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14 Best Places to Visit in Germany in Winter

Written by Diana Bocco Updated Sep 16, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( )

Germany is a wonderland of mountains, castles, and ancient cities that will awe you at any time of the year. But visit in winter, and the picture-perfect landscapes covered in snow are suddenly just a bit more magical, more alive.

Whether you're headed to historical Berlin or the vast beauty of the Black Forest, Germany is full of particularly beautiful places to visit during the colder months.

Add to that better prices and smaller crowds, and you'll start realizing why this is a country that's best explored as the temperatures plummet. Need some inspiration? Take a look at our list of the best places to visit in Germany in winter.

1. Zugspitze Mountain

4. baden-baden, 5. mosel valley, 7. garmisch-partenkirchen, 8. neuschwanstein castle, 9. partnach gorge, 10. dresden, 11. rothenburg ob der tauber, 12. baiersbronn, 14. berchtesgaden national park, map of places to visit in germany in winter.

Skier enjoying freshly groomed snow on Zugspitze Mountain

Germany's best ski resort is at the top of the country's tallest mountain. Zugspitze sits at just under 3,000 meters above sea level and is home to three glaciers. While the mighty mountain is best known for its slopes, it also attracts climbers and mountaineers. The base of Zugspitze offers plenty of trails for winter hiking and snowshoeing.

Three cable cars and the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway (the third highest railway in Europe) make their way up the mountain, bringing sports enthusiasts to the winter sports area. Here, skiers and snowboarders will find 20 kilometers of slopes open and ready for six months out of the year. There are also toboggan runs available.

Many of the pistes are high above the clouds, and the 2,600-meter-high Zugspitz Plateau is famous for its sunny winters — a perfect combination to make thrill-seekers flock here as late as April. No wonder it's one of Europe's best ski resorts .

For visitors who need a break from all the excitement, Zugspitze Mountain is home to several restaurants and huts , as well as the igloo village Zugspitze , which offers igloo rooms for a night to remember.

Cologne Cathedral and the Christmas market

The largest city in the North Rhine-Westphalia region, Cologne has plenty to offer all year long. In winter, the city remains warmer than much of Germany, but still sees some snow.

On those cold January days, head to the Claudius Therme thermal bath to try their outdoor pools and saunas, warming up under the darkening sky. Cologne's carnival in February is also one of the largest in the country, with celebrations and parades taking to the streets for days.

Some of Europe's best Christmas markets are in Germany - and the ones in Cologne are particularly stunning. The city's largest Christmas market is right in front of the Cologne Cathedral's 157-meter-tall Gothic tower. Here, over 150 wooden pavilions sell everything from hand-painted holiday cards to lebkuchen (gingerbread) cookies, traditional wooden toys, and quirky Tassen tableware.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Cologne

Christmas tree and the Brandenburg Gate

Berlin's chilly, snowy winters are perfect for indoor fun, but if you're visiting in December, the Christmas markets can't be missed either.

Potsdamer Platz's Winterworld , the historical Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market, and the Domäne Dahlem Advent market (located at a former manor) all offer a different experience, where glassblowers, artisans, carousels, and warm gingerbread combine for an amazing holiday experience.

While you're dressed up for the cold, make time to visit the Botanical Garden, which between mid-November and early January transforms into the Berlin Christmas Garden , filled with magical fairy lights and its own ice-skating rink. The Berlin Wall's outdoor exhibits are also a must at any time of the year.

For indoor entertainment, head to Berlin's Museum Island , where five museums hold everything from sculptures and art to the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. Winter is the perfect time to visit the museums, as the crowds are much smaller.

You can also tour the Reichstag (Germany's parliament building), see a show at the world's biggest theater stage (the Friedrichstadt Palast), and pick up some souvenirs at Europe's largest department store, Kaufhaus des Westens.

  • Read More: Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Berlin

Snow-covered trees in the Black Forest near Baden-Baden

The charming spa town of Baden-Baden sits near the border with France, right against the Black Forest and its enchanting attractions . Although a great destination in any weather, winter adds to the magic of the region. Snow transforms the Black Forest into a winter fairy tale, providing opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the many well-laid trails just minutes from Baden-Baden.

For stunning views, you can also ride the historical Merkurbergbahn (cable car) up Merkur Mountain and discover the many winter trails there. Or hike up to the ruins of Schloss Hohenbaden castle, crowning the hills right above town.

Back in town, there are plenty of Christmas markets to explore in December. You can take a stroll through Lichtentaler Allee park, then grab a table at one of the many cozy cafés around for some traditional chocolate truffles.

Or visit the late-Gothic Stiftskirche church, then head to the Museum Frieder Burda to see the stunning collection of modernist and expressionist art.

As a spa town, Baden-Baden has plenty to offer as well. In winter, take a hot dip into thermal waters at the Caracalla Spa, try Roman baths at Friedrichsbad, or step into a salt cave for some salty sea-like breeze.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Baden-Baden

Eltz Castle in the winter in the Mosel Valley

Located in southwestern Germany and extending into France and Luxembourg, The Mosel Valley is home to many quaint towns and storybook castles. The towns of Cochem and Burg Eltz are particularly stunning in winter, offering breathtaking views over the river, ancient castles, and plenty of hills for hiking — all of it more magical under a dusting of snow.

Castles and historical sites around the Mosel Valley are perfect in winter — the fog and snow add to the mystery, and the sites are almost empty, free of the big crowds you'll encounter in summer. In December, the Christmas markets in the region — especially the historical ones at Zell an der Mosel and Bernkastel-Kues — light up the valley.

Even in winter, it's worth braving the cold to explore the Old Town centers in the area. Half-timbered buildings that seem out of a fairy tale line up the streets and make for great photo opportunities. While the river cruises don't run in winter, you can take the train from Koblenz to Cochem and get similar scenic views along the way.

Aerial view of Hamburg and the Christmas market

Winter transforms most of Germany into a snowy wonderland, but the old city of Hamburg makes the most of the cold weather. As soon as the temperatures plummet, Hamburg starts offering advent concerts in the city's many churches, and Christmas markets start selling stollen (fruit cake), as well as hot chocolate for shoppers.

In the inner city park of Planten un Blomen park, an ice rink pops up in winter, complete with colorful lights and weekend DJs.

Hamburg lies on the river Elbe and is home to many canals and over 2,500 bridges, perfect for photographing the lights of the city as the fog rolls in. For a more in-depth water experience, head to Landungsbrücken pier to catch a winter boat ride.

Near the pier, you'll also find two museum ships : the cargo ship Cap San Diego and the three-masted sailing ship Rickmer Rickmers . It's possible to book passenger cabins to sleep on the Cap San Diego .

For a break from the cold, check out the Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg or visit the world's largest model railway and miniature airport museum at Miniatur Wunderland, one of Hamburg's top attractions . Hamburg is home to over 60 museums and 40 theaters, so finding things to do indoors won't be hard.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Hamburg

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

About an hour and a half from Munich and at the foot of the mighty Zugspitze mountain, the two towns that make up Garmisch-Partenkirchen are a winter haven for nature lovers.

The 1936 Olympic Games were held here, and its closeness to some of the country's tallest and most beautiful mountains means this is a prime destination for skiing, winter hiking, and cross-country skiing . The historical ski jumping hill of Olympiaschanze is worth a quick visit as well.

But Garmisch-Partenkirchen has more things to do than just snow fun. A leisurely walk through the neighborhood of Partenkirchen and its traditional half-timbered houses with carved scrollwork is a great way to spend a sunny winter afternoon — especially if you make some time to sit down at a local café for some chocolate cake.

For some indoor fun, stop by the Werdenfelser Heimatmuseum and get a peek at local life in the 1800s. And for a stunning view of the alpine surroundings, hop in one of the many gondolas that depart from town, including the Hausbergbahn Gondola, which goes 1,338 meters up Hausberghöhe mountain, or the Alpspitzbahn cable car, which takes you up the Zugspitze to the breathtaking AlpspiX viewing platform.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Neuschwanstein Castle

Germany is home to many stunning castles , but few can match the magic of Neuschwanstein Castle, the castle that inspired Disney's princess castle.

The Romanesque Revival palace sits on a hill in the heart of Bavaria. Originally commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria to be used as a retreat, the castle was almost immediately opened to the public after his death in 1886.

Of the original 200 rooms planned, only 15 were ever fully finished. Today, visitors can tour the king's quarters and some of the other rooms.

During the warmer months, the castle sees as many as 6,000 visitors per day, but things are much quieter in winter. Group tours are smaller, photos are better when fewer people are around, and the frosty endless forests around add to the magic.

In addition, the train ride from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle is stunning in winter, as the train crosses alpine villages and forested mountains dusted in snow. It's one of the best day trips from Munich .

Partnach Gorge in winter

Most tourists heading to the Partnach Gorge arrive in summer - but the Partnach is equally stunning in winter, especially after a heavy snowfall. It sits in the Reintal valley between two massive limestone walls that reach 80 meters high in some areas. Deep into the gorge, visitors can walk along the river, behind the frozen waterfalls, and above the snow-covered rocks in the river below.

The gorge is 700 meters long, with additional trails that take you across suspension bridges and through deep green forests. For those with an even bigger sense of adventure, guided torchlight hikes are held through the gorge only during winter.

It's a magical experience, walking in the dark with the light reflecting on the surrounding trickles of ice.

The nearby winter resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers plenty to do, and the picturesque Alpine lakes Eibsee and Riessersee offer additional winter hikes and picture opportunities.

Snow-covered Dresden

Home to Germany's oldest officially recorded Christmas market, Dresden truly puts on a show during the holiday season. Craftsmen — selling Saxony's Silesian ceramics, Ore Mountain wood carvings, and plenty of blown-glass ornaments — are always in attendance, and Dresden is also well-known for selling traditional Christmas Stollen.

Dresden was heavily damaged by bombing during WWII and painstakingly restored over the next few decades. Today, visitors can see the Baroque palaces, churches, and other Dresden landmarks in all their glory again.

The Hofkirche church, reconstructed using some of the original salvaged stones, is one of the best places to visit in winter, when advent concerts take over the city. And the magnificent Zwinger Palace is equally stunning under a dusting of snow.

The inner courtyard of the Palais Taschenberg gets transformed into a giant ice-skating rink between November and January every year. Indoors, the shopping malls get decked for the cold weather with great sales and local food specialties.

And if you're inclined to take a little day trip, the winter resort town of Altenberg is less than an hour away. Here, you'll find 14 cross-country ski trails, plus plenty of opportunities for winter hiking, snowshoeing, and tobogganing.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Dresden

Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Located on the western edge of Bavaria, the picturesque town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber is one of the most photographed in Germany. And if you thought this medieval town looks stunning in pictures, you should see it in person while blanketed in snow.

During December, the medieval Christmas market is one of Rothenburg ob der Tauber's must-see attractions and a great place to shop for a unique souvenir while snacking on roasted chestnuts.

The Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village , however, is open all year-round - so arrive in November or January and you can still enjoy the magic of the holidays as you walk around for photo opportunities next to a 16-foot-tall Christmas tree or the 12-foot-tall Nutcracker.

The German Christmas Museum , in the heart of town, is a great place to see 19th-century Christmas tree decorations and learn more about old holiday traditions.

To see the town's rooftops covered in snow, head over to the City Tower or walk the cobblestone streets of the Old Town square. The views are incredible either way.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Rothenburg

Cabin in the Black Forest near Baiersbronn

Located in the heart of the Black Forest , Baiersbronn is a medieval municipality with much to offer in winter.

Chilly, snowy nights are perfect for cozying up to a fire and enjoying a hearty warm meal. And Baiersbronn might just be the perfect place for it, since it's home to eight Michelin-starred restaurants .

During the day, warm up by taking to the trails — there are over 500 kilometers of them around the city. Once the snow gets too deep, many of them transform into snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails. There are several ski lifts around the area, and children will love sledding on the many local slopes.

In town, the Markplatz (central town square) offers opportunities to shop, admire the old architecture, and explore traditional Christmas Markets. Or you can head out into the countryside to the ruins of the Allerheiligen monastery.

Historic city center of Trier

Trier is perhaps best known for its Roman past and for being the birthplace of Karl Marx. But Trier, founded in 16 BCE, is also Germany's oldest city . This means the beautiful architecture of half-timbered houses mixes with Roman ruins like the Porta Nigra Roman city gate and the Trier Amphitheater.

Trier is a very walkable city and everything you want to see is within walking distance, so put on a heavy coat and warm shoes and go out to explore.

December is Trier's most snowy month, which works perfectly when it comes to chances of having a white Christmas. Snow or not, Tier's Christmas market (set against the backdrop of Trier Cathedral) is a must-see. Don't forget to pick up some hot chocolate while exploring the market — it's usually served in a collector mug (meaning, you can take it home) featuring the town name on it.

Christmas concerts are often held at the Roman-era Aula Palatina, or you can spend some cold afternoons visiting Trier's museums and historical sights .

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Trier

St. Bartholomew Church on Konigssee Lake, Berchtesgaden National Park

Located in the Bavarian Alps on the border with Austria, Berchtesgadener National Park is a treat to visit any time of the year. But come wintertime — as the park's lakes freeze over and the snow-covered forests start to welcome snowshoers — there's a special magic that takes over.

Königssee lake is often considered Germany's most beautiful Alpine lake. It often freezes over in winter, covered by a haunted layer of mist in the mornings. If you arrive in early winter or as spring approaches, you'll be able to take a boat across it to reach the ice chapel (Eiskapelle) and catch sight of the Baroque St. Bartholomä church. If the boat isn't running, you can hike to the ice chapel — just be prepared for the six-kilometer-long round trip.

During very cold winters, you might be able to ice-skate on the lake.

Winter walks are still possible in the park if there's no heavy snow — otherwise, bring your snowshoes or your cross-country skies.

The nearby village of Berchtesgaden offers accommodation if you want to stick around and explore for more than one day.

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Germany in Winter Ultimate Guide, everything you need to know! (2023)

Germany in winter is a beautiful and magical place, a real winter wonderland with snow-dusted landscapes, cozy Christmas markets, and winter sports opportunities.

Despite the colder temperatures, winter is a great time to visit Germany. The country’s cities and towns are adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations, outside of the Christmas Market season it’s less crowded, and prices are in general lower.

Use this “ Germany in winter Ultimate Travel Guide “ with tons of travel tips to plan the perfect winter getaway to Germany!

*Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, for more information see my terms and conditions page.

Important note: It is important to note that many attractions in Germany have limited hours in winter, and some may be closed, so pay careful attention to opening times.

Table of Contents

German Christmas Markets and winter festivals

From festive Christmas markets to colorful carnival celebrations, it’s a festive time of year!

Christmas Markets

There’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by attending a traditional Christmas Market! The holiday season in Germany is MAGICAL and during the month of December, the markets are the main attractions and in full swing!

FREE itinerary: Medieval Christmas Markets of Germany

festively decorated wooden hut at a German Christmas Market

My favorite things about the German Christmas markets? the smells! Before you ever enter the market itself the smells will greet you with the delicious aroma of mulled wine, spiced gingerbread cookies, warm candied nuts, hot chocolate, and other delightful things!

Most major cities put on a Christmas Market, but in my opinion the best ones are the small-town markets. You’ll usually find them in the city center / town center. Wooden market stalls are strung with fresh greenery and beautiful lights. Visitors can enjoy traditional German treats like mulled wine and gingerbread, and shop for unique handcrafted German gifts and souvenirs .

magically lit colorful German Christmas Stars

When are the Christmas Markets in Germany? The exact dates change from year to year, based on the advent calendar, and each town sets their own dates. Check the official website for the most accurate information.

Here are some of the best Christmas markets in Germany:

  • Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt
  • Dresden Christmas Market (Dresden Striezelmarkt)
  • Lucia Christmas Market, Berlin.
  • Leipzig Christmas Market (Leipziger Weihnachtsmarkt) consider this Christmassy day trip from Leipzig to the Ore Mountains .
  • Munich Christmas Market in Marienplatz.
  • Frankfurt Christmas Market, Weihnachtsmarkt. Consider this private Christmas Market Tour of Frankfurt , or a guided advent stroll through Frankfurt .
  • Trier Weihnachtsmarkt
  • Heidelberger Weihnachtsmarkt. Consider this Christmas Market walking tour of Heidelberg.
  • Dusseldorf. Consider this private Christmas Market tour of Dusseldorf .
  • Stuttgart. Consider this covered wagon winter tour from Stuttgart !
  • Rothenburg “Reiterlesmarkt”

Carnival Season (Fasching/Fastnacht/Karneval)

Germany has a lively and vibrant carnival season that takes place in the weeks leading up to Lent. One of the best festivals celebrating carnival can be experienced in Cologne. Other cities with notable carnival celebrations include Mainz, Düsseldorf, and Munich. During the carnival season. Eat traditional foods like Berliner doughnuts and drink beer or schnapps (to warm the belly!) Festivities include colorful costumes, massive parades with elaborate floats and marching bands.

You can get the full lowdown on the carnival festivities at the Germany Way.

Fasching/fastnacht/karneval collage Germany

New Year’s Celebrations

Germany is the perfect place to ring in the New Year! The last day in December is a big event, known as Silvester. At midnight the sky is filled with colorful fireworks displays. If you plan to spend New Year’s Eve in Germany, you’re sure to find festivities wherever you are!

You may be interested in: New Years Eve Concert, Dresden

Indoor things to do in Germany in Winter

Choose from a range of Indoor “Germany winter activities”

Attend a concert

Shelter from the winter chill at an indoor concert. Here are some special Christmas centered Concerts in Germany:

  • Dresden Festive Christmas Concert
  • Various concerts in Berlin

explore Castles and Palaces

Some of Germany’s most famous castles, like Burg Eltz Castle , are closed in winter but many of the fairytale castles and Palaces in Germany are open all year. Here are a few of the best: (don’t forget to check their winter hours.)

Here are some of Germany’s best, open in winter:

  • Hohenzollern Castle
  • Neuschwanstein castle, this stunning castle is a delight in winter! Neuschwanstein winter guide!
  • Wurzburg Palace
  • Heidelberg Castle
  • Marienburg Castle
  • Reichsburg Cochem Castle
  • Herrenchiemsee New Palace
  • Schwerin Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle winter view from the trail viewpoint of Neuschwanstein castle near Jugendstraße

Museums are a great way to get out of the weather. Even if you aren’t ordinarily into museums, Germany has a wide range of interesting museums. There’s something to please everyone. The Medieval Crime and Justice Museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber is my favorite!

Cathedrals and churches

Even if you aren’t necessarily religious, the churches and cathedrals in Europe are spectacular works of architecture. They are full of beautiful stained glass, paintings and frescoes, and ornate furnishings. Step inside one to get out of the cold.

These are some of Germany’s most spectacular churches and cathedrals:

  • Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom)
  • Church of our Lady (Liebfrauenkirche) Trier
  • Saint Peter’s Cathedral (aka Dom Trier.) Trier
  • Ulm Minster (Ulmer Münster) Ulm
  • Aachen Cathedral (Aachener Dom)
  • Parish Church of St. Sebastian

Ramsau Church, Ramsau Kirche, magical on a winter night!

thermal baths and spas

There’s no better way to warm a wintery chill like a day at a thermal bath or spa! Let Google be your guide! My favorite is Franken-Therme Bad Windsheim GmbH, located in Bad Windsheim, just a few kilometers from Rothenburg.

Check out the warm brine sensory float with lazer lights and relaxing music:

Popular Winter Destinations in Germany

Here are some popular winter destinations in Germany:

Villages and towns

When I plan a winter trip to Germany, I focus on the quaint towns and their historic buildings and beautiful architecture. Even though you are outside it’s easy to duck into a restaurant or cafe to warm up whenever you need to.

My favorite small towns include:

Rothenburg ob der Tauber In addition to the Christmas market, there is so much to see and do in the tiny medieval town of Rothenburg! The draw is the town itself, a real-life storybook village with cobbled streets, half-timbered houses and plenty of medieval charm! It is one of my favorite places in all of Germany! It’s Christmas year-round in Rothenburg. Stop in at the Käthe Wohlfahrt store or visit the Christmas Museum.

Get more information: check out my article on all of the best things to do in Rothenburg !

Rothenburg at Christmas time with snow rothenburg-tourismus.de

Nuremberg Germany Nuremberg is another fantastic medieval town. In addition to one of the oldest and most traditional Christmas markets in Europe, the Bavarian town is home to several historic landmarks, including the Nuremberg Castle, the Gothic St. Lorenz Church, and the Albrecht Dürer House.

Special Christmas activities include: a Christmas Market Culinary tour , and a guided tour of Old Town and the Christmas Market .

Bamberg The charming town of Bamberg in Bavaria has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its abundance of historic buildings and historical sites. Bamberg has a very good Christmas Market but what makes this a special place to be during the holiday season is the Nativity Trail. The trail consists of over 30 nativity scenes spread out throughout the town. The trail ends at the Bamberg Cathedral, where a large nativity scene is displayed.

Special winter activities in Bamberg include: a private Christmas Market tour

Rhine River Valley

The Rhine River valley is dotted with cliff top castles, terrace vineyards, and adorable villages. While the castles along the Rhine may be hit and miss with openins this time of the year, the castle hotels are open for business! If you happen to visit the Rhine in winter, then you’re in luck because river cruises run through the winter!

Special Christmas themed cruises include: a Christmas boat cruise that departs from Rüdesheim am Rhein . (these book up well in advance)

While I’m not a city dweller I am aware that many of you are! Here are the best German cities to visit in winter:

Berlin Berlin, with its iconic Brandenburg Gate, is the largest city in Germany. This vibrant city offers a lot to do during the winter season. In addition to the Christmas markets, Berlin also has many museums, galleries, and concert and other performance opportunities that are perfect for a cold winter day. With over 170 museums in Berlin , you’re guaranteed to find something to keep you occupied! Another great option is the world class Botanical Gardens in Berlin.

Special winter activities in Berlin include: a private tour of the Christmas Markets ( option 1 / option 2 ) , a winter lights limousine tour , a guided tour of Gendarmenmarkt one of Berlin’s best markets by a local guide (extra cost: small entrance fee not included)

Munich Munich is another city that is known for its Christmas markets. The most famous one is at Marienplatz, where you can find traditional Bavarian food and drinks, as well as handmade crafts. Munich is also a good place to go skiing or snowboarding. The city is located close to the Alps, and there are many ski resorts that are easily accessible from Munich.

Special winter activities in Munich include: a Christmas village tour , a Christmas Market tour with mulled wine , and a Christmas Market tour with a snack .

Dresden Dresden is a beautiful city that is known for its Baroque architecture. During the winter season, the city transforms into a winter wonderland. The Christmas market located in Old Town is one of the oldest in Germany. In addition to the Christmas market, there are many museums and galleries in Dresden that are worth visiting.

Special winter activities in Dresden include: a Christmas sightseeing tour from a local guide, a bus tour to Seiffen Toy village , a historic city walking tour that includes the Christmas Market, a paddle steamer winter river cruise , an advent Christmas Market tour , and advent concert , a Christmassy day trip to the Ore Mountains , a private Christmas Market tour and a Bohemia and Saxon Switzerland Winter Tour

Cologne (Köln) Cologne is situated on the banks of the Rhine. Not only is it the location of the famous Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it also has one of the best Christmas Markets in Germany. The city also boasts a number of museums and galleries, like the Roman-Germanic Museum, which showcases the city’s Roman history. Cologne is also famous for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, pubs, and clubs throughout the city, all great places to get out of the cold!

Special winter activities in Cologne: a beer and Christmas Market tour , an advent boat tour with live music , an advent Christmas Customs tour , and a private Christmas Market tour.

the simply stunning Cologne Cathedral on a Winter night

The Black Forest

The Black Forest is magical when a layer of snow dusts the dense forests, like a bit of snow globe magic. This area is also a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding, and is a great place for experiencing snowy winter hikes. Popular destinations in the Black Forest include Triberg with its frozen waterfalls, cuckoo clocks, and Black Forest cake.

The Black Forest Winter in Germany

Recommended reading: Triberg Germany visitors Guide

If you’re looking for a more urban experience, Baden-Baden is a spa town located in the Black Forest. Another great way to get indoors is at the casino. Baden-Baden is the location of the most beautiful casino in the world! You can find a list of spas and thermal baths in UNESCO World Heritage Baden-Baden on their website.

Special winter activities in Baden-Baden: a guided Christmas walking tour

outdoor German Winter activities

Panoramic views.

Head to most any mountain in Germany where you can take a cable car up to the top of snowy mountains for panoramic views of the winter landscapes below. Do note that many cable cars are shut down for maintenance between the fall hiking season and winter sports season. Make your way up Zugspitze , Germany’s highest mountain, for an adrenaline rush!

Learn more: how to visit Zugspitze and the picture-perfect lake Eibsee here!

viewing platform Zugspitze Mountain Germany

Sleigh Rides

Can you imagine anything more romantic than gliding over the snow in a horse drawn sleigh ride?

These companies offer sleigh rides: (all located on the Bavarian Alps unless otherwise noted)

  • The Family Blanz (Hinterstein)
  • Anton Maier (Rottach-Egern)
  • Rottach-Egern (Near Bertchesgaden)
  • Simon Adlbert (Tegernsee)
  • Kutscherei Holzmann (city of Munich)
  • Gästehaus Posaunenklang (Mittenwald)
  • various operators at SCHLIERSEE
  • various operators (Zugspitz, Garmish area)

Horse Drawn Sleigh, a great addition to your Germany Winter itinerary!

Since you already have your winter weather gear, why not visit an ice cave? Due to accessibility issues many of them are closed in winter. Devil’s Cave, Pottenstein, the longest in Germany, is open all year.

Winter Sports

Germany is home to some of the best ski resorts in Europe, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts. Options range from Nordic, Glade, cross-country skiing, and accommodate anywhere from expert skiers to those who are looking to learn to ski.

In addition to skiing these resorts offer other activities such as: (Check the websites for details)

  • tobogganing
  • snow tubing
  • snowboarding
  • ice skating

Some of the most popular ski resorts in Germany include:

  • Oberstdorf , and Nebelhorn
  • Winklmoos-Alm and Skigebiet am Benzeck
  • Berchtesgadener Land (5 different ski resorts)
  • Brauneck / Lenggries
  • Spitzingsee/ Tegernsee
  • Zugspitze (Germany’s highest peak) Garmisch Partenkirchen
  • Feldberg in the Black Forest
  • Harz Mountains in Northern Germany

Ice Skating

Ice skating is a popular winter activity in Germany, with many cities and towns setting up ice rinks during the winter months. Some of the most popular ice rinks in Germany include the rink at the Berliner Weihnachtszeit Christmas market, the rink at the Munich Christmas market, the Eisarena in Dresden and the Eissporthalle in Frankfurt. Check Google for an ice rink near you!

