Cute student city close to the most beautiful places in the Black Forest
EuropeGermany5 days / October 2021
Highs & Lows
Camping in October was not our best idea - the nights were super cold
The Black Forest is one of my favourite regions in Germany. It is Germany's highest mountain range and you find countless of opportunities for hikes, mountain bike tours and (in the winter) skiing there. Freiburg is a cute student city located right at the edge of the Black Forest - from here, you can visit many of the highlights of the mountain range.
Freiburg is a beautiful, sunny, young city located close to the Black Forest. The city is known for its many sunny hours (some also refer to it as "Germany's California", its high standard of living, its reknowned University and its advanced environmental practices. I actually studied in Freiburg and during my 5 years of living there, I really fell in love with the city.
The city is not just close to beautiful nature, also within the city you'll find many green spaces to enjoy. There is the Seepark, a artificial lake that especially during summer attracts many people to swim and hang out there. Another popular lake that is just outside of Freiburg is the Opfinger Lake which is also really beautiful. You'll also have the Dreisam, the river that flows through Freiburg, where you can take nice walks and hang out at, especially in the parts that are a bit futher away from the city center (towards Littenweiler or Landwasser the riverbank gets really nice). For a panoramic view and a little bit of mountain feeling within the city, you can walk up the Schlossberg. In July/August, the "Schlossbergfest" takes place, where you'll find live music and food and drink stands on the Schlossberg.
In the city center, be sure to visit the "Münster", Freiburg's cathedral. Around the Münster, there is a really nice market taking place from Mo-Sa from 8-14 pm. You'll find local fruits and vegetables, candy, handycrafts and food booths there.
The "Platz der Alten Synagoge" (square of the old synagogue") is one of Freiburg's main squares, especially for students as many university buildings and the Library are located around it. I've spent countless afternoons hanging out at the Platz der Alten Synagogue with my friends, enjoying a drink or ice-cream from Hofeis (my favourite ice-cream place in Freiburg, check it out!). The university's library is known for its futuristic architecture (to my mind, it looks like a spaceship), so make sure to visit it. You'll also find many restaurants and bars in the small streets close to the Platz der Alten Synagoge and some people call this area the "Bermuda triangle" due to the shape of the streets and the fact that many people get "lost" there at night, wandering from bar to bar ;)
The neighborhood called "Vauban" is known for its innovative sustainable practices, like passive houses and many solar panels. If you like architecture, you should visit the neighborhoods "Wiere" and "Herdern", where you'll find many old (and new) mansions, especially close to the Schlossberg. From Herdern, you can also go up the Schlossberg to the "Eichhalde", where you'll also have a great view over Freiburg and where I've spent many nice summer nights with bonfires.
Freiburg is located close to France and Switzerland. From here, you can take nice daytrips to Basel (Switzerland), known for its many museums, or Straßburg and Mulhouse (France).
We went to Schluchsee for Camping. The lake is super nice and you'll have a great scenery with the mountains in the back. It is easy to reach from Freiburg by train and way less touristic than "Titisee", another lake really close by. You can hike here, swim in the lake (in the summer) and just enjoy nature.
Since we went Camping at the end of October, it was super cold during the nights so I definitely would recommend coming here during the warmer months. However, we had a great time and enjoyed the view a lot.
Q & A
What would you have changed?Visit during the warmer months (but not during high season as it is super touristicy in Freiburg then). Maybe August/September or spring time is perfect!
Anything go wrong during the trip?As I already stated, camping in October was not the best idea. It was quite cold during the night but it was not too bad, I wouldn't say that totally "went wrong", just something to keep in mind.
Restaurant recommendations?A little bit outside of Freiburg, there is a restaurant called "Blume" which serves Black Forest Tapas, so Tapas from the region. It is AMAZING (a bit pricey but definitely worth the money)! In Freiburg, I really like Chada Thai in Herdern and the Indian Curryhouse in Stühlinger. Freiburg also has maany nice cafés, I especially like Hermanns (close to the train station), Au Contraire (in the city center, make sure to catch a seat outside on the terrace), Pausenraum (in Herdern, they have hammocks to chill out in!) and Küchenschelle (in Betzenhausen, in the middle of allotments with a big garden, so super nice).
Tips you would give a friend?Try to avoid the turistic high seasons (June-July) and the weekends, then the city center is totally packed and (in my mind) not fun to visit.
Packing tips?Sunscreen - it is, after all, Germany's sunniest city ;)
Transportation Tips?Freiburg is well connected by train. If you come by plane, the nearest airport is Basel-Mulhouse. From there, you can take the airport shuttle to Freiburg. Everything around Freiburg you can reach by train. Within Freiburg, it is best to get around by bike. Freiburg is not big so usually everything is reachable within 20 bike-minutes. Often, biking is even faster than public transportation (tram).