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Fun 7 day itinerary for your Schwartzwald winter holiday

Schwartzwald winter

Why choose the Schwartzwald (Black Forest) for your winter break?

My dream winter holiday involves log cabins set in snowy fields, a winter sport taster activity followed by large steins of beer in olde worlde inns and tucking into Black Forest gateaux in homely cafes.  We found all of this and and more, in the form of an off-topic palm-fringed oasis thrown in as a Christmas bonus. Here are my top tips for making your Schwartzwald winter happen in the best possible way.

The Schwartzwald winter plan

Pretty much since watching Wham’s Last Christmas video, the log cabin/snowy forest has been on the Christmas bucket list. In July we spotted newly released Easyjet flights from Bristol to Basel (which on Googling, turned out to be in Switzerland) selling for a song, at £70. Maybe this could be the year the magic happened?

Basel looked to be near the Black Forest, and Germany might be sufficiently marshamallow-y but a bit cheaper than Switzerland? The Schwartzwald winter plan was born.

Where to stay in the Black Forest?

Not fancying driving in crazy snow, we would need to stay somewhere both in the countryside but also near a train station.

I turned to the internet and researched the best 10 villages in the Black Forest and came up with Titisee, which was in a Goldilocks location near a train, on a lake (which freezes in the winter), a bus ride away from ski fields and home to a huge Club Tropicana style pool complex. We were on!

On, I could get an Alpine style apartment for about £150 per night, big enough to hang out in with 3 other full-sized people for 5 days, and with a kitchen for celebratory snacks and drinks.

The accommodation came with a Hochschwartzwald card which gives tourists free or discounted hire of toboggans, snow shoes and cross country skis. We would also be eligible for free local transport in the Black Forest. Brilliant!

Freiburg Bonus

In November we received a message from the airline to say they’d cancelled our return flight. Agh. I managed to find one 2 days later than the original booking which didn’t involve a 14 hour stop over in Rome. I feared we may have exhausted all Titisee had to offer after 5 days, especially if there was no snow, so booked an Olde Inn in nearby Freiburg for the bonus 2 days. We could be country and town mice on our winter holiday.

Pre-trip planning for a Schwartzwald winter

Flying at Christmas

We were due to fly the Friday before Christmas, possibly the busiest travel day of the year. Having queued at security well into gate closing time on our 2 previous flights, we were a little nervous that the plane might leave without us on it and Christmas could be ruined. On November’s Black Friday, we snapped up a deal for 4 fast track security passes for £3pp, and relaxed a little bit about our foolhardy travel dates.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #1 – fast pass security

Grab a security fast pass on Black Friday for 50% off


The luggage goal was to balance travelling light and keeping warm. We wanted to bring all our winter wear and water proofs and still be able to walk around towns and catch trains with relative ease with our luggage. I booked 1 hold bag between us and secured agreement from all family members to wear their boots, heaviest jumpers (2 if possible), hats, gloves and scarves to the airport.

This resulted in everyone getting very hot and cross and carrying hand luggage that was clearly in contravention of the official limits – particularly stress-inducing at the check-in desk watching the man fining big-bag carriers. (We bought an extra cabin bag in Germany and added it to our booking for the return trip.)

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #2 – book enough bags

In hindsight one hold bag is not enough for a winter holiday for 4. 


Basel to Titisee

I’d initially thought a snowy train journey would be fun. The Trainline website was showing me that we would need to take 3 trains to get from Basel airport to Titisee. This might be a bit excessive. I’d read that a fair chunk of German trains do not run on time, which would jeopardise connections. Also, would weather affect play? were suggesting taxis would be about £300. I put a request out on the Get a Transfer website to see if I could get a cheaper one. Having only 1 taker, for £175, we went with him and hopefully paid not much more than the cost of 4 train tickets anyway.

An added layer of fun was that Basel airport is officially in 3 countries: Germany, France and Switzerland. I would have to be very careful to exit the airport into the correct country. What would happen if we popped out in the wrong one? Would they let you back in? (Travel confusion was to be a feature of this trip.)

