My ecoluxury road trip in the German Black Forest. Hiking, wellness and great food! First stop: Bad Wildbad
Germany is known in the collective imagination for its fairytale charm on one side and for its modern cities on the other.
On this trip I aimed to explore some of the most authentic parts, surrounded with nature and enchanted villages, venturing onto a wonderful road-trip on the traces of the Brothers Grimm tales: the Black Forest, or Schwarzwald!
An ecoluxury journey with wellness as the only common denominator, consisting of regional specialties, thermal baths and physical activity!
I will share my travel diary in three articles, of which you will find the links at the bottom of the page!
I landed in Stuttgart after an only 50-minute flight from Milan Malpensa, then drove through green and lush forests, and in less than an hour I reached the charming town of Bad Wildbad.
Everything you have ever seen in illustrated books or in artistic photos of fairytale villages can be found in Bad Wildbad!
The decorated houses, the half-timbered buildings, cute bridges crossing the river, the hill from which the sun rises and illuminates the old church … it really looks like the perfect setting to write a story!
Not only is Bad Wildbad a picturesque location, but above all a renowned spa destination since the Middle Ages!
Bad Wildbad is located at the foot of the Sommerberg, a plateau whose summit can be reached with the Sommerbergbahn, the historic funicular that turns 110 years old this year!
Once you reach the top you can choose between hiking trails, mountain bike trails in summer and ski slopes in winter, wellness trails in the woods, pretty houses where you can taste a slice of cake, and above all two really singular attractions: the Baumwipfelpfad and the Wildline Bridge!
Baumwipfelpfad means “the path of the tree tops“, a majestic spiral-shaped wooden construction built in 2014. A path that winds through beech and fir trees over a kilometer, on which to walk gently until you reach the height of 40 meters, passing the tops of the trees for a breathtaking view!
Along the way there are also numerous educational stations for children … and adults too! An absolutely unique experience!
Another way to feel (literally) suspended between the sky and the tree tops is the Wildline Bridge, the 60-meter high and 380-meter long suspension bridge. A good dose of adrenaline!
Did you know it’s as long as the Empire State Building if put horizontally?
Forest Bathing: breathing in the Black Forest
After these rather active experiences, a regenerating bath in the woods was exactly what I needed!
No no, you don’t need to get your bathing suit and flip-flops on! Forest-bathing is a practice that comes from Japan and basically means to immerse your body and soul in the wonderful world of nature, deeply breathing-in its positive energy.
Not surprisingly, Bad Wildbad is one of the places in the Black Forest with the most trees, a coniferous forest that guarantees a particularly high level of oxygen in the air. Intrigued as I was, I did some research and discovered several studies that showed how “forest-bathing” reduces anxiety and stress, lowers blood pressure and strengthens our immune system!
How? The trees of the forest, and especially the conifers, are able to warn their neighbors when they sense dangers or pest infestations. Human beings perceive these “messengers”, increasing the activity of the “killer cells” in our body. Simply put, our immune system increases its performance to help us defend ourselves more effectively from pathogens and even cancer cells! And plus don’t we feel soo good?!
Palais Thermal: the most sensual wellness temple in Germany
As mentioned before, Bad Wildbad as the name suggests, is renowned for its thermal springs, and the spa center par excellence is the marvelous Palais Thermal!
It is one of the oldest spa establishments in Europe, dating back to the 14th century. Rebuilt in the 1800s after a devastating fire, today it still presents its original and elegant tiled walls, ornamental paintings, mosaics and marble cladding, combining a neoclassical style with Gothic and Moorish.
Inside the Palais Thermal you will find over 12 thermal pools, 4 Finnish saunas, meditation sauna, oriental sauna, Roman steam bath, rooftop pool…trust me, a day is not enough for all this pampering!
A walk-in museum that takes your breath away, a journey through different worlds, a somptuous royal palace and a welcoming riad … strolling in my bathrobe, bathing and doing treatments among so much beauty truly was an indescribable feeling! Worthy of a princess!
Hotel Weingärtner: sleeping in Bad Wildbad
My “home” – and I use this term on purpose – during the days spent in Bad Wildbad was Hotel Weingärtner. An adorable and romantic family-run hotel with a spectacular view on the town!
You know those special places that make you feel welcome right away, immediately at home? This is how I felt at Hotel Weingärtner.
My room was very spacious and bright, the bathroom even had two sinks, the staff of an exquisite kindness, the atmosphere was warm and personal, the breakfasts delicious… and of course there was a top-floor spa too!
Where and what to eat in the Black Forest?
I have been recommended two really typical places in Bad Wildbad: Melange Bar, a “melange” between the German culinary culture and the Viennese confectioner’s, and Wildbader Hof, a former brewery of the early 19th century turned into a family-run restaurant for 5 generations!
Unfortunately the second one was closed so I could not try it myself … but I also admit I was very happy to go back twice to Melange Bar;)
What’s the Black Forest cuisine like? All meals start with a soup, which I really appreciate because there is no better way to prepare the digestive system and … warm the soul!
Secondly, after an optional mixed salad, we move onto the main course which always composed of the three most important macro-nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fibers.
As for proteins, thanks to the numerous farms and pastures of the Black Forest, the meat is always of certified origin and of excellent quality, the eggs come from ground breeding, fish from rivers that flow in the woods, and dairy products from happy and free animals!
As for the carbohydrates … I discovered a delicacy typical of the Black Forest that I will hardly forget: Käsespätzle 😍 the famous dumplings of flour and eggs, coated with cheese and sprinkled with onion! An absolute delight!
I brought a pack home … let’s see if I can make them as good as I ate them at Melange Bar!
And even though I know you probably wouldn’t expect it, the Black Forest cuisine is full of vegetables! Cooked and raw, before during and after the main meal!
To finish off, a slice of the homonymous Black Forest cake or one of the other excellent homemade desserts!
Black Forest on the road
After Bad Wildbad my ecoluxury road trip through Germany’s largest Natural Park continues among crystal-clear lakes, valleys, forests and woods … make sure you read my next article!
See you in Baiersbronn folks!