Apart from at the cinema, there’s probably nowhere on earth where so much popcorn is eaten as in Salem – or, more precisely, on Salem’s Affenberg (Monkey Mountain). But this particular popcorn is unsweetened and designed not to be eaten by visitors but to be fed to the 200 Barbary macaques that live in this 20 hectares of woodland. The Barbary macaque, which is native to Morocco and Algeria, is currently under threat of extinction, so the Affenberg is not only a popular tourist attraction but also an important reserve. These small primates are certainly entertaining, whether they are simply sitting on a fence rail and staring at the visitors with genuine curiosity, clambering through the trees or frolicking and tumbling around. The path winds 600 metres around the hillside and visitors also have a chance to see fallow deer and enjoy watching the comings and goings of the resident stork colony.
Salem Monastery and Palace
Another popular local attraction is Salem Monastery and Palace, originally a Cistercian monastery that was founded in 1134. It is not only the largest of its type in southern Germany, but also one of the most magnificent cultural heritage sites in the Lake Constance region. The monastery is a testament to how the Cistercians built their wealth by combining their industrious and devout way of life with a good degree of business sense. Visitors will also love the beautiful grounds created by the monks and the monastery church, which was built in Gothic style between the late 13th and early 15th centuries. At the beginning of the 18th century the monastery buildings were rebuilt in Baroque style, before the monastery itself was finally dissolved in the 19th century. After the dissolution, the property passed into the possession of the margraves of Baden, who founded a school there. The boarding school, which is located in the western wing of the Palace is considered to be one of the most elite private schools in Germany.
In addition to taking a guided tour through the Palace, you can also visit the Fire Brigade and Cooperage museum or even do some wine tasting in the Prelature Cellar.