Hansel and Gretel’s Black Forest near Breisach, Germany

By Cacinda Maloney

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

It was a foggy morning and we had all gotten up early to catch the bus to go into the Black Forrest in Germany’s southwest state of Baden-Wurttemberg, near Bavaria. Along the way we saw many church steeples and stork nests, with one in particular that had its own stork webcam for your viewing pleasure!

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

I had little knowledge of the area but dreamed up tiny elves, black witches and a scary village in my head before we began the trek up the mountain on the bus. The only thing I remember about the Black Forest was that this was where Hansel and Gretel, living deep in the forest in a house made of cake, had encountered the wicked witch of the west! Remember that childhood fairy tale? They were a brother-sister duo who outwitted the witch as told by the Brothers Grimm in 1812. The Black Forest was also known as the Schwarzwald and gets its name from its dark, slightly sinister canopy of evergreens.

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

The thick fog began to surround us as we made our way up the winding paved road away from the flatlands of the farming community down below. The lush forest green landscape began to appear and soon became thicker and thicker as we made our way up the side of the mountain.

The tour guides of the Viking River Cruises had timed the bus ride up the mountain just right, as at 10 am sharp, the famous cuckoo clock building would be making its regular appearance by twirling and dancing with the sound often strikes of the clock. It was quite the spectacle as loads of bus-driven gawkers stood right out in front of the giant cuckoo building with gasps and finger pointing in awe as the last “coo” sound was made.

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

The Black Forrest is home to some of the oldest known cuckoo clock makers in the world, dating back to as late as 1638. Apparently being up in the mountains with an excess of wooded timber and cold winter months causes its inhabitants to find ways to occupy the mind and use the hands to create such amazing pieces of art. Inside the building, is, of course, hundreds of cuckoo clocks in a wide variety of styles and costs for your viewing and buying pleasure.

So while the men are carving wood and working in the woodshop, apparently the women have been busy perfecting the perfect black forest cake with loads of layers of cream. This is THE place to get a piece of their famous black forest cream cake. I had heard of this type of cake for years, but never knew it came from this specific region of Germany.

Black Forest Cake, Schluvchsee,Germany

Black Forest Cake, Schluvchsee, Germany

In this tiny village of Schluvchsee, there is a glass shop, a cuckoo clock shop, a black forest cake baking store and a Best Western hotel. By making your way around the back of the hotel, you will find the entrance to the Black Forrest.

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Not wanting to miss a thing, we made our way to the start of the trailhead where there were quite a few wooden bridges along the trail that led up to its two waterfalls deep in the forest.

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)


We then turned around and headed back to the Christmas village known as the “Wintermarkt in Schluvchsee.” It was here that we had some time to spend at these rustic outdoor Christmas markets (wintermarkt) at the start of the trailhead. We were here quite early and so all of the vendors had not quite finished setting up, and therefore, unfortunately, I did not get a chance to see it in full bloom underneath the giant bridge, but a few of them were open and ready to take on the Christmas market onlookers, while others were setting up their wares for the day.

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

This Christmas market is especially not one to miss, as it has the added benefit of the cuckoo clock carving and black forest cake cooking demonstrations, as well as the actual forest, but it is at least a half day excursion, getting up early to make it that way. I especially enjoyed this trip taken from the Viking River Cruise ship TOR on my Rhine Getaway.

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Interesting note about the Black Forest:

The Black Forest is not only associated with Black Forest cake, Black Forest ham, and cuckoo clocks, but also with the Bollenhut – a pompom hat which comes in 2 colors, red and black. It has 14 pompoms on top. The rule with the hat is that unmarried women wear a red hat until they are married, then they wear the black bollenhut hat. Today it is only worn on holidays or special occasions.

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Traditional clothing and bollenhut hat worn in the Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Black Forest, Germany (Schluvchsee)

Disclosure: My Rhine Getaway aboard the Viking River TOR ship was courtesy of Viking River Cruises, but the magic that ensued was all my own.

Recommended Reading Related to Viking River Cruising:

What are Viking River Cruises Really Like?

Best European Christmas Markets on the Rhine River – Viking River Cruise

Highlights of a Danube River Christmas Markets Cruise

Basel Switzerland Christmas Markets

Portraits of Southern France – Viking Tours

Les Baux, France and the Carrieres de Lumieres

Finding a Flea Market in South France

Let the Romance Begin in South France

15 Photos To Make You Pack Your Bags For Southern France

Viking Star: Things to Know Before You Go



  1. Suzanne Fluhr December 27, 2014 at 10:36 am

    I can almost see Hansel and Gretel emerging from the Black Forest mist. Your photos are very evocative. Even the merry Christmas market photos make the place seem vaguely sinister. Yes, I have an over-developed imagination. 🙂

    • Cacinda Maloney December 27, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Yes, the Black Forest is so mystical, especially with Bros. Grimm telling the story!

  2. Kymberly December 27, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    Naechstes Mal, bring Mir Mit! Bring me next time if you need a handy dandy interpreter who likes clocks and Schwarzwald cake!

  3. Vanessa December 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    The Black Forest is really like a place from a fairytale story. I wonder how their Black Forest Cake tasted since originally from there.

    • Cacinda Maloney December 31, 2014 at 4:22 am

      I can let you know that it was quite incredible!! They put layers and layers and layers of homemade creme on it!

  4. Leigh Powell Hines January 22, 2015 at 5:16 am

    I so want to go to Germany. I hope we get to meet at some point Cacinda because I think we have lots in common. Your blog is one of my favorites.


    • Cacinda Maloney January 22, 2015 at 8:24 am

      Thank you so much Leigh, that is very nice of you to say!

  5. […] which is actually a two story building that houses the mechanism or the one near Breisach (https://www.pointsandtravel.com/black-forest-near-breisach-germany/) , which I think is a much prettier stop and has an area of the black forest that you can actually […]

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  7. […] Hansel and Gretel’s Black Forest in Breisach, Germany […]

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  10. Nancy Dunn January 14, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I just learned I’ll be taking a the Viking Cruise down the Rhein River in September from Basel to Amsterdam. In my research, I came across your blog. I am so excited! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this blog on the Black Forest. Thank you! Nancy

    • Cacinda Maloney January 18, 2016 at 6:38 am

      Oh Nancy! You will have such a fabulous time! Enjoy!

  11. Melissa March 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I love the hat haha super cute! I am so confused on the Black Forest Cake though, I always hear contradictory things on whether it is from there or not.

  12. Laura Louise March 28, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I’ll be there next week on a VRC trip & am researching before I leave. Good info & pics- I’m esp excited about the day in the Black Forrest & love Handsel & Gretel. #gettingexcited

    • Cacinda Maloney March 28, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Fantastic!! You Will have a fabulous time, I am sure of it!

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