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Cheap ski holidays Germany: Snow up your life!

Germany is often underestimated as a winter sports destination. And yet the ski areas give a big variety. The Alpine region nestled in southern Germany of course offers a wide range of ski areas, much to the delight of winter sports fans everywhere. Familial, little ski areas can be found in the Harz, the Black Forest, the Thurungian Forest and even in the North Rhine-Westphalian Sauerland.

Where to go skiing in Germany?

If you ask winter sports fans where you could possibly go skiing in Germany, many will find one destination immediately coming to mind: Zugspitze. The highest mountain in Germany, with an altitude of 2,962 m, is located in southern Germany and makes up a part of the natural border to Austria. Being the highest ski area in Germany helps make it a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding in Germany. The altitude of the resort lies at 2,720 m and therefore, great snow can be found here up until May. Zugspitze is accessible from Grainau, Garmisch-Partenkrichen, a city that is not only a nice place for ski holidays but also has a great winter sports centre: the Four Hills Tournament of ski jumping as well as the the FIS Ski World Cups are held there annually along with many different winter sports events. That being said, the Zugspitze isn’t the only destination worth seeing in the Bavarian Alps. The Allgäu or Fellhorn-Kanzelwand-Grenzgebiet offers lovely ski areas as well. For example, Oberstdorf, located in the Allgäu, is world-famous for being the first stop of the annual Four Hills Tournament and is the second venue next to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. Oberstdorf offers 128 km of piste, which reaches all the way to the Little Walser Valley in Austria. It is also one of the largest ski areas in Germany.

Another attractive region is Berchtesgadener Land, comprising of six lovely ski areas that lay in front of the majestic Watzmann Mountain. The Watzmann rises up to 2,713 m altitude and is the third-highest mountain in Germany – right after the Zugspitze and the Hochwanner. Far away from the Alps, a few more ski areas can be found as well. You won’t believe it at first, but there are 600 ski areas in total in Germany! However, some of them are quite small, with some having just one or two lifts and few slopes. On the other hand, there are also larger ski areas which offer diverse skiing and snowboarding pistes. The Bohemian Forest, for example, is not only the biggest forest in Germany and a very popular holiday destination, but it is also a spacious, low-lying mountain range and the home of a handful of lovely ski areas. The forest is a great region spend your ski holiday, especially for families.

A popular destination and the highest mountain in the Bohemian Forest is the Big Arber (1,456 m), where you can ski at least ten km of piste. Families with kids love the Arbär-Kinderland there, a special children’s area where little ones can test out their skills. The Bohemian Forest extends until Czech Republic, where it is called “Sumava,” and is a popular holiday destination. Another well-known holiday destination is the Black Forest. The ski areas here might not as popular as the forest they’re found in, but are still a great alternative to the German Alps. The Feldberg ski area also offers pleasant skiing and snowboarding with 63 km of piste and a large snow kite area on top of the mountain. It’s probably difficult to imagine that skiing is also possible in eastern Germany, in the Ore Mountains and in western Germany in the Sauerland. Winterberg, however, offers 27.5 km of piste and is a popular daytrip-destination for people living in western Germany who are simply too far away from the Alps.

Why book ski holidays in Germany?

What’s great about Germany’s winter sports region is its diversity. Where the altitude and surface area tend to make for smaller ski areas, the sports programme proves to be much larger. The terrain is in most places quite wide and fairly level, so that a few cross-country centres, for example, have been able to take root and provide an extensive cross-country network throughout the area. Nordic sports has developed into a booming trend like never before, especially in the states of Thüringen and Saxony. Along with it comes the unique culture and natural landscapes, of which makes Germany a truly interesting holiday destination for nature-lovers and those seeking a bit of rest and relaxation. Those who prefer a laid back holiday surrounded by a snowy winter wonderland with access to several non-ski related activities will feel right at home in the German Mittelgebirge (a low-lying mountain range).

What is so special about ski holidays in Germany?

A diverse leisure programme, smooth pistes, and manageable ski areas with blue pistes - German ski areas are the ideal winter sports destinations for families with small children. The little areas are quite navigable and offer excellent child care services. However, beginners and intermediates of all ages will also find German ski areas to be the perfect fit. The somewhat larger ski areas also provide some fun slopes, timed runs and sizeable snow parks, so the youth and adrenaline junkies will definitely get their money’s worth. In the Mittelgebirge, between 900 and 1,600 m, many of the pistes lie below the tree line, so that winter sports fans will find many romantic, wintry forests along the runs.

How long is it possible to ski in Germany?

Due to the low altitude in the Germany’s Mittelgebirge, there is enough snow to have the main season run from December to March. Areas that typically receive quite a bit of snow include the Ore Mountains and the Black Forest, as well as some parts of the Allgäu and areas along the edge of the Alps like Berchtesgadener Land and the Zugspitze region. The longest ski season in Germany can be found in the Zugspitze region thanks to its altitude ranging between 2,000 - 2,720 m. The ski area is normally open from December to the beginning of May. The sun tends to shine higher up, while the valley and the lower-lying ski areas disappear underneath the clouds.

Regions Germany

Bavarian Alps

Bavarian Alps

Upper Bavaria's white-blue skies stretches over the entire range of what winter sports fans may dream of. Germany's highest located ski area, the Zugspitze, provides miraculous views of the breathtaking winter landscape in the German Alps. Pros will speed down the World Cup run Kandaha in Garmisch and after skiing you can enjoy the hearty local cuisine. The Allgäu offers the perfect combination of sports, relaxation and spa. With the largest ski arena in Germany, the Fellhorn-Karwendel area, this is a superlative winter holiday area.

