Yes, there’s the Black Forest… but there’s so much more to see besides that
There is one road that tends to dominate discussions and draw people to ride in Baden-Württemberg: the B500 in the Black Forest. The Schwartzwaldhochstraße (Black Forest high road) was originally created to draw tourists into the forest and it’s worked. Thing is, a lot of it now carries lowered speed limits and it’s busy. It's still a great road, but there are so many other great roads to ride in the Schwarzwald it’s a shame to ride just that one.
Indeed, it’d be a shame to ride just the Black Forest. There’s top riding all over the state – especially in the Odenwald outside Heidleburg. That’s like the Black Forest without the tourists… But as long as you don’t get sucked into the orbit of Stuttgart, there’s fine riding everywhere… with one note of caution. Baden-Württemberg is home to the B31: our candidate for most frustratingly dull road in Europe.
Where to stay
It’s a fair-sized city, but Baden-Baden is really tourist-friendly, with loads of hotels and B&Bs to choose from (not to mention good camp sites around it). It’s the gateway to the Black Forest and an ideal base for exploring. Hotel tip: Hotel Athos
Frieburg im Bresigau
Another bustling city, this time in the southern Black Forest – and packed with character. Lovely old-town section around the cathedral and lovely roads all round it. Of the two, it’s our preferred base for riding the Black Forest. Just. Hotel tip: Hotel Bischofslinde
Another beautiful university city, packed with history and culture. The ideal base for exploring the Odenwald – but the northern end of the Black Forest is also within reach (especially if you use a bit of autobahn to get down there). Hotel tip: Star Inn Hotel
What to see
On the shores of Lake Constance (or Konstanz, if you’re feeling more German) is the big industrial town of Friedrichshafen – often with a cigar-shaped dirigible floating above it. The Zeppelin Museum beneath the balloon is genuinely fascinating.
Another region of Germany, another list of jaw-dropping castles to visit. Top of the list is Hohenzollern, closely followed by Lichtenstein but Frankenstein, Guttenberg, Heidelberg, Hohenneuffen, Sigmaringen and others are also good for a few hours off the bike.
The Black Forest is famous for its cuckoo clocks. You’ll find shops selling them (marvel at the prices – these are serious time-pieces, not cheap novelties) all over the Schwartzwald. If you don’t want to take one home, go to Triberg to see the world’s largest.
If you want a day off the bike, connecting with your inner child, Germany’s largest amusement park, Europa-Park, is just north of Freiburg, on the shores of the Rhine. Only Disneyland in Paris is bigger or busier.
Tucked up on the end of the peninsula poking out into the lake, the city of Konstanz is charming, with a nicely preserved old town with a good cathedral and a fabulous harbour. The thermal baths and the huge Sea Life aquarium are popular, too…
A beautiful garden floating in a tranquil sea… Mainau is a 45-hectare island on Lake Konstanz, complete with its own Baroque schloss and vast gardens filled with all manner of plants. A beautiful break from the bike, but allow at least two hours.
The capital of Baden- Württemberg is Stuttgart – home to Porsche, Daimler and Mercedes-Benz… So there’s a lot of four-wheeled heritage to celebrage. There are good museums in Sinsheim and Einstingen .
Swäbisch Hall is a fantastic town filled with traditional buildings, boasting a beautiful market square. Plenty of cool cafés plus a fancy gallery if you fancy a longer break from the saddle and a bit of culture.
Titter ye not – Titisee is a serious destination. One of several lakes in the southern Black Forest, it’s a magnet for holiday-makers and motorcyclists alike. There are two towns: Tittisee and, a bit further from the actual lake, Tittisee Neustadt. Either of which makes an ideal lunch or coffee stop (or indeed overnight stop).
B500 Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt - OK, it’s a cliché and old hands will point to other roads – but if you haven’t ridden the Black Forest’s most famous road, you need to experience it.
36 Black Forest One
There’s more to the Black Forest than the B500 – as this route demonstrates, using very little of the famous road while delivering a full day of brilliant riding. If you want a slightly shorter ride, it’s easily adapted… by using the B500 on the return leg.
Distance: 230 miles
Riding time: 7 hours
37 Black Forest Two
Discover the southern end of the Black Forest, as our route spirals through the woods and around the Feldberg, the highest peak in the Schwarzwald. A full day in the saddle but possibly even better than riding the north end of the forest.
Distance: 185 miles
Riding time: 6 hours
38 Two-Castle Route
It looks like a short route… because it is (though it packs in more corners than a complete tour of Holland). The main aim is to provide time to explore Hohenzollern and Lichtenstein castles – two of Germany’s finest.
Distance: 90 miles
Riding time: 3 hours
When one of your best biking buddies keeps heading to an obscure range of forested hills in Germany, you know it’s not just for the beer and currywurst. So thank you Rasty for introducing us to the fabulous twisties of the Odenwald.
Distance: 195 miles
Riding time: 6 hours
40 Blimps and boats
The north shore of Lake Konstanz is often referred to as the German Riviera. This million-dollar route avoids the dull B32, though it does take in the Zeppelin museum in Freidrichshafen before catching the ferry across the lake and and looping back through the fabulous countryside.
Distance: 120 miles
Riding time: 4.5 hours