Winter is a chilly season to visit, but Germany knows how to put some sparkle on the darkest season. Along with its charming Christmas traditions, belly-warming winter drinks and Silvester's (New Years Eve) explosive fireworks displays, winter's freezing temperatures are the perfect excuse to step out on the ice.
Lying at the foot of the castle, the city of Heidelberg has an enormous outdoor ice rink with one of the best views in the country. Surrounded by the charming Heidelberg Christmas Market, there are food stands and cozy dining rooms just an ice-skate shuffle away.
- Admission: 5 euro adult for 90 minutes; 3 euro for children; skate rental available for 4 euro
- Dates: November 21 - January 8
- Hours: 10:00 - 22:00 (Closed Christmas eve)
- Address: Karlsplatz, 69117 Heidelberg
Located in the center of Munich, this is the city's largest open air ice rink. Münchner Eiszauber (Munich Ice Magic) offers the perfect ambiance for getting into the Christmas spirit. Music blasts overhead as families cheerily skate the ice. When night falls, the party gets started with a light show.
The ice rink stays open as long as the air temperature remains below 10 degrees Celsius. If you need a moment to warm up and give your feet a break, the Bavarian chalet style stands serve steaming mugs of glühwein and wurst fresh off the grill.
- Admission: 4.50 - 8 euro for adults depending on entry time (discounted prices for children until 12, plus season, family, and senior discounts)
- Dates: November 18 - January 15th
- Hours: 10:30 - 22:00 (On Christmas Eve and New Years Eve the rink and stands close at 16:00)
- Address: Karlsplatz, 80335 München
- Metro: U4 / U5, all S-Bahn (Stop: Karlsplatz); Tram 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 27
- Weekly program: Events include Mondays tracht (traditional clothing) on ice, an appearance by Nikolaus, and more www.muenchnereiszauber.de/wochenprogramm
Between Berlin's Rotes Rathaus (town hall) and Marienkirche is one of the city's sprawling Christmas markets with an ice rink that encircles the impressive Neptune Fountain. The god of the sea looks down on giddy skaters as they go around and around his tiny kingdom, water temporarily turned to ice.
The light of the market turns the rink pink, blue and yellow with a 50-metre high Oktoberfest-themed riesenrad (the German festival essential of Ferris Wheel) towering overhead. Children practice their skating with penguin companions and soft sounds of the Waltz and Christmas classics power through the speakers. Santa flies overhead not once a year, but several times every evening.
- Admission: Free; skate rental available for 4 euro
- Dates: November 21st - December 29th
- Hours: 12:00 - 21:30 (Closed Christmas eve; Open December 25th & 26th)
- Address: Platz vor dem Roten Rathaus, Rathausstr. 1510178 Berlin
- Metro: U-Bahn & S-Bahn Stop: Alexanderplatz
Every Friday and Saturday the arena changes from kid-friendly to party central. Live DJs start a set list from 19:00. There are also special events like Thursday ladies night and training.
They also offer Eisstockschießen, or Bavarian curling. LED lights make the ice playable at night.
- Admission: 5.50 euro for 2.5 hours (3.90 euro for children under 18; discounts for family ticket, student, etc.)
- Dates: Open Nov 3rd til late winter
- Hours: 10:00 - 22:00
- Address: Holstenwall 30, 20355 Hamburg (The arena is located in the park Planten un Blomen. Entrances to the park are from Glacischaussee and Holstenwall. )
- Metro: U1 (Stop: Stephansplatz); S11, S21, S31 (Stop: Bahnhof Dammtor); Bus 35 (Stop: Hamburg Messe - Eingang Mitte und Ost) & Bus 112 (Stop: Stephansplatz)
Wiesbaden’s ice skating rink is located behind the picturesque Hessian State Theatre and consists of an 800 sq meter ice skating rink and three curling areas just steps away from a twinkling Christmas market. Open to the public, you can also reserve it for private parties.
- Admission: 4 euro adult; 3.50 euro for children up to 12 (discounts for multiple entry pass); skate rental available for 4.50 euro
- Admission: 4.50 euro
- Dates: November - January
- Hours: 11:00 - 22:00
- Address: Berta-Cramer-Ring 40, 65205 Wiesbaden
This location joins the unique German obsessions of ice skating and sauna. The Prinzregentenstadion offers a typical ice rink with music, colorful lights and festival foods, but rather than limping away you can heal your bruises with a trip to the spa.
The spa includes two Finnish saunas (one on an open-air terrace so you don't lose feel for the cool air), sanarium, steam bath, zen garden, whirlpool, cold water pool plus scheduled massages.
