Baden-Württemberg Travel Guide:10 Best Things To Do & See in Germany’s Sunny Southwest

Baden-Württemberg Travel Guide: 10 Best Things To Do & See in Germany's Sunny Southwest

Everything you need to know about the Baden-Württemberg region including what to do, when to visit and where to stay
Alexander & VictoriaHi! We're Alex & Victoria - a digital nomad couple from Copenhagen escaping 9-5 to chase adventures in our beautiful world. Learn more about us here.
Advertisement disclaimer: This travel guide to Baden-Württemberg is made in collaboration with Tourismus Marketing GmbH Baden-Württemberg. As always, we share our honest opinion and everything is written by us.
A state full of wonders

Baden-Württemberg, also sometimes shortened to BW or BaWü, is a state in the southwestern part of Germany.

We have previously spent a lot of time in its neighbouring state of Bavaria – and in the summer of 2023, we finally had the opportunity to explore more of Southern Germany when we visited Baden-Württemberg on a road trip.

This sunny state combines traditional German culture with a laidback attitude (perhaps more similar to how life is lived in its South European neighbour countries).

While we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the scenic towns, what really made us love Baden-Württemberg was the natural landscapes; the dark forests, the green hillsides and the deep blue lakes.

In this travel guide to Baden-Württemberg, we share the best things to do and see in the state, road trip itinerary inspiration, where to stay, when to visit, how to get around, our best travel tips and much more.

Why visit Baden-Württemberg

As if being the German state with the most hours of sunshine (and Michelin-starred restaurants!) isn’t enough, here’s why you should visit Baden-Württemberg:

  • Natural beauty: Baden-Württemberg is known all over the world for its stunning landscapes. From the picturesque Black Forest with its magical waterfalls to the serene lakes and rolling hills, nature lovers will find plenty of breathtaking scenery to explore. We sure did!
  • Outdoor activities: Whether you enjoy hiking, cycling, skiing or water sports, Ba-Wü offers a wide range of outdoor activities throughout the year. The varied terrain and well-maintained trails cater to outdoor enthusiasts of all levels.
  • Cultural riches: The state boasts a rich cultural heritage, including historic towns with modern museums, charming villages with half-timbered houses, marvellous churches, medieval monasteries, grand palaces, elegant gardens and hundreds of castles.
  • Wine and food: Baden-Württemberg is one of Germany’s top wine-producing regions. If you’re a wine enthusiast, it’s possible to tour vineyards, attend wine festivals and sample some of the best wines in the country. The region’s gastronomy is also considered one of Germany’s finest.
  • German roads: Germany is famous for its quality roads, and road-tripping in Baden-Württemberg certainly lives up to the hype. You can easily get anywhere (fast!) with four wheels here – including some very scenic drives in the Black Forest.
Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is full of natural wonders.
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Baden-Württemberg, the southwesternmost state in Germany, borders the German states of Rheinland-Pfalz, Hessen and Bavaria.

It also shares its western border with France’s Alsace region and its southern border with Switzerland.

This unique location creates a cultural blend enriched by its neighbouring regions; full of culture, history and diverse landscapes.

Stuttgart is Baden-Württemberg’s capital city (and Germany’s fourth-largest metropolitan area).

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What to do in Baden-Württemberg

What to do in Baden-Württemberg?

During our time in the state, our road trip itinerary took us to some amazing destinations including a legendary spa town, an even more legendary forest, one of Germany’s prettiest (and most tropical-looking!) waterfalls, the origin of the Danube, a relaxing lake and a dynamic, historic town full of innovative thinking.

We truly hope you’ll have as good of a time as we did exploring this beautiful corner of the country.

The 10 best things to do and see in Baden-Württemberg:

  1. Take a bath in Baden-Baden
  2. Discover Schwarzwald (the Black Forest)
  3. Count the waterfalls at Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle
  4. Visit the origin of the Danube in Donaueschingen
  5. Relax at the shores of Titisee
  6. Go on an E-boat trip on Titisee
  7. Explore historical Freiburg im Breisgau
  8. Witness the miracle of Freiburg Minster
  9. Experience Freiburg from above
  10. Get green inspiration in the neighbourhood of Vauban

1. Take a bath in Baden-Baden

Arriving in Baden-Baden, it quickly becomes apparent that this town is full of wealth.

The elegant architecture seamlessly blends into the hills, and the air is filled with a certain sense of opulence and relaxation.

“Baden” means “bathing”, and bathing is certainly something you can do in Baden-Baden.

