BLACK FOREST HIGH ROAD
B500 GERMANY 🇩🇪
For centuries the Black Forest or in other words, the "dark forest" was avoided by foreign people because of the many scary myths and legends of the region. The inspiration for many Brothers’ Grimm fairy tales.
Today is more known for Cuckoo clocks, typical Black Forest houses, Bollenhut hats, ham or cherry brandy (Kirschwässerle) and sometimes for a lake with a funny name — Titisee.
The region is also a popular holiday and weekend get away for families and accessible all year. Even during winter the Black Forest is an adventure, cross-country trails and ski slopes attract sports enthusiasts and tourists from all over the world.
On a clear day you can get great views that reach from the Northern Black Forest across the Rhineland Plain to the Vosges mountains in the French Alsace with the Vosges Mountains, and sometimes even as far as the the Swiss Alps.
The Black Forest is a Nature Reserve with a rolling landscape of green pastures and picturesque villages surrounded by forested hills. Among all of those great attributes the Black Forest is mostly know with car enthusiasts as — a mecca for driving. May also be because Stuttgart nearby is home to two major German car manufacturers (Porsche and Mercedes Benz) what makes the Black Forest somehow their homeland.
Don't be bothered trying to pronounce the German name of the Black Forest High Road: "Schwarzwaldhochstrasse" — let's simply stick to B500. The "B" in B500 stands for "Bundesstrasse" (germ. for federal road).
The name Black Forest High Road was invented in 1930 when a holiday route was needed to get access for cars to the highland hotels and describes the most scenic and with 1032 m / 3385 ft — above sea level also the highest part of the B500 Holiday Route running between the world-famous spa city Baden-Baden in the
North and the Swiss border in the South. After 1930 under the Third Reich further construction was done for strategic reasons and since 1952 the road has the format we know today. In 2007 the road had its 75th birthday.
The entire B500 Route is 233 kilometres / 145 miles long and runs between Baden-Baden in the north and Waldshut-Tiengen at the border to Switzerland in the south.
Only 60 kilometres / 30 miles of that is the actual Black Forest High Road between Baden-Baden and Freudenstadt.
At the highest point the Black Forest High Road it is crowned by Lake Mummelsee, a glacial lake that is a relic of the last Ice Age. Mermaids can be seen emerging from the water on moonlit nights — at least that's what the legend tells us. Stop here to get some authentic German cuisine at the Black Forest shop.
The road is not high up in the Alps, but on top of the second-highest mountain range in Germany. In some areas the B500 looks almost like a racetrack with red and white painted guardrails and it can be very tempting to put your foot down and really get going.
But for your own safety respect the speed limits, speeding on this particular road can be dangerous. For an extra layer of security and to fully enjoy the beauty of this road we also recommend to avoid bank holidays and weekends during summer if you can.
The road sweeps fast and easy trough the landscape and allows to take in the views while cruising. The most scenic stretch is South of Baden-Baden. If you come to town for a short visit or you even stay overnight make sure you pick up that stretch south out of the town again.
It's so beautiful you definitely should drive it twice. Maybe let your passenger get behind the wheel for once and experience the soft curves from a driver perspective, while you admire the awesome view.
From Roman emperors, to Napoleon III, over the Russian Tzars and todays tourists most visitors come to Baden-Baden for the natural springs. Those springs gave the town of Baden-Baden its name. It's a noun meaning "bathing". Today is also a famous gambling town with its own casino and has some nice boutique style hotels.
While travelling in the B500 staying a night or two at Baden-Baden is almost inevitable. Enjoy the thermal waters and relax in the calm atmosphere of the picturesque town.
A visit to the majestic Hohenzollern Castle is an absolute must, when in the region. And combined with a visit of the Porsche Museum and Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart also nice excuse to divert off the scenic B500 and pick up a stretch of the legendary German Autobahn.
FIND MORE (AND BETTER) ROADS