Hiking and winter walks

Germany is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Europe, and winter is the best time to explore them. Many of the trails offer stunning views of snow-covered mountains and forests, and the crisp winter air makes for a refreshing and invigorating hiking experience. Some of the most popular winter hiking trails in Germany include the Black Forest Trail, the Harz Mountains Trail, and the Bavarian Forest Trail.

One of the things I love the most about Germany is its abundance of trails! No matter where you land, there’s likely to be a trail! A great place to search for trails in Germany is Komoot.

Eibsee rundweg trail in Winter

Climate and Weather in Winter

The winter season in Germany usually lasts from December to February, with January being the coldest month.

I have lived in Germany through many winters as a child and can tell you that they have a comparatively mild winter than the brutal winters we have here in Kansas. However, if you are coming from a warm climate, you need to prepare for winter weather conditions.

How cold is it in Germany during winter? While I would love to lay down some facts and figures for you, it would be difficult to do so. The country’s winter weather is cold, with temperatures often dropping below freezing. Temperatures in Germany can vary widely. The higher the altitude the greater the chance of snow and the colder the temperatures. The northern coastal areas near the Baltic Sea and North Sea tend to be milder, while southern Germany, including the Bavarian Alps, can be much colder. Dress for winter weather conditions (more on that later.)

If you really need numbers, the average temperature in Germany in winter from 1960 to 2023 was around 1.5 to 3.5 degrees Celsius. (35-38 degrees Fahrenheit)

Does it snow in Germany in winter? Yes, it does. How much? That is also difficult to pin down. You can expect anywhere from a dusting of snow from low lying areas like Rothenburg, to several feet of snow in the mountains. In addition to snow, visitors should be prepared for the possibility of ice and rain.

German radiator heaters: If you are new to these you are going to love them! If you’re cold just sidle up to one of these heat sources. They seem a lot more efficient than my forced air furnace!

Winter Cuisine in Germany

Germany is known for its hearty and comforting cuisine. A hearty German meal is a great way to fill you up and warm you from the inside out! If you are new to German cuisine you may be interested in reading about the BEST German food you simply MUST try !

Glühwein Glühwein, which is a hot spiced wine. It is typically made with red wine, cinnamon, cloves, and citrus fruit, and is served in mugs at Christmas markets and other winter events.

Lebkuchen Lebkuchen is a type of gingerbread made with honey, spices, and nuts, and is often decorated with icing or chocolate.

Schnitzel A hot schnitzel on a cold winter day is a brilliant idea! Schnitzel is a cut of meat, usually veal or pork, pounded thin, breaded, and fried to golden brown perfection!

German breakfast Start your day with a hearty German breakfast, served at most Gasthauses and Pensions.

Lebkuchen and Glühwein are popular treats in Germany in Winter

Tips for Traveling in Germany in Winter

Winter travel in Germany comes with its own set of issues to address. It’s important to be prepared for the colder weather and potential travel disruptions. Here are a few tips to help make your trip to Germany in winter as smooth and enjoyable as possible:

Shorter days

It is worth noting that daylight hours in Germany during winter are shorter, with the sun setting as early as 4 pm. It is essential to plan outdoor activities accordingly and make the most of the daylight hours.

Be prepared for travel disruptions

Winter weather can sometimes cause travel disruptions, such as flight cancellations or train delays. It’s a good idea to check the weather forecast and any travel alerts before you leave, and to have a backup plan in case your travel plans are disrupted.

Pack light, stay warm tips (what to pack for Germany in winter)

  • Layering is the key to keeping warm without the bulk. Warm clothes don’t have to be bulky. Layers are a good idea and can take you from indoors to outdoors and back again. Another benefit of layering is it can seamlessly take you from outdoors to indoors. The warmest layers are fleece, wool, and down. I like fleece base layers like CuddlDuds for outdoor activities.
  • Fleece lined jeans , big thumbs up! (may be harder to find in summer, keep checking!)
  • One pair of waterproof snow boots for outdoor activities, plus lightweight insulated boots (bonus if they are waterproof too!)
  • Fleece neck gaiters, wear it as a scarf or pull it up over your face to keep it warm!
  • PACKABLE down, layer them over a light fleece jacket to stay toasty warm without the bulk.
  • Waterproof pants (comfortable and warm) snow pants are bulky and unless you are skiing you probably don’t need them.
  • Wool socks and wool glove liners (double the heat insulation!) and something to keep your head warm.
  • Hand warmers
  • Waterproof outer layers like rain ponchos in case of rain, you don’t want to get wet on cold days!

Getting around in winter

By car Driving in a foreign country can be daunting, and driving in winter in Germany can be tricky, since weather conditions are unpredictable. You can check current road conditions in Germany on Weather Online.

Public transportation If you aren’t comfortable with driving in winter Germany has an extensive rail and bus system. There isn’t much of anywhere you can’t get by either train ride, bus, or bus/train combo. The best places to seamlessly plan your bus and train routes are either Rome2Rio or Deutsche Bahn (DB).

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it worth visiting germany in winter.

Germany is definitely worth visiting during the winter season, especially for those who enjoy winter sports or the festive atmosphere of Christmas markets. The country offers a variety of unique experiences during this time of the year, and visitors can enjoy fewer crowds and lower prices compared to the peak summer months. It’s the perfect place for a winter holiday!

Is Germany expensive in winter?

In general winter is the cheapest time to visit Germany, EXCEPT for the Christmas market season. Room rates are at their lowest and flights can be cheaper this time of year. Visitors can save money by eating at local restaurants and using public transportation. Many Christmas markets offer affordable food and drink options. Winter sports facilities often offer discounted rates for equipment rental and lift tickets.

Overall, Germany is quite inexpensive to travel to. If you are looking to save money, be sure to read my Germany on a Budget article!

What are some free things to do in Germany in Winter?

Free things to do in Germany in winter include:

  • and dreamy walk down a snow packed trail
  • churches and cathedrals are often free
  • there usually aren’t any fees to attend Christmas Markets or other winter festivals
  • its free to explore the nooks and crannies of the beautiful towns and villages in Germany
  • search out a National Park in Germany, entrance is free!
  • many of Germany’s most famous landmarks are free!

Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein castle: everything you need to know! (2023)

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The 15 Best Places to Visit in Germany During the Winter

Germany is a magical country to visit any time of year with its grand castles, medieval towns , and towering mountains – but there’s something about a coat of snow that makes it seem that much more like a fairytale. 

The country transforms into the definition of holiday spirit during the Advent season with charming Christmas Markets at every turn. 

Whether you like spending your days outdoors hitting the slopes and hiking in the snow or exploring a city with a cozy cafe never too far away, Germany is the perfect place for all kinds of travelers to explore during the winter season. 

However, with a country made up almost entirely of places that look that much better covered in snow, deciding where to spend those cold nights is not an easy task. 

Keep reading for a comprehensive list of cities, towns, and natural wonders in Germany that’ll have you wondering why you didn’t plan a winter vacation sooner. 

Table of Contents

1. Partnachklamm Gorge

Partnachklamm Gorge

Although the Partnachklamm Gorge is a beautiful sight at any time of year, there’s something about the winter views that make you feel like you’ve entered another world. 

Of the many breathtaking gorges scattered throughout Germany, Partnachklamm Gorge is the only one that stays open during the winter season. 

Most people prefer to spend their time cozied up by a fire when the weather gets cold, but those willing to bundle up and get outside will have the pleasure of enjoying nature all to themselves. 

The gorge sees less than a third of its usual visitors in the colder months, so you can walk through this winter wonderland in peace and marvel at the frozen waterfall. 

The short hikes around the gorge are perfect for quick trips, so you can avoid getting too cold – and the beauty of large icicles at every turn is hard to pass up. There are even torchlight tours during the winter months that teach visitors about the history of the gorge. 

After exploring this magical place, head over to the Forthaus Graseck Hotel to warm yourself up and grab something to eat. 

2. Zugspitze

Zugspitze

Known as the tallest peak in Germany, Zugspitze is a hotspot for winter activities, and people from all over the world travel here just to hit the slopes. 

The most popular attraction on the mountain is the Zugspitze Ski Resort , and there’s a large selection of slopes for advanced skiers to beginners. 

If skiing isn’t your thing, you can opt to take on the mountain on a bobsled. Equipment can be acquired from the Sonnalpin Glacier Restaurant.  

Since the mountain is so tall, there are no slopes that start at its peak – but there are cable cars that’ll take you to the summit so that you can take in the panoramic views. While you are up there, stop in at one of the restaurants, sit outside on the patio for dinner and take in a view like no other. 

Keep the good times rolling by staying at one of the resorts located along the mountain, like the lodge at the Zugspitze Resort , for quick slope access, and Alpen-Chalet Ehrwald for more quiet and affordable lodging options. 

3. The Allgäu

The Allgäu

Located in the southern part of Germany, The Allgäu region is one of the most popular places to visit during the winter months, even if you’re not an avid skier. 

There’s a huge variety of hiking trails throughout the area that are accessible at any time of year. You’ll find trails suitable for all skill levels, and that can be accessed right from the village. 

Some of the most iconic castles in Germany can be found throughout Allgäu – and there’s nothing like freshly fallen snow to create that fairytale vibe. In fact, the castle of Neuschwanstein was the inspiration For Disney’s Sleeping Beauty ’s Castle, and because of this, it’s the most visited castle in the country. 

Everything about this area is extremely relaxing, with its quiet roads and snow-covered mountains – but the colder months only add to this bliss. 

Enjoy your fair share of ski resorts when you want to hit the slopes, and venture off to nearby towns like Oberammergau or Oberstdorf when you need a break from the quiet streets of Allgäu. 

After spending time out in the cold, there is no better place to warm up than Kristall-Therme , which looks like a grand palace but actually houses a massive spa, with hot tubs and breathtaking alpine views. 

Cologne

Although the city of Cologne is the 4th largest in all of Germany, it manages to maintain a stress-free vibe at any time of year – and the feeling of peaceful bliss is definitely at its highest in the winter season. 

The city isn’t known for its dramatic architecture, but rather its sense of community and unique culture – so every step through this vibrant city is a new adventure. 

There’s nothing quite like bathing in a thermal pool on bitterly cold days, and luckily, Claudius Therme is right in town with numerous thermal pools, saunas, and designated relaxing rooms. 

Another great way to stay warm while having a grand time is by heading over to one of the many breweries peppered through town and drinking the city’s signature beer, Kölsch. 

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, make your way over to Keupstraßen, where Turkish food stands line the streets selling tasty snacks like baklava and kebabs. 

One of the absolute best things to do here during the wintertime is to attend the annual Christmas Markets, which will make you feel like you’ve been transported to the North Pole as you walk through the 7 markets boasting treats, crafts, and more. 

If that’s not enough to make Cologne seem like a magical place, check out these Top 20 Best Day Trips from Cologne, Germany .

germany winter tour

Nestled along the Elbe River, the scenic city of Dresden is beautiful regardless of the season – but it truly glows with a coat of freshly fallen snow. 

At the center of the city lies one of the finest architectural masterpieces in Germany, the Dresden Frauenkirche , and it’s even more spectacular from the inside as you watch the snow fall through the mosaic windows. 

You can’t go wrong with a visit to any of the palaces located within the city, including The Zwinger , with its exquisite Baroque style architecture, and the Dresden Royal Palace with its ancient museum. 

Go for a walk around the Theaterplatz , the city’s public square, where you can marvel at the Semper Opera House from afar and attend a lively performance to admire its grand interior. 

Nicknamed the “Balcony of Europe”, Brühl’s Terrace is a favorite amongst locals and tourists alike if you want to go for a leisurely stroll filled with gardens, statues, and waterfront views.  You’ll also find the Albertinum along the Terrace stroll, which is made up of some of the finest pieces of artwork throughout Europe. 

Don’t miss your chance to visit the Three Gifts for Cinderella exhibition, located right outside of the city at Schloss Moritzburg , where you can watch the most iconic Christmas movie in Germany. Head over to the Moritzburg Castle , where sections of the movie were produced – and check out some of the authentic props used during filming. 

6. Baiersbronn

Baiersbronn

Located deep within the Black Forest , Baiersbronn is a favorite amongst thrill-seekers who like spending the winter season in the great outdoors and end the day with award-winning meals. 

There are hundreds of trails that’ll take you through the iconic forest and its dense greenery, which only appears even more magical once covered in snow. 

One of the most wonderful sights to come across while snowshoeing through the forest is the monstrous Sankenbach Waterfalls that stand completely frozen in time. 

Dive into the town’s unfortunate history by visiting the ruins of Kloster Allerheiligen , a monastery that faced many tragedies over the years – and relish in the silence of this secluded area as the snow falls around you. 

After a long day of exploring, have your pick between three Michelin-star restaurants that hold a total of 8 stars, awarded because of their uniquely mouthwatering menus. 

Keep the good times going by spending the night at the Hotel Traube Tonbach , where you can cozy up next to a fireplace and be mere seconds away from the most popular Michelin star restaurants in town. 

7. Wernigerode

Wernigerode

Known as one of the most beautiful medieval towns in Germany, Wernigerode is transformed into a fantasy world when its half-timbered houses become covered in snow. 

You can easily spend your days walking through the cobblestone streets and admiring the ancient homes, but the Wernigerode Castle looming in the distance will be sure to call your name. Built atop a hill overlooking the town, the Wernigerode Castle is truly breathtaking. Guided tours are available so that you can walk through its 40 fully restored rooms. 

Hop on the Harz Steam Railway for a scenic ride up through the iconic Harz Mountains to reach its highest point, and take in the sights from the warm train car. 

Stop by the Kleinstes Haus to see the smallest house in town, and make sure to duck when entering into the folk museum housed inside if you’re taller than 5’5. 

When you need a break, have a seat on one of the benches that line the Rathaus (town square), and marvel at the towering buildings and ancient architecture that surrounds you. 

End your day by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through town, watch the snow fall around you, and stop for food and drinks along the way. 

8. Quedlinburg

Quedlinburg

Hidden away amongst the Harz Mountain Range, the quaint town of Quedlinburg doesn’t see many visitors but is overflowing with historic beauty that only gets better when winter approaches. 

The town has over 1,300 vibrant half-timbered houses that are unique in their own ways and is considered to be one of the most well-maintained medieval towns in the country. 

Go for a walk along the cobblestone streets of the Market Square where you can people watch, grab lunch at a cafe or restaurant, do a bit of shopping, and admire historic landmarks. 

Make your way over to the Marktkirche St. Benedikti , a church dating back to the 12th century, and climb to the top where you can enjoy sweeping views of the snowfall. 

You can learn about the town’s history while exploring a castle at the Schlossmuseum , take in the breathtaking views atop Munzenberg , marvel at the exquisite Romanesque architecture at St. Wiperti , and check out the oldest house in town at Fachwerkmuseum Ständerbau . 

The most amazing thing to do here in the wintertime is to explore the Quedlinburg Christmas Market . Try a variety of authentic snacks, buy handcrafted Christmas decorations, and mingle with the locals. 

9. Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden

This national park is located within the Alps and is filled with alpine lakes, snowy peaks, and thick greenery. Its bordering village bears the same name and is the perfect place to spend those cold winter nights. 

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit Königssee – a magnificent mirror lake formed by melted glaciers – as it’s considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the country. Although you can’t explore the lake by boat during the winter months, it’s just as much fun to put on a pair of ice skates and skate atop this natural beauty. 

Venture over to Eagle’s Nest, which sits atop a mountain and was once the location where plans of genocide were put together by Nazis. 

Visit Jenner Mountain , the highest peak in the park, by taking a gondola up to its summit. Admire the panoramic views, go for a hike, or partake in a bit of skiing. 

Be careful of icy conditions and make sure to take a 4×4 vehicle for a scenic drive along Rossfeld Panoramastrasse with its snow-covered cliffs, and check out one of the many ski resorts along the way. 

10. Heidelberg

Heidelberg

Located in the southern part of Germany, Heidelberg is a popular tourist destination because of the abundance of activities available regardless of the season. 

No trip to this charming city would be complete without visiting the Heidelberg Castle , which is considered to be one of the most iconic landmarks in the country with architectural features from the 13th, 15th, and 16th centuries. 

Put on your walking shoes before heading down Haupstraße , the longest shopping street in the world that is filled with adorable boutiques, popular name brands, cozy cafes, and unique restaurants. 

Along your travels, you’ll come across the Town Hall . Check out the grand fountain at its center and Christmas string lights hung around to welcome the holidays. 

You’ll spend much of your time in the Old Town during the winter months, as it’s transformed into a wonderland of snow and holiday cheer during the Christmas Markets.  You’ll find one of the largest Christmas Markets in Germany with many stalls, a carousel, ice rink, mini train, and popular Winter Woods . 

Make sure to try the city’s classic dish, Flammkuchen, which is made up of thin-crust dough, onions, bacon, and crème fraîche – and pairs nicely with a piping hot cup of glüwein. 

Trier

Known for being the oldest town in Germany, Trier is filled with historic landmarks to admire – and its prime location within the Mosel Valley brings an abundance of natural beauty into the mix. 

Start your journey by visiting the Porta Nigra , the largest of its kind in the northern part of the country, and marvel at the ancient town walls as you learn about the role they played during the 3rd century. 

Along those same lines, you can visit the High Cathedral of Saint Peter , one of the oldest churches in the country dating back to the 4th century, and check out a variety of ancient religious artifacts. 

Plan to see a concert at the Roman-era Aula Palatina, where you can listen to music while you watch the snow fall from its large windows and step inside Constantine’s Throne Room. 

You can spend your entire day exploring the attractions along the Hauptmarkt. Walk by the many half-timbered houses, visit ancient landmarks like the Steipe , check out the massive Market Fountain , and stop at quirky museums like the Toy Museum.  

Stop by the Trier Imperial Baths for a tour of its ancient grounds sporting a large collection of underground rooms and the remains of a large bath that once held up to 600 people. 

Visit the house where Karl Marx spent his childhood, learn about the city’s history at the Rhineland Museum, walk across the Old Roman Bridge , and check out the Fell Exhibition Slate Mine. 

12. Monschau

Monschau

Travel back in time to the romantic town of Monschau , which is located within the Eifel region and boasts a variety of beautiful sights from its half-timbered houses to its dense forests. 

The most notable attraction in town is the Rotes Haus , and although it has a simple brick exterior, this iconic museum’s interior is made up of some of the finest Rococo architecture and luxurious furnishings. 

You may not be able to explore the inside of the Burg Monschau , but there’s nothing quite like taking in the views of the town from its courtyard while the snow coats the world around you. 

See how the famous town’s mustard is made at the mom-and-pop mill, Senfmühle Monschau, and try the tasty condiment that had been in the making for over 120 years. 

Walk the cobblestone streets of the Altstadt with its waterfront views, and admire how it’s transformed into a winter wonderland of Christmas lights, holiday stalls, and sweet-smelling treats. 

Just a short trip outside of town is the Hellenthal Nationalpark Eifel , boasting 64 acres of untouched nature with frequent wildlife sightings, including deer, lynxes, and wild cats. 

The Eifel Region is composed of over 150 miles of trails for those who like to hike during the wintertime, with paths for all skill levels leading to natural wonders like volcanic craters, alpine lakes, and moorlands. 

13. Leipzig

Leipzig

You can’t go wrong with spending some time in Leipzig during the wintertime when the streets are transformed into a winter wonderland and indoor attractions are in abundance for those who like to steer clear of the cold. 

What better way to warm up after a long day wandering the cobblestone streets than by sitting in a hot tub at one of the many spas that lay within the city limits? The most popular spa in town is Sachsen-Therme , which has a variety of saunas ranging in temperatures, steam rooms, a bunch of hot tubs, and even an outdoor heated pool. 

If you’re visiting during the month of December, you’re in luck; this is when the Leipzig’s Weihnachts Markt takes over the street and fills the air with the smell of freshly made pastries. You can spend hours hopping from one stall to another buying adorable knick-knacks, handcrafted items, holiday decorations, and tasty treats. 

When you need a break from the cold, head over to Gondwanaland where you can walk through an indoor rainforest environment that boasts over 300 animal species, 17,00 types of plants, and a variety of restaurants for when you get hungry. 

Berlin

As the capital city of Germany, Berlin is one of the most popular tourist cities in the country and is actually one of the largest cities in Europe . However, planning your visit during the winter months can help lessen the crowds without lessening the available activities. 

Most tourists stay clear of Berlin when the weather gets cold, as the city is in one of the country’s coldest regions – but if you dress appropriately, you’ll have a wonderful time exploring and enjoying the winter activities. 

Since the city is so large, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing over 25 Christmas markets, all sporting favorites like holiday treats, crafts, and decorations. There are even pop-up Christmas Markets that happen every now and then as the holiday approaches – so always be on the lookout for Christmas lights and the smell of sweet pastries. 

One of the most popular attractions between locals and tourists alike during the winter is ice skating, with a grand slew of options to keep everyone entertained. Fan-favorite rinks include:

  • The rink at the Christmas Market encircled with colorful lights.
  • The free admission at Potsdamer Platz .
  • Eisstrand in Friedrichshagen , made from a naturally frozen lake. 

You’ll also notice a Christmas Garden, which gets decorated to the nine with Christmas lights and boasts yummy food stands selling things like cheese fondue. 

You’ll have your fair share of spas to relax in, including the Liquidom with its underwater music and occasional Dj, and Therme am Europa-Center , with its saltwater heated pool overlooking the city. 

15. Hamburg

Hamburg

There’s no place that oozes Christmas spirit like the city of Hamburg, and as the holiday approaches, the entire area is transformed into a fairytale world of twinkling lights. 

You won’t be able to resist a smile as you walk amongst one of the 16 Christmas Markets that are peppered throughout the city. Your senses will be overloaded with the smell of freshly roasted almonds and the sound of carollers from all around. 

The most iconic of the markets is the Historic Christmas Market , located right outside of the Town Hall, where you can watch Santa Claus fly across the stalls with the help of his reindeer. Your taste buds will thank you for the abundance of mulled wine, sugar roasted almonds, and potato pancakes you’ll be sure to eat along the way. 

If you’re interested in something different, check out the White Magic Christmas Market for a modern twist, or stop by the Santa Pauli Christmas Market for a more adult scene. 

Get all of your Christmas shopping done along Jungfernstieg Boulevard and the Neuer Wall shopping district, where you can hop between famous name-brand stores and trendy boutiques. 

Even if you don’t have time to plan your trip months in advance to score a ticket to a show, a visit to the Elbphilharmonie is still a must, as it’s the most amazing piece of architecture in town. 

If you still want some more things to do, check out the Top 20 Best Day Trips From Hamburg, Germany to really make the most out of your trip.

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Germany in Winter – 18 Most Beautiful Cities & Places to Visit

Eltz Castle - Mosel Valley - Best winter destinations in Germany

Germany in winter is a magical icy wonderland with cities coated in snow and mountain ranges just begging to be explored. The rugged natural landscapes that in summer are perfect for hiking, are transformed into picture-perfect icescapes and an adrenaline junkie’s dream.

While Germany’s cities such as Berlin and Cologne are great to visit all year round, some of the best places to visit in Germany in winter are arguably up in the Alps and across Bavaria. Garmisch Partenkirchen, Goslar and the Harz Mountains all feature snow and blue skies making them perfect for skiing, snowboarding and ice-skating.

Baden-Baden and Baiersbronn in the Black Forest are also beautiful in winter, with their quaint houses and church steeples being dusted with a coating of snow.

Another highlight of Germany in winter is, of course, the Christmas Markets that grace the streets of towns and cities across the country from October to January. These traditional markets were the original place to stock up on handmade Christmas gifts and to drinking steaming cups of warm glugwein!

While Christmas Markets have now taken off in countries all across Europe, Germany’s markets will always be the original and the best!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that should you click on certain links, and then subsequently purchase a product, I will receive a small commission.

Table of Contents

#1 Nuremberg

Where to go in Germany in winter - Nuremberg

Contributed by Jenny of TraveLynn Family

#2 Baden Baden

Baden Baden - Where to go in Germany in winter

#3 Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Rothenburg ob der Tauber - Where to go in Germany in winter=

Contributed by Carolyn of Holidays to Europe

For a great winter getaway in Germany, why not visit Rothenburg ob der Tauber ?  This fairytale town is one of the most photographed in Germany and it is even prettier in winter when it is blanketed in snow.

One of the main attractions in Rothenburg during winter is Reiterlesmarkt , the town’s Christmas market which dates back to the 15 th century.  Held in the main square, this is where locals and visitors gather to chat, enjoy traditional Christmas specialties like mulled wine and roasted chestnuts, and browse the market stalls.

The Christmas market is held from 29 November until 23 December but if you can’t visit Rothenburg during this time, don’t despair.  There are plenty of other things to enjoy during your winter visit. One must-do is a visit to the Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Village and German Christmas Museum.

This is the perfect place to purchase a unique souvenir to remind you of Rothenburg and to add to your Christmas ornament collection.

A great way to learn more about the history of Rothenburg ob der Tauber whilst being entertained at the same time is by joining the Nightwatchman’s tour.  Each evening (mid-March to early January), the Nightwatchman conducts a one-hour walking tour of the tour.

For great views of the town, its fortified walls and the surrounding Tauber Valley, climb the 220 steps up the City Tower, and make sure time to visit St. Jacob’s Cathedral to see its impressive wooden altar. Before you leave town, be sure to head to Plonlein.

This small square near the Kobolzeller Gate is Rothenburg’s most famous site and, with snow dusting the rooftops, it makes a charming winter scene.

#4 Mosel Valley

Contributed by Paulina of Paulina on the Road

The Mosel Valley is one of the prettiest destinations in Germany especially in winter. Not only will there by plenty of Christmas Markets, but the snow covered hills, the castles and vineyards will be a great place to explore.

#5 Franconia Switzerland

Franconia Switzerland - Best places to visit in Germany in winter

Contributed by Lena of Lena on the move

The region of Franconia Switzerland in northern Bavaria is a favorite among both locals and tourists all year round. While most people love activities like rock climbing, hiking or exploring caves in summer, this region has a lot to offer in winter as well.

Outdoor lovers can enjoy winter hiking on well-groomed trails and may even go on one of the famous beer trails leading from one brewery to the next. Culture enthusiasts and photographers alike will love spending time in either some of the charming villages in Franconia Switzerland or the UNESCO city of Bamberg.

Bamberg is part of the Franconian Switzerland region and probably one of the most romantic towns in Bavaria. With its medieval Old Town, traditional breweries and gorgeous river branches surrounded by public parks and forests, Bamberg is the perfect getaway destination.

