Gengenbach Travel Guide

  • Gengenbach
    by Kathrin_E
  • Main square during Fasend, with the jester tree
    Main square during Fasend, with the...
    by Kathrin_E
  • Fasend parade in the square
    Fasend parade in the square
    by Kathrin_E

Gengenbach Things to Do

  • Monastery and Abbey Church

    The Benedictine monastery, founded in the 8th century, had the status of an imperial abbey and proudly presented its status towards the imperial city next door. Around 1700 a large new convent building was erected while the Romanesque abbey church remained and just received a refurbishment inside. The tall baroque steeple, a landmark in the...

  • Town Wall

    Gengenbach had a town wall around the whole city and the abbey. After the destruction of the town in 1689, though, most of it was demolished, taken down or used as foundations to build houses on like in Engelgasse. A stretch of town wall with allure is preserved in Benedikt-von-Nursia-Straße behind the abbey grounds.

  • Kinzigtor

    The tallest of the three fortification towers is close to the railway line and easy to spot from the train - check out my video. The gate leads to Kinzig river and the bridge. Into town, the gate leads straight to the main square and to the city hall which can be spotted through the arch (photo 3). The pointed ends of the portcullis look rather...

  • Obertor

    The "upper gate" closes the end of market square/street towards the hills. It is a picturesque gate tower crrowned with a high pyramidal roof. The tower originates from the 13th century but was damaged in 1689 and rebuilt afterwards. The inner side has the city's coat of arms painted on it, the black eagle and the small inescutcheon with the silver...

  • Niggelturm

    Three big towers and torsos of three small towers have remained of the imperial city's fortification. Niggelturm once protected the Offenburger Tor, the gate at the western end of the town. It also served as prison. It has the prettiest top of them all, a 16th century addition. The Niggelturm plays an important part in Gengenbach's carnival...

  • Heaven and Hell

    The prettiest part of the old town, apart from the main square, is the area Northwest of the main square with the two narrow streets of Engelgasse ("angel lane") and Höllengasse ("hell lane"). There you'll find all the old world picture - cobblestones and timberframe houses, flowewr pots and cats resting on doormats and dolls in the window....

  • Kinzigtäler Jakobusweg - Camino di...

    Since the middle ages a stretch of the Camino di Santiago has lead though the Black Forest along the Kinzig Valley. As pilgrimages have become popular again in recent years, the trail has been newly marked in 1993. From Lossburg to Schutterwald it has a total length of 120 kms and can be walked in seven days. I have done just two very very short...

  • St Jakobus Chapel on Bergle

    The Chapel of St Jakobus (James), also named Bergleskapelle, is one of Gengenbach's landmarks. The top of the hill with the wide view used to be an ancient Roman religious site already 2000 years ago. In the 13th century the first chapel was built. Through the centuries it has often been the starting point for pilgrimages on the Camino di Santiago....

  • Bench with a View

    On top of Bergle, behind the chapel, there are a couple of benches. From here you have the best view over the old town. I spent a pleasant little while there, relaxing after the climb and enjoying the view. Photographers: The light is best in the morning. These photos were taken around 10 a.m.

  • Walk Up Bergle Through the Vineyards

    Gengenbach's "house mountain", the hill that rises behind the old town, is known as Bergle, which translates to "little mountain". Its southward slopes are covered in vineyards, the northwestern side in bushes and trees. The top of the hill is crowned by a little church, the Chapel of St Jakobus (James), which is visible from afar. The climb up...

  • Main Square

    The main square is the centre of the old town, the meeting point of the three main streets. The shape is rather triangular than square. It does not have an official name but can be described as "market square". Here is where the weekly farmers markets, the Christmas market and about all other events take place. Each of the three streets leads...

  • Kornhaus and Kaufhaus - Grain Store

    The baroque building on the Southern side of market square served as Kornhaus and Kaufhaus, the city's grain storage. This was the place where the natural taxes were collected. The term "Kaufhaus" indicates that this was the centre of trade. The two smaller side doors probably lead down into the wine cellars.The inscription on the facade dates...

