The Black Forest: Hiking the Panorama Way

Whenever anyone says ‘Black Forest’ to me, I’m instantly transported to my childhood memories of Germany and the police arriving to my mum and Granny in a complete panic as my Dad had gone off on a hike and not returned 8hrs later. They had assumed he was dead in a ditch or had fallen off a mountain, but as soon as the Polizei arrived, he of course appeared in the distance, completely fine.

My other awful memory of this Forest is jam making with my Granny. Now, I adored my Granny, but oh my goodness. We went berry picking in the forest to make some home made jam – but there were maggots in the fruit. It didn’t matter, we made it and ate it anyway for the protein, much to my disgust.

So with police calls and maggot infested jam my overriding memories, I decided it was time to make some new ones 30ish years later. I almost felt like the area might be cursed for me as my husband had an asthma attack half way up but thankfully no Polizei were required!

Panormaweg is one of the most picturesque long distance trails in the Black Forest, Germany. Totalling 44km, it’s a circular route in the forests and mountains around Baden Baden, split in to 4 sections. We only completed section one as we didn’t have time to do multiple, but you could easily split it up across days and all are accessible from Baden Baden itself.

Views along the hike

Hike Information

Location: You start the hike in the town of Baden Baden, at the Kurhaus just off Lichtentaler Allee – you can park in any of the public car parks available in the town.

Hike distance and time: The full length of Section one is 10km, plus the walk back down in to town at a further 2km. There are a number of quite steep climbs so you need to be at least of moderate fitness. Overall the hike took us 5hrs, but that was with a food stop and lots of photo stops.

Terrain: Very hilly, lots of hard ups and downs. The ground can also get very muddy and slippery so it’s important to wear proper hiking shoes, which I didn’t as I forgot to pack them and regretted it.

You can find the route HERE.

The Route

A. Kurhaus to the Terrace of the New Castle

The walk starts at the Kurhaus just outside of central Baden Baden in its beautiful park. Stroll through the old town towards the Marktplatz and stop off to see the glorious Stiftskirche. It’s then time to head on up the steps behind the church until you reach the New Castle viewing platform terrace. The New Castle is currently closed for renovations, but the terrace is pretty beautiful – we managed to capture it in the early morning winter light. Wow.

The view from the viewing platform

B. New Castle to Old Castle (Hohenbaden Castle)

Following the road curving around the New Castle, head off in to the park. Here you will get a wonderful view up to the Old Castle and across to the mountains surrounding the town. The park quickly becomes forest and it’s a steep climb up through the trees to the end point – Hohenbaden Castle. The entire way is really well signed (just follow the Panoramaweg green circle). You’ll also pass a lovely little church on the way up as a bonus breather spot.

First view point on the way up

C. Old Castle to Restaurant Wolpertinger

Arriving at Hohenbaden Castle is quite amazing. The Castle comes in to view and you can’t help but pause and say ‘wow’. Built in the 1100s, this castle was a residence for 400 years until the family moved in to the New Castle. Today it’s a ruinous pile which was fun to explore – we had it all to ourselves.

The Castle coming in to view
Cold but happy in the Castle

After exploring the Castle, we then headed on to Ritterplatte for some of the most beautiful views of the hike, along with the lower Batterhütte, before finally hitting the peak and starting our descent through the forests down in to the village of Ebersteinburg which is home to a couple of restaurants. We didn’t stop for lunch as it was only about 11.30am so continued on.

The view from Ritterplatte

D. Restaurant Wolpertinger to Merkur Bergbahn

It was time to head in to the woods again, and follow the Panormaweg signs in the direction of the Merkur Talstation. This section of forest was really beautiful and it was one of the most enjoyable sections of the walk.

Perfect nature

E. Merkur Bergbahn to Kurhaus

Arriving at the Merkur Talstation is the end of the section 1 of the route. However, we couldn’t resist going up! Merkur is Baden Baden’s resident mountain, and there’s a funicular railway up, or you can walk. With 10km in our legs and a flight to catch, we took the funicular. At the top people were paragliding off, there were more beautiful views and there was a cafe where we had lunch – Gulasch soup and apple strudel for me!