Especially in winter, the snowy cobbled alleys and white snow-coated roofs of the century-old buildings will make for an excellent photo destination.

After a bit of sightseeing, you can warm up with some hot chocolate or coffee in one of the cozy cafés, followed by a few pints of Franconian beer in one of Bamberg’s nine unique breweries right in the city center.

By the way, if you come during December, a traditional Christmas market with various stands of hot punch, ginger bread and Christmas gifts takes over Maxplatz (Max Square) in the heart of the Old Town and will make your winter getaway in Bamberg unforgettable.

#6 Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, Kassel

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe - Best winter destinations in Germany

Contributed by Shandos of Travelnuity

The Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe on the outskirts of Kassel is one of the most amazing parks in  Germany , inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. A mixture of baroque and English garden landscaping, the park is constructed on a steep hillside meaning that a series of water cascades and fountains are included in its design.

During summertime, the cascades are switched on for shows twice a week. But after visiting both in the middle of summer and early winter, I must admit the park has a certain charm during wintertime that isn’t apparent when you are visiting as part of the crowds during summer.

Ideally visit in winter when snow has already fallen, lending a magical atmosphere to the park. And thanks to its higher elevation there is likely to be a dusting of snow in the park even when down below in Kassel the streets are snow-free.

Highlights include the artificial ruins of the Roman aqueduct and the Teufelsbrücke (Devil’s Bridge), especially when they are encrusted with icicles. Just be careful if you plan to walk up the stairs of the giant cascades, which can be icy.

Don’t miss stopping at the biergarten of the Kaskadenwirtschaft Grischäfer near the bottom of the giant cascades, if it is open. During the lead up to Christmas naturally it offers warming mugs of glühwein.

#7 Tübingen

Tübingen -Best places to visit in Germany in winter

Contributed by Kristin of Be My Travel Muse

One of my favorite things to do in Germany in the winter is visiting the Christmas markets. Out of all of the  German Christmas markets  I’ve been, Tübingen Market is one of my favorites. Brace yourselves and don your stretchiest pair of pants because this Christmas market is all about chocolate!

Expect to find chocolate in every form imaginable – hot chocolate, spicy chocolate, vegan chocolate (yay!), chocolate cake, chocolate spread, chocolate covered fruit, and chocolate booze. If you can imagine it, you can find it there.

This is a popular Christmas market that begins the week leading into the second weekend of December. To get there, you can take the train to Tübingen Hbf, and walk about 10 minutes across the bridge to your left.

Entrance is free, and I highly recommend getting there early and staying until the lights come on at night in the town square, projecting designs onto each of the adorable buildings. I adore this little town at any time of year but at Christmas, it really comes alive.

#8 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Garmisch-Partenkirchen - Best places to visit in Germany in winter

Contributed by Elisa of France Bucket List

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is a fantastic winter getaway in  Germany  for nature lovers. Located at 94 km from Munich (1.5 hours by train), one of the main hubs in  Germany , Garmisch- Partenkirchen is very easy to reach from many  German  cities but also  people visiting France  can travel to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for a weekend getaway thanks to the fast TGV connection Paris – Munich.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen was originally two small towns in the Bavarian Alps, Garmisch, and Partenkirchen, which were united in 1935 for the Olympic Games following the wishes of Hitler.

The result is two cute historical centers, each one with a different character. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is one of the best places for skiing in  Germany , and its fancy ski station, not far from the town center, has ski slopes for all levels.

Non-skiers can enjoy beautiful hikes, also in the winter, and admire the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in  Germany . The Zugspitze is very easy to reach from Garmisch-Partenkirchen thanks to the centenary Zahnradbahn (cable railway), a special train designed to climb big slopes.

At sunset, when the ski area is closed, it is possible to enjoy the last hours of the town’s spa, with indoor pools (also a waves pool!), sauna and different body treatments. Finally, visitors will be happy to have a stroll downtown with a colorful architecture, and cute cafes and bars perfect for a hot chocolate or a gluhwein.

#9 Konstanz

Konstanz - Best winter destinations in Germany

Contributed by Wendy of the Nomadic Vegan

#10 Cologne

Cologne -German cities to visit in winter

Contributed by Sabrina of Moon & Honey Travel 

#11 Goslar and Harz Mountains

Goslar -German cities to visit in winter

Contributed by Vicki of Vicki Viaja

Neuwachstein castle - Best places to visit in Germany in winter

If you’re looking for a winter getaway in Germany that’s magical, peaceful and beautiful, then Fussen should be on top of your list. Fussen is located in Bavaria and is home to the stunning Neuwachstein castle, which is said to have been the castle which inspired the famous Sleeping Beauty Castle of Disney.

It’s a stunning castle in which you can explore both inside and outside and learn all about King Ludwig. It’s also got another brilliant castle known as Hohenschwangau castle next to it and they’re both possible to see in one day.

But the castles aren’t the only reason to visit Fussen. The town of Fussen itself is a beautiful, quaint town, and during winter the streets are lit up with beautiful fairy lights. The roads are lined with local restaurants, and the local bakeries serve up the famous Schneeball dessert in a whole host of flavours.

There is even a random Irish bar in this little small town that plays music on certain nights. When the snow falls in Fussen, the whole place comes alive, and there is no more perfect place to stay than one of the log cabins in the area.

Winter is also the perfect time in Fussen to explore the Tegelberg ski lift. Even if you are not skiing or parasailing (another popular activity), a trip up to walk along the snow on the mountain top is worth it.

You can have snowball fights, follow the snow trails, then stop for a German beer (or coffee) at the restaurant on top with stunning panoramic views on offer. Fussen is truly one of the best places to visit in Germany for a winter getaway and you’ll find yourself wanting to return.

Berlin - German cities to visit in winter

Contributed by Stephanie Craig of History Fangirl

Berlin is a fabulous winter destination because so many of the great things to do are indoors or winter themed. Obviously, the Berlin Christmas markets are famous and make the city a great place to visit at the end of November through December. Some are even open until New Years (though not all).

Finally, in a city known for its amazing local and international cuisine, you’ll find there are fabulous restaurants all over the city where you can escape the cold and enjoy truly great dining experiences. This is true for every price point, and for almost every kind of cuisine you might desire.

#14 Winter hiking at the Hornisgrinde

Hornisgrinde - Where to go in Germany in winter

Contributed by Gloria Apara of  Nomadicchica

The Black Forest or Schwarzwälder Schinken as in German, is one of the most visited areas in Germany not only for its worldwide famous cuckoo clocks producers, but also for the delicious food and outdoor activities.

Being the region with the highest mountains, it was here where hiking was created as we know it today, when first hiking maps where published at the end of the 19th century.

This region located on the East side of the border with France and the Rhine river is one of the most beautiful places to visit during the whole year. Especially charming during winter, when the beautiful mountains with dense forests and great panoramic views turns into an enchanted white territory and as you walk around the winter decorated traditional villages making you feel you are walking into a fairytale town.

Visiting during winter is a great idea! It’s when they are less rainy days in this region, being February the driest month, what it makes it perfect to do a day trip and do a little hike in the Hornisgrinde.

The Hornisgrinde, with 1,164 m (3,820 ft) is the highest mountain in the Northern Black Forest in Germany. Parts of its plateau area are part of a 95 hectares Hornisgrinde-Biberkessel Natural Reserve since 1992, it’s the wetlands area, naturally treeless and covered by low vegetation and you find a wooden path for those wanting to do a leisure walk, and there’s also paths for more challenging mountain bike tours and intense hikes.

#15 Hamburg

Hamburg -German cities to visit in winter

contributed by Inma of A World to Travel

#16 Bamberg

Bamberg -Best places to visit in Germany in winter

Contributed by Elaine & David of  Show Them The Globe

Located in central Germany, the World Heritage town of Bamberg is a perfect option for a winter getaway. Despite being relatively small, there are many fun things to see and do in the quintessential German medieval town. Bamberg is easily explored on foot and we loved wandering through the maze of streets and alleys.

One of the best reasons for visiting Bamberg in the winter is the amazing Christmas market that is held in the Maxplatz Square in the centre of the town. With a stunning nativity scene and plentiful arts, crafts, food and drinks, Bamberg is the perfect spot to get into the holiday spirit.

Bamberg is steeped in history and the magnificent buildings date back hundreds of years with much of the town declared a UNESCO World Heritage. The most iconic building is the Old Town Hall, Altes Rathaus, which sits in the middle of the Regnitz River and has stunning baroque architecture.

The 11th Century Bamberg Cathedral is another highlight due to its medieval design and extensive art collection.  A tour of the Neue Residenz, a 17th-century palace with stunning tapestries and ornate frescoes, is a must and its marvellous Imperial Hall is wonderful to see.

Bamberg is famous for its beer and has the highest concentration of breweries of any town in the world! Our favourite was the tavern Klosterbräu which serves its own brews together with several of Bamberg’s best-known beers.

Bremen -German cities to visit in winter

Contributed by Katie of  Two Wandering Soles

Located just an hour and a half from Hamburg by train, Bremen is a great stop on a winter tour of Germany. Famous as the birthplace of the Bremen Town Musicians, a Brother’s Grimm fairytale, this charming town comes alive in the winter months.

With not one – but two – Christmas Markets in town, you’ll find no shortage of Christmas cheer. The market in the Town Square is not to be missed. Take a break and warm up with a mug of gluhwein, hot mulled wine, tasty pastries, and hearty sausages. And don’t miss the view from above from the windows of the historic town hall.

It’s not just the view over the town square that has earned this building, called the Rathaus, the honor of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The woodcarvings and historic architecture you’ll find inside are truly impressive and well worth a look.

And if you want a different spin on Christmas Markets, head near the water where you’ll find a Medieval Christmas Market.

Stroll the narrow and charming streets of the Schnoor neighborhood and admire the centuries-old houses dusted with snow. When your fingers and toes start to get cold, step inside one of the many quaint cafes and warm up with some local fare or a pot of tea. Teestuebchen im Schnoor is a good choice for a cozy atmosphere and a good selection of hot drinks and baked goods.

#18 Baiersbronn

Baiersbronn- Best winter destinations in Germany

Contributed by Yulia of That’s what she had

A little town of Baiersbronn is an amazing destination all year round, but winter makes this place truly special. The town is located in the northern part of the Black Forrest, in between hills, surrounded by grand trees. In winter, when trees are covered in snow, the village looks straight out of a brothers Grimm’s fairy tale.

Visiting Baiersbronn in winter means you can indulge in activities like cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, tobogganing, and hiking. The region features 550 kilometers of hiking trails. While some of them might be closed off due to the amount of snow, you are still bound to hike for hours and hours on end before you’ll have to turn around.

After hours of hiking and skiing, visit one of the spa resorts near Baiersbronn that feature steam rooms, massage, and relaxation therapies. Take it from a Russian girl, there’s nothing better than a steam room followed by a cup of hot herbal tea when it’s cold outside.

On top of all that, Baiersbronn is a great destination for food lovers. A town of only 15 000 people boasts three restaurants with Michelin stars (eight stars in total!). Torsten Michel, Claus-Peter Lumpp, and Jörg Sackmann, the Michelin-starred chefs, are well-known far beyond Baiesbronn and Bavaria. If a day of hiking, spa, and Michelin-starred meals doesn’t make you excited about winter, I don’t know what will!

These destinations are just a selection of the best places to visit in Germany in winter and your choice will depend on whether you want to hit the slopes or to enjoy the cozy comforts of the Christmas Markets. Even when not covered in snow, Germany’s towns are peaceful and picturesque in winter, with crisp, clear days making for ideal photographic conditions.

The cold temperatures of Germany in winter shouldn’t put you off though as the Germans certainly know how to help you warm up, with mulled wine and hearty stews being the order of the day.

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Reflections Enroute

The Best Places To Go, Germany In Winter

By: Author Corinne Vail

Posted on Published: 22 November 17  - Last updated: 2 January 24

Home » DIY Travel » Germany » The Best Places To Go, Germany In Winter

Are you thinking of visiting the land of Christmas markets and castles this winter? Germany in winter is a magical place to really get into the spirit with a snowy holiday! Check out these great places to enjoy the German winter season.

Have you ever thought of traveling to Germany during the winter? You should. Hands down, it’s the most magical season in this central European country. Forests and mountains are covered in pure, white snow, but the temperature isn’t too cold. You can easily spend the day skiing, hiking, snowshoeing or sledding in the many outdoor parks and recreation areas, but that’s not all.

From November to the end of December, every city, town, hamlet or dorf is blinged out with Christmas lights, a life-sized creche scene, and little wooden stalls ready to sell you everything from a hot mulled wine to locally made handicrafts. Germany knows how to do a Christmas market and there are hundreds to choose from.

Mountains, Christmas Lights – Germany in Winter is Magical!

A snow covered path and trees with ice on the branches - Germany in winter.

We asked some professional travel bloggers where their favorite place in Germany to spend winter is, and they all sound wonderful. Which one do you want to go to?

Kreuzberg 

One of Jim’s and my favorite places to go is Kreuzberg. In mid-winter there is no place better for a snowy winter wonderland walk; enjoy the scenery and then head back to the monastery where the beer and lunch is cheap and delicious.

Kreuzberg is a monastery that has been making amazing beer since the 7th century. On site you go to the cafe and you can have a typical German lunch with your beer, or if you are a purist just a beer!

Kreuzberg is a great place for hiking in the summer and sledding in the winter.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

By Megan at MeganStarr.com

People on top of a mountain in southern Bavaria for a German winter.

It would be remiss for anyone to discount Garmisch-Partenkirchen as one of the best winter destinations in Germany. The Bavarian nature capital is home to so many incredible sights, including the launchpad and cable car that will take you to Germany’s tallest peak, Zugspitze , which proudly hugs the German border with Austria at 2,962m (9,718 ft) tall.

For a town with such a minuscule population, Garmisch sure does offer a lot for the winter traveler. Some of the other popular sites in Garmisch (aside from the incredible skiing and snowboarding opportunities there) are the Partnach Gorge, Lake Eibsee, and the Linderhof Palace. 

The best thing about Garmisch during winter is that it totally exudes that Bavarian Alps flair that everyone seeks when they come to this region of Germany. It just does not disappoint!

By Kristy at Tassie Devil Abroad

Cochem city center a great German city to visit during winter.

Situated on the Moselle River midway between Trier , Cologne and Frankfurt ; Cochem is a beautiful destination at any time but especially lovely during the winter. The winding streets of the medieval town are filled with Germany’s eponymous half-timbered houses; made particularly magical with a dusting of snow and the added Christmas decorations.

A small Christmas market also appears in the lead-up to Christmas, complete with a cute little festive train to ride through the town! There’s nothing lovelier than exploring the shops and stalls for gifts and then heading into a local restaurant for a cozy meal by a roaring fire.

Don’t forget to visit the stunning castle on top of the hill while you are Cochem , the guided tour is definitely worth it, or you can simply look out at the views over the town and river from the entrance for free. There is also a chairlift that will take you up to a looking-point on a hill opposite the castle for more stunning views.

Read our most popular articles on Germany! – Winter in Germany – Bavarian Christmas Markets ( + Itinerary) – Variations of Schnitzel – 5 Things You Didn’t Know about the Hofbrauhaus (Munich) – Fairytale Rothenburg and its Christmas Market

Germany during winter has Snow and ice cling to brown leaves.

Check out all the thing to do during every season in Germany

Summer in Germany.

By Kaylie of Happiness Travels Here

Germany in December is all about this Christmas market stall selling mulled wine in Dresden.

Sitting on the banks of the Elbe river, Dresden is best known for its dramatic reconstruction after being badly damaged during World War II. While it’s rise from the ashes is still palpable, the city now stands in its former baroque glory. In Winter the city really comes to life with festive Christmas markets and hot wine-fueled ice-skating.

The main market on the large old town square is said to be the oldest Christmas market in Germany. Built from the ground up each year the market resembles more of a village than a temporary festival.

There are a number of other Christmas markets spread throughout Dresden . My favorite is the Medieval Market which is held in the Stallhoff, the courtyard used for jousting tournaments.

Stallholders dress in traditional outfits and food here is cooked over open fires. Gluhwein is served alongside honey mead and hot sweet whisky brews. Try your hand at archery or cast off your modesty and grab some friends to soak in the wooden barrel hot-tubs!

By Bec at Wyld Family Travel

Germany winter travel may include the Snow covered, Munich, Germany.

Munich is not all about beer and beer halls. You can wander the city and go to an amazing museum to stay warm, you can go to the Munich Residenz and see the most lavish decorations in a Palace, you can walk the city and watch the sun go down lighting Kings Square with a glow like nothing else.

You can watch families ice skate out in front of Nymphenburg Palace or have a snow ball fight out the back in the gardens and then you can still pop into a beer hall for a beer !

For me Munich, Germany is perfect in any season, but when we visited it in the winter I was amazed at its extra beauty. Munich covered in snow was a sight I will never forget and one that has to be one of my favorite memories.

It was not busy when we visited but we found so much to do around the city. It is an easy city to walk and if it is too cold you can hop on a bus or train and get to wherever you are going quickly. It is during this time that you can admire the city without as many people in it and you can enjoy the sites too, sometimes feeling like you are the only ones there.

By Lyn and Steve of A Hole In My Shoe

Don't leave out Heidelberg with this city view in one of your best places to visit Germany in winter.

Not only is Heidelberg one of Germany’s most beautiful cities, but it is also the most romantic. There is no better time to enjoy the beauty and romance than winter. Heidelberg is a pretty city, nestled at a scenic spot on the Neckar River, between two mountains.

It is very romantic, roaming along its colorful cobbled alleyways, or along the river’s edge, looking across to the pastel red roofed buildings. Unlike much of Germany that was bombed during WWII, Heidelberg retains most of its late Medieval and early Renaissance architecture adding to the romantic charm.

The main attraction is the picturesque, historical castle ruins which looks majestic sitting high above the old town. Ride the funicular up the steep hill for a magnificent view overlooking the Neckar River.

From the Christmas markets below, the spectacular view looking up at the castle adds to the allure. When the crisp winter air bites there is nothing better than to head indoors for a warming Gluhwein at–where else–Café Romantic.

Winter is a great time for exploring the 14 th  century University and walking along the footbridge along the Neckar River is like stepping into the pages of a picture book, gazing up at the spectacular castle set high on the mountain. Across the river take the Philosopher’s Walk and explore quaint gardens, the forest and the unforgettable views.

By Karen at WanderlustingK

Cologne, Germany Christmas Market and Dom.

With its colorful Christmas markets and adorable architecture, Cologne is the perfect winter destination in Germany for Christmas market lovers. Cologne has over  six Christmas markets  that make Cologne one of the best German cities to visit in November/December.

If you visit Cologne, it’s impossible to miss its iconic church (Kölner Dom) in the city center and the charming winding streets filled with picturesque, colorful houses. Wandering around Cologne in winter is made better with a warm gluhwein.

Chocolate lovers will love the Chocolate Museum. Lastly, those lucky enough to attend Cologne’s carnival celebration in February will love the festive atmosphere in Cologne. Be sure to try the local beer, Kölsch, and possibly a boat ride down the scenic Rhine river. Cologne is perfect for couples looking for a romantic winter destination!

By Clemens at Travellers Archive

Leipzig - Christmas pyramid.

Leipzig – the German winter wonderland paradise, where all dreams about mulled wine and cute little Christmas stalls come true. The city is located in Sachsen and can easily be reached within 2,5 hours from the German capital Berlin . Especially in winter Leipzig is a true gem. The whole city transforms itself into a massive Christmas market , which connects all different courtyards and major squares.

Wander along the cobblestoned alleys and soak in all the beauty that surrounds the buildings, which are true architectural highlights. Apart from that, Leipzig is full of history. Not only can you find beautiful historic churches, but also Auerbachs Keller, which is a restaurant located in a cellar. Originally opened in 1525, it got its fame through Johann Wolfgang Goethe and his Faust.

You feel like a little nature? Go on a short daytrip to Zwenkauer See. If you are lucky, you can even go ice-skating here. If not, don’t worry, there will always be some mulled wine around to warm you up.

By Rashmi & Chalukya of Go Beyond Bounds

Nuremberg old town city scene.

Nuremberg is the second largest city in Germany with its old town popular for the half-timbered houses and the world-famous traditional Christmas Market which dates back to 1600s. Nuremberg is an easy day trip from Munich but it is worthwhile to spend a couple of days here.

Nuremberg is home to some of the most gorgeous fountains, bridges and magnificent churches with breathtaking architecture and ornate interiors. We visited the city in November and it was still packed with tourists.

The Hauptmarkt market square in the old town center is the venue for a huge market every day except Sunday and the same market brightens up with Nuremberg Christmas market with more than 200 stalls selling local handicrafts and products drawing millions of visitors every year. And when you are here do not miss the chance to taste some delicious Nuremberg sausages and pretzels.

History buffs can also visit the Nazi Party Rally Grounds and Courthouse where the World War II trials were held.

By Elaine and David at The Whole World is a Playground

Christmas market at night in Aachen, Germany.

The city of Aachen in northwest Germany is one of our favourite places to visit in Germany during the winter. Also known as the Spa of Kings, Aachen is a mecca for spa lovers and relaxation is the order of the day at Aachen’s most popular spa, the Carolus Thermen Bad. When the thermal baths have sorted all your aches and pains it’s time to explore the incredible Aachen Christmas market .

Each December, the entire centre of the old town of Aachen transforms into a truly magical Christmas market wonderland. The winding streets of the old town are jam packed with bustling crowds visiting stalls selling delicious food, holiday gifts and of course mulled wine!

Make sure to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Aachen Cathedral, one of the most stunning churches we’ve visited in Europe. This incredible cathedral was the first UNESCO site granted in Germany and was used to crown German emperors for over 600 years.

By Arzo at Arzo Travels

I hear some people wondering out loud why I think Bremen is a great winter destination in Germany . After all, it is flat – flat, flat, flat and there are no mountains in sight and so there is no chance to go skiing anywhere. The truth is that Bremen is pretty great to visit even in winter despite the lack of mountains.

The city has one of the best Christmas markets in Germany. All over the city center are stalls that sell mulled wine, snacks, and gifts, and Bremen feels very Christmas like with all the lights that make Bremen even prettier.

If you need a break from shopping and strolling around the Christmas market head to the Schlachte, a popular promenade with many restaurants and cafes lined up. There you’ll get to see even more beautiful winter decorations and stalls – making it one of the most beautiful spots to spend winter.

If you are lucky and it snows in Bremen you can have fun and have some snowball fights in one of the many parks close to the city center. If you prefer ice-skating you might get lucky and the river freezes so you can do outdoor ice-skating – if not, there is still the option to visit the indoor ice-skating hall in Bremen. Either way, these options make Bremen a pretty awesome place to visit in winter.

Germany is one of the best places to take a winter vacation. With the Bavarian Alps, Christmas markets, and well-maintained roads and public transportation, you can really enjoy the snow. 

Some of the places in Germany where you can find a perfect winter vacation are:

  • Kreuzberg – for monastic beer and sledding
  • Rothenburg – the best Christmas market in the country
  • Berlin – great history and a plethora of Christmas markets
  • Garmisch-Partenkirchen – Bavarian hospitality and skiing

Where in Germany would you like to go in winter?

Author Bio: Corinne Vail is a travel photographer, food lover, and a perpetual traveler who has been travel writing for over 14 years. For many years she lived overseas in Germany, Japan, Turkey, South Korea, and the Netherlands teaching the children of the US. military. She’s visited over 90 countries, and she’s not stopping anytime soon.

Pin Traveling in Germany during winter for later to help with planning!

Winter in Germany is Magical!

Corinne Vail

Wednesday 13th of December 2017

Germany is fantastic, have you been?

Sincerely, Alice

Tuesday 12th of December 2017

This is a great in depth post! I've always wanted to visit Germany!

Thanks Alice. Germany is a fantastic destination, no matter the time of year.

Saturday 9th of December 2017

Thanks for including us Corinne, there are still some amazing Christmas markets in Germany we are yet to visit.

Sunday 10th of December 2017

Lyn, Thanks for your contribution...we love a good Christmas market.

100cobbledroads

Thursday 30th of November 2017

We went to Germany in the fall and covered few of these destinations. They look transformed with that white cover of snow and so much more beautiful too :) Would love to go back in winter sometime.

Punita, If you love winter, Germany is the perfect place.

Wednesday 29th of November 2017

I do love Germary in any season but you are right it is pretty magical in the winter season, with the forests and mountains covered in snow. I think my first ever christmas market was the one in Cologne and I went in December with my friends, your picture took me right back there and I would be definitely keen to go again.

Mel, I do love Cologne. It's a great Christmas market to start with.

A man is wearing a red knitted hat on a sunny winter day in front of the Monopteros in the English Garden in Munich.

Guide to Munich on the Cold Days

Munich guides: the most popular sights and excursion destinations in winter.

Munich is one of Germany's top travel destinations – even in winter! The Bavarian capital has numerous museums, great excursion destinations, many indoor attractions and winter leisure activities to offer. Whether in 4 or 24 hours, over a long weekend or a whole week, there is always something to discover in Munich. Here are our suggestions for cold days in Munich!

Icon zur Trennung von Inhalten

Munich on Cold Days: Tips at a Glance

- Places of Interest in Munich - Museums in Munich - English Garden in Winter - Olympiapark (Olympic Parc) in Winter - Nymphenburg District - Tierpark Hellabrunn (Hellabrunn Zoo) - Indoor Swimming Pool, Thermal Baths, Spa and Sauna - Shopping Tips - Cafés in Munich - Winter Excursions In And Around Munich - Evening Programme: Theatre, Music and Dining

Places of Interest in Munich

Münchner Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle): In the Gothic vault of Alter Hof (old yard), you can immerse yourself in the history of the city. The richly illustrated multimedia presentation will enthuse not only tourists.

City Tour: A bus tour through the historic old town is a great way to discover Munich. You can get on and off at any of the numerous stops.  

Munich by Tram: You can take an individual tour of the city on tram 19 . Alternatively, you can explore many sights comfortably on board tram 21 . We recommend that you take tram 21 from the main station to the Ostbahnhof (Munich East) and on your way have a look at the following attractions, for example:

Karlsplatz (square): This square, better known as Stachus, is a popular starting point for a shopping spree through Munich's Fußgängerzone (pedestrian street).

Towers at Marienplatz in Munich

Old Town Tour

The city walk for everyone who wants to become acquainted with the most beautiful parts of Munich's city centre.

Lenbachplatz: “Künstlerhaus am Lenbachplatz”, a former clubhouse for Munich artists, was initiated by the well-known painter Franz von Lenbach, after whom the square is named.

