I’m in the mood to write another one of my top ten posts. If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, some of what I write will be repeated information. I am writing this, more or less, for the new people who will be moving to the area this summer. It can be a real shock to move from the United States, or even Italy, and not have air conditioning. Today’s post is about some places I’ve found where a person can cool off, most of which involve a little bit of hiking outside.
Before I get started… I’m not going to post about Schwimmbads or Freibads or anything like that. Of course you can cool off in any one of the area’s fabulous public pools, which put our American ones to shame. I’m not going to write about the pools, though, because it’s been my experience that most people find out about those right away in any of the local Facebook groups. Besides, I myself didn’t actually visit a Freibad until last year. I wrote about the experience and, to date, have scored only 90 hits. I’m just gonna say that if you want to go to a pool, chances are good your community has an awesome one. Seek it out.
Okay… enough about pools. On to my list of cool summer stops in Stuttgart, not ranked in any particular order of awesomeness.
10. Laichinger Tiefenhöhle
Germany’s deepest show cave. Hope your heart is strong!
Bill and I discovered the Laichinger Tiefenhöhle last summer, when an American who is married to a local suggested it. The word “tief” means “deep” in German. That should give you a clue! The Laichinger Tiefenhöhle is Germany’s only vertical cave open to the public. It’s located in the little town of Laichingen, which is east of Stuttgart, kind of on the way to Ulm. If you want to cool off, this is sure a great place to do it. I remember visiting last June as temperatures soared and wishing I had worn longer pants while I was climbing up and down the ladders in the deep hole. This vertical cave is a lot of fun to visit, but it’s not for anyone with mobility problems. In fact, you have to be kind of fit to be able to visit this cave because it requires a lot of climbing up and down steep ladders. Frankly, I found it rather exhausting, yet exhilarating. I would not bring small children to this cave, but older ones will be able to blow off plenty of summer steam here. Afterwards, they can play on the nearby ropes course or perhaps visit nearby Blautopf, which is where the cave system ends!
9. Triberg Wasserfall
One segment of the huge falls. Stand here and enjoy the very refreshing spray, which you’ll probably be sharing with other visitors.
The Triberg waterfall system is Germany’s highest and it’s a very heavily touristed place. Nevertheless, if you want to cool off, Triberg is not a bad place to be. It costs a few euros to climb up the falls or you can take a tram to the top. Afterwards, go cuckoo clock shopping or have lunch in one of the town’s many restaurants. Triberg is also a great place to score a piece of Black Forest cake.
Seewald… lovely lake in the Black Forest!
Bill and I discovered Seewald a couple of years ago, when we visited a Biergarten a friend of his had recommended. When we made the trip, we didn’t know that there was a lake there where swimming is permissible. If we had, I would have brought a bathing suit! Seewald is located near Freudenstadt. There is free parking in the area, but it gets full. If you want a spot close to the action on a sunny day, get there early! This link includes links to other lakes in the area where one might enjoy a dip.
These are two caves located very close to each other near the town of Sonnenbühl. Sonnenbühl is also very close to Lichtenstein Castle and Abendteuer Park (a ropes course). Although visiting the caves might entail a long drive, you could really pack your day in this area. There’s a lot to do here. My personal favorite of the caves I’ve visited so far is Nebelhöhle. It’s not as exhausting as the Laichinger Tiefenhöhle, but it’s more challenging and interesting than the Bärenhöhle, which is a much smaller cave very suitable for young kids. After you’re finished at the Bärenhöhle, if you have little ones, you can visit Traumland, which is a little amusement park that seems especially suited for children. Or you can visit the Easter egg museum, which is located at the same complex.
Bill and I recently visited this beautiful waterfall, located in Bad Rippoldsau…
If you’re up for a short, uphill hike, you can visit Burgbach Wasserfall. It takes a little bit of work to get to the waterfall, but it’s worth the trip, much of which is under a canopy of trees. It costs nothing to visit Burgbach, just a little bit of sweat. But once you get there, you can stand next to the spray and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Afterwards, you can stop at one of the local restaurants for lunch or visit the Wolf and Bear Alternative Park, which is only a couple of miles away. Parking at Burgbach is free of charge.
