The 11 best outdoor activities in Freiburg - Lonely Planet

The 11 best outdoor activities in Freiburg - Lonely Planet


The stunning countryside surrounding the town of Freiburg has lots of fun activities for the whole family © BFC/ Ascent Xmedia / Getty Images

The best outdoor activities in Freiburg: hiking back to happiness

Wherever you are inFreiburg, you can feel the pull of the mountains and forest. The southern German town, a beacon of progressiveness and sustainability, exudes an energetic vibe that courses through the cobblestone streets and historicBächlegutters. The surroundingSchwarzwald(Black Forest) lures you into its enchanting trails, and the Schauinsland mountain creates a dramatic backdrop against the medieval old town.

So its no surprise that Freiburgs best activities are found outdoors. From a leisurelysonntagsspaziergang(Sunday hike) to an intrepid snowshoeing adventure, this Black Forest town has something for everyone and every fitness level. And dont worry about the weather as the Germans firmly believe, theres no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing.

So strap on your boots, and grab those hiking poles, because here are the best outdoor activities for kids, adventurers, and adrenaline junkies in Freiburg.

If the Brothers Grimm captivated your imagination with stories like Hansel and Gretel inspired by theBlack Forest, take the time to delve deep into its magic on a multiday hike along the famous Black Forest Westweg trail. Its hard to get lost with red triangles marking the 285 km (177mi) trail, and you can choose between sections with low undulating hills that arent too intense on the knees, or tougher peaks that scale Feldberg mountain. As well as the dense pine forest, youll cross open country, sunny meadows, orchards and dairy farms, while ruins, tiny medieval towns, and complete the fairytale.

As Freiburg is a good seven hours from the nearest beach, the locals instead head to nearby lakes to cool off. From May to September, the water at Dietenbachsee is warm enough to swim in. There are also playgrounds to occupy the little ones, beach volleyball courts, table tennis tables and a skate park. The lake also makes for a relaxing stroll in winter, at just 20 minutes on the 3 tram from Freiburgs old town.

Another popular place to relax on a hot summer day is Opfinger See, around 10km (6mi) west of Freiburg. This natural body of water is kept cool from the surrounding Mooswald forest. Get there early to find a spot on the sunbathing lawn, and bring supplies if you want to take advantage of the BBQ grills scattered around the shore.

A popular long distance trail for travelers who like to hike with a side of wine is the 84km (52mi)Markgräfler Wiiwegli(wine trail). You can choose to complete the whole trail over 3-4 days, staying at inns along the way, or if youre short on time, tackle the first section from Sankt Georgen to Staufen for a decent day hike. Winding through the wine growing regions of the southern Black Forest and the French border, the trail is relatively flat and well-paved.

In fall, the landscape is brushed with golden and amber hues, turning it into an impressionists dream. Youll also find many of theStraußwirtschaften(seasonal wine taverns) throw their doors open in fall and spring offering a welcome break for hungry hikers to enjoy the latest harvest and a warm snack. Just look for a broom hanging out the front that indicates theyre open for business.

While nearby ski resortFeldbergoperates pretty decent skiing and snowboarding runs, its also a busy spot. So get away from the busy ski lifts and spend time experiencing nature as you glide acrossSchauinslandmountain on snowshoes. The sport is gaining popularity for the freedom and peacefulness it offers, as well as its claim as the worlds healthiest sport. The gliding motion delivers a complete body workout that strengthens the heart and muscles, without the impact or risk associated with other cardio workouts, all while breathing in fresh mountain air. All the gear you need can be hired on-mountain for around €50 ($56) for a week between November and March. The Schauinsland 15km (9mi) red trail is a great place to learn the ropes.

A city full of bike-crazy people means a forest full of awesome mountain bike trails. Pros and absolute beginners will find trails that are well-maintained and rock-free. The terrain is flowy as opposed to steep, making for pretty rapid riding. Head towards the Dreisam soccer stadium to try out the jumps at the thrilling Baden to the bone trail. You may encounter some snow in the depths of winter, but otherwise mountain biking is definitely considered a year-round sport in this part of the world. Mountain bike rental starts at €25 ($27) a day fromRadstationnext to the train station in town.

While youre testing out the snowshoes, the kids and big kids at heart will love the thrill of sledding. One of the best-known sled runs can be found at the top of Schauinsland. Jump in the cable car from Horben and rent your sled at the top. Then, brace yourself for the speedy 300m (920ft) ride down. Rinse and repeat until your hands, feet or lungs cant take it anymore.

There are few better ways to end an evening than watching the sunset over Freiburg © BFC / Ascent Xmedia / Getty Images

Watch the sunset over Freiburgs rooftops

According to the locals, Eichhalde is the best place to watch the sunset over Freiburgs rooftops. This hill on Eichhalde Street has a few benches scattered on the open field, so pack a picnic or a bottle of wine and get comfy. Its a short half hour walk from town, or an easy bike ride, but far from the crowds.

Otherwise stay in town and join the cool kids sipping beers on the blue steel Wiwilbrcke bridge next to the main station. The view might not be as beautiful, but the people watching is top-notch.

If youre looking for the perfect day out in the Black Forest, this ones for you. Departing from Freiburgs main station every half hour, theHöllentalbahn traintravels into the depths of the Black Forest on one of Germanys steepest railways. If youre there in July, August or December, you might even get to ride on the historic steam train that makes a special appearance on the route. Take in the views over the tiny towns and forest as you travel towards Titisee. This popular lake has lakeside cafs and restaurants, pedal boats for hire, and a pleasant hour-long hiking trail around its perimeter.

If youve got wheels, dont miss a day trip out toRavennaschlucht(Ravenna Gorge), a short 30 minute drive out of town. The tranquil 4km (2.5mi) hike follows the gorges windy path through a valley of waterfalls, mossy paths, wooden footbridges and historic aqueducts.

In December, the towering archedRavennabrcke(bridge) lights up as it hosts one of the most magical Christmas markets in the region. Warm up with a steaming glhwein as you browse delicate Christmas ornaments, woolly scarves and mittens, and Cuckoo clocks, synonymous with the region.

Another outdoor activity that is easy to get to with a car is theHasenhorn Rodelbahn(Toboggan). The longest toboggan run in Germany, youll fly down the loopy track in around three minutes, and want to do it all over again. For the ultimate thrill, follow the operators instructions and stay off the brakes! One run costs 10€ ($11) for adults and includes the chairlift ride up.

Safety recommendations and restrictions during a pandemic can change rapidly. Lonely Planet recommends that travelers always check with local authorities for up-to-date guidance beforetraveling during Covid-19.

You may also like:The best things to do in Freiburg, Germanys greenest city7 must-do hikes in Germanys picturesque countrysideTop 12 things to do when you visit Germany

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