Regional Overview

The Black Forest

The Baden we see here is a 19th-century construct that forcibly combines the Franconian-Protestant North with the Alemannic-Catholic South. The only thing that unites Baden is the Black Forest, which forms a rugged spine across the region. Today, the land remains one of many different cultural traditions, from the cosmopolitan Baden-Baden and Karlsruhe, the pastoral Black Forest villages, to the almost-Swiss speaking southerners in Freiburg.

Regional Identity

What to Lookout For

  • The Alemannic Gothic architecture of the Breisgau in the South, i.e., the political and economic ties to Strasbourg and Switzerland
  • The splendor of the Northern Baden court, with grand monuments of the Baroque and Historicism
  • The Black Forest with its hidden villages and distinctive architecture.




Justin Bunch | CityscapeTravel My suggested travel destinations with the top three destinations highlighted

What is Baden?

Baden, in the modern sense, typically refers to the region between the Rhine and the mountains of the Black Forest. The dark forest once separated the tribes of the Alemanni from the Swabians. This division is still celebrated today in the contest between Baden and Württemberg. Baden is a verdant and thinly populated region famous for its forests and vineyards. Less known is its rich urban heritage, with the cities of Baden Baden, Freiburg, and Karlsruhe.

Historically, Baden split into a Northern Portion, ruled by Karlsruhe, and a Southern Portion, led mainly by the Emperor. With the end of the Holy Roman Empire, we can thank Napoleon for drawing the current borders.

Baden is a distinctive region, and it is still bitter that it was not granted full autonomy at the end of WWII. It fiercely defends its dialect and cultural traditions, despite not having a unified set of traditions. Throughout the region, you will still see the flag of Baden flying proudly. Its small towns and beautiful landscapes make it worth visiting on any trip up the Rhine.

Hiking in the Region

Hiking: The Hochblauen Summit

Hiking: The Hochblauen Summit

The Hochblauen mountain is the “Hausberg,” or the symbolic heights of the Markgräflerland region. From here, you get sweeping vistas of the surrounding landscape, a…

Hiking: The Markgräflerland Vineyards

Hiking: The Markgräflerland Vineyards

The Markgräflerland is an ancient region at the tip of Southern Baden, where France, Germany, and Switzerland meet. Known for its rolling hills and dramatic…

Hiking: Istein Cliffs

Hiking: Istein Cliffs

At the upper-most part of the Rhine, as it snakes its way towards the Swiss Border, the Rhine begins to cut through some low Apline…

Hiking: Rötteln Castle

Hiking: Rötteln Castle

Rötteln castle is today one of the largest castle ruins in Baden. During its heyday, it was also one of the most lavishly furnished residences…

Cities of Baden

My Subjective Travel Rankings

To understand where the categories come from, see this article here.

6.6 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Accommodation: 8
  • Transportation: 6
  • Volume/Capacity: 8
  • Infrastructure: 6
  • Interactivity: 5

4.3 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Context: 4
  • Monuments: 6
  • Quality: 3

9 / 10

The score is based on the following:

  • Abstraction: 8
  • Tradition: 10



The legacy of the Empire in stone can be seen in the villages of the Alsace and in the soaring cathedrals of the Palatinate.

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