The city in southwestern Germany which lies in the Upper Rhine Valley between the French Vosges Mountains and the Black Forest to the east, enjoys a pleasant warm climate. Its story begins with a castle (Freiburg – “free castle”) of the Zähringer Duke in 1008. Today the vibrant university town with over 30,000 students is a stronghold in the world for solar energy research and one of the few German cities with a “green” mayor. The picturesque, traffic-free old town with its magnificent cathedral lends itself to a leisurely stroll, to shop or to dine. South of the city the Schauinsland rises, – one of the most beautiful mountains in the southern Black Forest. And a few kilometers north the Kaiserstuhl (Emperor’s Chair), a range of hills where rare plants and excellent wines grow, emerges from the Rhine plains.
Sunshine, wine and walking
North of Freiburg lies the Kaiserstuhl (“Emperor's Chair”), a group of hills that rise up from the Rhine Valley. Its name is most likely owed to King Otto III, who held court at Sasbach in 994 and later became emperor. Germany's warmest region is famous for its white wines, but also for its great variety of orchids. Wild hyacinths grow between the vines, irises bloom on the slopes and green lizards and mantises live in the meadows. The best way to explore this sunny area is on foot via the 22-kilometer Kaiserstuhl-Path which leads from Endingen to Ihringen.
Distant views of Mont Blanc
To the south of Freiburg lies a mountain peak called Schauinsland (“look into the country”); with 1284 meters one of the best viewpoints in the Black Forest. Especially in the fall, when the mountains rise “above the clouds” phenomenal views open up: to the Vosges, the Hornisgrinde and the Bernese Alps, even to Mont Blanc. Those who do not want to hike to the summit can take the Schauinsland-Tram.