Theatinerstrasse: From here, it is only a stone's throw to Marienplatz (main square) and the famous Glockenspiel (carillon).

National Theatre: The Munich National Theatre is located on Max-Joseph-Platz (square), and is home to Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera), Bayerisches Staatsballett (Bavarian State Ballet) and Bayerisches Staatsorchester (Bavarian State Orchestra).

Maxmonument: The Max II Monument is dedicated to Bavarian King Max II , who developed his own architectural style, the so-called Maximilian style, which can be thoroughly admired along Maximilianstrasse .

Maximilianeum: High up on the banks of the Isar, towers the crowning glory of Maximilianstrasse, the Maximilianeum, seat of the Bavarian Parliament.

Walkers on the winterly Isar beach at the Müllersche Volksbad in Munich

Museums in Munich

Münchner Residenz (City Palace): The city palace was the seat of the Wittelsbach rulers for centuries and is now one of the most distinguished spatial art museums in Europe.

Haus der Kunst (Art Gallery): One of the leading international art museums for contemporary art from all over the world. It does not house its own collection and can therefore present itself to art lovers in very diverse ways.

Bayerisches Nationalmuseum (Museum) houses the world's most artistically valuable nativity scene exhibition of its kind. The exhibition focuses on Christmas scenes crafted in Italy and the Alpine region between 1700 and the early 20th century. It is open from the beginning of November until the end of January. During the rest of the year, visits are possible by appointment only.

Nativity scene with figures in front of the Gulf of Naples with Vesuvius in the background.

Kunstareal (Art Quarter): A total of 18 museums and exhibition halls, over 40 galleries, six universities and numerous cultural institutions are grouped together in this area.

Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Collections of Antiquities): Right in the centre of Munich, at Königsplatz (square), the Staatliche Antikensammlung (State Collections of Antiquities) and the Propyläen (Propylaea) are housed and enthuse fans of ancient art.

Lenbachhaus (Art Gallery): This is the home of the world's largest exhibition of the artists' group “Blauer Reiter“.

English Garden in Winter

Eisbachwelle (River Wave): For 40 years now, the Eisbachwelle (river wave) at the entrance to the English Garden has thrilled surfers who meet there in their wetsuits, even in freezing temperatures. Our author wants to learn how to river surf and dares to give it a try herself.

Carriage Ride: A carriage ride through the English Garden in winter is a very special experience. Afterwards, you can warm up with a delicious soup at Fräulein Grüneis kiosk or get into one of the heated original Zugspitze train gondolas at Milchhäusl snack bar and enjoy a cup of organic cocoa or non-alcoholic Winter-Äxel punch. You can also take a seat in the mini Hofbräuhaus (beer hall) in the northern part of the English Garden. In the heated tent, you can enjoy traditional Bavarian food.

Two old ski gondolas at the Milchhäusl in the Englischer Garten in Munich.

Kleinhesseloher See (Lake): If you have ice skates, you can enjoy a few laps on the lake in the English Garden , which freezes often and quickly, or, alternatively, you can watch the curlers.

Monopteros (Temple): The hill at the foot of the ornamental temple in the English Garden is the perfect spot for tobogganing.

Olympiapark (Olympic Park) in Winter

Olympic Ice Sports Centre: Here you can skate your rounds on the ice almost all year round. The disco-evening ice skating is particularly popular.

Olympiaberg (Olympic Hill): The perfect downhill run for young and old. The flatter part is ideal for children, while more experienced toboggan fans can take the steeper and longer runs.

Olympiapark in Munich in winter.

The Nymphenburg district in winter

Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymphenburg Palace) with its magnificent park is one of the largest baroque palaces in Germany. Especially in winter, when Nymphenburg canal is frozen, this becomes a meeting place for numerous ice skaters, ice hockey fans and curling enthusiasts.

Botanischer Garten München-Nymphenburg (Munich Botanical Garden): Some of the greenhouses have a tropical climate and the flowering plants quickly make you forget the winter temperatures. One of the highlights is the butterfly exhibition.

Curling on the canal in front of Nymphenburg Palace in Munich in winter.

Tierpark Hellabrunn (Hellabrunn Zoo)

In line with the weather, you can admire snow owls, penguins, polar bears and Patagonian sea lions at the polar world of Tierpark Hellabrunn (Hellabrunn zoo), the world’s first geo-zoo. Just a few metres further, in perfect contrast to the polar world , is the African savannah with zebras, antelopes, meerkats and lions.

The climate in Munich

We can tell you the best time to travel to Munich to help you plan your trip to the city.

Munich in all weathers: the best time to travel

Indoor Swimming Pool, Thermal Bath, Spa & Sauna

Müller’sches Volksbad (Indoor Pool): On cold days, it's a treat to unwind in Munich's oldest public indoor pool or in one of the other indoor pools or saunas in and around Munich.

Hamam: In the Hamam Anatolia , an authentically reconstructed Turkish steam bath in the south of Munich, you get carried away to Anatolia. Or you can become part of the Arabian Nights in the oriental spa and steam bath Mathilden Hamam near Sendlinger Tor (gate).

Therme Erding (Thermal Spa): Only about 45 minutes from Munich, you will find one of the largest thermal baths in the world with 27 slides, a wave pool and a unique sauna landscape. With the MVV-Thermen ticket , you have 4 hours of admission, including an environmentally friendly journey by suburban train from Munich.

Shopping Tips

Especially on cold days, a shopping spree through Munich's malls or the shopping arcades and districts in the old town is worthwhile. Around Gärtnerplatz (Square), away from supermarket chains and department stores, you will find many individual gifts. If you are looking for flagship stores and high-end brands , you should shop between Maximilianstraße and Brienner district.

Cafés in Munich

In the afternoon it's time for a tea or coffee break. Enjoy typical English Afternoon Tea at Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten or at Victorian House at the Viktualienmarkt (food market). Many traditional cafés offer a very special coffee treat: Café Luitpold in the Brienner district was once frequented by great writers and members of the “Blauer Reiter” art scene, while Café Glockenspiel offers a fantastic view. In our column Ein Liebesbrief an die Münchner Cafészene (A Love Letter to Munich’s Café Scene), our author explores several cafés in Munich.

Tegernsee lake in wintertime

Winter Excursions In and Around Munich

You can have fun on the ice at Eissportzentrum Ost (Ice Sports Centre East), not far from Michaelibad (indoor pool), or Eissportzentrum West (Ice Sports Centre West), in the Pasing district.

Prinzregentenstadion (Ice Rink): The 60-metre-long skating rink with music and floodlights is a real treat for ice-skating fans.

Ice skating in Grünwalder Freizeitpark (Recreational Park): The park in the heart of the Grünwald community offers a wide range of sporting facilities, including an ice rink.

Ice Bathing in Munich: Our author dared to try it out in freezing temperatures.

Ski Tours in the Mountains Around Munich: Here you find an overview of the ski tours near Munich.

Königssee (Lake): Emerald green water at the foot of the legendary Watzmann East Face - a trip to Königssee (lake) in the Berchtesgaden National Park is a unique nature experience! The Königsschifffahrt shipping company travels to the peninsula of Sankt Bartholomä throughout the winter – ice permitting.

Skiing: With the Garmisch ski ticket or the Oberstdorf ski ticket , you can reach the slopes by train.

Ski Bus Munich: Travel to the slopes in an environmentally friendly and stress-free way! There are regular bus connections from Munich's central bus station (ZOB) to ski resorts such as Hochzillertal , Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser and Kitzbühel .

Popular cross-country ski trails can be found around Lake Tegernsee , between Lenggries and Bad Tölz , in Chiemgau/Chiemsee (lake) and in Berchtesgaden.

In Munich, the Westpark, the Isarauen and the Nymphenburger Park promise great conditions for cross-country skiing in winter snow flurries.

The St. Maximilian Church on the Isar in winter in Munich

Snow tours or snowshoe hikes to Hinteres Hörnle (summit) (1,542 metres): This beautiful snowshoe hike (suitable for beginners) leads over several peaks and rewards visitors with a breathtaking panoramic view. The duration of the tour is about 4.5 hours and you will climb approximately 756 metres in altitude. The tour starts at the Tannenbankerllift car park in Bad Kohlgrub. You can get to Bad Kohlgrub railway station or Bad Kohlgrub Kurhaus by car or by train (about 1.5 hours from Munich).

Winter Hikes In and Around Munich: There is a wide choice of different winter hikes in and around Munich. Discover our six suggestions for varied excursions, including places to stop for a warm-up.

Winter Mountain Hike to Seebergkopf (summit) (1,538 metres): The duration of the hike is about five hours (without breaks) and you will climb approximately 790 metres in altitude. The hike starts at the train station in Bayrischzell, which can be reached from Munich by Bayerische Regiobahn (regional train service) in about 1.5 hours.

You can get the necessary equipment for your skiing or cross-country skiing tour at one of the three service centres of the German Alpine Association.

From snow-covered Schloss Neuschwanstein (Neuschwanstein Castle) to the icy Partnachklamm (Gorge): We have put together eight excursion destinations that are particularly appealing in the cold season.

A couple is on a sunny winter day in the Hofgarten in Munich.

Evening Programme: Theatre, Music and Dining

Deutsches Theater (Theatre): It has been THE musical house in Munich right from the time of the European première of "West Side Story" in 1961. Since then, the most popular musicals have been performed here, whether directly from Broadway or London's West End. Beyond that, the programme includes modern dance theatre, operetta and top-class shows.

Münchner Philharmoniker (Munich Philharmonic Orchestra): Since its foundation in 1893, the orchestra has enriched Munich's musical life under renowned conductors. In October 2021, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra opened its new home and venue, the Isarphilharmonie , while the Gasteig (cultural centre) is being renovated.

Symphony Orchestra of Bayerischen Rundfunk (Broadcasting Station): The orchestra focuses on symphonic music of the Viennese Classical period, Romanticism and New Music. It enjoys an absolutely deserved high international reputation.

Munich’s Cabaret Stages: When it comes to stages, Munich is best known for its large venues. However, there is also plenty of cabaret in the city.

Pasta Opera: The multi-faceted opera spectacle transports guests back to the rococo era, musically accompanied by the most beautiful arias in opera history.

Dinner “Rausch der Sinne“ (Sensual Delight): Let your eyes trick you during various light shows at Schlosswirtschaft Schwaige and experience a new sensual dimension.

ParkCafé Winter Beer Garden: Whether city alpine hut, curling rinks or cabin magic, here you are guaranteed to spend a wintry evening in the cold season.

Gärtnerplatz-Alm: This pub is famous for its fondue variations and other alpine specialities.

Text: München Tourismus; Photo: Redline Enterprises, Christian Kasper, Luis Gervasi, Sigi Müller, Sven Kolb, Dominik Morbitzer, Tobias Schnorpfeil / Carolin Unrath; Illustration: Julia Pfaller; Video: Redline Enterprises

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Munich is full of tradition - of course also from a gastronomic point of view. A tour through the kitchens of the city.

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Shopping & Design

Munich is a true paradise for shopping.

A successful city trip should include an extensive shopping spree.

A successful city trip includes an extensive shopping spree: Munich offers almost heavenly conditions!

Blue Horse I by Franz Marc on display at the Lenbachhaus in Munich.

Arts & Culture

Munich's museums.

Munich's most important museums, galleries and collections at a glance.

Munich is pure cultural pleasure! We present the most important Munich museums, galleries and collections at a glance.

München Card und München Pass

Munich Card & City Pass

Discover Munich in a relaxed and uncomplicated way: discounts for the diverse range of art, culture and leisure activities with our guest cards.

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Free Public transport

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Public transport is included

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Towers of the Frauenkirche in Munich taken from the air.

Frauenkirche: Visit of the South Tower

Book a visit to the observation deck of Munich's Frauenkirche and enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of the city.

Munich's Palace of Justice

Justizpalast Tour

During the guided tour of the present-day seat of the Bavarian State Ministry of Justice, you will learn everything about the history and significance of the neo-baroque court and administrative building.

Courtyard of the Neues Rathaus in Munich.

Visit of the New Town Hall Tower

Discover Munich's highlights from a very special perspective after just a few seconds in the lift!

Towers of the Frauenkirche in Munich taken from the air.

Romantic Road: Rothenburg and Harburg

Hop on and be whisked away by one of the world's most beautiful stretches of street: the Romantic Road to Rothenburg and Harburg.

Small meeting room of the Neues Rathaus in Munich

New Town Hall Tour

Explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Magistrates, Monachia and magnificent celebrations: explore the Neue Rathaus on Marienplatz with an official City of Munich tour guide. A visit of the famous law library is also included!

Neuschwanstein Castle in the surrounding region of Munich.

Dream castles Neuschwanstein & Linderhof VIP

As VIP in the footsteps of King Ludwig II. On this day tour in the luxurious long-distance coach of Gray Line Sightseeing you can visit both dream castles of the fairytale king.

A day tour in the luxurious long-distance coach of Gray Line Sightseeing.

Law library in the new city hall in Munich.

Visit of the Law Library: Juristische Bibliothek

Impressive architecture and unique ambience: discover the Law Library in the New Town Hall.

Several pedicaps with guests in the Englischer Garten (park).

Pedicab tour through the old town and nature

Enjoy this special tour and pedicap ride past all the famous sights of Munich's old town and into the Englischer Garten.

Hofbräuhaus in winter time with snow

Hofbräuhaus Tour

Discover the most famous beer hall in the world with an official guide of the city of Munich and enjoy a fresh Mass of beer afterward!

Towers and Alps in Munich

City trip incl. Munich Card and Tower Ascent

We look forward to seeing you again in Munich. Our tip: the exclusive travel package with Munich Card and Tower Ascent.

Wort kettle at the Spaten brewery in Munich.

Spaten Brewery Tour

Experience a brewery tour at Spaten with a look behind the scenes, interesting facts about the company history and beer tasting in the brewery tower.

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Buy now vouchers for your visit in Munich. The ideal gift! Guided tours, guest cards and more...

Alter Peter, Frauenkirche and Neues Rathaus: the Munich skyline in the evening light.

Private guided tour through Munich's Old Town

Exclusive and safe: Discover the most beautiful sights and corners of Munich's city centre with your official personal guide.

A woman in the exhibition "Der Blaue Reiter" in the Lenbachhaus in Munich

Discovery trip incl. City Pass

Two nights in a selected hotel and free admission to 45 museums and attractions: our travel package for explorers!

A stone jug with the inscription Oktoberfest Munich.

Oktoberfest Shop

Bring a piece of Oktoberfest home: Purchase official souvenirs such as the Wiesn poster or the Oktoberfest beer stein in the official Oktoberfest shop.

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How to Enjoy Winter in Germany: 13 Tips

Winter in Germany can be as exciting as it is magical. And even if it's raining, snowing or blowing a storm, with our 13 great tips, you're guaranteed not to get bored.

Husky Sleigh Ride

Dietramszell: Sledging with huskies

In Siberia it's normal everyday life, in Germany it's an amazing experience: a sleigh ride with huskies. Husky tours are offered in several parts of Germany, for example in the Rhön, the Black Forest, Lower Saxony or the Harz Mountains.

GPS Scavenger Hunt

Hamburg: Urban ice channel in snowy Hamburg Eimsbüttel

Is winter not suitable for a city tour? Far from it. You can really work up a sweat on an Outdoor Rally. There are GPS scavenger hunts throughout several cities, for example in Hamburg . Afterwards, you can enjoy a lovely café.

Walks Along the Seafront

Sylt: Snow-covered dunes in winter

Empty beaches, ice-cold air, lonely breaking waves: If you have just fallen in love or need a little time for yourself, you should go to the coast. In winter, the Baltic and North Seas become truly romantic. If you're lucky, you won't even have to share the beach.

Horse-drawn Carriage Rides

Sit back, relax and enjoy the wintry landscape while wrapped in a warm coat: That's a great way to enjoy a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. Horse-drawn carriage rides are offered in many regions in Germany, for example in the Allgäu .

Build an Igloo or Overnight in One

Family builds an igloo

This is sure to be an experience of a completely different kind. Why not spend the night in an igloo? There are even small igloo villages in Germany. They are often idyllically located high up in the mountains and also offer a colourful entertainment programme, great panoramas and ice bar included. If you feel like building an igloo yourself, that's also possible, for example in the Allgäu.

Torchlight Hikes through the Vineyards

Vineyards are delightful all year round. In winter, however, walking through the evening vineyards with torches is particularly impressive. These excursions are offered, for example, in the Rheingau or in Baden-Württemberg . One of the highlights is certainly the view from the higher altitudes down into the illuminated valleys.

Fun for Young and Old: Tobogganing

Happy Family Sledding On Snow Covered Field

Sledding down the slopes brings a glow to everyone's cheeks. The natural toboggan run Hirscheckblitz in Ramsau near Berchtesgaden is a good place to start. And with a length of 6.5 kilometres, the Wallberg toboggan run near Rottach-Egern is one of the longest toboggan runs in Germany. If you're looking for an adrenaline rush, take a racing bobsleigh taxi: an experienced pilot will then whisk you through an ice channel at speeds of 120/h. You can do this in Altenberg near Dresden or at Königssee in Bavaria .

Visit a Tropical Garden or Botanical Garden

Botanical gardens offer visitors not only pretty parks, but often also greenhouses or even butterfly houses. In Frankfurt's Palmengarten for example, the butterfly house attracts visitors in the winter months with over 60 species of butterflies. You can also admire the beauty of these insects at the Botanical Gardens in Marburg or in the Butterfly House on Mainau Island near Constance, as well as in the Wilhelma in Stuttgart. The Biosphäre Potsdam is also well worth a visit. You can stroll through a tropical rainforest under the huge glass dome, for example. The Berlin Botanical Gardens , on the other hand, will delight you with its many display greenhouses and its cactus house.

The Planetarium

Hamburg: Planetarium in the evening

The winter sky offers up the brightest constellations. So, visit a planetarium especially in the winter months. Enjoy the view of the stars and discover exciting star constellations. There are planetariums in Berlin , Mannheim , Bochum , Cottbus and Hamburg .

Ice Skating

ice skating

Skating is not only an experience to be enjoyed by children. Spinning around in front of a proper stage becomes a memorable experience. Particularly beautiful, if the ice is thick enough, is, for example, the palace canal of the Nymphenburg Palace in Munich. Here you can even play ice-stick shooting and ice hockey. However, there are also skating rinks in most larger cities.

Live Like Royalty

Schwangau: Neuschwanstein Castle at sunset in winter landscape

Castles have their own special charm in winter, especially in snowy weather. Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, for example, becomes particularly beautiful. And anyone visiting the snow-covered Moritzburg Castle near Dresden or Hohenzollern Castle in Baden-Württemberg, for example, will feel as if they are in a fairytale. A pleasant bonus: in the wintertime there are usually fewer visitors to the castles and palaces. So there you can enjoy feeling just like a king or a queen.

Get Cosy at the Film Museum

Potsdam: Filmmuseum

Wintertime is movie time. How about a visit to a cinema museum. There are film museums in many cities: In Frankfurt am Main, in Düsseldorf, in Potsdam and in Munich, for example. Most of them show several films per day, and often show films in their original version - or at least in English.

Woman sitting in the snow with snowboard and enjoying the view of the mountains

Whether on skis or a snowboard, racing down the slopes is always fun. This applies particularly well in the Harz mountains, on the Feldberg in Baden-Württemberg, in Hesse, Bavaria or in Saxony on the Fichtelberg. Here you can find detailed information on German ski resorts .

January Sale:   The world is waiting at   Up to 70% OFF

Winter 2024 Tours & Vacation Packages Germany

109 germany vacation packages in december, january and february.

Customized Germany Train Trip with Daily Departure Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

Customized Germany Train Trip with Daily Departure

  • Book With Flexibility This operator allows you to rebook your dates or tours with them for free, waiving change fees.

German Christmas Markets (7 Days) Tour

  • Coach / Bus

German Christmas Markets (7 Days)

  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Christmas Markets of Germany (Small Groups, 8 Days) Tour

  • In-depth Cultural

Christmas Markets of Germany (Small Groups, 8 Days)

Highlights of Germany Tour

  • Active Adventure
  • Sightseeing

Highlights of Germany

"Met my expectations. Very well organized. Most of hotels were good but Berlin. Just a few hours spent in many cities. No much time to explore and get more insights of them."

Christmas Markets Rhine Cruise (Dusseldorf - Dusseldorf) Tour

Christmas Markets Rhine Cruise (Dusseldorf - Dusseldorf)

Christmas Markets of Germany (Classic, 8 Days) Tour

Christmas Markets of Germany (Classic, 8 Days)

"This was a great tour! Insight is so organized and Brianna, our tour director was very personable, helpful and knowledgeable. I took this trip by myself which can be a bit scary but was just fine in this case because Insight and Brianna had all the prep so down. I learned a ton about German and its history, had fun shopping at what felt like a million Christmas markets and was impressed by both the quality of hotels (except for one but I am told that is the case in that city unless you are willing to stay really far from the city center) and the space and quality of driving on and by our bus/bus driver. I went on a most of the extra tours which were super but I also had fun just walking around since all of our hotels was close enough to walk to various Christmas markets, restaurants and historic sites. I highly recommend this trip to anyone (singles, couples, families or groups of friends) who wants to visit German Christmas Markets in style and comfort without having to break the bank."

Rhine Christmas Markets 2024 (6 destinations) Tour

Rhine Christmas Markets 2024 (6 destinations)

BAVARIAN ROYALTY AND NATURE - Self drive Tour

BAVARIAN ROYALTY AND NATURE - Self drive

BEST OF GERMANY BY TRAIN Tour

BEST OF GERMANY BY TRAIN

"Javier was very helpful all the way. he always answered quickly via WhatsApp. It s necessary to clarify that this is practically a self-guided tour for the most part. you will join some local tours but you travel on your own and you have remote support and guidance. As a recommendation get a SIM card from Aldi and get credit at the store to load and set up a local data service. Overall a very good experience."

German Christmas Markets (8 Days) Tour

German Christmas Markets (8 Days)

Classic Christmas Markets (2024) (Nuremberg to Frankfurt, 2024) Tour

Classic Christmas Markets (2024) (Nuremberg to Frankfurt, 2024)

Adventurous 10 Days Trip To Germany Tour

Adventurous 10 Days Trip To Germany

6 Wonderful Days In Germany Tour

6 Wonderful Days In Germany

NEW: Rhine Christmas Markets 2024 Tour

  • River Cruise

NEW: Rhine Christmas Markets 2024

Munich Xmas Markets Tour

Munich Xmas Markets

Reviews of germany tours in winter.

"Great variety of markets. Well organised and Greg was very helpful when I had a bit of a mobility issue."
"I enjoyed the tours and the ample downtime. We were able to explore the city centers."
"Our second Crucemundo cruise was just as great as the first! The food was wonderful, and the whole crew was wonderful. Our Cruise Director, Jessica, went out of her way to make sure we enjoyed every part of our vacation."

Destinations

  • Rhine Winter 2024 / 2025 (51)
  • Main Winter 2024 / 2025 (10)
  • Danube Winter 2024 / 2025 (7)
  • Elbe Winter 2024 / 2025 (4)
  • Rhine Valley Winter 2024 / 2025 (15)
  • Bavaria Winter 2024 / 2025 (10)
  • December 2024 (95)
  • January 2025 (25)
  • February 2025 (29)

More Departures

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  • Spring 2025 tours (99)
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  • Fall / Autumn 2025 tours (89)
  • Winter 2025 / 2026 tours (41)
  • Germany Travel Guide | All You Need to Know
  • Best 10 Day Germany Itineraries 2024 (with Reviews)

International Versions

  • Deutsch: Deutschland im Winter 2024
  • Français: Circuits et voyages organisés Allemagne Hiver 2024
  • Español: Circuitos por Alemania en invierno 2024
  • Nederlands: Winter 2024 Rondreizen en Tours in Duitsland

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The Most Beautiful Destinations to Visit in Germany This Winter

Winter market in Berlins historic centre

Think of a European country at Christmas time and chances are high you’ll picture Germany . The Christmas-tree custom has its roots here, in the late Middle Ages, and experts have traced the first Christkindlmarkt , or winter street market, back to Saxony in 1384. Even beyond the festive period, Germany is a spectacular winter destination – reliably snowy, atmospheric and appetising. Here are Culture Trip’s picks for the best German places to enjoy a winter wonderland.

Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips , compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips .

Zugspitze peak

South of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Bavaria, and surrounded by lesser peaks, Zugspitze is – at 2,962m (9,718ft) – Germany’s highest mountain. Winter-sports enthusiasts in their thousands descend annually for skiing and snowboarding, but if you’re not that bold, there are gentler pursuits, including sledding, cross-country skiing and the intriguing Bavarian pastime of Eisstockschießen, which is similar to curling. If even that sounds too active, sit back and admire the views from your chalet over a relaxing tot of schnapps.

The spectacular Partnachklamm

The Partnach Gorge is the most spectacular natural wonder in Garmisch-Partenkirchen – arguably in the whole of Bavaria. The main attraction is the parade of rock flanks, whittled by the course of the River Partnach into gullies and caverns – there are cascades you can walk behind, and tunnels to enter. Popular with whitewater rafters in warmer months, Partnachklamm freezes in winter, forming giant jagged curtains of icicles. There are atmospheric torch-lit hikes after dark, lined with snow-laden trees – making the place feel surreal.

people cheering on a mountain

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The Allgäu

Welcome to southern Germany’s poster-pretty region of castles, meadows and Wagnerian-grand mountain peaks. In summer it sees lots of cyclists and hikers, here for lungfuls of fresh, clean air. In winter it is a winter-sports paradise. There are attractive lodges in cutesy villages (Oberstdorf, Oberstaufen), and pistes – more than 500km (311mi) worth – blanketed in perfect powder snow to flatter even novice skiers and snowboarders. You’ve got eight ski regions to choose from. Sound too energetic? There are also more than 1,500km (932mi) of cross-country ski trails, helping you explore at leisure. Pronunciation note: with the umlaut over the ‘a’, you say ‘Allgoy’, the same as ‘boy’.

Cologne Christmas markets

Cologne for Christmas

Germans love their festive markets and in Cologne , the fourth-biggest city in the country, they pull out all the stops. The most famous of its selection is the one by the cathedral – ask the way to Roncalliplatz, or follow the spicy smell of glühwein (mulled wine). Traditionally open from the last week of November until the day before Christmas Eve, they sell everything that you could imagine to get you into the festive spirit – giant gingerbread hearts bearing piped-icing messages, aromatic candles, wild and woolly hats and mantlepiece ornaments made of screws. It’s fun just to wander among the pretty buden (huts), feeling Christmassy among the glittery lights. Head to Neumarkt for the oldest Christmas market in Cologne: the Angel’s Market.