Riding the railway up

After a delicious lunch, we rolled ourselves back in the funicular and down. From here you could either do section 2 of the walk with your afternoon, or just head back down in to Baden Baden – you can get the bus, or walk the 2km straight down the road to get there. We walked to finish off what had been a truly wonderful hike.

Final view from the top before descending

Thank you so much for reading – what do you think of this beautiful hike? We had the best time in Baden Baden and the Black Forest and would recommend it to anyone looking to go somewhere a bit off the beaten track.


  1. So beautiful Hannah, and I’m glad you made the hike! A splendid combination of nature and developed, with stunning elevated views. Love the forest and castles 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it’s such a lovely loop Vanessa, you’d definitely enjoy it – especially as you can stay in the town and it’s circular so you don’t have to camp or worry too much about transport. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Maggot jam sounds really awful, but makes for a funny memory. I’m so glad your dad showed up unhurt and your husband’s asthma attack didn’t require medical attention. We were considering visiting the Black Forest this summer, but are now having second thoughts! 😉 The entire area looks beautiful. Hohenbaden Castle reminds me of Crichton Castle in Scotland. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Honestly it was horrible at the time, but now it somehow seems even worse haha! Oooo I hope you make it to the Black Forest, it really is one of the most beautiful areas in Germany and I love visiting 🙂

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  3. A gorgeous place to go for a hike Hannah with the natural beauty and castles. The Black Forest stands in my memory as it was my first overseas school trip. We travelled by coach and ferry and had lots of fun. I’ve been back once since with my husband when we stayed in a lovely little hotel on the banks of Lake Titisee but that was ages ago too. Since reading your Baden-Baden post it’s sparked my interest to return!

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    1. Aw that’s so nice Marion, what a wonderful first school trip. It’s definitely one of those areas you can keep returning back to as it’s perfect for a rest and relax long weekend or a week of nice walks 🙂 Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

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  4. Well, those are some memories, Hannah! I am glad to hear that your dad didn’t vanish into thin air while on a hiking trip, I can only imagine how worried everyone was. Given that the area is dripping with legends of beasts and witches, the dense, dark, forested hills of the Black Forest seem endlessly beguiling. And what better way to explore it than by going on a hike? Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

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    1. Hehe I know, I look back in horror – and am very glad this visit was uneventful 🙂 I love Germany, I could go there every year and still discover a beautiful little corner I’ve never seen before 🙂 Have a great weekend Lyssy.


  5. No wonder you needed a new memory of this area after police and maggots- but wow what a new memory you made! Absolutely incredible hike to follow along with you today. I love the castle and the charming towns all leading up to those views! 🙂

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  6. Absolutely gorgeous Hannah. The Black Forest and its surrounds deserve to leave you with better memories than you had. And so it has now come to pass, thankfully. Articles like yours make Sladja and I want to bump this area of Germany higher up on our grand, ever-spiralling to-do list. Excellent shot of yourself all wrapped up in Hohenbaden Castle and the approach to that handsome church.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed the hike Leighton and thank you for your kind comments. It’s really a beautiful area of Germany and there is so much to explore, I could spend months there and not see everything I wanted….as is always the way huh!! 🙂

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  7. Glad to hear that you were able to make new and better memories of the Black Forest! Looks like you had fabulous weather for hiking and to enjoy the scenery and views. The Hohenbaden Castle looks impressive. How fun to have it all to yourselves.

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  8. Looks like a return trip to the Black Forest decades later redeemed it! No more lost dads or maggot-infested berries! The hikes look gorgeous, and I’m glad you had a wonderful time. 😊

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  9. What a beautiful hike. I’m not familiar with this part of Germany, but I’d definitely love to visit. That winter light is lovely, although I can imagine the cold. That seeps-into-your-bones cold!

    So funny about your Grandma, I wonder if it’s a generational thing? I was reprimanded sternly by an older German neighbour for cutting the green tops off strawberries, they just ate the whole thing. Leaves and all. Waste not, want not?

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