Freiberg to Basel airport

Pre-booking public transport for specific times is less of an issue on a return journey as you are not so vulnerable to the whims of flight delay. I booked a Flix bus for 20E pp from Freiberg station to Basel airport for the way back and hoped there would be no traffic jams.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #3 – arrival transfers

Avoid timed public transport bookings for connecting with arriving flights. The vicissitudes of fate may be against you.


We wanted to be away for a snowy Christmas and just sort of assumed that this is the kind of thing that happens in the Black Forest. On further research it turns out that December is a bit iffy – with a 50/50 chance of snow. As our departure date drew closer, we tracked the local webcams for signs of the white stuff. Early December was very promising but it was all rained away 5 days before we went. Tried not to be too gutted about this.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #4 – How to find snow

 Go late and go high. Go for the February half term if you want more of a snow guarantee.   Our Christmas Day weather channel showed all of Europe at elevations over 1,200m to be pretty much blanketed with the stuff. We were not high enough.


Christmas dinner in a holiday apartment was going to be interesting. I could see there was one grocery shop in town and Googled its opening hours, planning to head there on night 1 to stock up for the week. There appeared to be plenty of restaurants in town for nights out. I decided to book one as a treat for Christmas Day to avoid a big car-free shop and cooking in a strange oven. Sorted. Or so I thought..


I pencilled in snow shoes/ cross country skiing and tobogganing as potential activities. Normal skis were discounted (99E pp for 3 days skiing) but still a bit on the pricy side for 4 of us especially as, being novices, we’d need to throw in lessons on top.

The Hochschwartzwald card website is not easy to use but, after several visits, I was able to plot each equipment hire place and Googlemap its distance and public transport route from our room. How you got from the hire place to the snow routes was a little unclear but I assumed it couldn’t be far. 

The very cool watery oasis, Badeparadies, was actually in Titisee itself which would be great for bad weather days. You can pre-book the pool at a discounted rate once you have online access to your Hochschwartzwald card a week before arrival. I tried and failed to do this, the website showing a sinister red error on a black page. As entry was subject to availability, I was a bit scared the place was going to be fully booked before I secured tickets, with it being the Christmas holidays and all. Neither the Hochschwartzwald card nor the pool people were able to help me via email. Bit of a risky strategy, but rather than paying full price I thought I’d wait and pop in when we arrived to sort it out.

Getting around

Car? Car hire would not only be expensive, but also potentially deadly in the event of heavy snow. If it wasn’t snowing we could use the magic H card to hire an electric one when we arrived in Titisee for 3 hours for free. Interesting.

Train? In the meantime, I checked out trains to Freiberg, also called Freiburg im Breisgau. If you enter Freiberg into Google maps there are about 6 options in Germany alone. It took a while to be sure I was looking at the correct Freiburg.

Our house was an 10 minute walk from the train station and there were regular trains to Freiberg, 30 minutes away. Handy.

Bus? I downloaded all the bus timetables and routes to the various equipment pick up points. (There were 3 stops in the ski area of Feldberg and I wanted to get off at the right one). Would the buses be running their usual times over Christmas? Hoped so, but probably not. Some winging it was going to be involved.

Day 1 - Arrival

The big Christmas holiday day dawned. A final check of the Titisee weather forecast was as horrific as the UK one: 12 degrees, lashing rain and hurricane force winds. Good job there was a pool.


Arriving at 7.30am at the airport, it wasn’t a crazily busy as anticipated and we whizzed through with our fast passes to wait with a coffee for 3 hours at the gate. And then the flight was delayed.

View from plane, Schwarztwald winter holiday

Transfer to Titisee

We flew into the confusingly split nationality airport and carefully followed the taxi driver’s instructions as to which country to exit into (Switzerland).  Fortunately each exit is clearly sign posted after bag collection.

The drive started off through unpretty urban developments, Basel being disappointing industrial. But then things picked up as we wound our way through the forest (the trees were actually black) and past proper alpine chalets. The driver noted that if we’d come the week before the whole road would have buried under a metre of snow. Hmm. Tried to shrug this off as if this wasn’t galling.

Despite having handed over the address, we were taken to an apartment 10 km away. In the way of German duplicate appellation, there was more than one street in the area with the same name. Not only that but our town was Titisee, there is a local town called Titisee Neustadt and the entire region is called Titisee -Neustadt. To say you are going to Titisee is not a simple as I thought.