Kathedrale Sanctissimae Trinitatis Dresden

Winter in Dresden is all about stollen and truly cold weather. The cake can be bought all over Germany, but for a memorably delicious moment you want to try the Dresdner Christstollen – here, in the capital of the eastern state of Saxony. It’s a gorgeous concoction of raisins, butter, sweet and bitter almonds, candied orange and lemon peel, all kneaded into a heavy, yeasty dough that’s baked until golden. This is a fabulous city at anytime of the year, but in winter, with snow rendering everything quiet and still, it feels like a magic fairyland. If you don’t feel like getting frozen toes walking around, you could take a paddle-steamer tour of the city along the Elbe River.

Baiersbronn

Sleighing in the Black Forest

In the heart of the Black Forest, the southern region of Baiersbronn attracts winter-loving extreme-sports types like lines of iron filings to a powerful magnet. The scenery under snow is sensational – all white-powdered fir trees and distant peaks bruised on the sky. There are hundreds of dedicated trails for you to hike, or tackle on cross-country skis, and you’ll be rewarded for your exertions. Baiersbronn – a tiny town of 16,000 inhabitants – has eight Michelin stars, which is twice as many per head as Paris.

The Harz Mountains

Steam train in the Harz Mountains

You visit the Harz – Germany’s northernmost low mountain range – to drink in its natural beauty: its meadows, transparent lakes, pine forests and deeply carved valleys. And what better way to travel through the region than aboard a time-warped train? The villages of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg are connected by the narrow-gauge Harzer Schmalspurbahnen, a functioning steam train. Its primary purpose is to transport local residents from A to B, but a by-product of its labours is the endless scenery – the chocolate-box beauty of Harz – scrolling past the windows as you sit and gaze out.

Schönau am Königssee

Schonau am Konigssee, Germany

Incurable romantics love Schönau am Königssee in winter. Just a few kilometres over the Berchtesgaden Alps from Austria, it’s a friendly community and a spectacular part of the world, beside its famous lake: when the temperature plummets, the long, thin Königssee freezes into a shimmering, frozen mirror – unrecognisable from its summer-green incarnation. It has more than 20km (12 miles) of tracks – for both regular and speed skating. And while your adrenaline’s up, note that Schönau am Königssee is also home to the oldest permanent bobsled, luge and skeleton track in the world.

View of Heidelberg, Germany

The famed university city of Heidelberg , which sits beside the Neckar River, is worth a visit at any time of the year. Throw on a layer of snow, dial back the daylight hours to eight max – and it’s a cosy winter wonderland that’ll have you tingling with festive spirit. Heidelberg Christmas Market brings the town alive, sending aromas of cinnamon-laced mulled wine and roasting-hot chestnuts wafting through the narrow alleys. Simply walk around and inhale the heady atmosphere as you browse for presents. When you get cold, duck into landmark Cáfe Knösel for a hot chocolate and warm apple strudel with whipped cream.

A view of the Christmas market and St. Gangolf church

Birthplace of Karl Marx and proud possessor of multiple Roman ruins, Trier – Germany’s oldest city, right by the Luxembourg border – is a weekend-break winner. And in winter its beauty shines through – just experience the Christmas Market. Stroll the scores of festively decorated stalls in Hauptmarkt, the main square, beneath the magnificent cathedral. Stop to scoff portions of steaming bratwurst (traditional German sausage), gingerbread and potato pancakes. Shop for hand-blown glassware, aromatic candles and carved toys. Do allow time for some good-old-fashioned sightseeing, too – among the many ancient attractions is the Porta Nigra, the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps.

Houses in Monschau

The Eifel region in the northwestern state of Nordrhein Westphalia is rural and extremely beautiful. Here you’ll find Monschau , a small resort town 30km (19mi) south of Aachen , right on the Belgian border. Whatever the season it looks as if it has been frozen in time, with its dramatic red-and-black half-timbered buildings. In winter it’s a beauty, with the much-loved festive market filling the air with the sounds of carols and the smells of spiced mulled wine. Take time to look around – you could visit the coffee roaster, the mustard mill and one of the many fantastic bakery-cafes – or take a hike in the snow-dusted forests that spread out in every direction.

Leipzig Tower Clock at the Old Town Square Marktplatz

Schiller wrote his Ode to Joy in Saxony’s sea-level city, and there’s plenty to be happy about in wintry Leipzig , from icy parks with snowy monuments to palm-edged pools in the domed Sachsen-Therme wellness centre. Average temperatures hover around freezing and the Renaissance Rathaus gleams in frosty sunshine and towers over twinkly market stalls after dark. If it’s just too grey out, enter the late-gothic Thomaskirche to catch a rousing concert, say, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. The composer led the already-centuries-old choir here for decades. Now he lies buried beneath the tiled floor.

Christmas Market in Mitte, Berlin

Warm trams, snowy forest walks, candlelit cafes and an efficient fleet of snowploughs make Berlin a frost-tastic destination. Vintage buses roll through the Grunewald in the western city, and an ice-breaking ferry crosses the frozen Wannsee. Christmas markets are pungent with roasting chestnuts and flaming rum-soaked sugar-loaves being turned into Feuerzangenbowle (a traditional German drink). Watch fire jugglers on cobbled Gendarmenmarkt, or bobsleigh down one of Europe’s largest mobile snow-tubing track at the annual Winter World in Potsdamer Platz. There’s also the sport of Alpine curling, if you’re game.

St. Michael’s Church in Hamburg

Every festive whim is catered for in the northern port city of Hamburg : you can have your winter wonderland with gingerbread and glühwein at cheery markets; or with currywurst and cabaret while bar-crawling through the smoky clubs on Reeperbahn. Go for strip shows (that’s right) at the adults-only Santa Pauli market or maintain standards with an advent concert in white-and-gold St Michael’s Church. Skate round the city’s largest outdoor ice rink in the central Planten un Blomen park: it’s got DJs at weekends, and everyone drinks cream-topped hot chocolate in the cafe next door.

Children playing in the snow in Munich

On bright snowy days, the sparkling parks and palaces turn Bavaria’s capital into a Narnian fantasy. Climb the 299 steps to the top of St Peter’s Church bell tower for amazing views across snow-dusted roofs and towers. Or slide down the little temple-topped hill in the Christmas-card-pretty Englischer Garten. Warm up in a glorious Baroque church, an art nouveau opera house or one of more than 50 museums – don’t miss the Instagram-able Deichtorhallen, which were built as fruit markets in the early 20th century and now constitute some of Europe’s biggest spaces for contemporary art.

Christmas market in the city center of Bremen

Bremen is a postcard-perfect North German gem, with lamplit cobbled alleys and fanciful brick gables, half-timbered shopfronts and steeply pitched red tiles. Just add winter for the authentic Christmas-card look. The town is rich in seasonal customs: there’s the schnapps-fuelled Kohlfahrt (kale – or cabbage – walk) to celebrate the local veggies; and Europe’s biggest samba carnival. Stop off for eggnog-style eierpunsch and bratwurst with grünkohl (kale) in the medieval waterfront Christmas market where wood smoke and roasting spices transport you back in time.

People walking on the ice of a frozen Lake Constance

On the willow-softened shores of Bodensee – Lake Constance in English – the old city of Konstanz attracts seasonal visitors for both winter sports and gemütliche (cosy) cafes in the Altstadt (Old Town). Head out onto Germany’s largest lake for a glühwein-laced festive cruise or cross the Rhine for snowboarding in the neighbouring Swiss mountains. Heat up again in the lakeside thermal baths with a view of the snowy Alps looming over the misty, mineral-rich water.

Baden-Baden

The Stiftskirche Baden-Baden

Europe’s steepest funicular railway climbs out of Baden-Baden up wooded Merkur Mountain, for views across the ancient spa town and the snowy hills beyond. Ruined Schloss Hohenbaden crowns a rewardingly wintry Black Forest hike before local chocolate truffles with coffee make you feel warm and comfy again back in town. As the city’s bath-related name suggests, Baden-Baden’s hot springs first attracted the Romans to the area, and you can still bathe in the bubbling thermal waters or relax in a sea-salt grotto, with saline stalactites.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Street in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany

The two towns that hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics tempt visitors with steamy cafes – after winter strolls or horse-drawn sleigh rides against a mountainous backdrop – past half-timbered houses with carved wooden shutters and balconies. Stop off for home-made cakes and home-roasted coffee at Wildkaffee near the station – or stock up on melt-in-the-mouth pralines at nearby Chocolaterie Amelie – before heading for the Olympic ice-skating stadium to work on your toe loops and double axels.

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria

It’s the ultimate Disney-esque fantasy: in fact hilltop Schloss Neuschwanstein, with its white pencil towers and turrets, inspired Cinderella’s cartoon castle, now endlessly familiar as both legend and logo. In (mercifully less-crowded) winter, it looks especially spectacular with the whitened woods and peaks behind, making those snowy selfies even more magical. Take refuge, as Mad King Ludwig II did, in this gilded recreation of medieval stories. And, when you’ve had your fill of Wagnerian motifs, ring the changes with creamy hot chocolate and apple strudel at one of the many adorably kitsch cafes in the village below.

For more inspiration, discover our guide on the best weekend trips from Nuremberg .

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15 Magical Reasons to Visit Germany in the Winter

11/29/2018 by Kristin Addis 38 Comments

Thinking about where to go in Europe this winter? Germany is amazing to visit during the winter for 15 reasons. Click to read about the best things to do in Germany in the winter, and start planning your holiday now! #Germany #WinterHoliday

“It was magical, this snow globe world” – Sarah Addison Allen

When I told local Berliners years ago that it was going to be my first winter in Germany (and really, in life), they reacted by saying things like,

“It’s so horrible! It’s SO cold!”

“You’re going to hate it! It’s so dark and your nose is going to freeze off!”

“Haha, that’s going to be funny. Your first winter and you chose Berlin?! Silly girl.”

They had me terrified, and yes, it is pretty dark here. However if you think of it like a Batman comic book then it becomes kind of cool and edgy.

  A post shared by Kristin Addis (@bemytravelmuse) on Jan 3, 2015 at 6:35am PST

And fairly magical, too.

Yes, it’s also pretty cold, but what I’ve come to realize is the cold isn’t so bad. With the right clothing and layering , it’s just fine.

Besides, if I had left, I would have missed all of this amazing, delicious, incredibleness that is the German winter. Here are 15 reasons why you’ll want to visit Germany in the winter, too:

Table of Contents

visit germany in the winter

The first major snow of the season in Berlin was magical. The skies turned blue, the kids grabbed their sleds, and good vibes were felt all around.

There is so much to do in Berlin, regardless of the season and the weather, that I’ve made it my home for the past five years. This quirky and gritty city is like an onion with endless layers. Though the autumn and the summer are the more popular months to visit, here’s a list of amazing things to do in the winter in Berlin. 

2) Christmas Markets

visit germany in the winter

I didn’t know how I’d feel about Christmas markets, because I’m usually team Grinch, but they turned out to be really festive, fun, and quite delicious as well.

What I love the most about the Christmas markets in Germany is how well the traditions are kept alive. For instance, it was lovely to see a woman dressed as Frau Holle shaking out a pillow case which is meant to symbolize snow falling at the Hattingen Christmas Market, and meeting locals dressed proudly (and rightfully so!) in olden-style clothing at the end of the Miner’s Wintermarkt, as part of the procession called the  Mettenschicht at  Düppenweiler. Germany’s Christmas markets are not only festive and fun, but also a great way to take a closer look at the locals’ cultures and traditions. Plus, they have excellent food and beverages.

They also vary quite a bit region by region. In Cologne, there’s a more traditional market with a gorgeous light display on the Kolner Dom, In Berlin, there’s a Japanese Christmas market every other year, and in Hohenzollern castle outside of Stuttgart, there’s even a chocolate market.

For a full listing of Germany’s best Christmas markets, check this post out!

3) Gingerbread of Aachen

germany winter tour

Aachen Christmas market is my absolute favorite. Starting from November 23 – December 23 every year, the market welcomes visitors with beautiful lights and irresistible gingerbread aroma.

The Aachen bakeries are famed for their gingerbread and marzipan bread that are exported to all over the world. However, at the Christmas market, they are freshly baked and taste even better! You know they take their gingerbread seriously when there’s literally a 6m tall gingerbread man mascot at the market. Delicious mulled wine, a warm, perfectly-spiced, amaretto drink that’s highly addictive, is also sold at the market.

Additionally, the cathedral in Aachen is intricate and gorgeous. As a fan of architecture, and art history, I was amazed.

Book your accommodation in Aachen here!

4) Black Forest

visit germany in the winter

Having associated the Black Forest with terms like ‘magical, mystical’, and delicious (the cake, I mean!) my whole life, I was still blown away by just how much of a winter wonderland the Black Forest can be.

I enjoyed walking through the forest and admiring the snow-covered pine trees, but if you are looking for something more on the adventurous side, the Black Forest offers various slopes and rinks for skiing, snowboarding, as well as hiking.

I highly recommend driving along the Panoramic route, assuming the roads are safe to drive and you feel comfortable, and stopping in the small towns along the way. Sasbachwalden is a favorite of mine. They’re particularly well known for their wine and cake.

Book your accommodation in Black Forest here!

5) Dazzling Light Displays

visit germany in the winter

Germany does Christmas right. Pictured here is the Christmas market at the Cologne Cathedral.

Most major cities in Germany will have beautiful Christmas lights displays at the bigger Christmas markets, but be sure to check out the one at the Botanischer Garten in Berlin as well, which is next on the list!

6) Botanischer Garten

germany winter tour

Inspired by London’s famous Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew,  Berlin’s very own botanic garden  now lights up every November – December, making the area a beautiful winter wonderland. The route is about 1.5km, where visitors will walk through and past several light displays, illuminations, and 3D figures. There’s also regional food, open fire, and even an ice rink at the garden for ice skating enthusiasts.

The entrance fee is on the pricier side, but it’s a great spot for anyone who’s into photography! It’s open from 16 November 2017 to 7 January 2018, open daily from 5pm to 9pm (closed on 24 and 31 December). Admission is €14.5 –€19, depending on the dates.

7) An Awesome Ice Rink at Zeche Zollverein in Essen

visit germany in the winter

Zeche Zollverein is a museum, an event venue, and one of the only coal mines in the world that’s declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its beautiful architecture. Each winter, you can ice skate on its long ice rink and enjoy delicious meals at its restaurant. A full-day ticket to the ice rink is €7, though if you are short on time, you can purchase the evening ticket for €5 and enjoy the light installation and even better atmosphere for 2 hours before it closes.

You could also take a closer look at the beautiful architecture and learn more about the mining history by joining a tour. English guided tours are available on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays (except for 24, 25, and 31 December) at 3pm. The 2-hour long tour costs €6. You can book your tickets here  and  check the schedule here!

8) A White Christmas

visit germany in the winter

If you grew up somewhere without winter like I did, then you’ve never had a white Christmas. Finally experiencing one was something really special.

Though Bavaria’s Alps are probably the most dreamy and famous place to enjoy winter, you can enjoy snow anywhere in Germany, if you get lucky!

9) Snow Coated Castles

visit germany in the winter

Germany is the fairytale castle capital of the world. The already stunning castles look even more magical in the winter, and have you really been to Germany in the winter if you have not seen a castle and have a little Frozen moment yourself?

The Hohenzollern Castles are easily the fairest castles in all the land, and are the ones I’d recommend prioritizing for dreaminess and fewer crowds, whether you want to see them from afar or up close. If you have more time, check out 12 other magical castles in Germany .

10) Winter Sports

ski packing

Germany has groomed some of the best skiers and ice hockey players out there, so it’s no wonder that there are plenty of winter sports opportunities in the country.

Every winter, the locals spend their free time skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow hiking, and ice-skating. If you are a winter sport enthusiast, you are in for a treat! Some of the best places for winter sports include Zugspitze, which is the highest mountain in Germany, as well as Belchen, and Harz Mountains.

11) The Berlin Treehouse

visit germany in the winter

A former dump, bordering the old Berlin wall, and a symbol of Berlin’s counterculture, the treehouse is a sight in the winter.

When the wall fell, Osman Kalin who built this inventive abode was threatened with eviction (the building wasn’t exactly up to code, and the land wasn’t exactly his), but thanks to the neighboring church deciding to give him the land, and the rallying neighborhood protesters, he still lives there today.

12) A Snowy Saxon Switzerland National Park

germany winter tour

I am beginning to think that places that are good in the fall, are mostly also good in the winter. There are many national parks in Germany that are great for winter, but to me, Saxon Switzerland stands out. The hikes there are lovely and moderately easy, and the iconic Bastei Bridge looks stunning in white.

What’s more? There’s apparently the other side of the bastion that’s exceptionally peaceful and tranquil during this time of the year. There are extended sauna hours, ice-time bowling, and a beer garden that turns into a winter lounge with a fireplace. Talk about cozy!

13) Spas and Saunas

visit germany in the winter

To enjoy the spas in most of Germany, prepare to strip. No, I am not being cheeky (omg the pun). Most spas in Germany are textile-free atmospheres. Vabali Spa in Berlin is a big space with a variety of saunas that are perfect for muscle aches or just relaxing self-care day.

I was slightly skeptical and thought it would be strange to go to a coed naked spa, but this is completely normal in this part of the world, and it actually felt freeing and comfortable! The atmosphere is respectful and upscale, even though everyone is sitting around completely naked.

There are saunas and pools, as well as massages in most spas in Germany. I highly recommend the sports massage, and the 95°C sauna if you can handle it. It’s so good!

14) Visit Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Christmas Market

Looking for an alternative Christmas vibe? Hamburg’s famous red light district plays host to the Santa Pauli Christmas market each year, full of sexy and erotic gifts, strip shows, and mulled wine of course! Due to the erotic nature, it’s adults-only. I haven’t personally been but I can only imagine it’s quite the experience! You can read more here.

15) Paraglide at Zugspitze

germany in the winter

Paragliding in the Alps can be awesome at any time, but there’s something particularly beautiful about doing so in the winter months. Zugspitze in Bavaria is Germany’s tallest mountain, and a popular place for paragliding. You can read more about how to book here .

I’m glad I didn’t listen to everyone who told me to run, not walk, away from the winter in Germany. It has been snowy, beautiful, and honestly tons of fun.

If you’re considering visiting Germany in the winter, but aren’t sure if you should, then let me make it an easy choice for you: do it.

Where are your favorite winter wonderlands?

  7 Magical Day Trips to Take from Stuttgart, Germany

The best things to do in the winter in berlin, the perfect european winter packing list, about kristin addis.

Kristin Addis is the founder and CEO of Be My Travel Muse, a resource for female travelers all around the world since 2012. She's traveled solo to over 65 countries and has brought over 150 women on her all-female adventure tours from Botswana to the Alaskan tundra.

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01/02/2015 at 8:09 am

Beautiful pictures, Kristin! One of my favorite moments from Taiwan was driving up into the mountains where there was a teeny tiny bit of snow on the side of the road and watching the locals pull over to take photos in front of it. I loved their excitement, growing up in Michigan has me taking a freezing, snowy winter for granted. Happy New Year!

Kristin says

01/02/2015 at 8:53 am

Thanks Anna! I admit if I had to deal with it year after year for months and months on end I’d get tired of it too, but it’s still novel for me 🙂

It’s definitely quirky. I didn’t think I was a winter person but I have actually been enjoying it.

Nikita says

01/02/2015 at 9:26 am

I envy everyone for whom snow is a novelty. You mke it look so beautiful!

01/02/2015 at 11:08 am

Traveling has made me realize that I grew up in a utopia with perfect weather. I have yet to find it replicated anywhere else, except for maybe the Mediterranean. I’m glad it’s a novelty for me too but honestly I’m excited to be somewhere warm again too!

01/02/2015 at 11:17 am

If only you had experienced a REAL enchanted winter forest! The one in your picture doesn’t have enough snow. But we’ve had less and less snow during the last winters, some say it’s due to global warming. I’ve started to read your blog from the beginning, it’s fascinating, you should write a book about your story one day 🙂

01/02/2015 at 11:22 am

We got more snow the next day: http://on.fb.me/1HlgQOu does that count? I hope so. Don’t want to miss out 🙂

Thanks so much for the kind words. I would love to eventually write a book. Glad that for now, the blog is entertaining enough to make you want to read it from the beginning! Happy travels, Niki!

Susanne says

01/02/2015 at 1:57 pm

I can’t help myself, but I hate mulled wine. I hate the smell and I don’t like the taste. And hockey rinks make me stumble across it almost all year long.

Anyway, when I think about ‘real’ Christmas atmosphere, I have to think about Christmas markets in German-speaking countries (both Germany and Austria). I feel like the Christmas spirit over there is much more intense than in other countries 🙂

01/02/2015 at 3:00 pm

You are forgiven for not loving mulled wine. There are a few other really good ones offered at the markets and of course I can’t think of what they’re called now, but there are many alternatives 🙂

Heather @ Ferreting Out the Fun says

01/03/2015 at 1:28 am

Germany looks like it’s a lot of fun to explore in winter! I was also scared of winter before I moved to Riga over the summer, but it hasn’t been that bad. Like you said, it’s all about the layers. When properly dressed, I don’t really notice the cold. And I’ve actually kind of loved all the snow!

01/03/2015 at 10:38 am

That’s so cool that you studied abroad here. I went to about 13 of them myself. I didn’t want to see another one by the time I was done touring them but they really did get me into the holiday spirit.

01/03/2015 at 12:19 pm

LOVE all the snow pictures. I’m sold. Must go to Germany. There’s no snow here ever so thanks for the wintery pics. 😉 Happy New Year!

01/04/2015 at 2:05 pm

Happy New Year and glad I convinced you

Rebekah says

01/08/2015 at 11:28 pm

That looks so beautiful. I love winter (I’m from Maine) and I think most people don’t like it because they just don’t dress warm enough and a lot of people get vitamin D deficient which makes you feel miserable. I’ve never been to Germany but I’ve been to German christmas markets and they’re amazing. Especiallyt he gingerbread.

01/10/2015 at 1:03 am

I guess sideways rain and wind on certain days in Berlin made loving winter pretty tough, and not seeing the sun for weeks on end was rough too, but I still learned to appreciate it because it was so new to me and beautiful at times, too.

02/25/2015 at 2:55 pm

I live in Chicago and really love the German Christmas Market they recreate there. I hope to go to one in Germany some day!

Milena Yordanova says

02/26/2015 at 2:02 am

I love Germany, especially in the winter: the Christmas markets, the cathedrals covered in snow, the food and the mulled wine. I’m feeling like in a fairytale. 🙂

08/12/2015 at 6:21 pm

I did a tour through Germany, Poland, slovakia and czech republic during winter of 2014. and had a blast as most of the aussie group hadn’t seen snow before. We missed some sights due to the intense snow fights, balls of fun.

The rooftops covered in snow in Prague was a beautiful sight.

08/12/2015 at 6:47 pm

I hadn’t seen snow like that in at least a decade, and otherwise remembered it mainly as a kid. I totally get how the Aussies felt!

Danita Bay says

10/06/2016 at 4:16 pm

I love the shots, and it comforts me that we’re planning to visit Munster, Germany in Jan/Feb. Your shots are gorgeous, and the advice re packing was helpful. I want to go very minimalist but with cool stuff — orrrr, pick up the cool stuff (boots, jacket!) there.

Have you been to Munster in Winter? I hear it’s gorgeous, and since I’m from the Pacific NW and don’t mind chilly, cloudy, wet weather, I figged it’d be fine for me there. i have two wool long-sleeved tees, but LOVED your leggings and the sweater dress (I have a similar one) and jacket. I don’t have one of those.

I’m 57. Wonder when it’s no longer okay to wear, say, leggings…

10/07/2016 at 11:09 am

I will wear leggings until the day I die. They’re so comfortable!

I haven’t been to Munster but would love to hear your thoughts after you go!

Nicolleen says

04/06/2017 at 3:59 am

Great list! One day on the Bodensee was not enough for me, so that’s one place I’m eager to go back to. A student told me that there’s a great cable car trip somewhere down there, I think near Bregenz, and you have the best view.

Sofi leen says

05/16/2017 at 5:48 am

I live in Germany, Dortmund and I love visiting the city and others around, each time I visit a new city I learn something new. God bless Germany and it’s people

Shibani says

08/20/2017 at 11:28 pm

Amazing pictures, I might need your recommendation as you stayed for Berlin winters. I’m planning to visit Germany this year in winters with a preference for snowfall. What time/month would you recommend to visit for snowfall but not to a level where I couldn’t do the sightseeing. I assumed Frankfurt/Dusseldorf got snowfall, but in my recent search it came not so much and I’m disappointed 🙁 I also wanted to include Berlin & Munich in my itinerary because of of the history. I am also planning to visit Nuremberg & Stuttgart there. Looking forward for your response. Thanks in advance.

08/21/2017 at 12:49 am

Hard to say since it can be as early as November and as late as March. I have seen it in December and January but it’s also not that common to get a lot of snow in Berlin.

09/11/2017 at 11:55 pm

Hello. I’m an American that works in China and is thinking of stopping in Germany on my way home either before (early November) or after (early December) my hitch. What time of the year were those pictures?

Also would you pick Berlin over Munich if you did It again?

09/12/2017 at 11:38 am

I’ve actually never been to Munich but I have been living in Berlin on and off for almost 4 years so, Berlin! All of those were taken in December.

Clemens says

11/18/2017 at 9:37 am

I always said that I need to travel through Germany ore often, but does it have to be in Winter? 🙂 Ok, Kreuzberg, done that! Great places in here anyways.

11/18/2017 at 10:24 am

The fall is so nice here too! Summer is crowded but amazing.

Quinten 123 says

07/02/2019 at 4:38 am

I also spent a really good time there during my last summer holidays and came back with smiley faces.

Iswarya Srinivasan says

07/24/2019 at 1:23 am

Marvelous! Could you suggest some hiking trail in black forest ? Or can we just go for a walk in the forest while driving along the panoramic route ?

08/01/2019 at 2:54 am

I’d check alltrails!

Marion B Goodman says

08/21/2019 at 10:38 am

Oh, thank you for all the pictures. I grew up in Berlin and haven’t been there in the winter in about 25 years. Yes it is cold, but the Christmas market makes up for it. And you can go to a different Museum for a month…and KaDeWe is amazing. I am going to visit my brother in November. Looking forward to it so much!

08/23/2019 at 5:53 pm

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16 Best Places to Visit in Germany in Winter in 2023

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Germany is wonderful at any time of the year. It was the very first European country that we ever explored and for that very reason, it will have a piece of our hearts forever. I mean, who doesn’t love fairy-tale castles, schnitzels, medieval towns, and history and it’s even better – when it’s sprinkled with snow? So here are the best places to visit in Germany in winter.

