Braunlage in Harz Mountain is the ideal weekend getaway for everyone who loves snow. It is only a two hour ride from Berlin, yet you experience something totally different. Timber-framed houses, knee-deep snow, mulled wine and long ski pistes are the perfect ingredients for a winter adventure.
The Harz Mountain region is my favourite weekend destination. Often I hiked the Brocken in spring, visited the christmas markets in the small villages, enjoyed the fresh air on the mountain. Yet this visit is my first.
It is the first time I see the Harz Mountain covered in snow. Flakes are falling the whole weekend, paint the landscape in a bright white. The timber-framed houses look like a fairytale. I am at Wurmberg, the highest peak in this region of central Germany.
I am not a big winter sports fan. So I bring my luggage to the hotel and go to discover the town.
The town, which has more tourists than inhabitants, is full of people that are wrapped in warm winter clothes. They put their skiers aside and drink mulled wine. The smell of warm pastries lays in the air. While passing many bakeries I find a cute café and flower shop, Antjes Blumencafé. The rooms are individually designed and so I find gift ideas for the upcoming birthdays.
I do not get tired of the cute central German architecture. And I am glad I have a nice travel buddy with me so that I can show him my favourite things I already liked as a child. My enthusiasm infects him as well.
It is getting cold and I need something to warm me up. So we are heading to the next mulled-wine stall and a friendly face hands us the warm beverages. We are chatting about the area, about football and laugh.
The sun sets and we are heading back to the hotel. Well, after I won our snowball fight. Even though I thought for a brief moment I lost my ear to one of the cruel cold snowballs.
The next morning, not after witnessing a gorgeous sunrise you only see in the mountains, I wrap myself in two-three-four layers of clothes and head to the cable car.
The longest piste is 4,3 km long. I was a bit sceptical at first, but the 15 minutes ride was fun and the view stunning.
From up here you can see the valley, you can see skiers, some of them are good, some of them still wobbly on their skiers. You can see moving clouds and the fast-approaching fog.
Cold feet and empty stomachs get help at Wurmberg Alm. The rustic restaurant seems quite warm and the hot chocolate comes quickly. The Alm is lovely decorated and while waiting for the Germknödel I walk through the different rooms to take a closer look.
The weather changes quickly and the sun is back. I take advantage of the sun and play in the snow like a four-year old. On the way down is a station where I lend a sleigh. The way down is so much more fun now.
Parallel on the left you find the ski piste, on the right side the hiking path. Walking through the winter forest you see how cold it really is. Big chunks of ice are hanging on the tree and I am standing knee-deep in the snow.
Only two hours from Berlin, I find a totally different landscape. A place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of the city-life. I get inspired and awake from the otherwise grey days.
Tips For Your Stay
Transportation: Come early and plan accordingly. Snow and weekends will cause a tailback.
Some people simply realise that they are having problems driving in the snow and make a stop.
Eating: On top of the Wurmberg is the Wurmberg Alm. Try Germknödel, a yeast dumpling with filling.
In the town is Süßes Zimmer where you get an assortment of sweets.
Night Out: Rockgarden in Braunlage is a nice place to end the day and enjoy a couple of beers.
You find places for après-ski and mulled wine throughout the city centre.
Try Out: Hiking with Huskies, skiing, sleighing or hiking through the forest.
Further events are listed on Harzinfo. Sign up early they close their doors during the weekend.
Stay At: Maritim Hotel Braunlage
Good To Know: If you have the chance to visit during the week, do so. Weekends are packed and waiting lines long.
If you are visiting during lesser snowy days, do not worry, they will use artificial snow.
I might be a bit overly excited over this area and, therefore, I am sorry.
What is your favourite snowy weekend getaway?