We finally pulled up to our home for the week, which was set simultaneously right on the edge of the village and the forest. Perfect. It also had a pleasingly wooden chalet vibe, and being on the top floor we got the roof beams. Happy families.

Getting holiday food supplies

Our only arrival day plan was to source supplies, a 22 minute walk away. Googlemaps took us for the first 15 minutes along pavementless roads, under dark railway bridges and through a car park. We were only half way there and the remainder of the route appeared to involve just walking out along the edge of fields into the pitch back countryside. A rare bus was passing so we thought, why not just hop on with our free travel?

I tried to pronounce the words “Hochschwartzwald card” (in the whole holiday I never succeeded in mastering this) and showed the driver my 4 QR codes on the app. He looked confused and waved us on. Friendly locals spoke to us in German. As I can only count to 12 and say “the egg stands in the frying pan”, conversation was  tricky, but we found the word “supermarket” is universal and they showed us 3 fingers to represent the stops. I quickly opened Google maps to see that the store was behind us and we were headed to the next town. Some of us were without coats for our quick shop trip.

We arrived in Aldi (a real home from home), bought a trolley load of bread, hams, cheeses and beers and tried to book an Uber. Nothing doing. No local taxi companies had availability. And there was no bus back to Titisee. Our only option was to sit in the rainy dark for half an hour to catch the next bus taking us on to Neustadt and then train it back from there.

The lady driver of our next bus shook her head at our QR codes and then at our credit cards. Fortunately I had put a 10 Euro note in my purse so could proceed with bus leg 2 of the trip (just). The ticket machine on the platform in Neustadt did take cards so the train plan was also runner. I didn’t dare risk the H card again.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #5 – cash is king

Always carry emergency cash, even when just “popping out”. Also essential for being able to tip in restaurants so you don’t look like a Christmas Grinch (read on…).

20E lighter, 5 bags heavier and 2 hours later, we made it back to our village. This was not yet a fun holiday and was scoring very low on the coat-free child’s holiday ranking. On the table in the apartment were the Konus cards, which are the ones which give you the free travel. Oh.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #6 – discount clarity

Do not confuse the powers of the Konus and the H cards! Konus is for travel.

Eating out in Titisee

Not having bought much evening meal type food, we headed out in search of tea. I had earmarked a lakeside wooden Boat house as somewhere we could have rustic soups for less than 10E. It was also listed as a venue in our chalet as a great local eatery to visit. 

Not being accessible by road, it was almost was impossible to find. We snuck through a hotel car park and down a small muddy path and found what seemed to be someone’s shed, with tools and bits of machinery strewn around a lean-to.  At the front, there were no lights on and no sign to show it was anything other than someone’s abandoned workshop. 

We needed a plan B, but the rest of the town was similarly deserted. Most restaurants were closed and the 2 that were open were completely empty and thus not massively appealing.

Just as we turned the corner back to our street we stumbled across the Bamby hotel restaurant at the train station which had at least 10 people inside (clearly the entire tourist population of the town) and served schnitzel and beer. Our 16 year-old had his first legal drink and the holiday had begun.

The only snag was they don’t give you the option of adding the tip by card when you pay the bill, and as we’d spent our cash on unnecessary buses, we had to shuffle out without adding one. The shame.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #7 – self cater

Restaurants are only really open in the day. Plan to self cater. There is a half hourly train to Lidl at Feldberg-Barental, one stop from Titisee. Maybe try walking to the local shop in daylight?

Day 2 - Show shoe day

Titisee – lake and shops

I had earmarked the first 2 days’ for fun in the snow. There being none, we decided to check out the lake. A cool path from our front door took us there through the woods. En route we encountered a couple of piles of snow left over from happier days. I took a picture before it was rained away as snow is always exciting, even in small doses. 

At the lake we were pleased to find some signs of life. A coach load of Chinese tourists had arrived and the shops had opened. We took some windswept lake photos and then sought shelter amongst the cuckoo clock collections for which the area is famous. They had even turned one end of a building into an enormous clock. Playing pick-your-favourite and hunt-the-most-expensive, we found they can retail for up to £7000 a clock. We had thought about buying one for a souvenir but were priced out of the market. Also, there would be issues getting a bulky cuckoo in our already overstuffed luggage.