16 Best places to visit in Germany in Winter

Best places to visit in Germany in winter guide

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This list of the best places to visit in Germany winters is compiled with the help of travelers and local bloggers from Germany . We hope you enjoy this list!

But, let’s look into the winter temperatures and packing for Germany first. 

Weather and Packing for Germany in Winter 

Germany is neither too hot nor too cold in the winter. The climate of Germany is moderately continental. It does experience cold winters with a daily average temperature of around 0 °C (32 °F). So that’s fairly warm compared to where we live.

Winter landscape in the Bavarian Alps with the famous Parish Church of St. Sebastian in the village of Ramsau, Nationalpark Berchtesgadener Land

Northwestern and coastal Germany have a maritime climate – with mild and cloudy winters.

TEMPERATURES IN GERMANY IN WINTER  ❄️

Here is what you should pack for your trip to Germany in winter

  • Parka or winter jacket  – In different parts of Germany, gets pretty cold in winter and it is colder in the evenings. Carry and wear a warm parka or winter jacket. Check out this winter jacket from North Face
  • Winter boots – Wear winter boots in Germany as you are out and about exploring Christmas markets or if you plan to indulge in outdoor activities. Stay warm. Ensure your boots are at-least ankle length, waterproof, and have a good grip.  Get these Ugg boots for Germany
  • Warm/woolen socks
  • Gloves 
  • Scarf  – I LOVE blanket scarves. They will keep you warm and cozy.  Check out this warm plaid scarf here
  • Beanie or warm hat  – Super important to keep your head and ears warm.  Check this warm beanie here
  • Thermal pants and tops (or long johns) – Thermal inner tops and pants aka long johns are super handy in European winters. Shop our favorite from Amazon
  • 1-3 pretty sweaters  (depending on the length of stay) 
  • Carry moisturizer with up to 24-hour hydration –  Shop my favorite Body Shop Vitamin E moisturizer
  • Add a nice woolen sweater dress or a black dress for German Christmas events, special dinners, or New Year celebrations.

1. Munich in Winter

By Norman from Années de Pèlerinage.com

Munich - Best cities to visit in Germany in winter

Munich is one of the best places to visit in Germany in winter. Being a local, I know I am a bit biased, but let me explain.

First of all, there is much more snow in the German south than in Hamburg or Berlin. All those half timbered houses and castles just look so much prettier with a little white dusting, don’t you think?

You can also indulge in winter activities like ice skating at the Olympiapark München.

Munich also has over 70 museums. If it’s too cold outside, you can easily escape by marveling at pictures from Leonardo da Vinci, Rubens, or Rafael inside the Alte Pinakothek.

As an alternative, you could also visit one of the 5 palaces within the city limits. Nymphenburg Castle looks extra pretty on a sunny winter day, while the marvelous greenhouses of the adjacent botanical garden will keep you occupied when it’s a bit too dreary outside.

englische garten münchen in winter

If you are visiting in December, you can stroll across Munich’s famous Christmas markets and get your fill of German sausages, gingerbread, cookies, and mulled wine.

The real deal-breaker, however, is the many day trips you can take. The German Alps are very close, so you could possibly go skiing.

Or you can take the train/bus to Neuschwanstein Castle (the place that inspired Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle). There are just so many  things to do in Munich in Winter !

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : TYRP Munchen City Center Hotel | Book hotels in Munich

✅ MUNICH TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search Munich tours and activities

Read: A 5 day Munich Itinerary, with a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle

2. Berlin in Winter

By Julie of The Red Headed Traveler

Berlin Christmas market

There’s no escaping the fact that Berlin in winter is cold and that you’ll probably want to limit your walks along the Spree River.  But traveling to the German capital in wintertime also means fewer crowds, which makes visiting its many incredible attractions that much more enjoyable.

In the beginning weeks of winter, the sun sets quite early so a visit earlier in the day to the East Side Gallery, an open-air space located in the former East Berlin, is recommended for maximum visibility.

Berlin Germany in winter

It consists of a series of murals painted directly on a 1300 meter long remnant of the Berlin Wall.

If you’re hungry after walking the gallery and want to get warm, stop in Scheers Schnitzel, a short walk from the underground station. Just know that in Germany, schnitzel is made with pork, not veal as in Austria .

Two museums that are ideal for escaping the plummeting temperatures once it’s dark and also for understanding modern German history are the Topography of Terror and the DDR Museum.

Reichstag Best places to visit in Germany in winter

The first is located on the former site of the SS/Gestapo Headquarters and explains the heinous story of the Nazis.  The second shows what everyday life was like in the former German Democratic Republic.

Winters in Berlin are amazing due to the traditional German Christmas markets. In each and every neighborhood of Berlin, you will find a market to enjoy Christmas fairy lights, local exhibitions, and food.

Most popular markets are set up in the Spandau, Alexanderplatz, and Charlottenburg neighborhoods. 

Berlin Christmas Market

German Christmas markets are set up at the end of November, and many go on as far as mid-January.

The perfect hotel for your winter getaway in terms of cost and location is the Grand Hyatt Berlin . The rooms are spacious and it’s within walking distance of many of the city’s most well-known attractions including the most famous of all, the Brandenburg Gate.

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Grand Hyatt Berlin | Search hotels in Berlin

✅ BERLIN TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Search for activities in Berlin here

3. Berchtesgaden National Park in Winter

Panoramic view of beautiful winter wonderland mountain scenery in the Alps with pilgrimage church of Maria Gern and famous Watzmann summit in the background

Berchtesgaden National Park is a protected area located in the Bavarian Alps, only a 3 hour train ride away from Munich and one of Germany’s most incredible natural parks.

If you’re planning to visit Berchtesgaden National Park during winter, get ready for a breathtaking panorama: snow-covered fields with crystal clear streams, frozen lakes, and mountain views of Watzmann massif. 

The main points of interest within the park are Konigssee Lake – by far one of the most beautiful in Germany – Mount Watzmann (the third highest peak in Germany), Johannisbach Valley, and Kehlsteinhaus (Hitler’s former mountain retreat. Eagle’s Nest is not open in winter).

During winter, you can go skiing or snowboarding in the resorts located in Obersalzberg. Or, if you prefer to stay away from the slopes, a walk through the park with some snowshoes is one of the most peaceful and beautiful ways to experience it.

Stay at the no-frills Haus Wimbachtal near the Berchtesgaden National Park with free parking and wifi. 

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Haus Wimbachtal (Ramsau)

4. Trier in Winter

Christmas Market in Trier

On the banks of the Moselle, in southwest Germany, lies Trier – one of Germany’s oldest cities.

With settlements dating back to Roman times, it’s a treasure trove of 2 000 years old buildings and monuments. Its picturesque cobblestone streets and plazas are part of why it’s been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1986.

Trier is known for being the oldest city in Germany and one of the oldest cities north of the Alps. It’s also home to some of the oldest churches in Germany, like the 14th-century Roman Catholic Church St Gangolf, which has been an important pilgrimage site for centuries. 

The Porta Nigra, Trier’s most iconic landmark and the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps, is also another must-see.

Trier in winter brings with it a special kind of charm – from its snow-covered cobblestone streets to its Christmas market, this city has something for everyone. With fewer visitors than in warmer months, you can more easily explore all the attractions and get a taste of the traditional German Christmas atmosphere.

For those looking for old-world charm, luxury, comfort, and great service, Hotel Villa Hügel is a great option. Located just outside the city centre in an elegant villa surrounded by nature, it’s a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle of Trier; yet with easy access to all the sights.

At Villa Hügel you will be able to enjoy a traditional German atmosphere and explore Trier at your own pace. Whether it’s visiting the Christmas markets, exploring the old city centre or just going for walks in nature, this hotel is a great base from which to do it. 

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Villa Hügel

5. Nuremberg Christmas Market

By Henar from Wander Wings

Nuremberg Germany in winter

Nuremberg, situated about 2 hours by train north of Munich, is a must for all contemporary history aficionados. It was considered to be the most German city in Germany, which lead to its almost-complete destruction in 1945.

However, well before its key role during World War II, Nuremberg was already an important social, cultural, and economic hub since its origins.

It was home to figures such as Albrecht Dürer, as well as being a media centre with 21 printing houses during Martin Luther’s time helping the propagation of his messages of Reformation, among other things. Here you can find one of the best museums in German-speaking culture and history in the world.

Other than its historical relevance, Nuremberg is also a popular winter destination for its world-renowned Christmas market (“Christkindlmarkt”). Its origin is unknown but it’s believed to date back to the 1600s.

Nuremberg Christmas Markets

It takes place every year in the market square from the last Friday prior to the first Sunday of Advent and runs until the 24th of December (unless it’s a Sunday).

It can be chilly during the winter months but enjoying the warm mulled wine in good company and taking in the spirit of the season is an experience you won’t forget, especially if you’re lucky to catch a snowy day.

If you are only visiting Nuremberg for a day, make sure to start by taking a stroll through the old town and climbing up the castle to enjoy the stunning views over the city, it is a must for anyone visiting the Bavarian city and will give you a great overview of where things are.

A great place to stay during your visit is the Five Reasons Hotel & Hostel , in the old town. Here you’ll find both private and dorm rooms, so you’ll surely find something for yourself.  

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Five Reasons Hotel & Hostel | Search hotels in Nuremberg

✅ NUREMBERG TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book tours in Nuremberg 

Read: How to take a day trip from Munich to Nuremberg  

6. Cologne (Koln) in Winter

By Shang from Zip and Go

Cologne in Winter Germany

While it is easy to miss Cologne and opt for bigger cities like Berlin and Munich, it would be a shame if you never set foot here.

Cologne is well known for its Romanesque churches, its beautiful setting beside the Rhine River, and a wonderful mixture of culture and history.

The Cathedral, also known as Kolner Dom, is a MUST visit in Cologne. It is an easy walk from the colorful Old Town. 

As the largest of the 12 Romanesque churches in Cologne, and also one of the largest churches in Europe, this towering Gothic masterpiece dominates the Cologne Skyline and contains some of the most important treasures of Germany. 

Step inside and climb the 533 to the top of the South Tower for a panoramic view of the city. This scene is as beautiful as it gets. 

Cologne Christmas Markets

At the heart of Cologne is the Old Town, which was miraculously rebuilt after the atrocities of World War II. 

Almost all of the city centre was destroyed, but through the perseverance of the Germans, the entire Old Town was recreated to the minute details. 

Come in here to witness for yourself both the amazing work done by modern builders and also appreciate how beautiful the original Old Town would look.

Here, you can walk through the cobblestoned alleys or stroll along the Rhine River, and when it is too cold outside, hop into one of the numerous quirky and vibrant cafes that line the streets. And not to forget the Cologne Christmas markets are a crowd-puller in the winter!

The best place to stay in Cologne has got to be somewhere in the city center since it keeps you close to most of the attractions and provides lots of convenience and connectivity to the entire city.

We recommend the Maritim Hotel Koln  – well priced and with great views across the city and the River Rhine.

There is so much more to discover in Cologne, as it really should make your list of cities to visit in Europe!

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Maritim Hotel Koln | Search hotels in Koln/Cologne

✅ COLOGNE TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book activities here

7. Bamberg in Winter

Bamberg in winter

In the north of Bavaria , at about 3 hours by train from Munich, you’ll find the city of Bamberg. A UNESCO World Heritage site in the heart of Germany and part of the Roman remains route through Bavaria.

With an old town made of cute half-timbered houses along cobblestone streets, Bamberg is known for being one of the few cities in Germany that remained almost undamaged during the war.

Besides its stunning old town, cathedral, and castle, its centuries-old family-owned breweries and their unique smoked beer are another reason for many visitors to stop by, besides its stunning architecture, of course!

Bamberg is great to visit at any time of the year, but winter is particularly nice. With fewer visitors than in the warmer months and the possibility of catching the city in the snow with its channels, bridges, and boats, Bamberg is a looker. 

After all, it has a little Venice right in the centre. And in December, the Christmas spirit takes over the whole city with multiple Christmas markets spread all over town.

The Alt-Ringlein Restaurant-Hotel right in the centre of the old town is a good option.

Right across Aecht Schlenkerla, one of the oldest and most popular smoked beer breweries and beer halls in Bamberg, and around the corner from the Cathedral and little Venice, it’s a prime spot to explore the old town.  

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Alt-Ringlein Restaurant-Hotel | Search hotels in Bamberg 

✅ BAMBERG TOURS & ACTIVITIES: Book activities in Bamberg

8. Baden Baden in Winter

Christmas Market in Baden Baden

Baden-Baden is a spa town located right between the Black Forest and the Vosges Mountains in the southwestern part of Germany. It’s only an hour by train from nearby Strasbourg, France, which makes it easy to explore both countries during your trip.

In winter, Baden-Baden comes alive with a festive spirit, thanks to its multiple Christmas markets spread all over town.

The best thing about Baden-Baden is its abundance of grand 19th-century architecture and natural thermal springs, which make it a great destination for winter holidays.

Whether you want to soak in the hot springs or explore its nearby nature parks, there’s something for everyone in this charming city.

And if the cold gets too much, you can always take shelter in one of its many cafes and restaurants, or get some last-minute Christmas shopping done at local boutiques and galleries.

For accommodation, Hotel Belle Époque is a great spot to stay. Not only is it located right in the centre of town but also offers views over the city. You’ll be able to explore everything Baden-Baden has to offer while still feeling cozy and relaxed.

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Belle Époque

9. Hamburg in Winter

By Jenni from Chilling with Lucas

Hamburg Christmas Markets

Hamburg is full of breathtaking architecture, shops, and restaurants. During winter, the Christmas markets are a fabulous addition to your Hamburg itinerary .

They are just wonderful to explore, like a magical winter wonderland with plenty of gifts and crafts to browse as well as fabulous food and drinks. 

To explore Hamburg intimately, we highly recommend getting a Hamburg card as it allows unlimited travel by bus, train, and harbor ferry. It also gives you up to 30% discount on Harbour tours, Alster trips, and city tours.

You also get up to a 50% discount on various attractions and museums. Up to 28% discount on selected musicals, theatre, restaurants, and coffee shops. 

During your winter visit, ensure you visit the St Nikolai church, it was the world’s tallest building from 1874 to 1876, and it remains Hamburg’s second-tallest structure.

You can take a glass lift to a 76.3m-high viewing platform inside the surviving spire for views of Hamburg’s centre, put into context of the wartime destruction. The architecture and detailing of it are absolutely stunning. 

A harbor tour is also a great way to admire the city lights in comfort. Our enthusiastic tour guide also had everyone laughing. 

Hamburg Christmas Markets

Hamburg is the second-largest cocoa import harbor in Europe so a trip to the Chocoversum chocolate museum is a must. You take a tour around the museum, learn about the way various chocolates are made, and get to have a few samples too.

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Ibis Styles Hamburg Alster City | Book hotels in Hamburg 

✅ HAMBURG TOURS & ACTIVITIES:   Search activities in Hamburg 

10. Zugspitze in Winter

By Darek from darekandgosia

Who would not want to stand on the roof of Germany, their highest peak, look around and see a sea of mountain peaks covered with a thick layer of snow?

Ready to visit Zugspitze? Just attach skis or a board and ride on the white glacial lying between mountain peaks – this is the must-visit place for winter sports (along with Belchen aka Black Forest) and Harz Mountains!

How to get to Zugspitze ? The answer is simple – on the train! Yes, yes, this is not a mistake!

Zugspitze in winter

The Germans really showed off – you can go by train almost to the top. All you have to do is jump on a cog railway, which goes up inside the mountain – it’s are great experience itself! However, for the last section (about 400 m vertically) you have to take a cable car.

Zugspitze is the highest and the only glacier ski resort in Germany. In the skiing season, which lasts here for half a year, snow is therefore guaranteed.

What’s more interesting, you can be sure that it will be natural snow, because at this height German law prohibits the production of artificial snow.

There are 21 kilometres (13 miles) of ski runs to cover, which are always perfectly prepared during the ski season and are great both for skiing and snowboarding.

We highly recommend booking the Eibsee Hotel as your base. It’s not only located at the bottom of Zugspitze but also next to Eibsee Lake – one of the best lakes in Germany. 

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Eibsee Hotel | Search hotels in Grainau/Zugspitze

✅ ZUGSPITZE TOURS & ACTIVITIES :  Book tours in Zugspitze

11. Fussen and Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter

By Dayna from Happily Ever Travels

Neuschwanstein Castle in winter

Did you know that the castle that inspired Disneyland’s princess castle is a real castle in Germany? If the Neuschwanstein Castle wasn’t on your bucket list before, it will be now!

And somehow this castle becomes even more magical when surrounded by snow in the winter. This whole area along with the view of the Bavarian Alps is absolutely beautiful, and only a few hours away from Munich.

There are also two other castles nearby as well, one in Fussen and the Schwangau Castle in Hohenschwangau, which is just around the corner from Neuschwanstein. 

The castle is open year-round and you can buy tickets online in advance to go inside. The only difference is that the amazing views that you normally would visit to take pictures of the castle are closed during the winter. 

Fussen in winter

However, if you’d still like to get to those Instagram viewpoints even during winter, you must read about visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter without missing anything! 

If you’re looking to get a little bit of that winter magic that Europe provides, there is no better place than Neuschwanstein Castle!

There are cheap hotels in Fussen, just a short bus ride from the castles. However, if you’d like to stay closer to Neuschwanstein Castle, we recommend the Romantic Pension-Albrecht Hotel . 

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Romantic Pension-Albrecht Hotel  | Book hotels in and around Fussen

✅ DAY TOUR TO NEUSCHWANSTEIN FROM MUNICH : Check out this day tour here 

Read: Guide to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich

12. Stuttgart Winter and Christmas Markets

Stuttgart Christmas - Best places to visit in Germany in winter

Founded in the 10th century, Stuttgart is home to Porsche and Mercedes-Benz. Stuttgart is the sixth-largest city in Germany and is located in the southwestern part of the country. 

Winters in Stuttgart are slightly continental – it is cold, but not freezing cold. The Christmas markets in Stuttgart attract a lot of tourists in winter to the now modern city. The entire city turns into a fairytale of sorts with lights, festivities, and carols. 

Other than the festive markets, visit the Porsche Museum and Mercedes-Benz Museum, as they are open in winter. For history lovers, head to Landesmuseum Württemberg – to admire the remnants of Celtic armor, Roman swords, and jeweled crowns. 

Stuttgart is home to the second-largest complex of mineral springs in Europe, and winters are the best time to cozy up and enjoy the warm and healing waters. 

Stuttgart is also a convenient base for exploring those nearby cities in Baden-Württemberg.

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Book hotels in Stuttgart

✅ STUTTGART TOURS & ACTIVITIES : Search activities in Stuttgart

13. Bavarian Forest National Park in Winter

Located in the southeast of Germany, Bavarian Forest National Park is one of the oldest protected areas in Europe. 

Known as the Bayerischer Wald locally, the park covers an area of 242.2 sq km and it’s full of lush green forests, deep valleys, pristine lakes, and crystal clear rivers.

In wintertime, the Bavarian forest takes on a whole new personality: snow-covered trees and pine needles, frozen lakes, and streams that look like glass. A fairytale setting, perfect for enjoying nature in all its glory!

The National Park has a lot of activities to offer throughout the year: from winter hiking and snowshoeing to cross country skiing.

With two primary ski resorts to choose from, you can hit the slopes and experience the thrill of winter sports. Tickets are available for around 40 euros, offering great value for your adventure. 

Don’t worry about transportation, as a convenient ski bus connects Silberburg Ski Area to Grosser Arber Ski Resort in the Bavarian Forest. 

The Bavarian Forest is a beautiful place to enjoy the winter season and discover Germany’s wild side! Plus it is located about a 2.50-hour drive away from Munich. 

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Wellnesshotel Riedlberg (in Drachselsried)

Read: 3 days in Munich itinerary

14. Rhine Valley in Winter

By Paulina from Paulina On the Road

Rhine Valley in winter

The Rhine Valley is a stunning region in Germany, running along the banks of one of Europe’s longest and most important rivers.

In winter, it gets particularly magical as snow covers its forests and vineyards, making it an ideal destination for those looking to enjoy the beauty of nature without going too far from civilization. 

Some of the best villages in the Rhine Valley to visit during winter are Bacharach, Boppard, Bingen, and St. Goar.

During the winter months, almost every single Rhine village hosts its own Christmas Market. 

Set in narrow, cobblestone paved streets, it’s the perfect place to enjoy some mulled wine and German sausages. It’s said that mulled wine in the Rhine Valley is some of the best you can get in Germany as the region is famous for its top-notch wines.

The region is also known for its picturesque castles and ruins along the river banks – an ideal spot to take beautiful photos!

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL : Book hotels near Rhine Valley

✅ DAY TOUR TO RHINE VALLEY FROM FRANKFURT: Book a day tour to Rhine Valley here

15. Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Winter

Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Winter

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is another great destination for a winter holiday. Located right on Germany’s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, this charming Bavarian town has plenty to offer.

Its Alpine setting is perfect for those looking for a more outdoorsy getaway. Skiing and snowboarding are the top activities here, but there are also plenty of hiking trails to explore in the area.

And if you don’t want to spend all your time outdoors, you can also take a look at the spectacular old town and its traditional buildings. The city centre is home to the iconic Wankbahn cable car and stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

If you’re looking for accommodation, Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers a great stay with excellent views of the nearby mountains and a cozy, homely atmosphere.

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

16. Mittenwald in Winter

Mittenwald in winter

Just a couple of hours’ drive south from Munich, you’ll find Mittenwald. A tiny Alpine village set against the majestic Karwendel mountains and known for its violin-making tradition. 

In fact, you can visit some of the old workshops around town to witness how they make musical instruments by hand in an ancient craft practiced since the mid-17th century.

The winter months in Mittenwald are a magical time. With its snow-covered houses and the majestic Karwendel mountain range, it looks like something out of a fairy tale.

If you’re into winter sports, Mittenwald is the perfect spot for some back country skiing and snowshoeing in pristine wilderness – with a view! The hikes around Mittenwald are also great to explore the Karwendel mountain range during the colder months of the year.

For cozy accommodation right in the centre of Mittenwald, you can opt for Alpenhotel Rieger . With wooden floors and alpine-style décor, it’s a 3-star hotel with a spa area and they also offer free parking and buffet breakfast!

✅ RECOMMENDED HOTEL: Alpenhotel Rieger

No matter where you’re looking to stay, Germany has plenty of winter options for everyone. From charming small towns to vibrant cities, and from outdoor activities to cozy cafes – you’re sure to find something you love!

And let’s not forget about all the delicious German food – from the classic sausages to the local cheeses, Germany has plenty of gastronomic delights for you to discover! 

Visiting Germany in Winter | FAQ & Travel Guide

germany winter tour

How cold is Germany in winter?

German winters can be quite cold, with temperatures in December and January often dropping below zero. Although the average temperature across Germany is around 5°C (41°F), it will feel much colder due to the wind chill factor.

The coldest cities in Germany are usually located in the north of the country, such as Berlin where temperatures can drop to -10°C (14°F) and below. In the south, cities like Munich can experience temperatures of around 0-2°C (32-36°F).

The colder months tend to start in December and last until March, although snow is not always present across the entire country during this time. Cities closer to the Alps or the North Sea will typically experience more snow than other cities in Germany.

Overall, German winters can be quite cold but there are plenty of things to do and enjoy during the colder months! Whether you’re visiting one of the many Christmas markets or curling up with a blanket and watching the snow fall, winter in Germany is truly beautiful.

Is Germany expensive in winter?

If you’re considering a trip to Germany during the winter, you’re in for a treat! It’s a great time to travel with the added bonus of lower costs and fewer crowds compared to the bustling summer season.

Germany can be an affordable destination for travelers, depending on your budget. Accommodation prices vary greatly and are generally cheaper in the winter months due to lower demand.

Generally speaking, food is also quite affordable – you can get a hearty meal at a local restaurant for around €10-15 (USD$12-17). Drinks can also be quite reasonably priced, with a beer costing around €3-4 (USD$ 3.50-5).

Transportation prices also vary depending on the city and type of transport. For example, a single bus ride in Berlin can cost around €3 (USD$3.40) or an all-day ticket for one person is around €8 (USD$9).

Which month is very cold in Germany?

December, January, and February are typically the coldest months in Germany. 

Temperatures across the country tend to hover around 5°C (41°F) during these months, although they can drop to -10°C (14°F) or below depending on where you are located. 

Does it snow in Germany at Christmas?

The answer to this question depends on where you are in Germany during the Christmas season. Generally speaking, cities near the Alps or the North Sea such as Munich and Hamburg experience more snow than other parts of the country.

In the south, towns like Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Oberstdorf are known for their ski resorts which offer plenty of snow during the cold winter months.

Best Places to visit in Germany in Winter

In the east, cities like Berlin and Dresden tend to experience less snow than other parts of the country, although they still get some flakes during Christmas time.

Overall, your chances of experiencing a white Christmas in Germany depend largely on where you decide to spend it! If you are visiting a city, most likely you may encounter a wet Christmas instead of a white one. 

What do you wear in Germany in winter?

When visiting Germany in winter, it is essential to pack for the cold weather. A good coat, scarf, and gloves should be at the top of your list as temperatures can drop to -10°C (14°F) depending on the city. 

Sturdy shoes are also recommended due to wet and icy surfaces. It’s also important to note that most of the major attractions remain open in winter, although some may close a few hours earlier than usual due to reduced sunlight hours. Therefore, it is advised to check opening times before visiting any sites.

Other items to consider packing for Germany in winter include hats, scarves, sweaters, and thermals – these will all help keep you warm while exploring the country. 

If you plan on visiting any outdoor attractions, waterproof clothing such as snow boots and a coat may be necessary.

Must pack the following

  • Merino Wool Sweater
  • Dark Jeans or Pants and leggings
  • Insulated Puffer Jacket or Parka
  • Winter boots and warm socks

What is there to do in Germany in winter?

Here is what you can explore in Germany in winter

  • Visit traditional Christmas Markets in Stuttgart, Trier, Nuremberg 
  • Hit festive cities (and learn about their history) – Munich, Berlin
  • Go skiing and enjoy snow-related activities in the Bavarian Alps 
  • Soak in the winter landscape at the Rhine Valley and Berchtesgaden
  • Visit castles and palaces like the Neuschwanstein Castle

Should I visit Germany in winter or summer?

Both seasons have something different to offer – so it all depends on what kind of experience you’re looking for!

Winter is a great time to visit if you’re looking for something cozy and magical. From Christmas markets to snow-covered forests, this season has plenty of unique experiences to offer. 

