Ice skating on the Gnadensee, one of the best winter activities in Germany
TMBW/ Achim Mende

Dress warm! Cool winter activities in the south 

Ulrike Herder

When nature is adorned with snow crystals and frost flowers, when clear winter air provides magnificent views and a heavenly calm settles over snow-covered valleys, then you can really experience something in southern Germany. Here are 11 ice-cold tips for exciting winter action – from skiing to extraordinary experiences with huskies or on camels to even ice diving. 

The boards that mean the ski world 

It seems as if Mother Hulda really appreciates the region around the 1,456-meter-high Arber, the highest mountain in the Bavarian Forest. It regularly brings a lot of snow to the area and the mountains are free of foehn and avalanches. Winter sports enthusiasts can have fun on around 20 kilometers of groomed ski runs. The Großer Arber is the most popular and largest family ski area in the Bavarian Forest. From the black World Cup slope to easy slopes for beginners and children, there are exciting runs for every level. 

Winter activities in Germany at the Großer Arber
Arber Bergbahn

Deceleration on the cross-country ski run 

For those who prefer to take it easy: In the Bavarian Forest, there is one of the most beautiful cross-country ski trails in Germany – the 20-kilometer Dreikönigsloipe through a fairytale forest landscape. The starting point is at 820 meters above sea level, right next to the Mauth bathing lake. Mauth is a real snow hole that is fairly snow reliable from early December to early April. 

Cross-country ski trails at Badesee Mauth in winter
Felix Hack

In low flight 

Would you like an adrenaline rush? Then airboarding is the right kind of winter sport for you. Airboarding is fast-paced tobogganing fun. In contrast to classic tobogganing, however, daredevils race headfirst down the slope on the air-cushioned toboggan, also known as a snow bodyboard, at up to 100 kilometers per hour. Certainly not for the faint of heart. If you want to dare a wild ride on the high-tech sled, you can do so in Baden-Württemberg on the Feldberg or in Sonthofen in Bavaria. Bookable via

On brisk runners 

Another way to let the wind blow in your face on the slopes is the classic descent on a sledge or bobsled. A hearty toboggan ride is fun for the whole family. In Baiersbronn, world tobogganing enthusiasts can look forward to three different tracks in winter, where speed records await their conquerors. The appropriate equipment can be rented on site. 

Children tobogganing in the Northern Black Forest
Baiersbronn Touristik/ Max Guenter

Up in the air 

When snowkiting, skiers or snowboarders swing to lofty heights, because they are pulled over the snow by a giant kite. The feeling of weightlessness is priceless and easy to learn, even for beginners. In Kreuzberg, near Freyung, Schneeflocken-Rocken offers courses for adults and children of all levels. Snowkiting is also possible in Garmisch-Patenkirchen, at Tegernsee and in Reutlingen. 

Male athlete on mountain skiing with dreams kite free ride on frozen lake. Aerial view. Snowkiting.

Get on the husky 

The wind roars in your ears, the barking of the dogs fills the air and the snow-covered fir trees pass by rapidly to the left and right. A husky tour is a very special experience that you will always look back on fondly. It is more than fascinating to see the joy with which Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and other sled dogs are harnessed to run in packs through snowy forests.

Huskies from the Huskyhof Dreisessel look into camera
TI Neureichenau

In winter, the cute four-legged friends are in their element in the Bavarian Forest. If you want, you can book a sled dog tour at the Dreisessel husky farms (in Altreichenau) or at Haus Waldschrat in Frauenau. After an introduction, during which you learn the sled dog commands and practice steering and sledding, every participant from the age of 14 can take a ride with a small pack of dogs and experience the contagious energy of the dogs firsthand. If you prefer to watch, you can go to Haidmühle, where the best sled dog drivers from all over Europe meet every year to compete in the sprint and distance disciplines.

Pirouette Art 

It’s been around 60 years since Lake Constance froze over completely. Since then, the deep Obersee has mostly remained largely ice-free. The shallower Untersee, on the other hand, still freezes over in parts today and invites you to go ice skating. The ice princess feeling comes up especially on the Gnadensee between the monastery island of Reichenau and Hegne, because this offers ice skaters not only the best conditions but also an unbeatable view. But beware: entering the ice surface is of course at your own risk. There is no official release and the deceptive underground requires special caution. 

White skates on frozen ice
Weston M.

Icy moments of happiness with a donkey 

The snow crunches under the shoes and hooves of the participants. And every now and then, you have to stop for a little petting before the donkey is ready to continue the winter hike. A donkey season hike in Blieskastel-Wolfersheim in Saarland is truly decelerating. The participants perceive the snowy landscape more slowly and consciously, because the donkeys set the pace. And while you adjust to the leisurely pace, the whole family learns lots of interesting facts about the animal companions. The tours are offered at the Sonnenbogen farm in Blieskastel-Wolfersheim. 

A girl interacting trustful with a donkey on a winter paddock
Annabell Gsödl/

Winter hiking with deer feeding 

A deer population with over 100 animals lives freely and without a fence in the forest near Neuschwanstein Castle on the Bannwaldsee near Füssen. Winter hikers who want to observe the proud antlers from a short distance start their seven-kilometre tour at the Tourist Information in Füssen via Horn, Waltenhofen and Brunnen and then reach the feeding ground on an almost level route. Wild animal feeding takes place daily at 3 p.m. from Christmas Day through March. If you run out of air in the last 40 minutes of the way, you can change to horse-drawn sleighs or carriages at the Karbrücke. 

Deer feeding is one of the coolest winter activities in Germany
Füssen Tourismus und Marketing

Not for those in fear of frostbite 

Ice bathing has become a real trend. No wonder, because diving into icy temperatures strengthens the immune system and improves blood circulation in the body. Above all, however, it is a great overcoming and an ice-cold challenge.

In winter, you can actually go ice bathing in almost every lake. But there are a few things to keep in mind: never dive alone into the ice-cold water, be sure to wear something on your feet and put on a hat. Also very important: Breathe in and out gently as you slowly lower yourself into the ice-cold water so that you don’t hyperventilate. Then enjoy the tea you brought with you from the thermos flask.

If you don’t dare to go on the ice-cold adventure alone: ​​There are also ice bathing courses, for example, at Ammersee in Bavaria with Silvana Kolman (Back2Elements Eisbaden). Or, in the outdoor pool at Wöhrsee in Burghausen, because there is always a bathing area open there in winter where you can meet like-minded people. 

Camel Riding 

Anyone who suddenly sees a caravan of camels trudging through the snow in the idyllic Mangfalltal around 30 kilometers south of Munich, between Rosenheim and Lake Tegernsee, will be amazed. 30 camels, numerous llamas, donkeys, horses, alpacas and goats live on the Kamelhof in Mangfalltal. Visitors can enjoy the winter wonderland on the back of a camel on guided tours through the forest and across meadows.

Beautiful portrait of a sitting northern camel in winter in snowy weather in the background of a beautiful landscape
Anton Watman/