Some of the shops were delicatessen based which we noted would be super handy for ham and wine top ups without involving epic journeys, although we would be playing Russian roulette with Christmas opening times.

Feldberg ski field

As it was only lunchtime, we thought we might as well head to the ski area as, even though there was no snow, there might be nice views and a coffee shop.

The bus 7300 runs every hour from the train station and 3 or 4 people were waiting. One of children had a hopeful toboggan. Shame.  We were allowed to climb aboard with our Konus cards (small air punch).

As we ascended the hills, small patches of white could be seen between the trees and, turning the final corner we saw to our complete amazement and joy that the entire mountain was blanketed in white and skiers were full-on skiing. Yippee.

As we had been tricked by the snow-free lake area, most of us were wearing standard trousers and shoes. What activity could we do in our ridiculous get up? The 3 equipment hire options here were toboggan, cross country skis and snow shoes. I thought show shoes might be best as an upgrade on the trainers.

The House of Nature (handily next to the bus stop) hires them out. There was no evidence of this at the counter, but my pre-research was starting to pay off. I attempted to show my H QR codes but this only got us free entry to their nature exhibition (no takers in the face of actual snow outside). I was able to hire the show shoes at the usual price shown in the cashiers leaflet of 35E for a family of 4. Still a bargain but the H card was proving less useful than promised.

Snow shoes turn out to be like short fat skis which strap to your existing shoe/ trainer. It’s not like skiing, where they give you a new boot to go with it. Oh well, we’d paid now.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #8 – what is a snow shoe?

A snow shoe is not a shoe but a small ski. When hiring show shoes, wear a walking boot.

Snow shoe Practicalities

  •  Where? House of Nature, Feldberg
  • How much? 15E pp or 35E for a family of 4
  • What? Fat short skis with straps (no shoes) and poles

We were handed a second small leaflet which showed us the 2 routes which run from right outside the centre, one 4 km (1.5 hours) and the other 9km (3hrs). It was 1.30pm and it would be dark at 4. We had time for the short one. Yay.

The lady behind the counter pointed out that as it was very foggy and windy today, it would be hard to see the signs we were to follow. If we couldn’t find the next marker, we were to head back. We confirmed this was our first time show-shoeing. She looked a bit worried as she helped us affix our new foot accessories.

We were off! Snow ball fights were the first order of the day (Last Christmas video re-enactment), although perhaps not the ideal way to start the afternoon with ice down your back and wet gloves.

Next up was attempting to follow the map. There was no “path” and no sign of even the first marker, but with the nature centre behind us, we made our best guess as to the direction of travel and set off. Most of our mini-skis fell off immediately and needed to be re-strapped every 5 minutes or so. The leader was eaten by the fog ahead as we traversed what was apparently a ski motorway of real skiers. 

 Then we were in the woods. A marker was found and we were on our own in real snow. Brilliant.

The route started off pretty level and wove amongst real life Christmas trees, with some postcard quality snow-laden branches. Occasionally we’d sink knee-deep in fresh show piles.  

As the route  started to climb, things got a little trickier. The tree coverings were more crystalline and ice-stormy. We rested on a bench which had been practically eclipsed by powder.

Pressing on and upwards, I discovered I’d left my new footwear about 50m behind me, which showed how much utility they were adding to my walk. About an hour into the trek, people were getting tired. The snow had soaked through trainers and gloves. One child was starting to feel very cold.

To continue or turn back? Timing-wise we should be about half way round the track by now so it would be more interesting to see the as yet untravelled portion, but the route was relentlessly uphill. At least heading back we’d recognise the way and it would be less exhaustingly downwards. We voted for the easy option and plodged back towards to the centre. The entire mountain disappeared into the fog, but we were able retrace our snow prints. We were now totally invisible to any passing downhill skiers. With about 20m to go, the centre materialised out of the whiteness and we arrived back, collision-free. We did wonder how hard it would be if fresh snow were to cover your tracks.

