Freudenstadt's appeal is its location in the midst of the best hiking, skiing, and camping country in the Black Forest. It's one of the best centers for exploring the fabled Schwarzwald Hochstrasse. This highway stretches for 80km (50 miles) from Baden-Baden to Freudenstadt and can be traveled in 1 1/2 hours (although most tourists prefer to take much longer due to the many charming shops and cafes along the way). Many points along the route approach a height of 1,000m (3,300 ft.) and you'll find a number of belvederes and car parks where you can take in the view. Along the route are dozens of winter ski slopes.
In summer, visitors hike in the country's largest nature preserve, the Parkwald abutting Freudenstadt. The park is riddled with miles of walking trails. You can pick up excellent trail maps at the Freudenstadt tourist office before setting out, in either winter or summer.
Unlike many German towns, Freudenstadt has no castle overshadowing it, but it certainly does have an enormous castle square. This plot of land, the largest Marktplatz in Germany, was laid out in the 16th century for a castle that was never built. History's loss is today's gain. The market square that greets the visitor to Freudenstadt is a maze of lawns and concrete, broken by patches of flowers and kiosks. The buildings surrounding the square are mainly postwar because the air raids and fires of World War II almost completely destroyed the city. A few of the old Renaissance structures on the square have been reconstructed, up to their neat little archways and gabled roofs.
The town takes pride in its Stadtkirche, Marktplatz (tel. 07441/6554), dating from the 17th century. The unique and odd L-shaped architecture of the church brings the two main aisles together at right angles. Over the entrance stand identical towers, topped with rounded domes and narrow spires. The church's most important treasure is the 12th-century reading desk, supported by carved and painted likenesses of the Evangelists. It's open daily 10am to 5pm. Entrance is free.
Freudenstadt's only other attraction worth mentioning is a small regional folk and crafts museum, the Museum im Stadthaus, in the Stadthaus as the name implies, Marktplatz (tel. 07441/6177), open Monday and Friday 3 to 5pm, every other day of the week 10am to 5pm. From April to October, opening hours are extended until 6pm. Entrance is free.
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