  • Rathaus - the Town Hall

    A free imperial city needs a prestigious city hall as seat of the magistrate and government. Thew citizens of Gengenbach built themselves a new one in the 1780s. The architect Viktor Kretz, citizen of Gengenbach and member of the city council, designed it in the then modern style of early classicism. The town hall has the size and shape of a town...

  • A Taste of Carnival Outside the Season

    As you can see from the tip abouve, Carnival IS an important event. If you can't make it, though, you can get a glimpse of what goes on in the fifth season when you visit the b% Carnivalsmuseum in the Niggelturm b%, one of the town's medieval defence towers that even housed the prison at on time. You can, for example, admire the elaborate costumes...

  • Easy Going

    The best thing about this town is that it is easy going. Take your time to stroll the shops of the square in the Altstadt. Wander down a side street to find picture perfect half timbered homes adorned with flowers. Several restaurants and small stores are found on side streets just off the main square.


Gengenbach Hotels

  • Pfeffermuhle

    The hotel is idealy located at the edge of the town, but also immediate vicinity picturesque old...

  • Schwarzwald-Hotel Gengenbach

    In der Borsiglache 4, Gengenbach, Baden-Württemberg, 77723, Germany

    Satisfaction: Excellent

    Good for: Solo

    Hotel Class 4 out of 5 stars

  • Pfeffer & Salz

    Mattenhofweg 3, Gengenbach, Baden-Württemberg, 77723, Germany

    Satisfaction: Very Good

    Good for: Business

Gengenbach Restaurants

  • Thai Food par excellence

    I passed by Gengenbach during my Black Forest tour. Because I like asian food I stopped by to Thai OK. It is closed to the train station and almost right next to the post office on Leutkirchstraße.Thai OK is a small restaurant (fast food, imbiss style) location were they have several meals a day to a special discount price. They also have a menu...

  • try the deer!

    This restaurant has been in the same family for at least 3 generations and, for me, is one of the best in Gengenbach. It serves local cuisine without being rustic.By the way, it's a hotel as well. I've never stayed as my parents' house is just around the corner, but the rooms on the website look quite nice. Definitely the deer-goulash with Spätzle...

  • hike and dine

    The house is set beautifully on it's own up in the valley and has a nice terrace with a view of the mountains. Service is very friendly. This is a typical hiker's place, so get yourself a good walking-map and find a route that suits your mood, stamina or time-frame. Of course you can also drive up. Bibbeleskäs! Bibbeleskäs is a tangy fresh white...


Gengenbach Nightlife

  • Tschuli's Profile Photo

    Nightlife? You must be joking!

    by Tschuli Written Aug 26, 2005

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Unfortunately, there's no nightlife to speak of in Gengenbach. You'd need to be mobile to go dancing, have a selection of pubs to choose from or even to see a film. If you have a car, go to Offenburg or Strasbourg. Well, it's a village, what do you expect?

    A nice pub for an evening or two, however, is the "Turm" with old-style wooden interior and decoration, but nevertheless frequented by a mixed crowd. (The under-19s go to "Café Unverschämt")

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Gengenbach Shopping

  • Farmer's Market of Gengenbach

    Every Saturday from 8:00 am till 12:30 pm the local farmer's of the area come to the market to offer their wares to the public. Vendors set up booths offering tastes of whatever the season has to offer. The Herbert Sester family, who rent a great vacation apartment (see accomodations section), are one of the schnapps producers of the area. Be...

  • local produce

    The farmer's market takes place on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 - 12 in the morning. Nearly every farmer produces their own Schnaps, local spirits made from fruit or roots. My personal favourite is "Zibartenwasser" made from a local plum variety that was rediscovered in recent years. The term "Wasser", by the way, does not mean the stuff is weak!