The cashier looked relieved to see us and enquired as to how we had got on. We described the stone hut we had turned around at, which turned out to be half a mile away. In 2 hours we’d covered a mile. Good job we turned back!

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #9 – Snow shoe attire

When snow shoeing – wear proper clothes and go for a sunny day if you are time-rich for a fighting chance of finding the markers.

Feldberg ski cafe

We set off in search of somewhere to warm up. Despite the coffee pictures over the doors in the main complex, there were no cafes to be found. We caught the sound of music emanating from a small building at the bottom of the ski lift across the street.  Magically it turned out to be an open café serving Black Forest gateaux and hot chocolate. The room was designed for skiers, so you could come in with your wet coats, traipse over a special rubberised floor, then sit at a table in front of a glass wall over looking the ski slope. Perfection!

Tricky travel - Bus trip Feldberg to TItisee

The bus back from Feldberg ski area was the same number as the outward one, 7300 and ran every hour. We hopped on the right number, at the right stop and the correct time with our Konus cards and were very pleased that today’s transport was working out better for us than the day before. Several kilometres into the journey we realised we were going the wrong way. The bus listed “Zell “as its destination on the front. I had assumed this was the town after Titssee. It was in fact in the opposite direction. We madly grabbed our phones, which mercifully still had reception, to check the options. Option1 – get off at the next roadside mountain stop in the snow and dark and wait for a hour for the bus going back to the ski centre and Titisee. No.  Option 2 – carry on for the next half an hour to a town and try to get back from there. This sounded marginally better and we should just make the last bus of the day.

The town of Todtnau was completely deserted. It was a cold, dark wait but the plan worked. We made it back to Titisee albeit with a journey time increase of 300%. The kids looked slightly unnerved at the prospect of having us in charge of travel for the rest of the week.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #10 – Check bus displays

Do not neglect to Googlemaps the destination listed on the front of any bus you may be thinking of getting on or you may end up on the road to Zell/hell.

Back at the chalet, we warmed up and set off for tea in a nearly empty pizza restaurant.

Day 3 - Sledging

Now we knew there was snow, day 2 was a no brainer. We headed back on the 7300 (which was running, despite it being Christmas Eve) to Feldberg. It was really raining quite heavily but maybe it was falling as snow at the top of the mountain?

The toboggan hire place, Sporthaus & Ski School, was right opposite the bus stop and the man behind the counter confirmed that it did indeed provide them for free to H card holders. The H website said we needed a 50E deposit but the cashier insisted we produce a passport. A driving licence would not be sufficient. The passports were back at the room about a 2 hour round bus trip away. “That’s a shame”, I said, in the under statement of the holiday. In a flash of genius, husband asked if a photo would suffice, and the man from Del Monte said yes. For a minute it looked like there would be no internet reception but the universe delivered and the day was saved.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #11 – Identity checks

Take photos of your passports as you never know when you may need them.

Tobogganing Practicalities

  •  Where? Sporthaus & Ski School, Feldberg
  • Cost? Free with H card
  • Deposit? Take passport or a photo of it

The falling-as-snow theory was not happening. We carried our 4 very cool wooden toboggans up the mountain as icy rain lashed our faces. Teenage hoods were raised, possibly a first in the history of time.

 A happy hour was spent trudging up the hill and careering down it. Despite the vast amount of hill available, there were still groups of small children to avoid half way down, causing emergency wipeouts. Snow on Christmas Eve, though – brilliant.

Despite being fully equipped this time (waterproof trousers, socks and gloves), our garments had reached their soak limits and were taking on freezing water. The elders headed to café heaven whilst the teens could not pass up the opportunity to create an igloo.

At this point we spotted a crazy snow bride, camouflage in her wedding dress against the ski field. I wondered how she was bearing up insulation-wise?

New transport plan?

Being extra vigilant we caught the correct bus back to Titisee. Wondering if there was an easier way to get to the snow on Christmas Day, we googled the H Card electric car hire option. We needed to have validated our driving licence at the Tourist Info office, which was now closed for the holidays.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #12 – Electric car hire

Plan ahead for electric car hire. Head to the tourist info when you arrive in town to sort this out.

