The Black Forest region, in Germany’s southwestern corner, is easy to reach from airports in Zürich, Switzerland, and Frankfurt, Germany. A great destination for family travel, Southwest Germany offers castles, palaces, fun parks, watersports, outdoor adventures and half-timbered villages straight out a fairytale.
Begin in Stuttgart and visit Wilhelma Zoological and Botanic Garden, one of Germany’s largest zoos. This park setting was a royal retreat filled with fanciful Neo-Moorish pavilions, now converted into homes for animals and plants.
Take a short train ride to nearby Ludwigsburg to visit more royal pleasure grounds. The beautiful Ludwigsburg Palace sits in extensive gardens that delight children with a faux castle tower, artificial ruins and a playground worthy of royal children. Rent a paddle boat and cross the lake to Monrepos, another rococo palace set in its own gardens, a perfect place for a picnic.
Step back into another era in nearby Esslingen, where more than 200 half-timbered buildings create the feel of the Middle Ages. Esslingen is also easy to reach by train. Driving south, stop at Black Forest Open Air Museum, where kids love the animals, traditional farmhouse and mammoth barns. Programs encourage young visitors to learn old-time farm and household skills.
Stop in Schonach to visit the world’s largest cuckoo clock. The clock face covers the front of a house and, when inside, you can watch the giant works, all carved from wood, operate the clock. In nearby Triburg, climb alongside the long waterfall as it drops from pool to pool. From the wooden bridge at the top, look down into the entire ravine.
At the southern edge of the Black Forest, the large lake of Titisee is popular for families, with plenty of places to stay. The area also includes hiking trails, a bike path and Badeparadies Schwarzwald, a water park with waterslides and 18 pools, as well as saunas and a spa. You can rent motorboats, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and pedal boats at the lake.
In Rust, you’ll find EuropaPark, Germany’s largest theme park, where the rides, shows and amusements represent 15 different countries with themed areas and costumed characters.
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