Rides and Rambles Around Freiburg

Freiburg's opulent setting, nestled in valleys below the Schlossberg and Schauinsland mountains of the Schwarzwald, with the Dreisam river flowing through it and expanses of forest scattered throughout, gives residents a strong connection to the natural world. Before long, we found ourselves wishing to explore the greater region, to delve more deeply into the lush green mountains of the Schwarzwald (Black Forest).

When we first arrived we had purchased Regio-Karten, which are tickets that enable us to ride any of the city buses and trams as well as the regional buses and trains. Hence travel was no problem! The seventeen transportation companies that provide mobility throughout the city and region had formed the Regional Transportation Network in 1996; our tickets were valid on every one!

We had learned of a Sunday afternoon organ concert at the Baroque Church of Saint Peter (a village in the hills east of Freiburg). Leaving from the bahnhof (main train station) we traveled by Regiobahn to Kirchzarten, switched to a bus for the ride first through rolling meadows and then on winding roads through woods to Saint Peter. The church sat grandly atop a hill with shops and homes clustered around it. After a concert of lovely music, we followed the crowd to the bus halt and soon a bus arrived to return us to Kirchzarten and the train back to Freiburg.


Another day, we rode the city tram and a bus to the Schauinslandbahn (cable car) station, where a dramatic ride took us to the 1,284 meter summit. After admiring the views in all directions we discovered that a network of trails offered a choice of destinations. We picked a trail and headed off, gently downhill through woods and meadows, over hill and dale, past pastures where cows looked up from their grazing to view us curiously. About the time we were beginning to feel a bit tired, we reached a road and there was a bus halt! Before long the bus arrived that took us down to Kirchzarten and the train back to Freiburg. We were catching onto this system and delighted that it worked so well!


On still another day, the train and a bus ride took us to the quaint village of Saint Margen from where trails enabled us to walk back to Saint Peter for another organ concert. Along the way, we met Heidi, talking as we walked, she soon invited us to come home with her for coffee with husband, Franz. After that we all went to the concert. Of course, the bus was there to take us to the train and home!


The Regiobahn also offered us an awesome ride into the Schwarzwald's rugged Höllental (Hell's Valley) to the town of Hinterzarten and the alpine lakes, Titisee and Schluchsee.


Away to the west of Freiburg, the valley of the Rhine spreads wide, while the mountains of Kaiserstuhl and Tuniberg rise like islands. Beyond, the Rhine town of Breisach is perched on a high cliff at the edge of the great river. It was an easy trip from Freiburg to Breisach on the S-Bahn commuter train and we traveled there several times;


  • to explore the town,


  • to take a boat ride through a lock on the river,


  • to walk across to France to visit Neuf Breisach and Vauban's fort. A visit to the Vauban museum gave us maps and models of the town through its history.


  • to hike up through the vineyards of the Kaiserstuhl,


  • and to join neighbors in a Wine Festival.


    For us, these journeys to ramble through woods and meadows, villages and hamlets, small streams and a great river, with stops for good food, local wine, and fine music, spiced with momentary friendships, became essential and endearing elements of our urban life in Freiburg.

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