Eating out in Titisee on Christmas Eve?

Back in Titisee not a single restaurant was open for Christmas Eve. We found a pizza place that was in the middle of a family party, but who kindly agreed to cook us some to take away if we could pay cash. We had 30 Euros so could afford 2 between 4. They let us sit in on their party for 15 minutes whilst they made us our tea, and taking pity on us at Christmas, even brought us a free beer.

Day 3 - Christmas Lake day

The Christmas Day itinerary was to see a brass band at a local guest house, stroll round the lake and lunch at a fancy hotel.

Brass band

The H website had told us a local band would strike up at 11am at the Kurhaus guest house on the lake. This did not happen. The building was closed. I revisited the website to see the location had changed to a church in Titisee Neustadt. Was this the town or the area? Hard to tell. We found the only church in the village. No one was around but we decided to peep inside anyway, and were rewarded with the band! The place was packed to the rafters. It was a shiny golden spectacle to behold but after about 10 minutes standing at the back, the music being more churchy than Oompah, we took our leave.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #13 – Look out for venue changes

Venues are subject to change. Don’t rely on early H card research. Worth checking back if the event is not where you expect it to be.

Boat House surprise

As a Christmas miracle someone had put up a board outside the Boat house suggesting that it would come to life and open at 12 o clock. Our lunch booking was for 1 but we had time for a quick hot drink first (and would have to promise ourselves not to be tempted by a gateau). The unmarked door did not object when we pushed it open at the allocated time. We successfully ordered Christmas hot chocolates in the cosy lakeside wooden cabin before heading off to the main event.

Hotel Christmas lunch

We’d booked lunch at the lakeside Treschers Schwarzwald-hotel. It looked like a Swiss chalet and, despite being part of a fancy hotel, was charging a reasonable 55E for a 5 course lunch with prosecco.

The hoodie-sporting boys were a bit unsettled by the fact that other diners were wearing suits, but relaxed after spotting a few Christmas jumpers and being allowed daytime wine. Seeing us attempt to translate the menu with our phones, a kindly waiter produced an English menu involving strips of beef and tasty duck. Total Christmas treat.

Lake walk

The sun was shining which opened up the possibility of a lake walk. An entire circumnavigation is about 4km – which is acceptable to adults but not teens, so we did a quadrant and walked back.

After some wandering around the shops, which were weirdly open (sadly not the ones selling food or drink), as an unexpected Christmas activity we hung out in beachy deckchairs which had been set out on the edge of the lake. Fire pits, blankets and festive fizz were all available from a small kiosk playing Christmas tunes. As we lounged in the sun’s rays, it was hard to believe we were on the same holiday as yesterday’s snow day. And that Wham were with us once again.

Day 5 – Club Tropicana/ Badeparadies

On the way back home on Christmas Eve, I’d popped into Badeparadies for emergency assistance in buying our tickets (we could only get an H card discount by buying them in advance and through their website). The lady helped me with the app, which was mysteriously but helpfully no longer showing the error. She confirmed that there were still tickets available for Boxing Day (phew!) and the 100E price was inclusive of our 20% discount (still quite steep then). It would be an extra 5E each on the day if we wanted to extend the 2 hour-visit to the full day.

There are 3 pools:

  • The Galaxy pool is for all ages and has 21 slides.
  • The Oasis pool is for 16 plus and is a palm-fringed, glass-ceilinged marvel (open to all ages on family days).
  • The Palais Vital is also 16 plus and “textile Free”. We unanimously agreed that costumes were an essential bathing item and the PV was not for us.

I booked the Oasis, which includes access to the slide pool when it is open, usually weekends but also Boxing Day.  I would not be popular if I booked a non-sliding day.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #14 – Make sure it is slide day 

Check the pool timetable for Galaxy opening days if you have sliders in the family. Beware textile free zones.

Although I was up for a full day of oasis lounging, husband thought that realistically 2 hours on the slides and we’d be done. In the end we were there for 8 hours, an absolute highlight of the trip.

Each pool has its own changing area (we made sure we didn’t head into the naked vitals by mistake). As we entered the oasis, the winter sun was shining through the domed glass roof, bathing the bathers in golden light. It truly was an oasis. We walked like movie stars down the steps to find the water was bath-warm. Drifting towards the end of the pool, we were excited to spot a swim up bar!