Glaswaldsee… also a cool place, although you’ll work up a sweat getting there.
Glaswaldseee is also located in Bad Rippoldsau, very close to the Burgbach Wasserfall. Once you park in the lot, you’ll walk a couple of kilometers to reach this wild mountain lake. The walk to the lake is mostly uphill, but once you’re there, you can enjoy the shady trees or stick your feet in the water. Technically, swimming is not allowed, but I did see a couple of people wading when I visited and there was no one there enforcing the rules. Like Burgbach Wasserfall, Glaswaldsee costs nothing to visit, except for a nominal fee for parking.
Bad Urach, east of Reutlingen.
Bad Urach is a very popular stop for people wishing to beat the heat in these parts. I’ll be honest. It’s not my favorite waterfall. However, you can walk along a cool brook and climb to the top of the falls. I hear there’s a nice Biergarten up there. We did climb to the top on our first visit, but a thunderstorm was threatening, so we had to come down before we could find the beer stop. The fall is near a beautiful meadow as well as castle ruins that, if you’re up for a climb, you can visit. It costs nothing to visit the waterfall, except for parking. However, if you come on a sunny weekend day, be prepared for crowds and tricky parking! There is a train station near the falls, as well.
Don your safety hat and cape and come in out of the sun to see where silver was mined.
If you don’t mind taking a tour in German, you can visit the awesome silver mine in the little hamlet of Neubulach. From May to October, you can explore this mine or even get an alternative treatment in a special room dedicated to people with asthma. We visited last July, when the asthma treatment was not being offered. I was pretty curious about it, since I have a touch of asthma myself. After you take your tour, you can visit the little museum and have a snack or take a creekside walk on the “bat trail“, also at the complex. Parking there is free of charge. The town of Neubulach is really cute and there’s also a Brauhaus there with a Biergarten.
One of the seven cascading waterfalls at Allerheiligen Wasserfälle.
Drive a bit west of Freudenstadt, over Kniebis Mountain, and you can find the All Saints Waterfalls. Bill and I visited there last weekend and had a great time hiking along the beautiful waterfall system. This is another free activity. You don’t even have to pay for parking. Once you’ve seen the falls, you can have lunch at the kid friendly restaurant and look at the abbey ruins right next to it. I was not expecting much when we arrived at these falls, but I was pretty blown away by how beautiful they are… and how strenuous all the stairs were! This is not a stroller friendly place. There are signs posted prohibiting wading or crossing the creek, but I saw many people ignoring the signs. Do so at your own risk.
A frigid pool at the Barfuss Park… afterwards, you can hop across a trampoline.
The Tree Walk is in the mountains and surrounded by plenty of shady trees!
Okay… so these are actually two very kid friendly activities and they’re not near each other. I had originally only intended to recommend the Barfuss Park in Dornstetten, since there is some water involved in this activity that encourages visitors to walk barefoot through it. But then I remembered our visit to the so-called Tree Walk up in Bad Wildbad and realized that it belongs on this list, too. Personally, I’m kind of partial to the Barefoot Park, although if you do visit, you might want to consider bringing a change of clothes. Bill fell in the mud when we went and had to drive home in dirty drawers! There is a two euro admission fee to enter the park, which you pay on your honor. You must also pay for parking.
A lot of people love the Tree Walk, though, and if you’re wanting to enjoy a cool stroll in a fun place, it’s well worth a trip. Walk up to the top of the structure, then pay a small fee to slide back down on a spiral slide. Or, if you’re chicken like Bill is, walk down. After you go to the Tree Walk, you can visit one of the local spas (although keep in mind that Palais Thermal is textile free!). The Tree Walk does charge an admissions fee. At this writing, it’s ten euros per adult, although family tickets are available for 21 euros. That’s for two adults and their own children between the ages of 6 and 14. Kids under 6 can visit for free, although they are not allowed to use the slide.
All of the activities on this list are doable on Sundays. Happy cooling off!