Winter weather shouldn’t stop you from exploring Germany’s most beautiful landscapes.
From the rugged Alpine foothills outside of Munich to the rolling peaks of the Lüneburg Heath, there are tons of winter hiking possibilities to explore throughout the country – for you and the whole family.
Types of winter hiking
Like hiking in all seasons, there are different types of routes that let you get up close with stunning flora and fauna.
The first type of hike, most suitable for beginners, is the guided hike. This is a essentially worry-free option in which an expert hiker guides you through some exhilarating trails without any route tracking required. You can also be sure that the hike is suitable to your skill level, you don’t have to worry about getting lost or watching out for avalanches. Often tourist boards of more popular hiking spots offer these tours for visitors.
The second type of hike is on a maintained trail. Here you will be on your own, but there are signs and a well-marked path to lead the way. You don’t have to worry about getting lost and you can completely customize your hike to your personal timetable. Just make sure to pay attention to the level of difficulty, elevation gain, distance and estimated time – especially in the winter months when darkness falls very early in the evening.
The third type is a hike on an unmaintained trail and is most suitable for those with some level of experience, especially with winter hiking. Here you’ll follow signs or route markers, but there may be heavy snowfall or ice, which makes this option the most difficult. This route is usually even slower than the estimated time as wading through knee-deep snow surely will be not only exhausting but time consuming. Additionally, if you’re planning to stop at a hut or cabin throughout the hike, make sure to check if it’s open in the winter months.
3 Magical Winter Hikes in Germany
- Partnachklamm – a route through a gorge in one of Germany’s most famous ski resort areas Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It’s possible to extend the trail for a more difficult hike, or just simply take in the amazing sights on the original route.
- Der Bayerische Wald (The Bavarian Forest) – enjoy a rustic view of all the various landscapes that live in the Bavarian Forest. It’s possible to trek with snowshoes, or with a good pair of hiking boots, and there are also guided winter tours available.
- The Malerweg in Saxony – a serene peacefulness blankets the rugged landscape during the winter months. The route is located on the easternmost part of Germany, bordering the Czech Republic. It’s named after the German part of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, which dominate the landscape. With a wide variety of hikes and routes in this area, you’ll sure to find something for everyone.