***For an introduction to the Ore Mountains and Reasons to Visit follow this link ***
Erzgebirge or the Ore Mountains are a part of rural Germany blessed with rolling hills and white powder snow. But there are several other reasons to visit in winter.
Here are Several Things to Enjoy in the Ore Mountains on a Winter Vacation
Treat Yourself at the Elldus Resort and SPA
This family-friendly mountain resort offers visitors the best of the best: A 2000qm area home to four different saunas (temperature variant), a steam room, cosmetic rooms, an indoor swimming-pool, and kid’s spa area. All of this makes the Elldus Spa and Resort in Oberwiesenthal a perfect location for a wellness weekend in the heart of the winter wonderland Erzgebirge.
The Elldus Resort has a great location overlooking the ski piste of Oberwiesenthal and offers a restaurant on site as well as easy access to outdoor activities. Skiers and winter enthusiasts staying at the Elldus can look forward to a relaxing break after a full day spent exploring outside. Day rates and opening hours can be found on the website and or booked via phone: +49 (0) 373-481-2661
Lauenstein Castle Falconry Show
The Lauenstein Castle’s impressive history reaches all the way back to the 13th century and the building is still in impeccable condition to this day. It tells a lot of Saxony’s (and Erzgebirge’s) wealth in former medieval and renaissance times. As recently as 1979 the main building was reconstructed and turned into the Osterzgebirgsmuseum, where visitors not only learn interesting facts about the castle’s history, but also follow region’s geographic development and admire relevant regional art. But one of the true beauties of the village is the history of Falconry and the daily Falcon show that still happens there today.
At 11am everyday there is a Raptor show lead by Henry Dydymski (www.falknerei-schloss-lauenstein.de) and it is amazing!! Especially great entertainment for kids the falcon show is interactive, informative, fun, and surprising. It’s run on the castle’s property and basically includes a tour of the castle ruins at the same time. It is a must see when exploring the Ore Mountains.
Also one of the Lauenstein Castle’s larger rooms is often used for wedding ceremonies and different public events such as concerts and exhibitions. Check their schedule to see what’s happening next!!
- Tuesday – Saturday, Sundays- and Public Holidays 10.00 am– 4.30pm
- Closed Mondays
Follow Your Nose at the Huss Incense Making Factory
No matter what time of the year you come to visit the Ore Mounatins the smell of incense is in the air. However Christmas (and winter) is an especially magical time of year!! At Huss local incense making factory Christmas is in the air all year round. Their products are famous across Europe and people travel from throughout the continent to buy and learn to make the famous Erzgebirge incense candles.
Visitors of all ages can take a courses on how to make their very own Christmas scenting candles at frequently organized workshops. Prices and more information can be found here. There are incense recipes for all seasons, fall, winter, spring, and summer.
Celebrate the Zwönitz’ Light's Off festival
Erzgebirge’s charm is not only defined by beautiful landscapes and ancient history, but also by the region keeping important cultural traditions alive. The ‘Lights Off Festival’ is a spectacular annual event and definitely worth a winter time visit. On February 2nd, in various towns throughout the Ore Mountain region, the “Zwönitzer Lichtmess” is a symbolic highlight to officially end the Christmas season. Although it happens throughout the entire region, the biggest, best, and original, is still held in town of Zwonitz and has been celebrated for decades.
In the evening of February 2nd there is a host of traditional music and preparations for the celebration. Food and drink stands entertain guests who patiently wait sipping their hot Glühwein and eating grilled Bratwurst with mustard in front of the main stage. Eventually performances by local choirs and brass bands fill the air and the main square fills with the buzz of people come to attend the Light’s Off. Just before 6pm the mayor of the town comes on stage and presents the event, the history, the tradition, and the countdown. 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…. And at 6 pm sharp, the mayor of Zwönitz orders “LIGHTS OFF” and every single home and public light in town will extinguish for a few minutes. It’s a truly impressive sight. Get it?
Get Lost in Fairytale Winter Landscapes
When travelling to a new destination we often get so caught up in seeing all the main attractions and important events that we forget to step back and fully appreciate the natural beauty of the location. The Ore Mountain region of Germany is exactly this. While driving through the outskirts of Zwönitz and Oberwiesenthal you really leave hustle and bustle behind, capturing peaceful images of the sun setting over fields of untouched snow, children sledding down a hill laughing and shouting with joy, lights of candle’s burning bright in the windows of a quaint little village, and so on, and so on.
The far reaches of Germany’s east are steeped deep with rich traditions, the people are friendly and inviting, and the activities are plentiful. There is a ton to see and do and experience in the Ore Mountains and we hope this article has helped shed light on the lesser known region. Also that we have helped inspire you to explore a new region and see more of what this wonderful area has in store.
Dress warm and enjoy the season!!
Travel tip shared by Greg for Travel Dudes.
Big thanks to Erzgebirge Tourismus for the support in helping make this project possible!!