We took the train to Triberg, a town “famous” for its cuckoo clocks and the “highest” waterfall in Germany. It’s fun to ride through the famous Black Forest and the waterfalls were quite nice. It’s not the most amazing thing ever, but it’s a nice day out, especially in May when other hiking options are limited. We did this trip to take advantage of the very inexpensive train ticket for traveling in the Baden-Wüttemberg region, only 28 Euro for 2 adults and all your own kids.
|Car:||1:45 from ZH||Trail:||30mins to 1.5hr||Restaurant:||yes|
|Train/Bus:||yes! preferred!||Stroller:||yes||Fire pit:||maybe|
The below map shows the route to Triberg. To drive from Zurich, it takes about 1hr45. The train from Zurich would be about 3hr20. From Singen, the train took 2hrs.
Details. First, check out the info for the Baden-Wüttemberg train ticket. In 2017, it’s 24 Euro for the first adult and about 4 Euros for each additional adult. All your own children under 15 travel free. I’m not an expert on buying German train tickets. Perhaps you can do it online or even from Zurich. But we simply bought ours at the ticket booth in Singen, Germany.
It’s good for one day for the entire region, including buses and trams. However, it is limited to local trains, not Inter-regional trains and the like. So study the rules on the website so you know which trains you can take.
You can ride trains all the way from Zurich to Triberg, but you should probably buy your Swiss portion separate from the Germany portion so you can get the special Baden-Wüttemberg ticket. If you want to skip altogether the expensive portion in Switzerland, you can drive over the border to Singen, park at the train station for 2.5 Euros for the whole day (bargain!) and take the train from there. We did this and combined our visit with some cheap duty-free over-the-border grocery shopping at Real and other shops in the Singen area. Bonus!
You can ride a cute steam train, but that’s not covered on the Baden-Wüttenberg ticket. You have to pay for a regular ticket for that train. But the local train takes the same route, passing through the lovely black forest and 20+ tunnels on your way. This cute train is just for show right next to the Triberg train station. You can climb around on it while you’re waiting for the bus.
The Triberg train station is a bit far from the center of Triberg’s old town. There is a bus, but it doesn’t run very frequently and for some reason wasn’t coordinated with the train arrival (or we missed it accidentally and/or didn’t know what we were doing, certainly possible). Anyway, you can take the bus with your special B-W ticket. Or you can walk to town (walk along the train station road and turn right at the main road, walk uphill until you see cuckoo clocks). It’s not that far (about 15-20mins), but it’s a long slog uphill for a 4yr old. It’s not that scenic either as you’re walking along a busy road for most of it. Whatever. Just make your way to town.
Triberg is all kitsch, cuckoo clocks everywhere. It’s a little annoying, but at least they want your business. There are other attractions nearby like a Black Forest museum and the world’s largest cuckoo clock. Check out the town’s website for a list of sights in the area. It looks like there a Black Forest express train/bus that might take you to some of these places. Let me know if you do it and what you think.
The entrance to the falls is right in the middle of town, you can’t miss it. The below pic is taken from inside the waterfall park, looking back at town. Entrance fee is low. In 2014, a family pass is 7.50 euros. Kids under 7 are free.
There are three promoted paths in the park, varying from 3/4 hour (just up the falls and back) to 1.5hr. I think we walked up the Cascade path then turned right on the Naturpfad and did that trail until it joined back up with the Cascade path. You can click this pic of the trail map to see it bigger.
The Cascade path to the main falls is paved and stroller friendly. The other paths are lumpy and not so great with a stroller.
The waterfall park all but guarantees that you’ll see squirrels. They sell you peanuts to feed the squirrels and have squirrel signs all over the place. But after an hour, we had some pretty disappointed kids on our hands.
Then suddenly, just when we were about to give up, squirrels ran into the trail and right by our feet. It was so exciting. We spent another 30 mins tossing peanuts and watching the squirrels fetch them and take them back to their lair. That was really fun.
There is a big playground near the park entrance. We could have spent a lot longer there but we had to hurry a bit to catch our train. You can definitely picnic there and there might be grills or fire pits there but I can’t remember. Sorry!
Now the real reason to go to Germany: Eiscafe! Like my son said: “All these enormous ice creams sundaes cost less than one sundae in Zurich.” So true says the woman that once paid CHF 17 for one pretty lame chocolate sundae at Cafe Felix in Zurich.