approximately 2 hours by car. 2-3 hours by train (pending exact train)
- Best reached by: Either car or train
While Heidelberg is one of my recommendations for great Weekend Trips in Germany, you can also do it in just a day as well if you are short on time or just wanting to keep Freiburg as a home base.
By Car: It’s a pretty straight shot on the A5 from Freiburg to Heidelberg and in just about 2 hours you’ll be to the city. There are several parking garages (highly recommended over trying to find street parking and hope you understand the rules/ regulations). You can see the Heidelberg parking garages (and occupancy) here
By Train: There are a couple of different routes you can take to get to Heidelberg from Freiburg.
- One of the faster ones is to take the 370 ICE Train in the direction of the Berlin Ostbahnhof and transfer at Mannheim. From here, you’ll take the Sbahn (S1, 2, or 3 will work) getting off at Heidelberg.
Lake Konstanz/ Bodensee
- Distance: Depends on which town on the lake you want (see below for examples)
- Travel time: Also will vary. You can get to some towns in as little as 1.5 hours by car
- Best reached by: Car
No matter what you call it (Tourists often call it Lake Constance/ Konstanz but locals call it Bodensee) this is another one of my favorite weekend getaways. But, even in just a day, you can really appreciate and fall in love with this lake at the foothills of the Alps. Bodensee borders Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, making it a popular place to visit.
Whether you want to rent a bike to cycle around from town to town, stroll through some of the villages on the lake, go swimming, do some Stand Up Paddleboarding, or get amazing views out from the Konstanz Cathedral, you won’t be lacking for things to do at Lake Constance!
There are several towns you can visit on Bodensee. For some of the closer ones/ easier to get to from Freiburg, I recommend looking into:
- Konstanz (town): 2 hours by car (give or take pending traffic/ route) or 2.5-3.5 hours by train
- Überlingen: 1 hour 45 min by car or 2.5-3.5 hours by train
- Radolfzell 1.5 by car or 2-3 hours train
- Friedrichshafen: 2 hours by car (not recommended for day trip by train- approx 4 hours)
This is going to vary widely depending on the exact town you want to visit. While it isn’t likely, do note that some train routes may want to go through Switzerland (so just make sure you have your Passport on you since you’ll be crossing borders, even though checks are unlikely).
If driving, it’s a beautiful drive through the German countryside to get to the stunning lake.
I recommend using Bahn.comto see the best directions/ routes for whichever city you choose if you plan on going by train but you’ll probably want to plan on at least a few transfers.
Day Trips to France from Germany
Day trips from Freiburg to France is another fantastic way to hop borders super fast and easily. You’ll be to a completely different culture, country, and sites in no time. In fact, many of the towns all along the French/German border have passed hands between countries (several even numerous times). This makes many of the border cities really cool culturally because they are often this fantastic mix of German/ French/ All their own as they tried to identify themselves as their own towns.
Note: While France and Germany are both in the Schengen Agreement, which means there are no longer official border controls between the two countries, this doesn’t mean that there may not be occasional stops. Make sure you have all proper documentation (passports, etc) just in case when crossing any borders in Europe.
- Distance: Approximately 86 km (53 miles)
- Travel time: 1-1.5 hours by car or train
- Best reached by: Either, but the train is super easy
While there are no shortages of Fairytale villages in Germany, there is just something about Strasbourg feeling nothing short of magical. I felt like I could have been Belle herself singing “Bonjour, Bonjour!” (ok, that’s a lie…I’m the exasperated mom juggling my kids in the song crying out, “I need…6 eggs!”) No matter which character in Beauty in the Beast you daydream about pretending to be, it doesn’t matter because you will feel like you are in a fairytale in the town of Strasbourg! The half-timbered houses lumbering out over the cobblestone streets are just something else!!!
When I visited Strasbourg (I went to their fantastic Christmas Market!) I enjoyed doing Rick Steve’s Self Guided Walking Tour, which gave fantastic history and context to the town, its history, and culture.
By Car: One of the biggest things to know about driving to Strasbourg is that you will need a “Clean Air Sticker” (Crit’Air Vignette) which is a sticker that goes on your windshield that allows you to drive into the low emission zones in France. Other than that, it’s a pretty straight shot to drive to Strasbourg from Germany (although look at Google Maps before heading out, as there can sometimes be construction on this route). Here is the city’s official guide to help you figure out where to park for the day as well.
By Train: As always, there are numerous routes you can take. Depending on the exact time of day, you will probably see the option of taking the ICE 74 Train in the direction of Kiel to Offenburg or taking the RB26 to Offenburg. From Offenburg, you can then take the SWE RB25 right to Strasbourg
- Distance: Approximately 50 km (31 miles)
- Travel time: Less than an hour by car or 1.5-2.5 hours by train
- Best reached by: Either, but car is much faster
Another absolutely beautiful “Fairytale Town” is Colmar and with it just being a stone’s throw away from the border of Germany it’s insanely easy to do as a day trip from Freiburg. In fact, it is often on all the lists of “Most Beautiful Towns in France” so you know it is going to be worthwhile!
