Shopping in Style in the Region's Big Cities
From Place Kléber to Place des Halles, Strasbourg is packed with exclusive boutique shops selling globally renowned brands. Whether you’re looking for prêt-à-porter or luxury goods, one-off items or vintage pieces, the capital city of the Alsace region has enough specialist outlets and big department stores to suit everyone’s taste.
And you’ll experience plenty of luxury, glamour, and international flair shopping in Baden-Baden, too. Prada, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Escada, Jil Sander, Armani, Hermès, and many other exclusive brands can all be found here – just make sure you find time to enjoy a cake embellished with gold leaf at Café König!
The Ortenau region lies at the heart of Europe and is easy to reach from anywhere in the world. The airports in Basel, Strasbourg, Baden-Baden, Stuttgart, and Frankfurt are no more than two hours away by car. And when you arrive there are plenty of exclusive vehicles and limousines to hire, including Rolls Royce, Jaguar and Mercedes.
The Black Forest - Home to Health
The Black Forest's association with health and well-being stretches back several centuries. Running close to the fashionable, world-famous spa resort of Baden-Baden, the Black Forest Spa Route also passes through Bad Peterstal and Bad Rippoldsau-Schapbach. Situated at almost 1000 metres above sea level, this latter resort is the Black Forest's highest mineral and mud spa. Many people have enjoyed the spa facilities here, including the famous poet Rainer Maria Rilke, the composer Johannes Brahms and the French novelist Victor Hugo. As well as savouring the fresh Black Forest air and benefiting from the healing springs, they also applied the mud packs which are particularly favoured nowadays for degenerative spinal diseases and chronic back pain.
Bad Peterstal provides inpatient and outpatient treatment for cardiovascular diseases, spine and joint pain, rheumatic disorders, metabolic disorders (diabetes mellitus), psychosomatic conditions such as burnout syndrome, and gynaecological disorders.
The Healing Effects of Water
'Detox' may sound like a fairly modern kind of beauty treatment, but the idea has actually been around for a surprisingly long time. Originally referred to as a 'drinking cure', its popularity spread from Baden to Vienna and on to Bath in England, Spa in Belgium, and all the many towns in the northern Black Forest whose names begin with the word 'Bad'. The Greek philosopher Thales von Milet was one of the first to extol water as a primordial element of the universe, claiming: "the principle of all things is water; all comes from water, and to water all returns".
Water has a curative effect - but not every water cures the same diseases. In Germany spa water is classed as a medicinal product which requires regulatory approval. The town of Bad Peterstal-Griesbach bottles famous curative mineral waters such as 'Bad Griesbacher Heilwasser', which is particularly beneficial for the gastrointestinal tract and for chronic urinary tract infections. Gem water also comes from here, with water from the Antonius spring (Schwarzwald Sprudel) passing through a filter made from the purest quality gemstones. Meanwhile Black Forest still (Peterstaler Mineralquellen) has such a low level of mineralisation that it can even be given to babies, and Hornberger Lebensquell water is also recommended for 'drinking cures', again because of its low level of mineralisation and the fact that it is low in sodium.
Breathtaking Trails Along the Black Forest High Road
The Schwarzwaldhochstrasse, or "Black Forest High Road", is the oldest and most attractive scenic drive in Germany's highest central upland region. Situated at a height of between 600 and 1000 metres, the road offers visitors glorious views of the Black Forest, stretching as far as the plain of the Rhine and the French Vosges mountains.
The perfect place to begin a journey along the Black Forest High Road is the spa town of Baden-Baden. Steep and curving, the road winds its way up to Bühlerhöhe, home to the famous Max Grundig Clinic. This is the place to take a deep breath and savour the healthy and invigorating Black Forest air. In winter skiers can enjoy the superbly maintained cross-country trails and perfectly groomed slopes. Below the Hornisgrinde - at 1163 metres the highest peak in the northern Black Forest - is the Mummelsee glacial lake, a relic of the last Ice Age which is often referred to as one of the 'dark eyes' of the Black Forest. The source of numerous legends and fairy tales, the Mummelsee is fabled to be the home of water nymphs and supernatural forces.
Following the crest of the Schliffkopf, the Black Forest High Road provides access to hundreds of breathtakingly beautiful hiking and mountain bike trails which wend their way through the so-called Grinden, or treeless wet heaths, on the highland slopes. On clear days you can see the Alps in the distance - and hikers may be lucky enough to catch glimpses of wood grouse, golden eagles and perhaps even a peregrine falcon.
A Strikingly Beautiful National Park
A forest in which nothing has been felled – and no fallen trees cleared away – for over 100 years has evolved into a form of ancient woodland in the heart of the Black Forest.
Hushed, mysterious and extraordinarily beautiful, this protected woodland in the Black Forest National Park is one of the region’s most striking natural wonders.
Combining Tradition and Modernity
The 4* hotels ‘Bell Rock’, ‘Colosseo’, ‘Santa Isabel’, ‘Castillo Alcazar’ and ‘El Andaluz’ offer guests southern European flair, a trip to New England, and a trip back in time to the Middle Ages. Located at the heart of Europa Park, the world-famous theme park resort, they offer a truly unforgettable holiday experience.
The Vogtsbauernhof farmhouse on the road from Offenburg to Hornberg dates back over 400 years. Today it’s Baden-Württemberg’s oldest open-air museum, showing how people lived, worked and thrived in the Black Forest in centuries gone by.The ‘Dorotheenhütte’ hand-blown glassworks and museum allows visitors to watch experts in glass-making and grinding at work, stroll through the showrooms and glassmaking facilities, and acquire stunning pieces of glass artwork.
Iffezheim: The Classic 'It' Place for Horse Lovers
For over 150 years thoroughbreds have been competing at the world-famous Iffezheim Racecourse just a few kilometres from the city of Baden-Baden, offering some of the biggest highlights in the social and sporting calendar. The celebrated ‘Grosser Preis von Baden’ race is held every September during the Grand Festival Week. Run over the classic Derby distance of 2,400 metres, the Group 1 flat horse race has won international acclaim. The legendary mare Kincsem and the German stallion Oleander are the only horses to have achieved three victories in this major race, which is open to thoroughbreds aged three years or older.
Castles, Manor Houses and Nature at Its Best
The Ortenau region features more than 112 castles and stately homes, some of which were built over 1,000 years ago. These fascinating buildings have become popular tourist attractions which evoke memories of historical events and famous figures from the past.
Towering almost 400 metres above the roofs of Durbach, Staufenberg Castle offers visitors one of the most breathtaking views over Offenburg and the French Vosges mountains. Now owned by the Margrave of Baden, the castle’s walls have stood watch for nearly 1,000 years.
Schauenburg Castle in Oberkirch was built in the 11th century and is closely linked to Uta von Schauenburg, the founder of the nearby All Saints’ Abbey and sovereign countess of Schauenberg. She was the aunt of the subsequent Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and of Henry the Lion. The basement of Schauenburg Castle now contains a small Museum.
Triberg Falls is one of the highest and best-known waterfalls in Germany. One of those inspired by its beauty was the writer Ernest Hemingway, who happily whiled away the hours fishing in this cool Black Forest valley. The Gutach River plunges 163 metres down the falls, providing a magnificent natural spectacle of thundering, foaming water.