Is there anywhere else on Earth teeming with such enchantment and romance? Nearly 100 miles long, the Black Forest has attracted curious visitors for centuries with its sun-dappled trees, singing brooks, and storybook villages. The forest is so magical, in fact, that it is believed to be the setting of many famous fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.
With sprawling dirt and stone paths weaving among leafy enclaves, misty waterfalls, and mysterious castles forgotten to time, the Black Forest is wonderful when explored by bicycle. A treasure trove of natural beauty, the forest is also home to an exciting plethora of plants. What fantastical flora awaits you under the Black Forest's green canopy? Read on to find out.
Water lilies full of secrets
Deep in the Black Forest, the shimmering Mummel Lake, also known as the Mummelsee, awaits travelers, with beautiful water lilies floating elegantly on its surface. According to Europe Diaries, legend has it that the King of Mummelsee lives in the lake. He's accompanied by beguiling water nymphs who come to the surface only to bathe in the moonlight. If the water shakes, it means that the water spirits are unhappy. A mere 30 miles from Strasbourg, the Mummelsee is a great place to spend time during the post-trip extension on our Alsace & the Black Forest: La Route des Vins biking vacation. When you go, look out for white and pink water lilies, and remember not to disturb the lake!
Mystical ferns and mosses
Ferns and moss grow throughout the Black Forest, thanks to the area's rich soil and cool climate. Of particular interest is the rare fern, Polystichum braunii. This species is found today in only 15 locations in Central Europe, with a large population in the southern part of the Black Forest, according to research from ecologist Robin Schwerbrock of Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Another plant of note is the Lycopodium obscurum, otherwise known as rare clubmoss. It may not be a moss by technical standards, but its shiny evergreen needles make it an interesting sight.
Trees that see all
The Black Forest gets its name from the dense canopy of trees overhead that block most sunlight in some places. Travelers will marvel at the leafy beech, elm and oak trees spread through the woodlands during a bike ride on Day 4 and notice how their long branches and sprawling vegetation providing protection and privacy for all the creatures that call the forest home.
Trees have great cultural significance for Germany and its favorite community gathering place: the biergarten. As Zeitguide Germany explained, beer barrels were traditionally placed under trees for shade during the hot summer months. People began gathering under the trees to drink and chat, and thus the biergarten was created. Laughing and sharing stories with locals in a convivial woodland biergarten is a wonderful way to end a day spent biking through the Black Forest.
Discover the secrets and stories of the Black Forest for yourself with our Alsace & The Black Forest: La Route des Vins biking tour. To request a free VBT catalog and learn more about other exciting destinations throughout the world, click here. If you would like to speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. EST and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.