If you visit on Sunday morning, there is a traditional Munich Eistanz (ice dance). From 9:30, songs like the waltz and tango are put on with free dance lessons beginning at 10.
- Ice Rink Admission: 5.50 euro adult; 3 euro for children; skate rental available for 4 euro (evening, family and student discount)
- Sauna Admission: 4.50 euro
- Dates: Open all winter
- Hours: Monday to Thursday 9.30 – 16:00, Friday to Sunday and holidays 9.30 – 21.30
- Address: Prinzregentenstraße 80, 81675 Munich
- Metro: U4, MetroBus 54 (Stop: Prinzregentenplatz),
StadtBus 100 (Stop: Prinzregentenplatz or Friedensengel/Villa Stuck), Tram 16 (Stop : Friedensengel/Villa Stuck)
On the outskirts of Berlin in Köpenick skaters can glide gracefully by the biggest lake in the city. While those interested in skating on the lake might be disappointed that the ice is in a nearby covered rink, this is a charming part of the Rübezahl holiday park and includes holiday houses, a restaurant, café and - of course - a beer garden. It is an escape within the city.
And when it gets cold enough, visitors can take to the lake to soar around its massive expanse.
- Admission: 6 euro; 4.50 for kids up to 14 (discounts for students, weekday); skate rental 4 euro
- Dates: mid-November - March (Depending on the weather)
- Hours: 10:00 -12:30, 13:00-16:30, 17:00-19:30
- Address: Müggelheimer Damm 143, Berlin, Germany
- Metro: Bus N69, X69
Children skate with penguins, families try their hand at curling and visitors skate, all in front of Karlsruhe's Baroque castle. Infuse a little Egyptian flare with Ramses as the Badischen Landesmuseum partners with the event.
Skaters gracefully (and some not so gracefully) make their way around the grand Großherzog Karl Friedrich statue. At night, the expanse of white ice takes on florescent colors with sophisticated Eiszeit-Stube providing warm beverages. On select Thursdays, DJs provide the soundtrack with an after-show at the Krokokeller.
- Admission: 3.50 euro; 3 for kids (discounts for students, weekday); skate rental 4 euro
- Dates: November - March (Depending on the weather)
- Hours: Daily 10:00 - 21:00
- Address: Schloßplatz, 76131 Karlsruhe
- Metro: Tram 6; S1, S4, S11 (Stop: Marktplatz)
- Program of Events
This most unusual ice rink is on a UNESCO World heritage site. The ice is actually among furnaces which once reached temperatures as high as 1,000°C of this historic mine. It is a spectacular site with a brilliant light display for a festive atmosphere. There are also regular disco nights, curling and skate lessons.
- Admission: 7 euro for adults; 5 euro for kids up to 14 (discounts for families, groups, evenings etc.)
- Dates: early December - January
- Hours: Sundays to Thursdays from 11:00 to 20:00; til 21:00 Fridays and Saturdays
- Address: Areal C, Druckmaschinengleis [C74], Kokereiallee
Dresden is home to the oldest Christmas market in Germany with traditions like the world's largest Stollen. It also houses a secret ice rink in the baroque inner courtyard of the Hotel Kempinski. Glide around the Christmas tree in this intimate space filled with carols and people drinking Glühwein.
- Admission: 6 euro for adults; 3 euro for kids up to 12; skate rental 3.50 euro
- Dates: late November - mid-January
- Hours: Monday until Friday 15:00 - 22:00; Saturday, Sunday and holidays 11:00 - 22:00
- Address: Taschenberg 3 , 01067, Dresden
- Metro: Tram lines 4, 8, 9 (Stop: Theaterplatz); Tram lines 1,2,4,8,9,11,12; Buses 64, 94 (Stop: Postplatz or Neumarkt)
Ice Skating at Kö-Bogen Christmas Market
This free attraction in Dusseldorf takes advantage of another spectacular backdrop, the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus (Theatre), panoramic view of Hofgarten, Landskrone pond and the statue of a mounted Jan Wellem. The 450 m² ice rink is the centerpiece of the Kö-Bogen Christmas market.
If you prefer to watch people on ice, there will be plenty of falls during the open skate, or you can watch the profis (professionals) during one of the ice hockey games held at the rink every Wednesday at 19:00.
- Admission: Free; skate rental 4 euro
- Dates: November 17 - December 23
- Hours: Sundays to Thursdays from 11:00 to 20:00; til 21:00 Fridays and Saturdays
- Address: Jan-Wellem-Platz, 40212 Düsseldorf
- Metro: Stop: Heinrich-Heine-Allee. Reach on foot by walking towards the Altstadt and the ice rink on Jan-Wellem-Platz.