Being a part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site called “Great Spa Towns of Europe,” Baden-Baden holds a distinguished place among the world’s historic spa destinations, celebrated for its cultural and wellness significance.

Some of the town’s most famous spas are the Friedrichsbad Spa (built in Renaissance style) and the Caracalla Spa.

The name “Baden-Baden” evolved to distinguish it from other places named “Baden” near hot springs in Central Europe, like those in Austria and Switzerland.
Baden-Baden Casino
Fun fact: The Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote “The Gambler” while he was addicted to gambling at the Baden-Baden Casino.
Sequoia trees at the Kurpark in Baden-Baden, Baden-Württemberg
We found a small grove of sequoia trees at the Kurpark.
Baden-Baden buildings from the Kurpark
Antique market in Baden-Baden in the Trinkhalle
After walking around the park, we stumbled upon this cute flea market with antiques in the stunning Trinkhalle.

Where to stay in Baden-Baden?

We stayed at Heliopark Bad Hotel zum Hirsch in the middle of Baden-Baden.

The sophisticated hotel has an old-world vibe, perfectly fitting that of the town.

Check prices and availability at Heliopark Bad Hotel zum Hirsch here (adlink).

Our room at Heliopark Bad Hotel zum Hirsch (adlink) in Baden-Baden.

2. Discover Schwarzwald (the Black Forest)

The first word that most often comes to mind when people think of Baden-Württemberg is the legendary Schwarzwald; the Black Forest.

And no, the forest isn’t black per se. The name comes from the denseness of the trees making the forest appear black when seen from a distance.

Come closer though, and you’ll discover a wide variety of colours – especially if you visit in spring and early summer when the wildflowers are blooming.

Hiking and biking are perfect here during spring, summer and autumn, while winter transforms the Black Forest into a skiing destination with cross-country skiing and downhill runs.

Schwarzwald view
Schwarzwald is the perfect place in Baden-Württemberg for nature lovers.
The Black Forest National Park
The national park’s motto is “let nature be nature”.
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How to best experience Schwarzwald?

One of the best ways to experience Schwarzwald is to drive along the windy Black Forest High Road (B500) going south from Baden-Baden.

Here you’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch the expansive vistas from roadside viewpoints or to park your car and go on one of numerous hikes.

The views along the Black Forest High Road are spectacular.
The Black Forest High Road
This is definitely one of the most scenic drives of the state.

3. Count the waterfalls at Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle

Located at the edge of Nationalpark Schwarzwald, Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle (All Saints Waterfalls) are the largest natural waterfalls in the northern Black Forest and a true highlight of Baden-Württemberg.

The Grindenbach (Lierbach stream) tumbles down in a series of seven natural waterfall tiers, creating a total descent of 83 meters.

Not only are each of the waterfalls beautiful; the path between the falls is also a wonderful hike in and of itself.

We unfortunately missed that the ruins of Kloster Allerheiligen (All Saints’ Abbey) is located near the entrance to the waterfalls.

The Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle are found at about 530 metres above sea level inside the Black Forest National Park.
All Saints waterfall height in Baden-Württemberg
Cascading down 7 “steps”, the waterfall has a total drop of 83 metres.
Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle narrow falls
Allerheiligen-Wasserfälle stairs in Baden-Württemberg
The whole area is super lush and has a tropical feel to it.
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4. Visit the origin of the Danube in Donaueschingen

On our road trip through Baden-Württemberg, we visited the small town of Donaueschingen after having explored the Black Forest.

Donaueschingen is a typical Schwarzwald village.

Donau is the German word for the Danube – Europe’s second-longest river which originates here.

After having travelled east through most of Central and Southeastern Europe (passing 4 capital cities on its way!), the Danube River flows into the Black Sea.

(That the river originates here at the edges of the Black Forest is just a naming coincidence.)

Donauquelle - “source of the Danube”
Donauquelle – “source of the Danube”.
River in Baden-Württemberg
At ~2,850 kilometres, the Danube is the longest river in the European Union.
Stadtkirche St. Johann
Stadtkirche St. Johann is located right next to the Donauquelle.

Where to stay in Donaueschingen?

We stayed at Flair Hotel Grüner Baum in Donaueschingen – a quaint family-run hotel just outside of the city centre.

For dinner, we had a four-course vegan menu with local, seasonal produce. Kudos to the chef!

Check prices and availability at Flair Hotel Grüner Baum here (adlink).

