1. Zugspitze Mountain, 2. Cologne, 3. Berlin, 4. Baden-Baden, 5. Mosel Valley, 6. Hamburg, 7. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, 8. Neuschwanstein Castle, 9. Partnach Gorge, 10. Dresden. Every season of the year will leave you in awe of Germany's mountains, castles, and historic cities. But when you go in the winter, the picturesque landscapes covered in snow seem a little bit more magical and alive. There are many stunning locations in Germany to visit in the winter, whether you're going to the historic city of Berlin or the vast Black Forest. Check out the list of the best place to visit in Germany in winter below!
- Zugspitze Mountain
- Mosel Valley
- Neuschwanstein Castle
- Partnach Gorge
The highest peak in Germany is home to the best ski resort in the nation. At a little less than 3,000 meters above sea level, Zugspitze is home to three glaciers. The mighty mountain is primarily renowned for its slopes, but it also draws mountaineers and climbers. There are numerous hiking and snowshoeing trails at Zugspitze’s base.
Sports fans can reach the winter sports area by way of three cable cars and the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway, which is the third-highest railway in Europe. The 20 kilometers of slopes here are open and available for use for six months of the year for skiers and snowboarders. There are toboggan runs accessible as well. The Zugspitz Plateau, which is 2,600 meters high and known for its sunny winters, and many of the pistes are far above the clouds, making this a perfect destination for thrill-seekers as late as April. It makes sense why it’s one of the top ski areas in Europe.
Cologne, the biggest city in North Rhine-Westphalia, has a lot to offer all year long. Even though the city is warmer in winter than much of Germany, there is still some snow.
Visit the Claudius Therme thermal bath on those cold January days to warm yourself in the outdoor pools and saunas while the sky is becoming darker. With celebrations and parades filling the streets for days, Cologne’s carnival in February is one of the largest in the nation. Germany is home to some of the most beautiful Christmas markets in all of Europe, with Cologne being a standout. Right in front of the 157-meter-tall Gothic tower of the Cologne Cathedral is the largest Christmas market in the city. Here, more than 150 wooden pavilions offer a variety of goods for sale, including gingerbread cookies, lebkuchen holiday cards, traditional wooden toys, and quirky Tassen tableware.
Berlin’s chilly, snowy winters are ideal for indoor activities, but if you visit in December, you must also check out the Christmas markets. Glassblowers, craftsmen, carousels, and warm gingerbread combine to make for an incredible holiday experience at Potsdamer Platz’s Winterworld, the historic Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market, and the Domäne Dahlem Advent market (placed at a former manor).
The enchanting spa town of Baden-Baden is located close to the French border, next to the magical Black Forest. Although the area is fantastic in any season, winter elevates its allure. In just a few minutes from Baden-Baden, snow turns the Black Forest into a winter fairy tale, offering chances for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the many well-maintained trails.
Ride the historic Merkurbergbahn (cable car) up Merkur Mountain to see breathtaking views and explore the numerous winter hiking routes. Alternately, climb up to the castle ruins of Schloss Hohenbaden, which stand above the hills just above the town. There are many Christmas markets to visit in December in the city. You can meander around Lichtentaler Allee Park before reserving a seat at one of the small cafés nearby for some traditional chocolate truffles. Alternately, explore the late-Gothic Stiftskirche church before seeing the magnificent collection of modernist and expressionist artwork at the Museum Frieder Burda. Baden-Baden is a spa town with a lot to offer as well. Take a hot bath in the Caracalla Spa in the winter, visit Friedrichsbad’s Roman baths, or explore a salt cave for a salty sea breeze.
The Mosel Valley, which is situated in southwest Germany and stretches into France and Luxembourg, is full of charming cities and fairytale castles. The villages of Cochem and Burg Eltz are especially beautiful in the winter, offering breathtaking river views, historic castles, and lots of hills for hiking—all of which become even more wonderful when dusted with snow.