Here we also found a rotating glass door in the water itself, which lead to an outside area. We lay on spa tables, just under the surface of the water, the sun on our faces, jacuzzi bubbles frothing behind our backs and clouds of steam drifting up around us. There were views over the black forest and people drinking cocktails at tables in the water. Totally surreal – a winter/summer holiday fusion.


After a bit of spa-based pool action, it was time to shoot ourselves with and without tubes down a variety of water slides. I hung out in the wave pool whilst the boys investigated the “racing” slides area where you can time yourself against rival sliders. There is even one of those high adrenalin death slides where you enter a plastic capsule  you fall vertically to your death (or similar).

Poolside lunch

At the poolside café, you can order using your handy locker bracelet. We went for carbonara and curries to shore us up for anticipated drinking later on.

Wellness pools

Dotted around the main pool are solariums, massage beds and infra-red loungers where you can warm up if you get the slightest bit chilly. In a separate room you will find 4 wellness pools where you can absorb the healing properties from your mineral of choice. 

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #15 Dead sea look-o-like

Don’t miss the pool with the super concentrate minerals – very much like the Dead Sea, with comedic buoyancy effects.

As night falls, the place takes on its Club Tropicana persona (minus the music). A hot tub area in the main pool lights up in different colours (a bit like a cauldron when red). The swim up bar comes alive with real flames (how do they do this?). It was time for a round of beer and pina coladas, initially in the hot tub under the palms and then outside under the stars.

Best 25E I’ve ever spent. For a teen, drinking al fresco beer, surrounded by steam and the Black Forest, the holiday rankings will show a swift upturn.

Schwartzwald winter with teens top tip #16 – Stay for the dark

Do not miss the night time pool transformation of fire and light

Badeparadies Practicalities

  • Towels (4E) and robes (7E) can be hired. You can take these around with you, but its easier to dry out on the free infra-red beds and keep your towels dry for when you get out.
  • Loungers are pre-bookable but there are large sections of seating that cannot be reserved and the staff are very good at removing any towels left on these, so we always found a lounger when we needed one.
  • Photos are not allowed in the Galaxy. They are permitted in the Oasis but only of your family. No one had phones out so I wasn’t quite sure what was permitted on family days. I took a couple of sneaky shots but did not want to risk being thrown out of Heaven.

Day 6 – Freiberg im Brisgau

We managed to travel by train, incident-free to Freiberg. After check in, the day’s plan involved wandering the old streets in search of cool brightly coloured buildings, interspersed with sausage and beer stops.

Accommodation -14th Century sickle smith

We’d booked a room in a 14th Century sickle smith inn sitting prettily on the edge of a canal in the old town .

The inn was as old worlde as it gets, coming with its own dungeon window. The room also had its own kitchen for storing essential German beers and cheeses, and breakfast was provided in a teeny tiny restaurant on the ground floor.

Market Square

First stop was the market square at Munsterplatz, which surrounds the cathedral and has the Black Forest as a  backdrop. The place was straight out of a fairy tale, each building having its own ornate style and rainbow hue. Magical. It was like walking through a Christmas card.

Many of the building are reconstructions of the originals which were destroyed during the war, but you’d never know from looking at their pretty faces. 

The daily market traders were selling artisanal goods and there was a whole row of 3E lange rote (long red) and currywurst baguette stands for a our first tasty local snack stop.

Historic old town

A lovely afternoon was spent strolling down cobbled alleyways, seeking out the ancient city gates (one of which McDonalds has managed to post its name on) and trying not to fall into one of the historic open waterways.

Some of the building have brilliant names  (munster, whale and rat houses) and come in incredibly fiery shades of red.

Schlossberg funicular

For 3 Euros you can catch the funicular railway from the centre of town to part way up castle hill ( I had been kind of hoping it was going to take me all the way to the top). Completing the final 400m by foot,  roamed the site of an ancient fort, snapped some great views out over the town and, as if in an Attenborough nature documentary, followed a large buzzard which swooped along my woodland path.