Flair Hotel Grüner Baum
We stayed at Flair Hotel Grüner Baum in Donaueschingen. ©Flair Hotel Grüner Baum (adlink)
Vegan food in Donaueschingen
We honestly hadn’t expected a full vegan dinner, so we were delightfully surprised.
Stork nest
We spotted a stork nest just down the road while going for a walk in the neighbourhood after dinner.

5. Relax at the shores of Titisee

Each summer, Titisee in the south of Baden-Württemberg truly comes alive as locals and tourists alike flock to the lake’s shores for swimming, sailing, hiking and leisurely strolls along the promenade.

The spa town of the same name is located on the lake’s northern shores. Here you’ll find all kinds of health hotels and wellness treatments including various forms of therapy and massages.

If you visit Titisee outside of the high season, you can still enjoy the town’s many health facilities or go for a circular hike around the lake (with a distance of about 6 kilometres).

Located at around 845 metres above sea level, Titisee is a great place to cool down in summer.
Walking around Titisee in Baden-Württemberg
Next time we visit, we would love to walk all the way around the lake.

6. Go on an E-boat trip on Titisee

Electric cars, E-scooters, E-bikes… And E-boats?

We must admit we didn’t know E-boats existed before we tried sailing one on Titisee.

It was a clear, sunny day – absolutely ideal for cruising on the water.

The surrounding green hills made the perfect backdrop to the still water, which we silently glided over with no noise from the electric engine.

Knowing that our leisure cruise didn’t pollute the pristine lake made it an even better experience.

We rented the E-yacht from Drubba Bootsvermietung & Rundfahrten Titisee, located at the promenade on the northeastern shore.

Sailing around Titisee
Sailing around Titisee in our E-boat was surely one of the highlights of visiting Baden-Württemberg.
Sailing on Titisee
Lake Titisee view
Lake Titisee is just beautiful.
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7. Explore historical Freiburg im Breisgau

Being known as one of the sunniest cities in Germany, Freiburg im Breisgau (usually just called Freiburg) perfectly blends the experience of Southern Europe with Germany’s culture and atmosphere.

Baden-Württembergs 4th largest city is a popular university town, bustling with modern culture and progressive thinking – all in a place full of history.

In the beautiful Old Town (Freiburg’s city centre), it felt like there were young people enjoying life on every street and corner.

Perhaps we visited on some especially lucky days, who knows… But it really seemed like an amazing place to live with lots of creative and happy energy in the air.

Freiburg is not to be missed.

Freiburg in Baden-Württemberg street with church in background
The atmosphere in Freiburg is delightful. It’s easy to get anywhere quickly with the tram system.
Freiburg street
Freiburg in summer
The whole town was buzzing with life and summer vibes when we visited.
Beautiful old street in Freiburg
The Martinstor
The Martinstor, a former town fortification, has been preserved since medieval times.
Students in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg
You don’t have to look too hard to notice that there’s a big student population in Freiburg.
Vegan Thai food at Chada Thai Nudelsuppe
We had some lovely vegan Thai food at Chada Thai Nudelsuppe.

Where to stay in Freiburg?

We (fittingly) stayed at Hotel Alex (adlink), located close to both Old Town and the central station.

The hotel was very modern and our room had all of the facilities one might expect.

Check prices and availability at Hotel Alex here (adlink).

Alex Hotel Freiburg
Alex in front of Hotel Alex (adlink) where we stayed in Freiburg.

8. Witness the miracle of Freiburg Minster

Freiburg Minster (also called Freiburg Münster or The Cathedral of Our Lady) is the cathedral of Freiburg.

Most of the builders of the cathedral never saw their work completed as the construction took over 300 years – finishing in the year 1513.

Remarkably, most of the surrounding buildings were destroyed by bombs during World War II – but Freiburg Minster luckily survived. If that’s not divine intervention, we don’t know what is!

A market with local produce is held on the market square in front of the church every day (except on Sundays).

The old cathedral Freiburg Minster
The old cathedral Freiburg Minster is the heart of the city.
The cathedral Freiburg Minster
Gargoyles on Freiburg cathedral
91 gargoyles don the cathedral’s walls to keep evil demons away from the church.
The cathedral after WWII
The cathedral miraculously survived the bombings of WW2 while most of the buildings around it sadly did not. Photo: Stadtarchiv Freiburg / Public domain
Inside of the Freiburg cathedral in Baden-Württemberg
Don’t miss the inside of the church.
Windows inside Freiburg minster in BW
The original windows are incredible.
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9. Experience Freiburg from above

There’s no better place to get an overview of Freiburg than from the Schlossberg (Castle Hill) just east of the Old Town.

