The Ore Mountains
Amazing hiking tracks and winter sport options, an over-800-year-old mining tradition, world famous Christmas customs & handicrafts, and historic steam trains - anyone who heads into the Ore Mountains in southern Saxony will discover a second home - a home of adventure. Modern and traditional, with history and tales!
The Ore Mountains have been particularly shaped by their mining culture, and have borne their present-day name since the discovery of large quantities of ore. Nowhere else in Germany is today home to more mining artefacts, fascinating mining towns, imposing sacred structures, display mines or mining-related artworks than the Ore Mountains. They form a unique cultural landscape - the only one of its kind in Europe, and one which the region hopes will earn it the title of UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The people of the Ore Mountains are just as proud of their many different, traditional handicrafts as they are of their over-800-year-old mining history. After the mining industry collapsed, the Ore Mountain locals developed unique wood-working techniques, such as Reifendrehen and Spanbaumstechen. Every detail is crafted by hand. This unique handicraft tradition continue to be fostered in the Ore Mountains to this day, and visitors can watch the wood carvers at work at display workshops. (Tip: The traditional handicrafts day is celebrated every year on the 3rd weekend of October, when workshop doors throughout the region are opened for visitors to watch, admire and join in!)
The eastern edge of the Ore Mountains is home to another masterful craft - watchmaking in the world famous town of Glashütte. For more than 165 years, the tiny town on the Müglitztal Valley near Dresden has been synonymous with high quality, precision and »Made in Germany« luxury worldwide. Situated near Weesenstein Castle, Glashütte is a lively watchmaking town with a number of reputable manufacturers and a modern watch museum unlike any other in Europe. Under the motto of »The fascination of time - Bringing time to life«, the German Watch Museum in Glashütte not only presents Saxony's watchmaking tradition, but also provides an emotional look at the phenomenon of time.
The Ore Mountains are one of the most diverse and popular »open-air sporting grounds« in both summer and winter alike. A hike through this part of the world will make time stand still. Varied routes with breathtaking views and rich nature are a great way to explore this enchanting alpine world on foot.
The highlight of the Ore Mountain hiking region is the certified »Kammweg Erzgebirge-Vogtland« trail. This 285-km long-distance track runs from Altenberg to Blankenheim in Thuringia. While its challenging route over the highest peaks of the Ore Mountains and the Vogtland sees hikers work up a sweat, they are rewarded with unique natural experiences and panoramic views.
Cycling over scenic peaks along the ridge or through romantic valleys is pure love on two wheels in the Ore Mountains! Riders head out on trekking bikes, race bikes, e-bikes and mountain bikes, and are able to discover abundant nature and scenery. Mountain-bikers enjoy high altitude and adrenalin on the »Stoneman-Miriquidi« track - the only one of its kind in Germany. 162 km, 4,400 elevation gain, 9 peaks, 2 countries - a limitless experience!
With vast forests and guaranteed snow (on their summits), the Ore Mountains are also an ideal destination for active winter holidaymakers.
Smoking, hissing, puffing: Of the 19 narrow-gauge railways which once existed in Saxony, four with 750-mm gauges have been preserved in the Ore Mountains - the Fichtelbergbahn, the Pressnitztalbahn, the Museumsbahn Schönheide-Carlsfeld and the Weisseritztalbahn. The old dames continue to light up fans' faces to this day as they puff through the Ore Mountains' finest valleys.
The best time to experience the Ore Mountains with all their magnificence and soul is at Christmas. Nowhere else in Saxony is known better for its Christmas rituals. The first Sunday of Advent marks the start of some 500 Christmas events which transform the region into Germany's "land of Christmas". This is a place where centuries-old customs and traditions, such as historic Mettenschichten pre-Christmas mine shifts, miners' parades and Christmas lights tours are deeply rooted and joyfully embraced.