Although it can be quite cold, the atmosphere of winter in Germany is truly special! It is also not a busy tourist season like the summers. 

Summer, on the other hand, offers a more active holiday with plenty of outdoor activities to explore. From hiking and biking to swimming and sunbathing, there are lots of things to enjoy during this season. 

Fall and spring are great as it’s a shoulder season, and there are fewer crowds in popular destinations. This time of year also brings out some unique festivals such as Oktoberfest. 

Is it worth visiting Germany in winter?

Absolutely! Regardless of whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or just looking for some great cultural experiences, Germany in winter is worth every bit of effort.

The cities are beautifully decorated with festive lights and decorations, the Christmas markets are buzzing with visitors, and there’s plenty to do – from skiing to snowshoeing to exploring quaint Bavarian towns.

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable experience, Germany in winter is definitely the place to be. The crisp air and stunning snow-capped mountain views make for some truly breathtaking scenery, while the hot chocolate, gluhwein, and delicious local dishes will warm your heart – and of course your belly!

Essential Travel Tips for Germany in Winter 

We hope you enjoyed this list of best German cities to visit in winter, here are some quick tips to help you prepare for your travel. 

Planning your trip to Europe – If this is your first-ever trip to Europe, consider reading our Europe 101 guide.

Schengen Visa – If you require a visa to travel to Europe, most likely it is the Schengen Visa (for those belonging to the Euro Zone or EU, doesn’t include the UK). Read our guide to applying for Schengen Visa.

Travel Insurance – Don’t forget to insure your trip. Get Travel Insurance quotes from Safety Wing here.

Get a free quote for Safety Wing Travel Insurance

German Cities & Germany Travel Resources 

  • Munich Itinerary – Itinerary guide for 3 to 7 days in Munich
  • Munich on a Budget – Free things to do in Munich 
  • Dachau Bavaria – Guide to visiting Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
  • Central Europe in 2 weeks with Germany – Visit Munich, Budapest, Prague and Vienna in 14 days
  • Europe – Get our 27 Europe in one week itinerary samples

Europe in winter – Here are seasonal European resources that might interest you

  • Winter Destinations – Destinations to visit in Europe winter for Christmas markets, skiing or winter sun
  • Winter sun destinations – Winter sun destinations for December to February
  • Places to visit in February – Best places you must visit in Europe in February

Pin: Best cities to visit in Germany in Winter

Mayuri is the founder & editor of ToSomePlaceNew. An Indian-Canadian globetrotter, she has traveled to over 100 cities and 35+ countries. Mayuri has a graduate degree in History and is an MBA. She loves traveling the world, capturing historical nuances, and discussing that over a cup of coffee with her husband, Salil. She currently resides in Edmonton, Canada, and plots travel plans to Europe, the Americas, and beyond. 

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Winter in Germany: what to expect and 11 beautiful destinations to explore

11 min read

germany winter tour

Winter in Germany is cold, but beautiful with a range of things to do and see. Whether you’re looking for snow, Christmas markets, or pure relaxation, Germany has you covered.

Winter in Germany, where to go?

A couple of hikers traversing a snowy landscape with icy mountains in the background.

Germany offers numerous regions for a winter vacation, each with its own festive charm. Whether you want to explore German cities or enjoy a snowy Christmas trip, you’ll find something for you.

What to expect from winter in Germany 2023

Snow-covered mountain dotted with trees.

The weather predictions for the upcoming winter in Germany vary, but higher regions are more likely to have snow . If you’re longing for a snowy holiday, consider heading to the mountains in the Bavarian Alps.

Where to go in Germany this winter

  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  • Blomberg, Bad Tölz
  • Sauna Rafting on the Havel
  • Elmau Valley
  • Baden-Baden
  • Ski Oberstdorf Kleinwalsertal
  • Oberhof, Thuringia
  • Nuremberg Christmas Market
  • Lindau Harbor Christmas

Winter in Germany: the best city trips

If you’re up for a city trip during winter in Germany, these cities will capture your heart.

A church tower overlooking the Christmas market shops with star-topped white pagoda tents.

If you’re looking for the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany , a trip to Berlin is a must. Additionally, Christmas is celebrated in the zoo here, a special event for the whole family.

The zoo is transformed into a sparkling fairy tale land with light installations and sounds. You’re guaranteed to experience Christmas joy here, from mid-November to mid-January, with or without snow.

Christmas shopping is also a lot of fun in Berlin. For example, all the trees on the Ku’damm are festively illuminated for several miles. Window shopping is also well worth it, as the lavish store decorations rival those of New York City — a visit to KadeWe (the second-largest department store in Europe) is a must.

And if you aren’t afraid of cold water, you can join the Ice Dippers for ice bathing. They meet in winter every Saturday to take a dip in the Berlin Plötzensee.

2. Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Colourful half-timbered houses lining a cobblestone street with a snow-covered sidewalk.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town, well known as a winter village , and is home to the Christmas store Käthe Wohlfahrt . While the Christmas atmosphere is present all year round, it’s especially beautiful in winter. You won’t find a better place to buy Christmas decorations and get into the festive mood.

In December, there’s also the regional Christmas market, the Reiterlesmarkt, with numerous stalls and atmospheric brass music . A stroll through the narrow streets of the old town and along the well-preserved city wall is a must. If you want to learn more about the holidays, visit the German Christmas Museum.

And if you’re not in the Christmas spirit at all, you can get a bit spooked by the numerous historical torture devices at the Criminal Museum.

Winter vacations in Germany with kids

If you’re traveling with the whole family, these destinations are perfect for a winter vacation with kids.

3. Blomberg, Bad Tölz

DEST_GERMANY_BAVARIA_BAD-TOELZ_BAD-TÖLZ_THEME_SLEDDING_GettyImages-102069704

Interested in a winter vacation with kids for sledding in Germany ? There are several options once the first snow falls. But none are as exciting as Blomberg near Bad Tölz, not far from the city of Munich.

Sledding has been a tradition here since the turn of the century, and even the German Championships have been held on Blomberg . You’ll find three winter toboggan runs to choose from, catering to both beginners and advanced riders.

You can take the cable car or hike up. A visit here is also suitable for a more affordable winter vacation in Germany , as using the toboggan runs is free – you only pay for the lift and the sled.

In addition, there’s the “Blomberg Blitz,” an all-weather toboggan run, a climbing garden, a small animal enclosure, and an app with an interactive forest mystery trail for kids. For adults, there’s alpine ski touring and numerous hiking trails.

4. Zugspitze

A smiling little girl with thick clothes glides along the snow under a clear blue sky.

For a snow vacation in Germany , there’s hardly a better place than the Zugspitze – a German ski resort with over 12 snow-sure miles of slopes. This means plenty of fresh snow and winter sun at the heights.

There are also numerous ski schools and slopes for young skiers , as well as several toboggan runs. But a particularly special highlight for families is the Igloo Village Zugspitze.

The igloo village is built here for 10 days from late December to the first week of January. And instead of staying in a hotel, you can sleep directly on the Zugspitze – a unique experience!

Bundle up warmly and off you go – your night in the igloo includes a delicious cheese fondue, a snowshoe walk, sauna use, and breakfast with a view of the Alps. And as you might already suspect, you’ll sleep on snow and ice (with a few thick blankets) in a real igloo. A once in a lifetime experience for the whole family.

Winter wellness: spa breaks in Germany

When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing better than a wellness vacation in the warmth.

5. Sauna Raft on the Havel

THEME_WELLNESS_SAUNA_FLOATING-SAUNA-ON-LAKE_PEOPLE_WOMAN_GettyImages-926339128

Not far from Berlin (about 2 hours by train, or under an hour driving) is the sauna raft , located on one of the most beautiful lakes in Germany. The Werbellinsee is not only a beautiful destination in summer but also in winter. Privacy and crystal-clear water await you.

The sauna raft is actually a floating sauna barrel and can be rented for small groups of up to 7 people. The sauna on the raft is operated carbon-neutrally and can be heated up to 203 °F.

Onboard, you’ll find a shower, toilet, and a ladder. So, after your sauna session, you can take a dip in the lake and then relax on the raft.

You can also cruise the lake with the raft; anyone over 18 can use the propeller motor. Alternatively, you can book a skipper for an additional fee.

6. Elmau Valley

DEST_GERMANY_ELMAU_VALLEY_SCHLOSS-ELMAU_WINTER_GettyImages-1268650586

In Elmau Valley lies one of Germany’s best wellness hotels: Schloss Elmau . In the vicinity, you’ll find beautiful castles and hiking trails — a fantastic destination for a winter vacation.

The resort has six different spa areas where solo travelers, couples, and families can truly relax. This includes a hammam and the Nature Spa, as well as treatments in Chinese medicine and aromatherapy.

If you want to be active, there’s Qi Gong, Tai Chi, Pilates, and of course, a yoga pavilion. As you can see, it offers a unique wellness experience along with award-winning gourmet cuisine.

Outside, there are numerous slopes, snow-covered hiking trails, an ice rink, and even the opportunity to go dog sledding. Additionally, in winter, you’ll have an incredible view of the snow-covered Zugspitze and the Karwendel Mountains.

7. Baden-Baden

Top view of a cityscape in the snow with classic buildings surrounded by tall frosted trees.

If you’re looking for a must-visit spa town in Germany, you can’t miss Baden-Baden. Baden-Württemberg has the highest density of thermal springs in Germany , and nowhere does it bubble more than in Baden-Baden. Allegedly, there are 800,000 liters from a total of twelve springs per day — perfect for warming up in the winter cold.

Especially suitable for this purpose is the well-known Caracalla Spa . It features a rock grotto, an aroma steam bath, a current channel, and indoor and outdoor whirlpools. You have a choice of various pools with healing water ranging from 64 to 100 °F.

In addition, Baden-Baden also offers the Friedrichsbad, once the most modern thermal bath in the world. You’ll feel like you’re on a journey through time as you follow in the footsteps of Mark Twain, who pondered life in the warm waters and under the magnificent dome.

Skiing in Germany

For many, a winter vacation in Germany isn’t complete without skiing. Here is where you can find the best slopes.

8. Ski Oberstdorf Kleinwalsertal

A hillside cabin buried in deep snow with ski tracks.

The best ski resort in Germany is the Zugspitze for many, with the slopes around Garmisch-Partenkirchen. However, the title of the largest ski resort goes to Ski Oberstdorf Kleinwalsertal. In Oberstdorf, the Austrian ski region of Kleinwalsertal meets, offering over 80 miles of slopes.

Among them, everything a skier’s heart desires: many lifts, family slopes, freeride trails, and some black slopes for adventurous professionals. If you’ve never been on skis or want to refresh your skills, you can attend one of the numerous ski schools. Children can rely on the ski mascot Burmi for their first turns.

The experience is particularly beautiful on a winter night, as there are several opportunities for night skiing under floodlights. If you prefer a more leisurely pace, you also have access to a network of cross-country skiing trails.

You can learn everything you need for that in a cross-country skiing course. Additionally, you can enjoy tobogganing, winter hikes, and ice skating in the region.

9. Oberhof, Thuringia

DEST_GERMANY_THURINGIA_OBERHOF_THEME_SKI_GettyImages-755763033

Great skiing isn’t limited to the south; there’s the rest of Germany as well. Oberhof in the Thuringian Forest is known for being particularly snow-sure , and many top winter athletes train here.

As early as the turn of the century, winter sports enthusiasts were training for the Olympics here, now they can use the unique ski sports hall, the only cross-country ski hall outside of Scandinavia. In addition, there are two downhill slopes and numerous miles of cross-country ski trails for you to enjoy.

If that’s not enough, there’s also a snow tubing facility and a natural toboggan run . Both adults and children can race down the slope. At the end of the toboggan run, a shuttle bus conveniently waits to take you back up.

The best Christmas Markets in Germany

Where can you find the best Christmas markets in Germany ? This might be up for debate, but one thing is certain – these ar e worth a visit.

10. Nuremberg Christmas Market

An elaborately decorated brick cathedral in Gothic style with tall Christmas trees on either side of its entryway and Christmas shops on the main square.

The Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt holds the title of the oldest Christmas Market in the world despite having some competitors. Without a doubt, it’s one of the most beloved and reason enough for a city trip to Nuremberg.

Every year, it’s festively opened by the traditional Christkind, before the crowds of visitors flock to the “little town made of wood and cloth.” At the market, you can buy beautiful handicrafts and traditional Christmas decorations, and then fill your stomach with festive treats. Naturally, the famous Nuremberg gingerbread (there’s even a Lebkuchen-Schmidt) and Nuremberg bratwurst are part of the experience. The latter even has its own Bratwurst Museum!

For young visitors, there’s the Children’s Christmas, a separate Christmas town for kids . It features a carousel and Ferris wheel, cookie baking, and the opportunity to write your wish list on-site and hand it over to the Christkind.

An especially attractive offering of the Nuremberg market is the themed experience paths. These guided tours introduce you to various aspects of the market, both old and new.

11. Lindau Harbor Christmas Market

Two women in winter jackets smile while holding a wrapped gift.

A truly special Christmas market is the Lindau Harbor Christmas Market. Traditional decorated stalls and the scent of mulled wine and baked goods await you . The location is what makes this market particularly unique: it’s romantically situated directly on Lake Constance with a view of the Alps.

The “Enchanting Fairytale Forest” also adds to the atmosphere, adorned with Black Forest fir trees. Fairy tales are told for children in the forest. There’s also a festive program for Christmas enthusiasts.

This includes the Night Watchman tour , which takes you to the Lindau Christmas tree at the town hall, the huge Christmas crib in St. Stephan’s Church, and the popular Christmas ship.

On St. Nicholas Day, the hardy can even venture into the refreshing waters of Lake Constance – that’s when the Nikolaus swim takes place. Participating is a tradition for many, and the only question left is: with or without a wetsuit?

I hope I’ve sparked your interest in a winter vacation in Germany. If you’d like to explore other destinations, you can find more travel destination inspiration below:

  • The best place to go in December around the world
  • Prefer to stay closer to home? Check out the best winter vacations across the US
  • Winter vacation ideas and tools to make your trip easier

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Frozen Wanderlust: Best Things To Do In Germany In Winter!

Posted on Last updated: December 15, 2023

Categories Germany

Frozen Wanderlust: Best Things To Do In Germany In Winter!

Expert travel storyteller Jordan Adkins, founder of InspiredByMaps.com, brings a decade of adventures across 101 countries and 450+ UNESCO sites into rich, off-the-beaten-path narratives, melding ecological expertise with genuine, seasoned travel insights.

When the temperature dips and the prices drop that’s the time to act …Europe is now all about the locals and with that in mind, I’ve made a guide for things to do in Germany in the winter! It’s not all about fun in the sun you know…

The prices are lower, the air is crisper and the hoards of tourists are nowhere to be seen. The same can be said about a lot of places of course, but Germany has one thing that most places don’t –  Weihnachtsmärkte!

The famous German Christmas markets (there is over 1500 of them!) with their gorgeous lights, festive atmosphere and  Glühwein , a wonderfully spiced substance more commonly known as Mulled Wine which will surely warm your heart and soul. Just make sure you these winter items to keep you warm!

Germany - best things to do in germany in winter

For me, this alone was enough to make up for the cooler temperatures, shorter opening hours and the ridiculously short daylight hours!

I thought I would provide a summary of the places I visited with the best photos to inspire you – There are so many places to explore but some of these are very off the beaten track as it were (thanks UNESCO! ) and maybe you have never heard of them and want to visit them yourself!

best things to do in germany in winter | things to do in germany in winter | what to do in germany in winter | things to do in germany in december

   

Page Contents

Wörlitz

Quedlinburg, höxter, würzburg, neuschwanstein castle.

Berlin’s incredible Museum Island – Five world-renowned museums on an island in River Spree, right in the middle of Berlin! Top of the list for things to do in Germany in winter when the tourists are gone!

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

One of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall … I didn’t get out there but be sure to visit the East Side Gallery if you are interested!

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe , also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – The Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism which I talk about here…

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Brandenburg Gate – One of Berlin’s most famous sites. I had to laugh how the statue (Quadriga) on top was taken by Napoleon but in 1814, when the Prussian army descended on Paris after Napoleon’s defeat, that the Quadriga was reclaimed and returned to its rightful home.

However, an iron cross was added to make the statue the goddess of victory and the square was renamed Pariser Platz so that ‘Victory would always be had over Paris!’

Who says German’s don’t have a sense of humor! (Most of the best German films actually – they are all rather comedy-less!)

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Palace Sanssouci is the former summer palace of the King of Prussia, in Potsdam and is the German rival of Versailles.

With 500 ha of parks and 150 buildings erected between 1730 and 1916, Potsdam’s complex of palaces and parks constitutes an artistic combination, whose eclectic nature strengthens its sense of uniqueness.

Potsdam continues into the district of Berlin-Zehlendorf, with the palaces and parks lining the banks of the River Havel and Lake Glienicke.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Melanchthon’s house in Wittenberg, a fellow reformer of Martin Luther who posted his famous ’95 Theses’ on 31 October 1517 on the church of this city down the road launching the Reformation and a new era in the religious and political history of the Western world.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

The Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm, a UNESCO site that is hard to get to but well worth the visit. So peaceful and serene, a perfect place to contemplate life.

The Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz is an exceptional example of landscape design and planning of the Age of the Enlightenment, the 18th century.

Its diverse components – outstanding buildings, landscaped parks and gardens in the English style, and subtly modified expanses of agricultural land – serve aesthetic, educational, and economic purposes in an exemplary manner.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

A peaceful sunset over Quedlinburg old town …One of the most peaceful things to do in Germany in Winter, and they also host one of the most authentic and beautiful Weihnachtsmärkte in the whole of Europe!

Quedlinburg, in the Land of Sachsen-Anhalt, was a capital of the East Franconian German Empire at the time of the Saxonian-Ottonian ruling dynasty.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

It has been a prosperous trading town since the Middle Ages. The number and high quality of the timber-framed buildings make Quedlinburg an exceptional example of a medieval European town.

The Collegiate Church of St Servatius is also considered one of the masterpieces of Romanesque architecture and should not be missed.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Amazing old town…Interesting to see how the town utilized the river in the middle ages to change their fortunes and that of their city!

The Upper Harz mining water management system, which lies south of the Rammelsberg mines and the town of Goslar, has been developed over a period of some 800 years to assist in the process of extracting ore for the production of non-ferrous metals. Its construction was first undertaken in the Middle Ages by Cistercian monks, and it was then developed on a vast scale from the end of the 16th century until the 19th century.

It is made up of an extremely complex but perfectly coherent system of artificial ponds, small channels, tunnels, and underground drains. It enabled the development of water power for use in mining and metallurgical processes and today Goslar still a major site for mining innovation in the western world.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

One of the most inspiring Church’s I have ever been in… St Mary’s Cathedral should be on your list for sure!

Clearly, I also cannot get enough of the Weihnachtsmärkte which were such a highlight! You almost don’t need any other things to do in Germany in winter!

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Famed here is the UNESCO-listed St Michael’s Church built between 1010 and 1020 on a symmetrical plan with two apses that was characteristic of Ottonian Romanesque art in Old Saxony.

Its interior, in particular the wooden ceiling and painted stucco-work, its famous bronze doors and the Bernward bronze column, are – together with the treasures of St Mary’s Cathedral – of exceptional interest as examples of the Romanesque churches of the Holy Roman Empire.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Fagus Factory in Alfeld is a landmark in the development of modern architecture and industrial design. Serving all stages of manufacture, storage, and dispatch of lasts used by the shoe industry, the complex, which is still operational today.

With its groundbreaking vast expanses of glass panels and functionalist aesthetics, the complex foreshadowed the work of the Bauhaus school and is a landmark in the development of architecture in Europe and North America .

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

The former Benedictine abbey of Corvey … A little bit disappointing for me to be honest, but I have seen many many Abbey’s. If you haven’t then is a must, otherwise, its very far out so skip it!

The site is located along the Weser River on the outskirts of Höxter where the Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey were erected between AD 822 and 885 in a largely preserved rural setting. The Westwork is the only standing structure that dates back to the Carolingian era, while the original imperial abbey complex is preserved as archaeological remains that are only partially excavated.

The Westwork of Corvey uniquely illustrates one of the most important Carolingian architectural expressions. It is a genuine creation of this period, and its architectural articulation and decoration clearly illustrate the role played within the Frankish empire by imperial monasteries in securing territorial control and administration, as well as the propagation of Christianity and the Carolingian cultural and political order throughout Europe.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is a unique landscape park is the largest European hillside park and was built in 1696. Famously described as “possibly the most grandiose combination of landscape and architecture that the Baroque dared anywhere.”

Descending a long hill dominated by a giant statue of Hercules, the monumental water displays of Wilhelmshöhe were begun by Landgrave Carl of Hesse-Kassel in 1689 around an east-west axis and were developed further into the 19th century. Reservoirs and channels behind the Hercules Monument supply water to a complex system of hydro-pneumatic devices that supply the site’s large Baroque water theatre, grotto, fountains and 350-meter long Grand Cascade.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Beyond this, channels and waterways wind across the axis, feeding a series of dramatic waterfalls and wild rapids, the geyser-like Grand Fountain which leaps 50m high, the lake and secluded ponds that enliven the Romantic garden created in the 18th century by Carl’s great-grandson, Elector Wilhelm I.

The great size of the park and its waterworks along with the towering Hercules statue constitute an expression of the ideals of absolutist Monarchy while the ensemble is a remarkable testimony to the aesthetics of the Baroque and Romantic periods.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Such an incredible and historic castle that is well worth the hike!

Most famous for having been home to St. Elisabeth of Hungary, the place where Martin Luther translated the New Testament of the Bible into German, the site of the Wartburg festival of 1817 and the supposed setting for the legendary Sängerkrieg.

Wartburg Castle blends superbly into its forest surroundings and is in many ways ‘the ideal castle’. Although it has retained some original sections from the feudal period, the form it acquired during the 19th-century reconstitution gives a good idea of what this fortress might have been at the height of its military and seigneurial power.

It was during his exile at Wartburg Castle that Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

The Graveyard of Weimar is meant to be a must do – It really isn’t though!

The Haus am Horn was built for the Weimar Bauhaus’s exhibition of July through September 1923 and is one of the original works of Bauhaus. The the goal of the house’s construction was “the greatest comfort with the greatest economy by the application of the best craftsmanship and the best distribution of space in form, size, and articulation.”

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the small Thuringian town of Weimar witnessed a remarkable cultural flowering, attracting many writers and scholars, notably Goethe and Schiller. This development is reflected in the high quality of many of the buildings and of the parks in the surrounding area.

Between 1919 and 1933 the Bauhaus movement revolutionized architectural and aesthetic thinking and practice in the 20th century. The Bauhaus buildings in Weimar, Dessau, and Bernau are fundamental representatives of Classical Modernism, directed towards a radical renewal of architecture and design.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Dresden is back and open for business!

One of the biggest, oldest and most beautiful Christmas markets in the whole of Germany is also in Dresden…Plus there was the unexpected highlight at sunset with birds flocking outside the Opera House.

Wish I had time to check out the inside!

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

This magnificent Baroque palace – one of the largest and most beautiful in Germany and surrounded by wonderful gardens – was created under the patronage of the prince-bishops Lothar Franz and Friedrich Carl von Schönborn. It was built and decorated in the 18th century by an international team of architects, painters (including Tiepolo), sculptors and stucco-workers, led by Balthasar Neumann.

Imperial Grandeur – Even better on a nice sunny day! Though it is very small inside (well the part you can tour anyway)…

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

From the 10th century onwards, this town became an important link with the Slav peoples, especially those of Poland and Pomerania. During its period of greatest prosperity, from the 12th century onwards, the architecture of Bamberg strongly influenced northern German landmarks along with Hungary.

In the late 18th century it was the center of the Enlightenment in southern Germany, with eminent philosophers and writers such as Hegel and Hoffmann living there.

The gorgeous, historical old town of Bamberg – But really I found little to do here but walk around and was done in a few hours. It is a student town so maybe there is more at other times of the year?

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Located on the Danube River in Bavaria, this medieval town contains many buildings of exceptional quality that testify to its history as a trading center and to its influence on the region from the 9th century.

A notable number of historic structures span some two millennia and include ancient Roman, Romanesque and Gothic buildings. Regensburg’s 11th- to 13th-century architecture – including the market, city hall and cathedral – still defines the character of the town marked by tall buildings, dark and narrow lanes, and strong fortifications.

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

The buildings include medieval patrician houses and towers, a large number of churches and monastic ensembles as well as the 12th-century Old Bridge. The town is also remarkable for the vestiges testifying to its rich history as one of the centers of the Holy Roman Empire that turned to Protestantism.

One of the oldest bridges to cross the Danube and the first to be made of stone making it permanent and increasing the town’s prospects greatly!

And then there is the stunning Regensburg Cathedral which is a great place to sit in silence and in awe!

Things To Do In Germany In Winter

Of course, the big thing missing here is Neuschwanstein Castle which I am absolutely guttered I was not able to include in this trip.

No list of German Must See’s would be complete without it! Luckily however a year later I headed back to Germany for Oktoberfest like a local and was able to sneak in a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle from Munich …Its was so worth it!

best things to do in germany in winter | things to do in germany in winter | what to do in germany in winter | things to do in germany in december

Winter in Germany: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

germany winter tour

If you're planning on traveling to Germany in the winter, you're in luck. This can be a cheap time to travel , and you'll find less crowds than in the peak summer season.

On top of that, this is the birthplace of modern Christmas, world-famous skiing, and vast discounts. Expect to see beautiful lights strung up for the holidays, cheerful Christmas markets, cozy snow-covered streets, and more.

Discover the best of Germany in winter.

German Weather in the Winter

Bundle up! German winters are cold , with temperatures often dropping below zero degrees Celsius. Expect snow—sometimes a lot of snow. But German winters can be unpredictable, and you should always be prepared for rain or the special days of blue skies and sunshine.

  • December : Average low 27 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 41 degrees Fahrenheit
  • January : Average low 23 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 40 degrees Fahrenheit
  • February : Average low 25 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 41 degrees Fahrenheit
  • March : Average low 33 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 47 degrees Fahrenheit

What to Pack for Winter in Germany

As notes, weather in Germany can change quickly—often in the course of a day. So be prepared when packing for all conditions, particularly the biting cold common in winter.

Essentials like stylish, non-slip, water-proof, walking shoes are a given. Help them out with a decent pair of socks. Scarves are also commonplace for men and women whenever the weather turns cool. You should also invest in a quality jacket. This doesn't have to be wildly expensive or sporty, but look for something that really seals in the heat. There are few things worse than realizing your jacket isn't up to the German winter. Top with gloves and a hat and you should be ready for most winter days.