  • Gengenbach Hotels

    5 Hotels in Gengenbach

Gengenbach Local Customs

  • FASEND: Carnival in Gengenbach

    Gengenbach's carnival is a traditional one in Alemannic style. It's called "Fasend" just like in Zell, not "Fasnet" as in most of the Black Forest and beyond.Tradition dates back to an event of the year 1499, when some citizens of the town decorated a big rabble as the first jester tree and did a noisy run through the streets. Persecuted by the...

  • FASEND: Ewerderfler Ragamuffins

    The jester figure of the Ewerderfler ("those from the upper village", i.e. the quarter outside Obertor gate) is a product of the late 1990s. Named Rotzlöffel ("Ragamuffin"), he is exactly that - a naughty boy who likes to play tricks. Better not trust his friendly funny face too much;-)Just like it is customs with the witches of Gengenbach, new...

  • FASEND: Strohbacher Jester Guild

    Strohbach is a hamlet in a small side valley, now part of the township of Gengenbach. Until the 1970s the village had no own carnival activities, but then a bunch of inhabitants decided it was time to start a guild. The name translates to "Straw Creek", so the topic for their jester figure was obvious. The cute Strohhansel was presented for the...


Gengenbach Warnings and Dangers

  • OSpencers's Profile Photo

    Beware of the Schnapps Tasting

    by OSpencers Written Apr 25, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As an American who thinks of schnapps as that sugary liqueur you make Fuzzy Navels with, German schnapps is a whole different animal!! Schnapps here is at least 80 proof (40% alcohol). Like drinking any liquor, it takes a little bit to get past the alcohol and taste the flavor behind you burning mouth. Cherry (Kirschwasser) and pear (Birne) are the most common schnapps, but there are many other specialties. Some schnapps are even made from flowers. With the price at around 10 Euro per liter we brought home four bottles. Our hosts at H. Sester were happy to offer us a taste of any and all the schnapps they distill. Their idea of a taste is a properly poured cordial glass, not a splash in a plastic cup!! I kept asking for “Ein bissen, Bitte” (a little bit), but that got the glass down to ¾ full. After four or five tastes my friend and I were well on our way to hammered. My wife was smart; she would just take a little sip from my glass.

    The Schnapps Room at H. Sester House
    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting
    • Food and Dining
    • Budget Travel

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Gengenbach Off The Beaten Path

  • Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate...

    Did you know that Gengenbach was chosen as the GERMAN town for Tim Burton's movie "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"?It says Düsseldorf in the movie but it's actually Gengenbach, where the German boy wins one of the golden tickets.I don't know if the chocolate store from the movie is a real setting, but maybe you can look for it. If you have found...

  • Moonscape around Moostower

    In December 1999 the storm "Lothar" devastated vast parts of the Black Forest woods. It's still a sorry sight, because lovely wooded areas now look like barren wasteland. On the other hand, it has it's own eerie charm. The area around the Moosturm is now being turned into a nature park where fauna and flora can develop without human intervention....

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Gengenbach Favorites

  • Gengenbach Abbey

    Gengenbach's history begins with the foundation of the Benedictine abbey in the 8th century. The early history is a bit diffuse, the legendary date of the foundation is 725 A.D. Around 800/820 the abbey was property of the Emperor and the largest monastery in the Ortenau region. The middle ages were the 'golden era' of the abbey. From the 15th...

  • Kinzig Valley

    The Kinzig valley is a major valley that runs through the Black Forest in East-Western direction. Geographically it divides the Southern from the Northern Black Forest. The upstream part is narrow and winding, squeezed between rather steep hills - a fine area for hiking if you are not entirely untrained. From Hausach downstream, where the Kinzig...

  • Gengenbach's Old Town

    Gengenbach's old town is not too big in size, hence eaasily walkable, but its streets and alleys deserve being explored thoroughly. Timberframe (Fachwerk) is the predominant historical architecture, although some buildings of the city and the well-to-do are built in stone.The old town will match the imagination of a "medieval" town that most...


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