Like Strasbourg, Colmar is in the Alsace region of France which is known for its pastel houses, half timbered buildings, and beautiful cobblestone streets- all of which could be taken right from a postcard. The town is small and compact, practically perfectly made for just wandering or sitting at a cafe to people watch. Colmar is known for both its fantastic fusion of French and German cuisines as well as its French wines.
By Car: It’s a pretty straight shot to get to Colmar from Freiburg by driving. No matter which route you take, you’ll be there in about an hour.
*The Crit’Air Vignette is not needed for Colmar
By Train: One of the fastest routes by train from Freiburg to Colmar is to take the Sbahn (S1) from Freiburg to Breisach. In Breisach, transfer to the 68R026 train in the direction of Colmar. You’ll go to the “Gare SNCF” (Train Station for the SNCF train company) which is in Colmar.
- Distance: Approximately 63 km (40 miles)
- Travel time: About 1 hour by car or 2-3 hours by train
- Best reached by: Car
- Pro Tip: You can even do a quick morning in Colmar and then head to Riquewihr for the afternoon and evening since Colmar is on the way if you drive!
While most tourists are going to flock to Colmar and Strasbourg as day trips from Freiburg, if you want something a little more off the beaten path and absolutely out of this world gorgeous, head to the “Gem of the Alsace Vineyards” town of Riquewihr. Some of the buildings in this enchanted village are what I imagine if Disney fairytales and Dr. Seuss stories had a love child! The bright colored houses, some with some very unique architecture, combined with the classic Alsace look of the half timbered houses are a sight to see!
And besides the insanely picturesque village, this town is known for its fantastic wine. Just wander around the cobblestoned lanes and alleys and you’ll find local shop after shop tempting you to try out the fruits of their labor.
By Car: It is incredibly easy to get over to Riquewihr from Freiburg. If you are driving, consider stopping in Colmar to wander the Altstadt for a few hours before continuing on to Riquewihr.
The Crit’Air Vignette is not needed for Riquewihr
By Train: While it’s completely possible to take the train to Riquewihr, it is honestly a pretty big hassle, time consuming, and with a lot of transfers. For example, one route has you taking the train from Freiburg but you’ll need to make about 3 transfers and it still takes 2 hours to get there. It’s possible, but you’ll want to see what different routes are available for your dates and times. Even though you are going into France, you can still use the Deutsche Bahn Website to book your tickets
- Distance: Approximately 65 km (40 miles)
- Travel time: About 1 hour by car or 2-3 hours by train
- Best reached by: Car
- Pro Tip: You can even do a quick morning in Colmar and then head to Kaysersberg for the afternoon and evening since Colmar is on the way
If you haven’t figured out the theme for towns in the Alsace it’ that it’s everything you’ve envisioned in a quintessential, enchanting, picture perfect European village is true. Kaysersberg is no exception and is another fantastic, lesser known town that offers charming cobblestones, vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see, and beautiful half timbered homes begging you to wander around them.
Depsite now being in France, Kaysersberg (like so many of these towns) once belonged to Germanic lands, which is why the name “Kaysersberg” literally means “Empire’s Mountain” in German. Therefore, it’s no surprise that you’ll find a commanding fortress in this town along with all the other fantastic features of a small Alsace village (wine, great views, cute town, etc)
By Car: With a car, you can be to Kaysersberg in just about an hour. When driving from Freiburg, you’ll go through Colmar anyway, so consider stopping there before continuing on to Kaysersberg.
The Crit’Air Vignette is not needed for Kaysersberg.
By Train: Similar to Riquewihr, you can get to Kaysersberg by train but it can take two to three times longer than driving. Like Riquewihr, you’ll first get to Colmar but to continue to Kaysersberg, you’ll get off at the”Théâtre” stop where you’ll then take the 68R013 in the direction of Le Bonhomme, getting off at the Porte Basse in Kaysersberg. Again, if you are taking the train, consider stopping in Colmar for a bit before continuing on to Kaysersberg.
Day Trips to Switzerland from Germany
While Freiburg to Switzerland isn’t AS close as just jumping over to France, you can still be to the stunning country of Switzerland in just a short amount of time! I absolutely love Switzerland because it’s this wonderful place where French, Italian, and German influences come to collide creating its own unique culture.
Oh, and it’s freaking GORGEOUS!!!
Important Note About Driving in Switzerland: Unlike Germany, which has no tolls or vignettes for the Autobahn, Switzerland requires a very strict (and expensive) Vignette for any driving on the motorways (like the Autobahn). (Side streets and highways not applicable, but most likely, you’ll be on the motorways and will need a Swiss Vignette).
- Cost of Swiss Vignette: 40 Swiss Francs. Valid until the end of the calendar year (no matter when you buy it) For example, regardless of if you are there in February or November, the Vignette expires on January 31st of that year
- Fines (which are frequently enforced) are 200 Francs for not having a Vignette!
- Stop at any gas station near the border and you can purchase a Vignette there
Know Before You Go: Switzerland is EXPENSIVE!!!! Like…..easily 30 USD for a lunch at a mid range restaurant or 20 USD for a parking garage space for the day!