While there are no castles up here anymore, there are some remaining fortifications from ages past that have been uncovered.

The real star of the show, however, is the much more modern Schlossbergturm (turm meaning tower).

After having scaled the stairs of the 35-metre tall tower, you’ll get unparalleled views over Freiburg located about 200 metres below.

Hiking up here is definitely doable, but if you want to conserve your breath for those last stairs of the tower, it’s also possible to go with the Schlossbergbahn (Castle Hill Railway) at least a part of the way.

View from the Schlossbergturm at the top of the Schlossberg
The Schlossbergturm at the top of the Schlossberg is the best place in Freiburg to catch the sunset.
View from the Schlossbergturm
Walking up the stairs of the tower is completely free.
Sunset from the Schlossbergturm

10. Get green inspiration in the neighbourhood of Vauban

Although it’s not full of actual touristy “things to do”, visiting the neighbourhood of Vauban (located to the southwest of Freiburg’s centre) is still one of the most interesting things to experience in Baden-Württemberg.

Vauban, established on the grounds of a former French military base, was conceived as a pioneering “sustainable model district,” welcoming its first residents in 2001.

Since then, Vauban has become internationally known as a pioneering example of environmentally conscious urban living.

​​A while before going here, Alex had read about Vauban in a sustainability-focused book where Vauban was highlighted as a way to build the cities of the future, so it was really cool to experience it in person.

Tip: In the spirit of Vauban, we encourage you to visit the neighbourhood by public transport. Getting here from Freiburg’s Old Town only takes around 12 minutes by tram.

Vauban every day life in Baden-Württemberg
Vauban is a living example of how sustainable urban planning can enhance both quality of life and environmental stewardship at the same time.
Vauban house
The residents of Vauban are known for being front runners on a lot of important fronts, like having fewer cars per person, having very energy-efficient houses and being focused on many levels of sustainability in their policies.
Rainbow colours in Vauban, Baden-Württemberg
Vauban visit
A visit to Vauban offers a chance to witness a sustainable community that prioritises green responsibility and fosters a strong sense of community.
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Road trip itinerary inspiration

Whether you spend a weekend, a week or more exploring Baden-Württemberg, you definitely won’t find a shortage of things to do.

To explore all of the destinations mentioned in this travel guide on a road trip, we recommend you spend at least 3 nights.

That way, you will be able to wake up in both Baden-Baden and Freiburg. Either spend two nights in one of the two or spend an extra night in between (like in Donaueschingen).

This road trip itinerary can also easily be stretched to fit a week.

Both Baden-Baden and Freiburg are interesting places to stay in their own right while also being great bases to explore the region (and the Black Forest!).

Road trip in Baden-Württemberg
We hope that our road trip itinerary can serve as inspiration for your own travels in Baden-Württemberg.

How to get around Baden-Württemberg

We travelled around Baden-Württemberg by car and it was super convenient.

Parking is usually easy to find and often free of charge – except in city centres of larger cities (like Baden-Baden and Freiburg).

In the case of paid parking, remember to always bring euro coins for the machines as credit cards aren’t accepted everywhere.

If you don’t have your own wheels, it’s definitely also possible to travel around the state by public transport.

Bicycles in Freiburg, Baden-Württemberg
Did you know that Baden-Württemberg is considered the birthplace of the modern car?

How to get to Baden-Württemberg

By car

It’s easy to reach Germany by car from other countries in Europe as there are lots of motorways connected to neighbouring countries.

As soon as you are in Germany, you can get to the state of Baden-Württemberg via Germany’s famous autobahn (motorway).

Be aware that cars on the autobahn generally drive fast – and by fast, we mean up to 200 km/h!

There are several sections with no speed limit at all so it’s important to look thoroughly in the rearview mirror and side mirror before changing lanes and overtaking.

By train

The train network in Germany is extensive, relatively cheap and very reliable.

Baden-Württemberg’s largest train stations are Stuttgart Hbf and Karlsruhe Hbf.

For the locations mentioned in this travel guide, travelling into Baden-Baden, Donaueschingen or Freiburg im Breisgau makes the most sense.

We have previously used the Deutsche Bahn website to order train tickets.

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By plane

To get to Baden-Württemberg in Germany by plane, we recommend either flying into Stuttgart Airport (Flughafen Stuttgart) or Baden-Baden Airport (Flughafen Karlsruhe/Baden-Baden).

Located in Stuttgart, the state’s capital, Stuttgart Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Baden-Württemberg. It serves as a major international gateway to the region and offers a wide range of domestic and international flights.

