On the western edge of the Black Forest in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany sits the city of Freiburg im Breisgau. The city is a hub for history buffs with its medieval marvels, but it also holds the accolade for being one of the greenest cities in Europe.
It’s the perfect base for getting around the Black Forest, and neighbouring areas. Whether you want to embark on a jaunt across the Rhine River to the Alsace region of France or pop over to Switzerland, there are some fantastic and unique day trips from Freiburg to choose from.
- It is incredibly sunny with over 1740 hours of sunshine every year.
- There is a crocodile in the canal! Don’t worry; it won’t bite as it’s only a statue. The statue pokes its head just above the water…
- Gutters in the middle of the streets were once essential for waste, but nowadays if you accidentally step into one, locals say you will marry a person from Freiburg.
- You will find a local daily market in front of the cathedral which is said to be one of the best in Germany.
- Its university is one of the oldest in the country.
Below are some of our favorite day trips from Freiburg. Many can’t be missed!
The best day trips from Freiburg
If Colmar feels a bit familiar, it might be because it was the inspiration behind Belle’s village in Beauty and the Beast.
This French towns proximity to Germany means it’s a real fusion of French and German styles, with its colorful array of half-timbered houses, canals that snake through the town and quaint cobblestone streets.
Colmar is a town to stroll through, taking in the beauty, stopping at a café, and sinking your teeth into a slice of flammkuchen (a pastry similar to a pizza) and taking in the picturesque views the town offers. Take a scenic boat ride in Petit Venice and sample the local wines – especially the Riesling and Crement d’Alsace.
Distance from Freiburg – 51.5km / 54-minute drive
At the top of the day trip agenda should be the spa town Baden-Baden. Wellness lovers will inevitably be drawn to the thermal baths; the most popular are the Caracalla Therme and Friedrichsbad.
Seek out the enchanting Lichtentaler Allee, and the adjoining Gönneranlage rose garden. Here the Oos River gently trickles through the town, and attractive restaurants and cafes sit riverside.
In the Old Town watch out for the ancient Roman Baths and New Castle. The town’s belle epoque Casino Baden-Baden is said to be the most beautiful casino in the world.
Art lovers can rejoice as there is also a selection of art museums and galleries including the Museum Frieder Burda which holds the private collection of its namesake and contemporary exhibitions. Finally, meander through the Trinkhalle, a place for local cultural events and famed for its Corinthian columns and marvelous murals.
Distance from Freiburg – 100km / 45-minute train journey
3. Titisee Lake
Another must-see in the Black Forest region is its largest natural lake – Titisee. Abundant in stunning views, the lake offers water sports enthusiasts the opportunity to wild swim, try windsurfing or go sailing.
Around the lake is a network of hiking trails with plenty of fantastic vantage points over the lake. The most impressive climb is up the Hochfirst Mountain where you will even find a restaurant on top, and on a good day, you can see across to the Swiss Alps.
It’s also a great place to go camping, as we’ve mentioned previously.
Distance from Freiburg – 34.8km / 40-minute drive
4: Taubergiessen Nature Reserve
On the edge of Germany before the short car ferry ride over to France’s Alsace region is the Taubergiessen Nature Reserve.
It covers 1682 hectares and is home to a plethora of birds, wildlife, flora and fauna. In warmer months you can take canoes along the estuaries and Rhine River.
Taubergiessen is also a wildlife lover’s dream with hideaways to watch egrets, herons, swans, kingfishers and countless other birds who congregate on the edges of the river.
There are several walkways along the Rhine River which take you through the Rhine wetlands. A true nature lover’s hidden gem in the Black Forest region with more locals than tourists.
Distance from Freiburg – 35.3km / 36-minute drive
Close to the city of Freiburg is Schauinsland Mountain. It has an impressive gondola which brings you to the top of the 1284-meter-high peak, and is the perfect day trip for views across the region and city.
There are several family-friendly activities at the top, including a mine tour of over 100km of tunnels on 22 levels, which documents 800 years of mining for silver and lead.
Distance from Freiburg – 20.9km / 25-minute drive
6. Schwarzwald Hochstrasse
Maybe you’re looking for a scenic drive? Look no further than Schwarzwald Hochstrasse, which is the road between Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt.
There are gorgeous walking trails covering valleys, fields and mountains along this stretch of road. The villages in between also serve up local treats such as Black Forest Gateau.
Distance from Freiburg – 110.7km / 1 hour and 18-minute drive
7. Chateau Haut Koenigsbourg
Atop a mountain is the overbearing and rather magical Chateau Haut Koenigsbourg. This domineering 12th-century castle is in the center of the Alsace wine region.
It has everything you could want in a castle with its drawbridges, towers, high walls and courtyards. Inside you can visit a blacksmith’s shop, a mill, an inn and a spiral staircase take you to the exquisite stately rooms.
Distance from Freiburg – 65.9km / 1-hour drive
The lovely little town of Staufen is most famous for its connection to a local legend. This is supposedly where Faust died and sold his soul to the devil!
It’s a picturesque German town, but it might be wise to see it now as it is quite literally cracking apart… Geothermal drilling has resulted in town buildings starting to crack.
Aside from literal ‘cracking buildings’ it is also home to Shladerer distillery who make a well-known brand of schnapps. Also, worth a visit is Staufen Castle which sits 300m above the town and is a wonderful place to take in views across the Rhine Valley.
Distance from Freiburg – 25-minute drive / 19 km
9. Triberg Waterfalls
These are Germany’s highest waterfalls, and they can be found in the town of Triberg. The attraction does cost a small fee to enter, and from the entrance visitors follow a forested path which takes you to different vantage points to see the various drops of this impressive waterfall.
In the town itself, there is an opportunity to see a delightful array of cuckoo clocks in the House of 1000 Clocks, and there is the Black Forest Museum detailing the history of the region. All in all, a day trip that will satisfy nature lovers and history enthusiasts!
Distance from Freiburg – 56.5km / 1-hour drive
A short train ride will bring you to Switzerland’s gateway – the culturally diverse city of Basel or Bâle (the local pronunciation).
The Rhine River flows through the center of Basel, which France and Germany border. In winter Basel is known for its Christmas markets on Munsterplatz, in autumn there is Basel Herbstmesse (autumn fair) and in the summer hop over the river to the north side of the city to the gentrified Kleinbasel area for Art Basel – a world-renowned arts festival.
Aside from festivities, Basel offers countless museums, art galleries, riverside walks, magnificent gardens including the University Botanical Gardens and beautiful examples of architecture such as the Basler Rathaus (city hall) and Basel Cathedral.
Close to the train station is Markthalle Basel, an indoor market with an international food hall and local independent shops and businesses.
Distance from Freiburg – 70.6km / 45 min train journey