View over Freiberg, Black Forest, Schwartzwald winter holiday

Wine and beer tasting

An amazing wine tasting bar and store occupies a canary yellow historic building on the edge of Munserplatz. Asking how it worked, we were told that you can buy a glass or bottle of locally grown wine to take away or drink on site, perched under blankets on cushioned wooden crates. I got to sit next to a shop dummy clad in a dress made out of a Christmas tree, watching the world go by as night fell over the cathedral.

A drink in one of the town’s local breweries and dinner in pub (both open and filled with people) ended the day in nicely Germanic style.

Day 7 – Europa Park

The teens felt they had done Freiberg, and opted to spend the last day of our Schwartzwald winter holiday at Germany’s biggest theme park, where hundreds of sparkling Christmas trees lined the park avenues..

With 13 rollercoasters in its 19 themed areas, its the second biggest park in Europe. An interesting twist at Europa Park is that it is themed into countries You can stroll through a Grecian village, past the Moulin Rouge and then hop on a London bus. 

The Europa rides

I have it on good authority that these are the best rides:

  • The Icelandic Silver Star, the tallest, longest and fastest rollercoaster in the park was the day’s highest scorer.
  • A close and equally Icelandic second was the Blue Fire, which took 2.5 seconds to catapult them from 0 to 100km/ hour.
  • The Toboggan ride and the Viking ride (rickety, like the Wicker Man ride at Alton Towers but better apparently) were high scoring runners up.

Europa Park Practicalities

  • Travel: Buy a ticket on the train platform in Freiberg and this covers the connecting bus form Herbolzheim or Ringsheim (approx. 20E pp). The journey takes about an hour.
  • Open: The park is open 11am to 7pm in winter (closed 12 Jan-March) and 9am-6pm in summer
  • Cost: from 61E/day for ages 12+

Schwartzwald winter summary

This corner of the Black Forest, with its lake, ski field, bathers‘ paradise, old town and theme park has pretty much all winter holiday bases covered. A split country/ city based break works a treat for seeing as much as possible in a short visit.

Lessons Learned

  • If you’re looking for snow, then go for later in the season and head for the high ground.
  • Travel is harder than usual, with tourist card confusion, my rubbish German language barrier, places having the same name and buses with the same number from same stop going different ways. Be ready for this. We did get better as we went along.
  • Self-catering in the country is easier, saving the nights out for the city break section where they are open and peopled.

All in all, a successful Wham-themed mini-break, with swim up bars on fire as a surprise highlight. Where else does Last Christmas meet Club Tropicana? 

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Schwartzwald winter holiday
Schwartzwald winter holiday
Schwartzwald winter holiday

8 thoughts on “Fun 7 day itinerary for your Schwartzwald winter holiday”

  1. This Schwartzwald winter wonderland looks so pretty and like a perfect escape. I’d never considered this before so thanks for the inspiration! I’d l love to go next winter!

  2. We don’t often head out for winter snow vacations. But a winter visit to Schwartzwald looks charming. I agree that I might think about taking a train to stay in the Black Forest. But 3 winter connecting trains might not tempt me. But we would certainly want to try snowshoeing through the winter wonderland. And look for a wellness pool to warm up. Definitely a busy week.

    1. “Embarking on a Schwartzwald winter holiday with the Fun 7-Day Itinerary was an absolute delight! The perfectly curated plan seamlessly blended charming winter landscapes, thrilling activities, and cozy moments by the fire. From enchanting snow-covered villages to exhilarating winter sports, each day brought a new adventure. The warmth of local hospitality combined with the crisp winter air made this itinerary an unforgettable journey into the heart of winter wonderland magic. Highly recommended for those seeking a perfect balance of excitement and relaxation in the Schwartzwald winter paradise!”

  3. It seems you have had lots of different experiences in a short time. I have not been to this part of Germany yet, but would love to visit someday. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Your photos are so pretty. What a great spot. I have only ever been to this region in the summer. I think it’s time for me to start visiting more winter destinations. Architecture looks amazing.

  5. We’ve done most of these snow activities in other countries and loved them. Europa Park is so much fun, we went in the Summer, but the Winter must be wonderful as well. Rulantica is also fantastic.

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