Baden-Baden Airport primarily handles low-cost and charter flights. It’s a convenient option for you if you’re looking to explore the Black Forest and the surrounding area.

For visiting the south of the state (like Freiburg, Titisee and Donaueschingen), consider flying into Basel or Zürich in Switzerland.

Use our adlink to find the cheapest tickets: Search for the cheapest flight tickets on Momondo.

Sunset in Baden-Württemberg
It’s easy to get to Baden-Württemberg from all over Europe.

When to visit Baden-Württemberg

There is really no bad time to visit the state of Baden-Württemberg. Each season just offers its own charms.

So when is the best time to travel to Baden-Württemberg?

We were there ourselves in June and enjoyed warm, perfect summer days.

Like almost all tourist destinations in the world, it’s wise to plan your trip around the most common holidays and instead visit in shoulder periods (if possible).

That way you can avoid any tourist crowds and generally get cheaper accommodation and save on car rentals.

If it’s not possible to travel outside the holidays, fortunately, Baden-Württemberg doesn’t really get crowded.

Baden-Württemberg weather in June
We had amazing weather on our road trip in June.


Spring (March, April and May) is a beautiful time to visit Baden-Württemberg with sunny days and blooming flowers. The weather starts to warm up, although it can still be a bit chilly at times. It’s a great time to visit if you enjoy milder temperatures and seeing nature come back to life after the winter.

Summer (June, July and August) is the hottest season of the year, with July and August seeing the highest temperatures. However, it’s worth noting that summer is also the rainiest season, so packing a rain jacket or umbrella is a good idea. The sun is usually shining from early morning until very late in the evening. The summer holidays in Germany are spread out between mid-June and mid-September.

Autumn (September, October and November) is a wonderful time to visit Baden-Württemberg. The landscape comes alive with vibrant shades of yellow, orange, and red as the leaves change colour. The most breathtaking autumn foliage usually appears towards the end of September and throughout October, and you might still catch some of this beauty in early November before the leaves fall off the trees.

Winter (December, January and February) offers a quieter and less crowded experience. Just be prepared for colder temperatures and the possibility of snow, especially in the higher elevations of the Black Forest. If you’re planning to visit during Christmas or New Year, it’s smart to book your accommodation ahead of time.

Average min and max temperatures in Baden-Baden, Germany

Average precipitation (rain/snow) in Baden-Baden, Germany

Our best tips for visiting Baden-Württemberg

  • Credit cards can be used in most shops, but as in the rest of Germany, cash is still often used and it’s not unusual for cash to be used in parking and ticket machines, at cafés and the like.
  • Get up early and be one of the first at an attraction if you want to avoid crowds in the high season.
  • Drink tap water. It’s not only good for the planet, it’s also good for your wallet. The tap water in Germany is absolutely safe to drink – so bring a refillable bottle.
  • Travel to Baden-Württemberg outside of the holidays. Accommodation prices are lower, good deals are easier to find and there are fewer tourists.
Schwarzwald nature
On our next visit, discovering some of the more hidden parts of Schwarzwald would be awesome.

What to bring to Baden-Württemberg

  • Travel insurance (adlink). Never travel without it!
  • A good camerahere’s a guide to the gear we use.
  • Sunscreen (adlink). Especially if you visit Baden-Württemberg in summer. We recommend that you use an organic, vegan sunscreen without oxybenzone and other harmful chemicals.
  • Hiking shoes, sneakers or other shoes you can walk in comfortably.
  • Swimwear and a towel if you plan to swim in the summer or if you are staying at a hotel with a spa area.
  • A refillable water bottle and snacks. You can drink the tap water in Germany.
  • Cash for parking and other small purchases, especially 1 and 2-euro coins. Not all places in Germany accept credit cards.
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Sustainable travel tips

To travel as sustainably as possible, we recommend the following:

  • Bring your own drinking water in a refillable bottle.
  • Avoid single-use plastics.
  • Dispose of waste properly and do not throw it on the ground.
  • Take only photos, leave only footprints. Let everything stay in its natural place.
  • Respect wildlife.
What do you think of Baden-Württemberg?

Thanks for reading our take on the best things to do in Baden-Württemberg!

We hope this travel guide to the German state has been useful.

What do you think of Germany’s sunny southwest?

If you have been to the state of Baden-Württemberg, it would be great to hear about your best memories and what you did in the area.

And if you haven’t been there yet, don’t hesitate to ask us anything in the comments. We are happy to help!

Baden-Württemberg sunset over river
Enjoy Germany’s sunny southwest – we sure did!
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