The Mosel Valley’s castles and historical sites are ideal to visit in the winter because the fog and snow add to the mystery and the sites are almost empty, away from the large crowds you’ll see in the summer. The region’s Christmas markets, particularly the traditional ones at Zell a der Mosel and Bernkastel-Kues, light the valley in December. The local Old Town centers are worth exploring, even in the dead of winter. The streets are lined with fairytale-like half-timbered buildings, which make for great photo opportunities. Even if river cruises aren’t offered in the winter, you may still go from Koblenz to Cochem by train and enjoy the same beautiful scenery.
Most of Germany becomes a snowy wonderland in the winter, but Hamburg’s old city makes the most of the cold conditions. As soon as the weather turns cold, Hamburg begins hosting advent concerts in the various churches across the city, and Christmas markets begin selling stollen (fruit cake) and hot chocolate to visitors.
In the winter, an ice rink with bright lights and weekend DJs emerges in the urban park of Planten un Blomen park. Hamburg, which is located on the Elbe River and has more than 2,500 bridges, is the ideal location for capturing images of the city’s lights as the morning mist falls. Get on a winter boat trip at Landungsbrücken Pier for a more in-depth water experience. One of Hamburg’s main attractions, Miniatur Wunderland, houses the largest model railway and miniature airport museum in the world. Instead, you might check out the Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg. You will have no difficulty finding indoor activities in Hamburg, which has over 60 museums and 40 theatres.
The two towns that makeup Garmisch-Partenkirchen are a winter wonderland for nature enthusiasts. They are located about an hour and a half from Munich and at the foot of the huge Zugspitze mountain.
This location hosted the 1936 Olympic Games and is a popular spot for cross-country skiing, skiing in the winter, and skiing downhill because it is close to some of the tallest and most stunning mountains in the nation. Olympiaschanze’s renowned ski jumping hill is also worthwhile for a quick visit. However, Garmisch-Partenkirchen offers more activities than just skiing. One of the best ways to spend a sunny winter afternoon is to take a leisurely stroll around the Partenkirchen area and its historic half-timbered buildings with carved scrollwork. Don’t forget to make time to stop at a nearby café for some chocolate cake. Visit the Werdenfelser Heimatmuseum for some indoor entertainment and a look at daily life in the area in the 1800s.
Located in Bavaria Alps, the beautiful Schloss Neuschwanstein is glittering like a fairytale where Disney dreams come true. Probably one of the most beautiful castles in the world. The castle was almost immediately made public after King Ludwig II of Bavaria’s death in 1886. The castle attracts up to 6,000 visitors each day during the warmer months, while the winter months are significantly quieter. Group tours are smaller, and photos are better when there are fewer people there. As the train travels through snow-dusted alpine villages, the journey from Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle is also breathtaking in the winter. It’s one of the best day trips from Munich.
The Partnachklamm (Partnach Gorge), with its roaring waterfalls, white water pools, and rapids, is one of the highlights of Bavaria and the German Alps. Both in the summer and the winter, this breathtaking location is ideal for a quick and simple hike.
The Partnach Gorge attracts the majority of visitors during the summer, but it is equally beautiful throughout the winter, particularly after a heavy snowfall. Even in the dead of winter, you may visit Partnach Gorge. It’s a very picturesque hike. The Partnach Gorge is covered in stunning, sparkling icicles, and the hiking trails surrounding the gorge are covered in snow that shines in the sun. The gorge is 700 meters long, with additional trails that take you across suspension bridges and deep green forests. Guided torchlight hikes into the gorge are only held during the winter and are available to people who love adventure.
Dresden puts on a show over the holidays and is home to Germany’s oldest Christmas market that has been officially recorded. There are always artisans on hand selling traditional Christmas Stollen from Dresden as well as Saxony’s Silesian ceramics, Ore Mountain wood carvings, and numerous blown-glass ornaments.
During World War II, the bombing seriously destroyed Dresden, which required years of painstaking restoration. The Baroque palaces, churches, and other Dresden attractions can now be seen by tourists once more. One of the best places to go during the winter when advent concerts take over the city is the Hofkirche church, which was rebuilt using some of the original salvaged stones. Additionally, the beautiful Zwinger Palace looks equally stunning covered in snow. Between November and January each year, the inner courtyard of the Palais Taschenberg is turned into a large ice rink. The indoor malls welcome the winter months with fantastic sales and local food.