- Distance: Approximately 80 km (50 miles)
- Travel time: About 1 hour by car or 40 minutes by train
- Best reached by: Train (due to Vignette costs)
- Pro Tip: You can actually use the Baden-Württemberg Ticket to get to Basel!
Despite its actual size, Basel’s main part of town can be explored and enjoyed in just one day if need be. While Basel isn’t my absolute favorite place in Switzerland (that title gets reserved for places in the mountains!), if you are one of those people that want to cram as much into your trips as possible and check as many places off your list as you can, you can easily add “Switzerland” to your itinerary with a day in Basel.
Enjoy the beautiful Minster church, just wander the Old Town, including gawking at the impressive Town Hall, look out over the Blue/Green rushing Rhine river from the bridges, or hit up one of the town’s many museums.
By Car: By car, you can drive down to Basel in about one hour. It’s a pretty straight shot on the A5, just don’t forget your Swiss Vignette!
By Train: Getting to Basel from Freiburg couldn’t be easier!
- You can use the 737 ICE Train in the direction of Zurich and just hop off in Basel in about 45 minutes. Remember, you can’t use ICE trains for the Baden-Württemberg Ticket, but that is the fastest way to get there. You might see that another fast option is the EC trains, but again, those are high speed trains and you’ll be fined for not having the right ticket if you try to use the Baden-Württemberg Ticket for this.
- To use the Baden-Württemberg Ticket to get to Basel, the easiest way is to take the RB 27 in the direction of Basel Bad Bahnhof. Transfer to Tram No 2 in the direction of Binningen, Kronenplatz and get off at the Basel Central Station.
- Distance: Approximately 80 km (100 miles)
- Travel time: About 2 hours by car (give or take pending traffic) or 2-2.5 hours by train
- Best reached by: If you continue traveling in Switzerland, then a car may be better, but if just doing a day trip, the Vignette would be expensive
My biggest issue with Lucerne as a day trip is that while it’s starting to push my personal limit for the time it takes to get someplace for a day trip. However, Lucerne is pretty easy to justify when you finally get there and see it for yourself.
The lake itself sits at the bottom of the commanding Pilatus mountain. It’s the perfect place to get a taste for the Swiss Alps without the hassle of actually getting too deep into them. You can take a cable car up to Pilatus for breathtaking views, take a majestic boat ride on the lake (reminds me of Fjords I’ve seen in other countries!), or just walk the beautiful, elegant town. Of course, no trip to Lucerne is complete without walking over the wooden bridge overflowing with bursting, colorful flowers!
By Car: The drive from Freiburg, through the Black Forest, and down into Switzerland to Lucerne is nothing short of stunning. You can head straight to the Bahnhof in Lucerne and park for the day at any of the parking garages.
By Train: As always, there are going to be numerous options on how to get from Freiburg to Lucerne:
- The fastest way (Just about 2 hours) is to take the ECE151 Train in the direction of Milano Centrale and just get off right at the Lucerne (Luzern) station!
- Another quick option is to take the ICE5 in the direction of Basel. Transfer in Basel and then take (SBB- Swiss Train) IR26 in the direction of Locarno, getting off at Luzern.
- Distance: Approximately 163 km (100 miles)
- Travel time: About 2-2.5 hours by car or train (give or take pending traffic and exact train)
- Best reached by: Train
When I spent a month “living” on a Swiss Farm learning to make Swiss Cheese (yes, true story!) I went for a day trip to Bern and had a fantastic time wandering the beautiful town.
Honestly, I spent my day just wandering around and it was great. I walked around the Parliamentary Building (you can also book a tour, which I wished I would have), peered down at the town’s live mascots, the Brown Bears (Bären) at the Bärengraben park, and enjoyed the magnificent rose garden. But perhaps the most unique thing I saw in Bern was their love for the Aare river. On the hot summer day, people flocked to the bridges, particularly the Schönausteg pedestrian bridge, where they would stand at the dizzying top and….JUMP!!!! It was fascinating to watch! Even if you don’t want to be a dare devil, locals still love to swim, float, and frolic in this beautiful blue/green colored river so much that the city has put up railings for people to grab onto as to not be rushed down the river and can hop out, walk back up the river, and jump in again! So, if you are there in the summer, don’t forget to pack your swimsuit in your day bag and do as the locals do!
By Car: It takes just about as long to drive as it does to take the train. If just doing a day trip, it’s not worth buying the car Vignette. However, if you plan on exploring Switzerland more, having a car is very handy. I can’t recommend heading to the nearby Lake Thun next if possible!
By Train: From Freiburg, take the ICE5 train in the direction of Basel. There, switch trains to the IC61 train in the direction of Interlaken Ost, getting off in Bern.
I would not do Interlaken as a day trip (Interlaken, Gimmelwald, Grindelwald, and the Lauterbrunnen Valley deserve their own time considering it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in the world…and that’s a lot of places!)
Sure, you can get to Interlaken in just a few hours, but you truly need a few days in this area to truly appreciate all it has to offer.
Best Day Trips From Freiburg, Germany
- Baden Baden
- Europa Park
- Todtnau Rodelbahn
- Burgbach Wasserfall