Travelling through the Black Forest by train
At a glance
- Regional train
- Scenic train
Exploring the Black Forest by train is an easy, economic and environmentally friendly way of seeing the region. A network of regional rail routes climb up into the hills from the Rhine Valley. Services on these routes are provided mainly by local trains linking tourist hubs like Freudenstadt, Titisee and Triberg and many remote rural communities in the Black Forest region.
The jumping off points for trains into the wooded hill country known as the Black Forest are three railway junctions on the eastern flank of the Rhine Valley: Rastatt, Offenburg and Freiburg im Breisgau. In addition, there is a seasonal steam train service from Weizen to Blumberg-Zollhaus that takes in some delicious scenery on the southern fringe of the Black Forest, skirting the Swiss border along the way. If you insist on sightseeing only from the comfort of an Intercity train then your options are limited: there is a once-daily IC train from Karlsruhe to Konstanz via Triberg. It’s no faster than local trains on the same route.
Services from Offenburg and Rastatt to Freudenstadt are Standard Class only. Most trains on other routes offer a choice of First or Standard Class seating. Remember that speed plays second fiddle to scenery on this extraordinary network of rail routes. The Black Forest deserves time. It is a chance to slow down and savour the changing panoramas beyond the carriage window.
Seating and sleeping on Black Forest Train
The sheer variety of train types serving the Black Forest branch lines means that quality of seating varies considerably. On the ride from Offenburg to Freudenstadt (where trains are run by private operator Ortenau-S-Bahn), there are few creature comforts. The best Standard Class seating is on the comfortable Interregio-Express (IRE) services from Offenbach to Triberg and beyond.
Food and drink on Black Forest Train
With the focus rightly on passing landscape, fine dining is hardly a priority for most travellers exploring the Black Forest by train. The best you’ll find is a Deutsche Bahn bistro on the very occasional Intercity trains that serve the Schwarzwaldbahn en route from Konstanz to Karlsruhe. Expect the usual range of snacks, drinks and light meals.