Bavarian Forest

Bavarian Forest

The Bavarian Forest is central Europe's largest forest with 6,000 km² of wooded area. In 1970 the national park Bavarian Forest was created which, together with the Bohemian Forest, forms the largest coherent forestal nature reserve in central Europe with a total span of 900 km². Besides of the Alpine region, this region is also known for its affinity to winter sports. Especially families will find exactly what they are looking for here. Those who prefer not to explore the Bavarian Forest on skis, can also go on a romantic horse-drawn sleigh ride. The lovely castles and monasteries of the Bavarian Forest are definitively worth while a visit. Numerous restaurant and quaint huts, which offer regional as well as international culinary highlights, should be on your list of to-do's as well.

Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg

Baden-Württemberg is especially known for its wonderfully diverse landscapes of the Black Forest, stretching from the Swabian Alb right down to Lake Constance. With regards to winter sports, the area is specially geared to families. Perfectly prepared pistes and modern lifts dominate the mostly smaller ski areas. The centre of it all is of course Baden-Württemberg's highest mountain, the Feldberg (1,493 m), which has a number of smaller ski areas grouped around its flanks. The Swabian Alb also offers great family-friendly ski areas with some diverse offers away from the pistes.

Harz

Harz

The Harz is the most Northern Mittelgebirge (low mountain range) in Germany. Even though the region cannot score with the highest mountain tops, there are, nevertheless, several small ski areas, which are great for beginners due to their gentle hillsides. However, not only Alpine skiers get their money's worth in the most popular areas at the Bocksberg, Wurmberg, Matthias-Schmidt-Berg, and Sonnenberg, but also those who like to do cross-country skiing as the Harz is known for its well-kept tracks. The biggest ski area lies at the highest mountain in Lower Saxony, the Wurmberg (971 m).

Saxony

Saxony

Saxony is a holiday state. With cities like Dresden, Leipzig and Chemnitz, its landscape dotted with castles and a rich music and theatre scene, Saxony has a lot to offer. But it hasn't only established itself as a destination for culture fans but also for winter sport lovers. The Erz Mountains and the Vogtland have ski areas with guaranteed snow, which are especially popular with families due to their vast offers of winter sports activities. The Fichtel Mountain near Oberwiesenthal is the centre of Saxon winter sports and at the same time the largest ski area. The only interconnected ski area of Saxony is the Ski World Schöneck, which is also a certified family ski area. A variety of smaller ski areas are suitable most of all for beginners.

Hochsauerland

Hochsauerland

The Sauerland, situated in south-eastern North Rhine-Westphalia, is surrounded by the lower Hesse mountains, the upper Sauerland mountain brim, the Wittgensteiner Land, the Siegerland as well as the Bergische Land. Also known as the "land of a thousand trees", the highest mountains in the Sauerland contribute significantly to Germany's winter sports regions. No matter if it is the toboggan or bob run on the Winterberg or the Mühlenkopf ski jump in Willingen, this unique atmosphere is something you shouldn't miss!

Thuringia

Thuringia

The ski areas in Thuringia are especially popular, due to their central location almost in the heart of Germany. The best-known holiday region, the Thuringian Forest, is also the centre of winter sports in this federal state. The beautiful mountains entice both Alpine and Nordic ski fans, and also the snowboarders will feel welcome here. The ski area offers the steepest piste in Thuringia, with a 55 - 80% incline. Hotspot for Alpine and Nordic skiers alike, is the spa resort Oberhof - and should the weather not be the best for outdoor activities, you can move your skiing adventure indoors to the ski hall. A further superlative for you: the small resort Heubach offers one of the largest funparks in Germany.

Resorts Germany

Map enlarge

Resort (region) Pistes Ski area altitude
fromup to
Lift pass Nights from
1 km 750 - 905 m 3-5 127
10 km 500 - 1,838 m coming soon
63 km 850 - 1,493 m coming soon
32 km 1,130 - 1,560 m 3-10 149
60 km 630 - 1,800 m 2-7 109
11 km 892 - 1,145 m coming soon
2 km 750 - 955 m 1-10 49
4.1 km 560 - 726 m coming soon
1.5 km 920 - 960 m 2-10 100
2.2 km 720 - 900 m 2-10 81
60 km 732 - 2,720 m 2-7 199
4.1 km 560 - 726 m coming soon
60 km 732 - 2,720 m 3-5 174
20 km 933 - 1,338 m 3-7 139
63 km 850 - 1,493 m 2-7 146
6 km 657 - 1,050 m coming soon
2.5 km 710 - 1,417 m 2-10 35
10 km 1,050 - 1,456 m 3-7 119
26 km 888 - 1,448 m 3-7 129
4 km 930 - 1,250 m 3-5 129
128 km 826 - 2,224 m 4-8 249
20 km 933 - 1,337 m 2-7 89
280 km 620 - 1,957 m 5-7 439
53 km 750 - 1,708 m 3-4 179
128 km 826 - 2,224 m 7 689
33 km 763 - 1,244 m 3-7 183
60 km 630 - 1,800 m 7 359
60 km 630 - 1,800 m 5-7 189
2.5 km 620 - 760 m 2-7 39
2 km 720 - 840 m 3-7 159
2.2 km 720 - 900 m 3-10 127
12 km 565 - 971 m 2-10 69
63 km 850 - 1,493 m 3-7 229
26 km 888 - 1,448 m 2 109
12.5 km 720 - 1,048 m 5-7 47
16 km 580 - 838 m 2-10 89
27.5 km 630 - 820 m 2-7 99
0.8 km 555 - 620 m 2-7 119