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I've never been in Germany before and I have a trip soon. I'm going to Baden-Baden.

I don't speak German unfortunately (neither a little bit), so this is probably going to be difficult.

More specifically I'm planning to visit the town a little bit, and if I have the chance the Black Forest which seems to be not too far away according to Google.

Is there any web site I can use to plan my journey? (like national rail in UK, Trenitalia in Italy, etc.).

I thought to hire a car, but I am not sure though if this would be convenient compared to public transports.

Any suggestion is welcome (about the public transport, or maybe something that is particularly useful to know).

closed as primarily opinion-based by David Richerby, user79658, Rory Alsop, gmauch, Ali Awan Nov 12 '18 at 3:32

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    The tourist locations in the Schwarzwald are easily reached by railway. No need to rent a car. – Janka Nov 5 '18 at 1:55
  • Don't worry about not speaking German in Baden-Baden, on the other hand Russian would be very helpful there :) – aloneprism Nov 5 '18 at 10:12
  • @Janka one has to reach a railway station first. Which is not exactly near to the city center in Baden-Baden. – berendi Nov 5 '18 at 12:37
  • @fontgeologist I assume English is fine anyway, right? – user8469759 Nov 5 '18 at 12:39
  • I guess @fontgeologist is making a joke. English is fine, Russian is rather unlikely. Russian was never taught that far west in Germany and there will not be that great number of tourists from Russia either. – Willeke Nov 5 '18 at 18:41
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The national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, has a website where you can plan journeys, purchase tickets, etc. It has English (and several other European languages) as an option as well.

https://www.bahn.de/

  • And the site does busses in Germany as well. – Willeke Nov 5 '18 at 5:25
  • @Willeke I guess you mean local buses for transport in the city? for buses between cities I'd rather use flixbus.de , it comes in all languages, and buses are cheaper than trains most of the times. – Mehdi Nov 5 '18 at 12:45
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    It might be a good idea to learn the most common Deutsche Bahn words : "Verspätung", "Zugausfall", "Streckensperrung", "Technische Störung" :) – Eric Duminil Nov 5 '18 at 12:46
  • Also consider buying a 'Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket' or a 'Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket' if you want to save some money. It's like a train flatrate for one day or a weekend for regional trains. – TobiasR. Nov 5 '18 at 13:45
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    @TobiasR. Not the best piece of advice. Buying a "Quer-durchs-Land-Ticket" or a "Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket" is only sensible if you want to travel to a different state in Germany, e.g. from Baden-Württemberg to Bavaria or Hesse. As the question author does not intend to leave Baden-Württemberg, buying a "Baden-Württemberg-Ticket" would save the author 20 Euro and still provide him with unlimited usage of trains and buses for an entire day, as long as he does not leave Baden-Württemberg. – Inconspicuous Seagull Nov 6 '18 at 15:22
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Almost every German town which expects at least a few tourists has a Tourist Information, and they almost always have a website. Most times also in English.

You shouldn't be afraid to call them or send them an e-mail either. They are accustomed to foreign tourists and will generally understand English (and in South-Western Germany, French as well). They can also help you finding accomodation.

Here's the Tourist Information website of Baden-Baden.

But in general, searching the web for ‹town name› tourist information will lead you directly to their websites.

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I live in the region around Baden-Baden. Let me first state that the previous answers are basically correct. Using bahn.de, you can find trains and busses that will take you everywhere you want, especially to the more well-known tourist locations. So there is no need to rent a car.

On the other hand, however, although Baden-Baden is not a small town, the region around Baden-Baden, especially the Black Forest, is a rural region. This means, depending on your chosen destinations, the net of public transport might be somewhat sparse, resutling in longer waiting times and cumbersome connections.

This is not meant to scare you off from public transport. As previuosly stated, it is definitely possible to use public transport only. I just want to point out that there are certainly some benefits regarding comfort and time if you rent a car. I guess it is a trade-off between comfort and cost.

Although you not directly asked for it, allow me to suggest some destinations:

  • The Autoroute "Schwarzwaldhochstraße" and the lake "Mummelsee" are great scenery spots and good as a starting point for hiking if you enjoy that (the weather here is comparably mild for November)

  • In Baden-Baden itself, I suggest to visit the Casino (you dont need to wear a tie, a classic sportsjacket or a blazer are enough)

  • In Bühl, the neighbouring town to Baden-Baden, you can visit the ruins of a medieval Castle (I recommend climbing the tower and enjoying the view)

  • Karlsruhe is the nearest major city. If you are interested in Bars or Clubs, this might be the place to go. It is also home to a well-regarded Universitiy. In the city center, you will find a palace with a historic museum inside. Also, the museum of natural history is quite good.

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A couple of places you might like to visit in the Black Forest are (1) Triberg-Schonach (home to the https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/worlds-largest-cuckoo-clock), and (2) Titisee-Neustadt, where the picturesque lake Titisee is located - a good base for walking and hiking.

These days Google seems to directly return information about almost every public transport connection in the civilized world. For example a search for "baden baden to triberg train" tells me that there are trains leaving at 10:30, 12:30, 13:30 etc. and that the journey takes 1 hour 12 minutes. A smartphone with mobile data is very useful for journey planning once you are in the country.

I would not worry too much about the language issue. Almost everyone in Germany working in the tourist industries (hotel staff, waiters, etc.) will speak at least passable English.

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If you want to get around Baden-Baden and the surrounding areas using public transport I recommend using this site:

KVV

although the name suggest its the public transport for Karlsruhe, it actually covers a quite large area, including Baden-Baden and some parts of the Black Forest.

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Rome2rio (rome2rio.com) is a fantastic site for this. I use it to plan my routes whenever I take a vacation.

You can enter your origin and destination (anywhere in the world), then it will give you all possible transportation options for the entire route, including public transport and driving. Here is a search from Baden-Baden to Black Forest:

https://www.rome2rio.com/map/Baden-Baden/Black-Forest-Baden-Württemberg-Germany

As you can see, it says you can take a train or drive a personal car, as other answers have suggested.

I've used this site for travel in Europe, Asia, and South America, and it has always been useful and accurate.

  • @Willeke That's true as long as you already want to take public transport. I often don't know what transportation is best within a single country. Rome2rio is nice because it gives you every possible option, including public transport. You'll notice in this case, for example, Rome2rio indicates that driving is much cheaper than taking the rail + taxi, so if OP had access to a car, they might want to choose that instead. – only_pro Nov 5 '18 at 19:37
  • @Willeke How so? It provides a link to the train schedules. Are there other options besides the national rail? Genuinely curious because I have never found Rome2rio to be lacking in that respect. – only_pro Nov 5 '18 at 19:39
  • @Willeke Well, generally Rome2rio tells you if you can take a train to a location. Then you'd go to the train service's website and order tickets from there. I'm unsure what you're saying, really. Rome2rio is for planning. – only_pro Nov 5 '18 at 19:43
  • I am saying that Rome2Rio does not do well enough in train and bus searches in my opinion. 'Yes the option exist' is not good enough to push this site over the rail site. – Willeke Nov 5 '18 at 19:44
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    @Willeke In that case, I disagree. OP is not looking only for public transport options, which is why I recommended Rome2rio: "I thought to hire a car, but I am not sure though if this would be convenient compared to public transports." Rome2rio is perfect for determining this. I'm not sure why you're so set against Rome2rio. It does recommend rail as an option, so if OP chooses to take the rail, Rome2rio provides a link to the rail site. As far as I can tell, my answer is the only one that provides what OP is asking for. – only_pro Nov 5 '18 at 20:17

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