Where the pace of life is still relaxed, but everything is close by
Nestled in the magnificent landscape of the Northern Black Forest, the health resort of Gernsbach (altitude 160-988 metres) is situated at the entrance to the narrow and forested part of the romantic Murg Valley. Baden-Baden, Bad Herrenalb, Bad Wildbad and Gaggenau are neighbouring towns, while Karlsruhe is just 30 minutes away and forms the hub of the economic powerhouse ‘Karlsruhe technology region’.
The former administrative town of Gernsbach enjoys a picturesque location by the Murg River, and its districts include Scheuern, Staufenberg, Lautenbach, Obertsrot, Hilpertsau and Reichental with Kaltenbronn. The ‘Pearl of the Murg Valley’, as Gernsbach is also known, can look back on an eventful past, steeped in the living history of Baden. Impressive heritage buildings in the historic old town bear witness to the richness of bygone eras. Quaint half-timbered houses, fountains and the old fortifications invite visitors to stroll through winding, narrow lanes. Across from the old town hall, which is probably the best known and most beautiful building in the Murg Valley, lies the market square with small bistros and cafés. Down by the Murg, the traditional ice-cream parlour Rizzardini and the newly developed Salmenplatz are perfect places for leisurely summer days.
A walk through the Katz’schen Garten – a splendid late-Baroque style garden by the river with a unique collection of plants – is a delight. Rest and relaxation can also be found in the wild and idyllic Kurpark, where an open-air theatre provides first-class entertainment on warm summer evenings. Schloss Eberstein stands atop the Schlossberg or ‘castle hill’, affording fantastic views across the Murg Valley, for example from the margrave castle’s beautifully tended plane tree terrace.
The Kaltenbronn is home to one of the last intact raised peat bogs in the whole of Central Europe. Trails leading through the flora and fauna of this unique and sensitive nature reserve are a treat for any hiker. Skiers won’t miss out either, when in winter the landscape transforms into a large winter sports area with an extensive network of ski trails. For cyclists, the ‘Tour de Murg’ is a true cycling experience for the whole family – and the bike arena is a paradise for mountain bikers. Hiking is a big attraction in Gernsbach and the Murg Valley. With premium trails such as the Gernsbach circuit and the ‘Murgleiter’ from Gernsbach to Baiersbronn, maximum hiking enjoyment is guaranteed with wonderful vistas and narrow paths. The famous Ortenau wine trail starts in Gernsbach – not to mention more than 350 kilometres of ‘ordinary’ hiking trails!
Many kinds of sport are actively pursued in Gernsbach, including popular sports such as tennis, horseback riding, swimming, boules, bowling, shooting, skiing, cycling and angling – while inline skating and mountain bike training courses are also available. Plus the region offers good climbing opportunities, e.g. at the nearby Battertfelsen nature reserve high above Baden-Baden. The modern water park in the Igelbach Valley guarantees summer daytime fun, while in the evenings there is plenty to enjoy in the way of Baden cuisine and hospitality.
The name Gernsbach is closely associated with forests, wood and paper, as it is home to the largest paper school in Germany and affiliated Paper Center. At the half-timbered village of Reichental, a circular walking route and forest museum take you back to the times of charcoal burners and forestry 150 years ago. And the dendrological nature trail Arboretum around Schloss Eberstein features all the native deciduous and evergreen trees along with exotic species such as a sequoia and dawn redwood.
Gernsbach offers a variety of cultural attractions, such as puppet theatre week, a wide and diverse school holidays programme, the ‘summer of culture’ and, renowned far beyond the town itself, the Gernsbach Old Town Festival in September, when its historic vaulted cellars open to visitors.
For a taste of Mediterranean and presidential flair, it’s a 10-minute journey over the mountain to the historically rich spa and resort town of Baden-Baden, where for a few hours or a whole day you’ll feel as if you’re on a mini-vacation. Baden-Baden has an action-packed events calendar, whether it’s the international race week, classic car rally or one of many other occasions throughout the year. And there’s always something new for art lovers, with the internationally acclaimed Frieder Burda Museum and other must-see museums.
Aside from Baden-Baden, other attractive destinations at close range include Bühl, Rastatt, Ettlingen and not least Karlsruhe, offering excellent shopping opportunities and a wide variety of events. With so much going on in the region, you’ll be spoilt for choice! And if even that’s not enough, you can hop in your car and head 30 minutes from Gernsbach to Alsace in France, for a dinner of traditional Flammkuchen, or tarte flambée.
Gernsbach is conveniently situated for the central A5 Autobahn axis from Karlsruhe to Basel – depending on traffic, the motorway feed road will take you there in about 10-15 minutes. But you can also use the city’s good connections with the extensive KVV rail network, which operates from Bühl in the south to the Palatinate in the west, and from Bruchsal in the north to Vahingen an der Enz in the east. The modern suburban railway system serves all towns and villages in the Murg Valley. As well as a scenic travel experience with tunnels, bridges and gorges, it also provides an excellent link from the Rhine Valley or Karlsruhe into and out of the Murg Valley.
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