The dense woodlands of the Black Forest conjure up images of wild, slightly sinister canopies where little girls in red capes flee pernicious wolves and siblings stumble upon wicked witch dwellings. As it should: these are the forests that inspired some of the Brothers Grimm’s cautionary tales, as well as the legendary cuckoo clock. But the Black Forest—or Schwarzwald in German—is neither inaccessible nor isolated. Stretching from the spas of Baden-Baden to the Swiss border, and from the Rhine up to Lake Constance, this vast tract of valleys, forests, farmhouses, and countryside occupies the sunny southwest heart of Europe, often referred to as Baden-Württemberg.

While Germany in general is notorious for its efficiency and productivity, the Black Forest is where Germans come to relax amid nature. Sports enthusiasts find their fill here, with their choice of hiking and biking in vast nature parks, skiing the Feldberg Mountain, trekking the Swabian Mountains, sailing and windsurfing on Lake Constance, and swimming on Lake Titisee. The Black Forest is also home to the world famous Lichtentaler Alle, a historic park and arboretum lining the river Oos, perfect for the sensory stroll. Alternatively, visitors seeking easier pleasures will find the beauty of the Rebland vineyards and plenteous spa towns and health resorts at their fingertips.

Indeed, the Black Forest and Southwest Germany are perhaps most renowned for their spa culture. The first travelers in the form of Roman emperor Caracalla and his army stumbled upon its natural spring waters almost 2,000 years ago and founded what is now modern day Baden-Baden, one of Europe’s most glamorous resort destinations. Its ancient thermal springs and ornate Friedrichsbad public spa continue to attract celebrities and VIPs from across the globe. But Baden-Baden is just one jewel in the Black Forest’s crown. Elsewhere, the mighty castles and medieval grandeur of Heidelberg and the powerhouse Porsche and Mercedes-Benz factories and museums of Stuttgart provide enough standalone excitement for any traveler.

Contact a Ker & Downey luxury travel consultant today to incorporate these attractions and the breathtaking natural spectacles of the Black Forest into your next European luxury holiday.