Gengenbach is for most visitors the first stop on a visit to the Kinzig valley in the Black Forest.
The former Reichsstadt - a Free Imperial City in the Middle Ages - is now a pleasant place to wander along the river and through the old town
The small town offers a number of museums and a self-guided walking tour around the old town for those interested in the history of the settlement.
Gengenbach is located in the lower Kinzig valley in the central part of the Black Forest to the southeast of Offenburg and not far from the main motorway connection between Freiburg and Baden-Baden.
Gengenbach is on the Schwarzwaldbahn rail link between Offenburg on the western side of the Black Forest and Singen to the west.
The B33 road, which runs through the Kinzig valley for part of its journey, links Offenburg to the major town of Konstanz on the shores of Lake Constance.
Gengenbach can be visited as part of a tour of the Kinzig valley, along with Hausach and Schiltach, or on a trip from Freiburg or Offenburg. It is a convenient base in the central Black Forest because of its rail and road connections to east and west across the region.
The area around Gengenbach is known to have been settled in Roman times but the first recorded details of inhabitants date from the early Middle Ages.
Gengenbach became a Free Imperial City in the middle of the 14th century and the town towers which remain on the edge of the old town date from this era and the following two centuries.
The strategic position of the town and its geographic location near the border with France led to large-scale damage to the town at several points in its history. Many of the older buildings which can still be seen in the centre date from the 17th and 18th centuries during an economic boom period.
The relative independence of Gengenbach as a Free Imperial City ended at the start of the 19th century when it was absorbed by the province of Baden.
The increasing industrialisation of the valley and the building of the rail links along the Kinzig river led to economic prosperity but also to the end of the historic rafting trade.
The centre of the town with its timbered houses was declared a conservation area at the start of the 20th century and is now part of the Deutsche Fachwerkstrasse, a German tourist route which links towns with timbered houses and traditional town centres,
Gengenbach has a variety of museums featuring local culture and history.
The Narrenmuseum in the Niggelturm features displays from the local Mardi Gras festivities. The period leading up to 'Fasnacht' (Shrove Tuesday) is celebrated by local dressed in traditional costumes.
The Flößerei und Verkehrsmuseum features information about the commercial timber rafting on the Kinzig river and displays about the Schwarzwaldbahn railway line.
The Museum in Kinzigtorturm offers the history of the local militia over the centuries, as well as information about the tower and occasional photographic exhibitions.
Haus Löwenberg is a former merchant's house in the town centre and holds various art and photography exhibitions as well as a permanent exhibit of historic puppets and a carousel from the days of the important market which was held in Gengenbach.
Those looking for a hotel room in Gengenbach can try one of the options below. Those who prefer self catering apartments or bed-and-breakfast accommodation may prefer to check the apartment and room availability on the map below the hotel listings.
Check the availability of all kinds of accommodation in Gengenbach, from apartments to guesthouses and hotels, with this town map from our travel fulfilment partner Booking.com. Zoom in and out using the '+' and '-' signs and use the search box to choose appropriate dates. Click on the price to see more details about the accommodation.