When you think of places to ski in Europe, France, Switzerland and Austria are the countries that first spring to mind. But there is another European country which borders all three of these and which by rights should be included on any list of the top destinations for a skiing holiday: Germany.
The fact that Germany is overlooked by many skiing fans is a bit of a mystery as it shares Alpine mountain ranges with its European neighbours and skiing conditions are pretty much the same here as they are in Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy. For many skiers looking for an alternative to a skiing holiday those countries, the USA and Canada are more likely options than Germany. But there is really no reason why that should be the case, especially as a skiing holiday in Germany can work out a lot cheaper than one in the Austrian or Italian Tyrol ski resorts, never mind the North American ones in California, Colorado and British Columbia. As for accommodation, there are of course plenty of hotels and hostels to choose from
So what are the best places to ski in Germany?
Germany’s skiing destinations include fancy resorts with lots of nightlife, challenging, glacier skiing, cross-country skiing and mountain scenery that will take your breath away, especially in the Bavarian Alps that run along the country’s border with Austria.
Although largely unexplored by West European skiers, Eastern Germany offers some fun and relatively cheap skiing holidays. If you get a cheap flight to Berlin and then take the train to Braunlage in Lower Saxony, you can experience some wonderful skiing for half the price you’d pay in Austria or France at the nearby ski resorts of Sonnenberg and Wurmberg. You Czech border which specialises in cross-country skiing.
One of the most famous names in the world of German skiing is Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Bavarian Alpine resort which lies at the foot of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest peak, and which hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics. Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also renowned for its restaurants, cultural attractions and expensive and expensive fashion and jewellery shops. Many people also come here for health reasons, to take the waters in one of its upscale spas or go for relaxing walks in the clear mountain air.
Germany’s second most popular skiing destination Oberstdorf is, like its main competitor Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in the Bavarian Alps, between Lake Constance (known in German as Bodensee), Munich and Stuttgart. Oberstdorf is even more upmarket than Garmisch-Partenkirchen and its Fellhorn and Kleinwalsertal slopes are among the most expensive in Germany to ski on.
Other skiing areas in Germany include Willingen in Hesse, about a hundred miles to the north of Frankfurt. Willingen hosts the International Ski Federation’s annual World Cup Ski-jumping competition at the Mühlenkopfschanze, an arena that seats over a hundred thousand people. Willingen’s ski resort has thirteen slopes that offer over ten miles of downhill skiing on natural snow.
If you are into cross-country skiing, Mehliskopf near Baden Baden in south west Germany is the place for you. It has over six hundred miles of cross-country ski trails as well as a number of downhill slopes.
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