It is not uncommon to need an additional layer of protection if you plan a long day of sightseeing outside. In these cases it is worth wearing a thermal layers under your clothes. In a pinch, this can be tights, or you can go full German and buy specific garments to protect your kidneys (seriously).

For outdoor activities like skiing , of course you should be prepared with water-proof ski suit, gloves, and gear. And you can always plan on warming up with some traditional German glühwein (mulled wine).

Winter Events in Germany

Some of the best festivals and events in Germany are in winter.

  • Christmas markets : Christmas markets are a wonderful part of the German holiday tradition and a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. Every German city celebrates the season with at least one Christmas market, usually from the last weekend of November and until Christmas Day. Bigger cities have a plethora of markets to choose from. Try to hit all the best Christmas Markets in Germany from Nuremberg to Munich to Dresden .
  • Winter sports and skiing : Looking for an action-filled vacation? From the Alps to the Black Forest , Germany offers quality winter sports areas. There is downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or snowboarding and it is usually much cheaper in Germany than places like Switzerland and Austria.
  • New Year's Eve : Germans celebrate New Years (or Silvester ) on the eve of December 31. Join the locals in looking for the mustard doughnuts, drinking sekt (champagne), looking for signs in lead, marveling at the many fireworks, and partying way past midnight. If you want to participate, buy your own feuerwerk (fireworks). Before the big night they are on sale at every German supermarket and pop-up stand. If you want to join Germany’s biggest New Year Eve Party, head to Berlin’s open-air party at Brandenburg Gate .
  • Karneval or Fasching:This February holiday is a joyful, silly celebration with a long history in Catholicism. Because of its religious roots, it is only celebrated in some states. In the places where it is a holiday , it is punctuated by street parades, pranks, and costume balls.

Travel Tips for Winter in Germany

  • Airfare and hotel rates tend to go up at the end of November when the markets open to the end of December. The traditional German Christmas Markets draw thousands of visitors from around the world.
  • Silvester in Berlin is a practically raucous time. If you plan to visit during this time, be aware that prices temporarily peak and fireworks are everywhere for about 48 hours.
  • January and February are the most affordable time to visit Germany. There are far fewer crowds as the holiday season is over, but some attractions and accommodations may be closed. The weather is also at its most brutal. .

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Germany Winter Adventure Tours 2024/2025

2 superb winter adventure trips in Germany. Planning to go on a winter adventure trip in Germany? Check out 2 great winter adventure trips in Germany supported by 10 reviews. All winter adventure trips are delivered by 2 tour operators in Germany. Prices range from 1,740 USD to 2,650 USD and our winter adventure trips last from 8 days and to 11 days.

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2 Winter adventure tours with 10 Reviews

German Christmas Markets Tour

  • Starts Frankfurt, Germany
  • Ends Berlin, Germany

German Christmas Markets

  • Best price guaranteed
  • No booking fees
  • Tour Type Group Tour
  • Activities Winter adventure & Christmas markets
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Transport Coach
  • Age Range 5-99 yrs
  • Operated in English
  • Nov 29 Only 10 seats left
  • Dec 03 Only 6 seats left
  • View More Jan 1, 2019 Jan 2, 2019 Jan 3, 2019

Eastern Highlights Christmas & New Year Tour

  • Starts Munich, Germany
  • Ends Munich, Germany

Eastern Highlights Christmas & New Year

  • Age Range 10-99 yrs
  • Brochure Price: US$ 1,920
  • Special Deal (9%): - US$ 180
  • Total Price from: US$ 1,740
  • Dec 23 Only 3 seats left

Germany Winter adventure Reviews

  • At 05 Jan 2019
  • At 10 Jan 2019
  • At 12 Jan 2020

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TheMunichGuide

Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter

Everything you need to know about visiting neuschwanstein castle in winter.

So, you are planning to visit Germany between December and March. And now you are wondering about visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter. Is it worth it? How does it look like? Anything important you need to know?

Schloss Neuschwanstein is certainly one of the best day trips from Munich . But about when it snow? In this travel guide, I will show you exactly what visiting the famous fairy tale castle built by King Ludwig II. feels like in winter .

Neuschwanstein castle in winter - only a short day trip from Munich away

I wrote a separate article on how to get to Neuschwanstein Castle , so the focus in this article is solely on special things you need to know when visiting in winter.

If you are still looking for the best Neuschwanstein Castle tours, then either book this tour to Neuschwanstein castle (I tested it again recently and it’s still very well organized & good) or the luxury version of the same tour company (mainly much bigger seats, free snacks, and drinks).

Note: I earn a small commission for purchases made through links in this article

Schloss Neuschwanstein in winter – what you need to know

Neuschwanstein castle in winter near the marienbrücke

First, let’s talk about the weather a bit. Neuschwanstein Castle is located right at the foot of a mountain in the middle of the German Alps. It’s a bit colder here than in the rest of the country and snow can occur between October and April, though usually winter is limited to January, February, and March . In some year’s we’ve had snow until April and in 2020 there were altogether only 2 days with snow so far. Winters have been getting much warmer in the past couple of years.

Hohenschwangau and Alpsee panorama

The castle that inspired Disney’s Sleeping beauty castle is also Bavaria’s most visited tourist attraction. Winter is the low season and typically speaking, you’ll only experience a tenth (and even less) of the crowds than in July or August. So visiting Neuschwanstein castle in winter really has some welcome positive sides. You won’t have it all by yourself, but you won’t have to fight to take a picture either.

In summer, the tickets to go inside frequently sell out early in the morning , and in winter, you usually don’t have this problem at all. December, when a lot of tourists come to visit Germany’s famous Christmas markets, things are considerably busier, but still, nothing compared to summer.

The path to Neuschwanstein Castle in winter

Now, if you take a closer look at a picture of the iconic castle, then you will soon notice it is located on a hill. You can either walk, take a shuttle bus or a horse carriage to get there. No matter what you decide for, you’ll have to walk the last 500 meters. Now, here’s the problem – in winter the road can be quite slippery , so maybe leave your flip flops at home and bring some proper winter shoes.

Taking the horse carriage up to Neuschwanstein castle

The regular shuttle buses, however, don’t operate in winter . If walking is a bit of a problem, you have to take the horse carriage (4,50€ up). Bring cash. Also, don’t forget to wear warm clothes . It can get very chilly in Bavaria in winter and the hike up is mostly in the shadows where it is usually a couple of degrees colder yet.

Other than that, the business continues as regular in winter . There are still daily tours to Neuschwanstein Castle from the central station ( book this tour , I tested it personally and can really recommend it) and all the shops and hotels operate normally.

Neuschwanstein castle and marienbrücke in winter

With one very important exception : The famous Marienbrücke (Bridge of our lady) is by far the best photo spot where all the pictures the classic panorama of the castle were taken. This bridge is closed in winter – at least as long as there is snow and ice because it is too dangerous . You check this website for daily information .

One of the best view points of Neuschwanstein Castle in winter

You should also know that the sun is playing a bit of Hide-and-Seek in December and January. It simply doesn’t reach that high and is frequently hidden behind the Tegelberg mountain. So, things will look a bit more gloomy . The only times when the sun hits the castle is actually early morning (around 10 am) and in the afternoon (after around 2:30 pm). In February the problem is less pronounced, which makes March the best month to experience the winter in Neuschwanstein Castle. Here is a list of the best photography spots in Neuschwanstein Castle and how to get there.

View of Neuschwanstein Castle from the first viewing platform

The earlier you are at the castle the better. Most tours arrive around noon, which is already less than ideal, but with a little bit of photoshop magic, you can make things happen (see picture above).

Now, admittedly I included some stunning pictures of a snow-dusted castle on this website. But I want to stress the fact that it doesn’t look like that every day in winter. In fact, there are maybe 3 days per winter where it looks like that – the rest it is either foggy, snowing, dull and grey or even raining.

Close-up of Neuschwanstein Castle in winter

I have the luxury to look at the weather forecast and time my visit just right. BUT if you are staying for a couple of days in Munich ( here is a 3-day itinerary for Munich ) you can at least try to time your visit for the day with the best weather.

So, Is it worth visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter?

Personally speaking, winter is my favorite time to visit the castle . No big crowds, it is easy to buy tickets, hotels are much cheaper, and there is the chance to see that magical moment when fresh snow reflects the sunshine. Of course, you can have bad luck, but Neuschwanstein Castle is so beautiful, it will even be amazing on the most dreary day in April. Besides, it will look the same inside no matter the weather .

I also love the train ride in winter. Those last couple of kilometers close before Füssen is nothing short of magical. Here is a post on how to get to Neuschwanstein Castle by train . Taking the train will be cheaper, while a tour will grant you the luxury of visiting Linderhof palace as well.

Either way, hope I was able to show you a bit how visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter is like. Feel free to ask me your questions below!

Visiting Neuschwanstein Castle in winter. A detailed travel guide to the best day trip from Munich. Everything you need to know in case you plan to visit Neuschwanstein Castle in December, January, February or March.

4 thoughts on “Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter”

Hi, thank you for this good information. I have a question about visiting this winter (end of Dec or start of Jan): I have heard from other sources and from you that the train ride is a beautiful way to go to Neuschwanstein. But you have also recommended taking a tour pretty strongly. But it seems most of the tours go by bus… is there a way to have both the train ride and be able to be taken to one of the other castles or churches nearby? Thank you.

I recommend it because it’s faster, easier, more versatile and cheaper. I am not aware of any guided train tours.

Hi, I have seen your blog and the details are very informative and is helping me to plan my trip. So in first week of Jan24, I want to do a day trip to NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE. I am planning to take the 8:30 bus ( Flixbus) and then while returning I will take the train as I do not want to wait till 5:00 pm. Could you please let me know if I can get the horse carriage from the place where I get down from the bus? Also how far is the train station from the castle and how to reach the station from the castle. Many Thanks, Joy

you need to take a bus to and from the train station. It’s way too far to walk. A horse carriage is just fun but won’t really get you anywhere meaningful.

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germany winter tour

Eight spring excursions in Germany on which you can say goodbye to winter

2024-01-30T04:19:19.795Z

Highlights: Eight spring excursions in Germany on which you can say goodbye to winter. The crocus blossom festival in Husum on the North Sea is one of the most beautiful in Northern Europe. Bonn is particularly known for its impressive cherry trees, but Heerstrasse still impresses with its Japanese flair in pink most of the time in mid-April. The Almond Blossom Festival takes place in the small Palat wine village of Gimmeldingen every spring when 1,500 almond trees bloom.

germany winter tour

As of: January 30, 2024, 5:10 a.m

By: Luis Teschner

They are unique in Northern Europe: the blooming crocuses in Husum.

© Frank Molter/dpa

There is probably nothing more beautiful than a sea of ​​flowers in spring.

That's why we've put together eight wonderful spring excursions in Germany for you.

Once the snow has melted, it won't be long before the first flowers venture into the still cool spring air.

It almost doesn't matter whether it's almond, cherry or crocus, because they're all beautiful.

The main thing is that you take some time and go out into nature.

But where is the best place?

Come on a journey through Germany from north to south, from the North Sea coast to Lake Constance.

The crocus blossom festival in Husum on the North Sea

On March 16th and 17th, the city of Husum in Schleswig-Holstein celebrates the annual Crocus Blossom Festival.

Then Husum Castle Park shines in the purple splendor of 4 million crocuses.

This is the largest population of the actually southern European plant in northern Europe.

Visitors can also expect an arts and crafts market, Sunday shopping and the coronation of the new crocus majesty.

Even more tips for day trips in Germany: Ten of the most beautiful German small towns.

An endless number of fruit trees in Werder (Havel)

A little further south in Brandenburg is the resort town of Werder (Havel).

Werder has been celebrating the tree blossom festival since 1879, this year from April 27th to May 5th.

Because of the favorable climate and the quick connection to Berlin, Werder established itself as an ideal location for fruit growing in the 19th century.

While everything here is covered with fruit in summer and autumn, the fruit trees impress with their blossoms in spring.

And if you would like to get to know Werder in more detail, you can find out everything about fruit growing in the region on the Werderobst Panorama Trail.

The Spargelstrasse in North Rhine-Westphalia

If you prefer something hearty, you should head to the Spargelstraße in North Rhine-Westphalia.

140 asparagus farms have joined forces and offer asparagus fans a culinary experience.

The asparagus season starts around mid-April and traditionally lasts until June 24th.

Seven years after bankruptcy: Is the German airline Air Berlin returning?read

You don't buy the best flight tickets on comparison portals

Fancy a day trip?

Ten picturesque villages in Germany read

Ten romantic destinations for Valentine's Day in Germany read

Breathtaking views: winter hike to Berggasthof Neureuthlesen

Ex-flight attendant reveals what behaviors passengers should avoidread

Many asparagus farms organize farm festivals and open days for interested visitors.

Here we will also tell you which is healthier: green or white asparagus?

Of course, there isn't just asparagus on the Asparagus Route.

The region attracts with moated castles, lakes and forests.

The cherry blossoms in Bonn

Cherries also bloom elsewhere - but Bonn is particularly known for its impressive cherry trees.

Numerous Japanese flowering cherries were planted in the old town of the former federal capital in 1980 and now impress visitors.

There is no longer an official cherry blossom festival due to complaints from residents, but Heerstrasse still impresses with its Japanese flair in pink most of the time in mid-April.

You don't want to miss any news and tips about vacation and travel?

Then sign up for the travel newsletter from our partner Merkur.de.

The flower path in the Odenwald

You can walk the flower path in the Odenwald all year round.

But it particularly lives up to its name in spring.

It runs almost 80 kilometers from Darmstadt to Heidelberg through small towns and flowery meadows.

The gardens in particular bloom particularly beautifully in spring.

Not far away is the Burgensteig for those who want to hike a little higher in altitude than on the more relaxed Blossom Trail.

The blooming almonds in Gimmeldingen

Southwest Germany is the warmest region in Germany.

That's why the almond blooms most beautifully here in spring.

The unofficial center of the almond blossom is the small Palatinate wine village of Gimmeldingen.

The Almond Blossom Festival takes place here every spring, when 1,500 almond trees bathe the village in pink.

Here, too, there is an opportunity for visitors to enjoy the almond blossom even more: the almond path through the Palatinate.

It runs 100 kilometers along the wine route and invites you to linger longer in the region.

Two walkers during the almond tree blossom in Gimmeldingen.

© Uwe Anspach/dpa

A spring tour through the Murnauer Moos

Central Europe's largest moorland does not impress with seas of flowers or a spring festival.

Instead, a day in the middle of nature awaits visitors here on the northern edge of the Bavarian Alps.

This is particularly worthwhile in spring, when you can watch the plants and animals awaken from their hibernation and start the new year.

The Murnauer Moos can be explored on various paths, always with the panorama of the Alps in the distance.

And best of all: you can easily reach the Murnauer Moos as a day trip from Munich.

For winter fans: 8 hut hiking highlights as a PDF to download

Eight great tours are waiting for you in our PDF library.

Once you have successfully registered, download the excursion tips for free HERE and let yourself be inspired by the hut tips.

Mainau, the “flower island in Lake Constance”

We have now reached the very south on our spring trip through Germany.

The Lake Constance island of Mainau has a particularly mild climate, which is why plants grow here that are difficult to find in the rest of Germany.

That’s why Mainau is also called the “flower island in Lake Constance”.

The tulips bloom in spring on Mainauer Frühlingsstrasse.

© imago/bodenseebilder.de

A visit is worth it all year round, but especially in spring.

Then daffodils, tulips, ornamental cherries, hyacinths and imperial crowns bloom and immerse the island in a colorful sea of ​​flowers.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2024-01-30

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germany winter tour

Gangwon 2024: Shimada Mao and France celebrate figure skating golds, Germany dominate men's cross-country skiing - Day 11 Winter Youth Olympic Games top moments

On Tuesday 30 January the action at the Gangwon 2024 Winter YOG in Republic of Korea featured four medal events. Find below the key medallists and how to watch replays of the action on Olympics.com and the official Olympics app.

The medallists of the ice dancing competition at Gangwon 2024

Finland claimed the opening gold of day 11 at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024, on Tuesday (30 January).

Nelli-Lotta Karppelin topped the podium in the women's 7.5km classic in cross-country skiing, finishing ahead of France's Agathe Margreithe and Annette Coupat, who took silver and bronze, respectively.

Jakob Moch led a German 1-2 in the men's event ahead of teammate Jonas Mueller, adding a gold to the he won earlier in the sprint.

In figure skating, Japan’s Shimada Mao secured the women's singles title holding off Republic of Korea's Shin Jia in the free skate, while Shimada's compatriot Takagi Yo completed the podium.

The leaders after the rhythm dance, Ambre Perrier Gianesini / Samuel Blanc Klaperman , posted the highest score in the free dance as well to give France the ice dance title. USA's Olivia Ilin / Dylan Cain took silver, while bronze went to the GB pair Ashlie Slatter and Atl Ongay-Perez.

In ice hockey Czechia and Sweded booked a place in the men's and women's gold medal final, respectively.

Replays and highlights are on Olympics.com and the official Olympics app.

  • Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024 preview: Full schedule and how to watch live
  • Gangwon 2024: Schedule and results
  • Gangwon 2024: Medal table

Gangwon 2024 | Winter Youth Olympic Games

Medals on day 11 of Gangwon 2024 - Tuesday, 30 January 2024

Tuesday, 30 january, cross-country skiing.

Women’s 7.5km classic 🥇 Nelli-Lotta Karppelin (FIN) 🥈 Agathe Margreither (SWE) 🥉 Annette Coupat (FRA)

Men’s 7.5km classic 🥇 Jakob Elias Moch (GER) 🥈 Jonas Mueller (GER) 🥉 Quentin Lespine (FRA)

Figure skating

Ice dancing 🥇 Ambre Perrier Gianesini/Samuel Blanc Klaperman (FRA) 🥈 Olivia Ilin/Dylan Cain (USA) 🥉 Ashlie Slatter/Atl Ongay-Perez (GBR)

Women’s singles free skating 🥇 Shimada Mao (JPN) 🥈 Shin Jia (KOR) 🥉 Takagi Yo (JPN)

You can check the full results from the day here .

Gangwon 2024 Venue Tour | Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024

Winter youth olympic games gangwon 2024 - how to watch.

The Winter Youth Olympic Games is being broadcast live on Olympic Channel, with streaming available for free and without subscription via Olympics.com and the official Olympics app. Full session replays, highlights, and the best of the reaction will also be available on-demand.

On the Gangwon 2024 event website , you also find the latest news, interviews, official schedule, detailed results, and medals tables.

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Gangwon 2024: Chinese skaters conclude dominant short track display with relay gold; Italy medal rush continues - Day 5 Winter Youth Olympic Games top moments

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Two flagbearers rattle nerves with last-run drama during women's slopestyle competitions at Gangwon 2024

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Figure skating at Gangwon 2024 Youth Olympic Games: Preview, full schedule, and how to watch live YOG action

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  • January 31, 2024   •   25:06 Is the Future of Medicine Hidden in Ancient DNA?
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Trump’s Voters vs. Haley’s Donors

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On today’s episode

germany winter tour

Astead W. Herndon , a political correspondent and host of The Run-Up for The New York Times.

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IMAGES

  1. Frozen Wanderlust: Best Things To Do In Germany In Winter!

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  2. 14 Best Places to Visit in Germany in Winter

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  1. Germany Winter Tours

    From 3,650 View Tour Christmas Markets of Germany (Small Group) 8 Days Berlin to Munich Operated By: Insight Vacations Departure: 01 December 2024 Trip Styles: Coach, Small Group, Festive, Winter, Scenic, Christmas Markets Countries Visited: Germany

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    14 Best Places to Visit in Germany in Winter Written by Diana Bocco Updated Sep 16, 2022 We may earn a commission from affiliate links ( ) Germany is a wonderland of mountains, castles, and ancient cities that will awe you at any time of the year.

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  4. The 15 Best Places to Visit in Germany During the Winter

    The 15 Best Places to Visit in Germany During the Winter Germany is a magical country to visit any time of year with its grand castles, medieval towns, and towering mountains - but there's something about a coat of snow that makes it seem that much more like a fairytale.

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    Munich, Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna. Average Guest Rating 4.9 / 5. A fabulous winter holiday itinerary covering Germany and Austria's mountainous parts is ideal for active travelers, culture-seekers, and fans of Christmas Markets. A compilation of gateway cities of the Alps and charming towns nestled within dramatic ...

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    Germany in winter is a magical icy wonderland with cities coated in snow and mountain ranges just begging to be explored. The rugged natural landscapes that in summer are perfect for hiking, are transformed into picture-perfect icescapes and an adrenaline junkie's dream.

  7. The Best Places To Go, Germany In Winter

    Aachen during the winter, hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in the country. The city of Aachen in northwest Germany is one of our favourite places to visit in Germany during the winter. Also known as the Spa of Kings, Aachen is a mecca for spa lovers and relaxation is the order of the day at Aachen's most popular spa, the ...

  8. A Visit to Munich in winter: Guide for Cold Days

    Munich is one of Germany's top travel destinations - even in winter! The Bavarian capital has numerous museums, great excursion destinations, many indoor attractions and winter leisure activities to offer. Whether in 4 or 24 hours, over a long weekend or a whole week, there is always something to discover in Munich.

  9. 13 Tips to Brighten up your Winter in Germany

    Husky tours are offered in several parts of Germany, for example in the Rhön, the Black Forest, Lower Saxony or the Harz Mountains. GPS Scavenger Hunt. Hamburg: Urban ice channel in snowy Hamburg Eimsbüttel ©Adobe Stock (Carl-Jürgen Bautsch) Is winter not suitable for a city tour? Far from it. You can really work up a sweat on an Outdoor Rally.

  10. 5 Great Ways to Experience Germany in Winter

    Germany is especially charming in winter. Learn about skating on frozen canals, hiking through fairytale forests, ice-wine tasting and crowd-free skiing. ... around the Überskopf peak, to a longer 5mi (8km) panoramic snowshoe tour around the village of Breitnau, or a 4mi (6.4km) sightseeing loop to visit charming mountain huts around ...

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    10% Off Duration 10 days Price per day $178 From $1,973 US$1,776 You save $197 View tour Download Brochure View Map Explorer Coach / Bus German Christmas Markets (7 Days) Destinations Frankfurt-am-Main +8 more Age Range

  12. The Most Beautiful Destinations to Visit in Germany This Winter

    Zugspitze Zugspitze peak | © By NavinTar/Shutterstock South of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in Bavaria, and surrounded by lesser peaks, Zugspitze is - at 2,962m (9,718ft) - Germany's highest mountain.

  13. 15 Magical Reasons to Visit Germany in the Winter

    2) Christmas Markets They're so much fun! I didn't know how I'd feel about Christmas markets, because I'm usually team Grinch, but they turned out to be really festive, fun, and quite delicious as well. What I love the most about the Christmas markets in Germany is how well the traditions are kept alive.

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    2024 Dreaming of how to pack Europe's top travel thrills and cultural treats into a two-week vacation? You've found it! On this tour through Europe, your Rick Steves guide will surround you with ... Read more $4,495 to $4,895 + Air My Way® Alpine Europe in 12 Days 2024

  15. 16 Best Places to Visit in Germany in Winter in 2023

    10. Zugspitze in Winter 11. Fussen and Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter 12.

  16. Winter in Germany: what to expect and where to go

    4. Zugspitze. For a snow vacation in Germany, there's hardly a better place than the Zugspitze - a German ski resort with over 12 snow-sure miles of slopes. This means plenty of fresh snow and winter sun at the heights. There are also numerous ski schools and slopes for young skiers, as well as several toboggan runs.

  17. 5 Reasons to Visit Winter Germany

    5 Reasons to Visit Winter Germany To make your German travel experience even more wholesome and diverse we prepared a list with top answers to the question "Why go to Germany in Winter?" Christmas Markets: the Epitome of Magic Christmas markets in Germany are simply the best in the world.

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    Best price guaranteed No booking fees " My tour covered the whole of Germany in a week , beautiful country! Very worth it " Tour Type Group Tour Activities Explorer Accommodation Hotel

  19. Places to Explore in Germany this Winter Season

    The Zugspitze Mountains, the highest in Germany and sparkling white on a chilly winter day, must be visited for the ideal winter break in Germany. Zugspitze's stunning surroundings, as well as the variety of activities and adventures it offers, appeal to all adventure seekers and winter travellers. In actuality, winter is the busiest travel ...

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    Berlin Berlin's incredible Museum Island - Five world-renowned museums on an island in River Spree, right in the middle of Berlin! Top of the list for things to do in Germany in winter when the tourists are gone! One of the few remaining sections of the Berlin Wall …

  21. Winter in Germany: Weather, What to Pack, and What to See

    December: Average low 27 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 41 degrees Fahrenheit January: Average low 23 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 40 degrees Fahrenheit February: Average low 25 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 41 degrees Fahrenheit March: Average low 33 degrees Fahrenheit, average high 47 degrees Fahrenheit What to Pack for Winter in Germany

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    2 superb winter adventure trips in Germany. Planning to go on a winter adventure tour in Germany? Check out 2 great winter adventure trips in Germany supported by 10 reviews. All winter adventure trips are delivered by 2 tour operators in Germany. Prices range from 1,653 USD to 2,517 USD and our winter adventure trips last from 8 days and to 11 ...

  23. Neuschwanstein Castle in Winter

    Neuschwanstein Castle in winter . First, let's talk about the weather a bit. Neuschwanstein Castle is located right at the foot of a mountain in the middle of the German Alps. It's a bit colder here than in the rest of the country and snow can occur between October and April, though usually winter is limited to January, February, and March ...

  24. Eight spring excursions in Germany on which you can say goodbye to winter

    1/29/2024, 8:19:19 PM. Highlights: Eight spring excursions in Germany on which you can say goodbye to winter. The crocus blossom festival in Husum on the North Sea is one of the most beautiful in Northern Europe. Bonn is particularly known for its impressive cherry trees, but Heerstrasse still impresses with its Japanese flair in pink most of ...

  25. Winter Youth Olympic Games Gangwon 2024

    Finland claimed the opening gold of day 11 at the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024, on Tuesday (30 January).. Nelli-Lotta Karppelin topped the podium in the women's 7.5km classic in cross-country skiing, finishing ahead of France's Agathe Margreithe and Annette Coupat, who took silver and bronze, respectively.. Jakob Moch led a German 1-2 in the men's event ahead of teammate Jonas ...

  26. Trump's Voters vs. Haley's Donors

    A class war is playing out inside the Republican Party. Jan. 30, 2024. 16. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Featuring Astead W. Herndon. Produced by Caitlin O'Keefe and Mary Wilson. With Asthaa ...