The goats are loose

Village holidays
in the Black Forest

A visit to the Röhrenbach family‘s Apfelhof farm on Lake Constance

Holidays in the countryside are special. Ask any child! And in villages, such as Lossburg, in the Black Forest, you will enjoy a warm welcome, meet local farmers and take in the Great Outdoors. Perfect for families!

Goats from the KulTierHof love to join you on walks | © Oliver Raatz

Benedikt carefully reaches for an egg in the mobile chicken coop, fishes it out and puts it in the box. “Look, there‘s another one over there,” he calls out to Carla Staiger. With a group of like-minded people, she runs a big old farm here in Lossburg-Schömberg, in the Black Forest. Benedikt‘s little sister, Lina, stays in Mummy‘s arms, but is allowed to stroke a chicken. “Very soft,” she says, with a laugh. Having made their purchases in the farm shop, the family is now getting a free tour. The little ones are delighted: they can feed the Swabian-Hällisch pigs and visit the hens in the field.

Children can play in the brook that runs into Kinzigsee lake

Lossburg, south of Freudenstadt, is a secluded village in the River Kinzig valley. It is one of 21 communities that have come together to create Dorfurlaub im Schwarzwald (Black Forest Village Holidays). The idea is simple: guests are invited to take part in village life. They stay with locals and get to know the traditions. They meet farmers, chat to food producers and explore the countryside. Children make friends with other youngsters and they love having the freedom to roam.

Mühlenweiher pond in Betzweiler, a quiet community that is part of Lossburg | © Oliver Raatz

We meet up with Benedikt and Lina‘s parents, who wanted their children to have an experience that was completely different from their usual home life. And, for themselves, they fancied some greenery, home-grown produce and a relaxed, carefree break. After seeing the farm, the children have taken off their shoes and are exploring the water adventure tour in the fairy-tale setting around nearby Kinzigsee lake. This is a nature adventure trail around the stream that is the source of the River Kinzig. A little further on, there is a station, where you can have a go with the fun super sprayers and water pistols and a spot where little ones can play safely by the stream. Benedikt clambers along the shady waterside; Lina is happy to sit and throw stones into the brook. Lunch is a picnic with local goodies from Lossburger’s Vesperdäschle (picnic stall). Then, they all climb up the Vogteiturm tower, an impressive scenic lookout. The children are excited; the parents love the view.

Feeding the pigs at the Hofbauernhof | © Oliver Raatz

At the KulTierHof, a farm dating back to the 18th century, owner Esther Föttinger calls out to her protégés: “Come on Toff, come on Frida.“ And, after a moment, they happily run after her, ready for a walk. No, these are not horses; they are high-spirited goats! Esther explains that her father’s purchase of the farm a few years ago enabled her to fulfil a childhood dream of looking after animals. “Goats are such emphatic creatures,” she says, “I‘ve always wanted to have some.” Here in Betzweiler-Wälde near Lossburg, the goats are neither slaughtered nor milked. Their only duty seems to be going for a walk with visitors through the village and the forest. It is now time for Lina and Benedikt to be collected by their grandparents, who came with them on holiday.

But the younger generation want to do more; they want to go to Conni‘s cheese factory on the Schwenkenhof farm. While they watch the cows, the adults can taste the organic cheese. And, while the children are busy and happy, the parents can hike the Mühlenwelt am Heimbach, a watermill-themed trail that has 13 stops along the way. They are accompanied by Karl-Heinz Mäder, whose ancestors operated saw mills in the Black Forest valley.

Eine Frau schneidet hinter einer Verkaufstheke große Käseräder in kleinere Stücke. Ein Mann und eine Frau schauen der Frau hinter der Theke zu.

Tasting organic cheeses in Conni’s factory | © Oliver Raatz

Three more village holidays in the Black Forest

Seebach: hike to the Mummelsee lake

The village of Seebach is like a fairy-tale, set on the shore of Mummelsee lake, which is home to the Mümmlein water spirits. Or so the legend goes. Hikers reach the lake via the Grindenpfad trail. Other holiday experiences include the Hornisgrinde observation tower, the Silbergründle ore mine and the Deckerhof mill.

Schönwald: home of the cuckoo clock

In the early 1730s, the world’s first cuckoo clock was made in Schönwald. Here, the long-established craft tradition is celebrated in the Reinertonishof heritage museum. As well as ticking clocks, there are displays about the Schönwald way of life and the oldest family-run smokehouse, still making delicious Black Forest ham.

Nordrach: traditional distilling

Fine fruit brandies are a speciality of Nordrach. Hike the Obstbrennerweg trail through the lovely Nordrachtal valley. Along the way are 13 Brennhislis, family-run distilleries, where brandies and liqueurs are made from heritage fruit varieties.