Just recently the Travel Dudes team was told of a place of far reaching rolling hills and white powder snow. A winter wonderland in rural Germany.
Curious by nature, we wanted to find out whether this was true and traveled to this place known as Erzgebirge or the Ore Mountains.
People come to Erzgebirge from all over Germany and the rest of Europe, many for the same reasons, especially in winter. The vast variety of winter sport facilities is certainly one of the main reasons people visit from all over. Erzgebirge has many perfectly groomed downhill ski slopes, countless cross-country skiing trails, and a famous lightning-fast bobsleigh and luge track.
The Erzgebirge is one of the lesser known winter destinations in Europe and people tend to overlook it until they meet someone who has been there. Word of mouth is often the best marketing tool and once you’ve heard some intriguing stories, you often want to visit yourself. Until you get that chance to visit the Ore Mountains, read here more inspiration and some very cool opportunities to explore.
This is Our List of Reasons to Visit the German Ore Mountains in Winter
1) Visit the Bobsleigh and Luge Capital, Altenberg
For many years now, Germany has been a leading force in the Olympic Winter Game’s discipline of bob sledding and luge. In Altenberg (near Dresden) there is the DKB Eis Kanal, a famous bob and skeleton ice track, and when you see it you begin to understand why.
The well maintained track is a training facility as well as a competition ground. Just last week the DKB Eis Kanal hosted the World Junior Luge Circuit competition drawing teams and spectators from all over the world. Visitors to the track can enter for free anytime except during scheduled competitive events. Opening hours and further information can be found online or via their DKB Eis Kanal Facebook Page, or of course can be found at the visitor center:
Neuer Kohlgrundweg 1
Tel. +49 (0) 305-622-660
For those of you who are interested in seeing true professionals in action: In 2020 the Bob & Skeleton World Championship will be taking place in Altenberg!
2) Ski Like There is No Tomorrow
When we said Erzgebirge has perfectly groomed downhill slopes we were not exaggerating. From bigger resorts like Oberwiesenthal to small family run resorts like Holzhau Skihof, there is something for everyone in the Ore Mounatins. You will need at least a couple days to explore the area around Oberwiesenthal, the skiing mecca of eastern Germany for decades. The area offers kilometers of cross-country runs as well as world class alpine and a brand new Snowpark Oberwiesenthal. Also at Holzhau Skihof there is the opportunity to explore the downhill slopes, rent equipment, have a hot cup of Glühwein, go on winter quad bike tours, or take the kids ice tubing!! Both ski resorts offer an array of fun and family friendly winter activities.
3) Get Cozy in the Boutique Mountain Lodge, Bergstraße 10
After a long and active day outside, there is nothing better than coming home to a warm fireplace and rich meal. That plus a wood burning private Sauna and outdoor hot tub will be waiting for you at the Boutique Lodge Bergstraße 10. As early as 1759 the hotel’s main building was constructed in the traditional Fachwerkhaus style, and after an incredible renovation the modern and stylish Bergstraße 10 now accommodates several apartments, mountain suites, and a restaurant serving delicious local cuisine.
4) Admire Wooden Art Masterpieces at Blockhausen
The owner Erwin Strittmatter proudly calls his work ‘chainsaw art’, but what visitors get to see at Blockhausen requires far more Fingerspitzengefühl than this name would let on. What began with the construction of the forest hut in 1995 has now grown to an impressive outdoor gallery of wooden animal sculptures connected by a comprehensive trail network through the forest.
In 2001 the main German culture TV channel, MDR, documented the Blockhausen site in a series called ‘Unterwegs in Sachsen’ and immediately put Blockhausen on the national map. Since then the annual visitor numbers continue to grow with them topping off 2017 at 45,000 visitors!!
Blockhausen now has many ‘huts’, better known as mountain lodges throughout the site all available for rent or private functions. The Heuhotel also holds a restaurant and rooms for workshops or overnight guests. Follow the links in this article to find out more.
5) Take A Trip to Germany’s highest town with the Fitchelbergbahn
Saxony’s highest train takes passengers into the hills of the Erzgebirge (Ore Mountains), leaving everyday on a 17km route from Cranzahl to Oberwiesenthal, Germany’s highest town. A train ride with the Fichtelbergbahn is an extraordinary experience for young and old: snow-covered fairy-tale landscapes slowly stream by while the old steam locomotive pounds and puffs it’s way through the Ore Mountains. For anyone who loves trains this is a must do experience.
We especially recommend taking part in one of many events organized by the train company. You can choose between a romantic moonlight ride, a traditional soup or herbal schnaps tasting, and or several other exciting experiences annually held on the train. More information on events, schedules and prices can be found here.
A magical stream train locomotive journey through a winter wonderland… sound intriguing?
***For more on the Ore Mountains follow this link ***
Travel tip shared by Greg for Travel Dudes.