Snowboarder fährt in der Wintersportarena Sauerland, © Ferienwelt-Winterberg

Act­ive and healthy through the winter

Ideas for the winter sea­son

Fancy a stroll through a real winter won­der­land? Look­ing for a great place to en­joy a warm, cosy day? Find tips for an act­ive and healty winter ex­per­i­ence in NRW!

The most beau­ti­ful trails for winter walks

Fancy a stroll through a real winter won­der­land? Then get out your warm winter boots! A num­ber of re­gions such as the Sauer­land and the Eifel of­fer spe­cial winter walks for hikers, some of which may even be bur­ied in deep snow. Oth­er paths are cleared quickly to make them more pleas­ant for a stroll ? here the white snow glit­ters to the left and right of the trail. The premi­um winter trails around Win­ter­berg are di­vided in­to the cat­egor­ies ?Cleared?, ?Flattened? and ?Left to nature?.
www.win­ter­s­port-arena.de | www.na­tion­al­park-eifel.de

Ex­plore the coun­tryside around Heis­ter­bach ab­bey

Nar­row forest trails, steep climbs and in­com­par­able views over the Rhine ? a tour of the coun­tryside around König­swinter in the Rhein-Sieg re­gion is an un­for­get­table ex­per­i­ence, es­pe­cially in the cold, clear winter air. El­ev­en kilo­metres in length, the tour leads past the ruined Cister­cian ab­bey of Heis­ter­bach, old stone quar­ries, and the Peters­berg with its grand hotel and the found­a­tions of a former church.

Teuto­schleife Canyon Blick

On clear winter days, hikers who have conquered the ?Canyon Blick? in Mün­ster­land can see the towers of Osnab­rück cathed­ral in the dis­tance. Even if the weath­er isn?t so good, it is well worth climb­ing up to the ?Len­gerich­er Canyon?, an im­pos­ing stone quarry filled with tur­quoise wa­ter that is home to many plant and an­im­al spe­cies. The trail is 11 kilo­metres in length and mostly con­sists of nar­row paths, some­times with alpacas graz­ing along the verges.

Fol­low the trail of cul­tur­al his­tory through the "Kur­fürst­lich­er Thi­er­garten Arns­berg"

A winter walk through the ?Kur­fürst­lich­er Thi­er­garten Arns­berg? is a truly mys­tic­al ex­per­i­ence. The ?Thi­er­garten? was planned for the Sauer­land in around 1670 but was then mainly used as a hunt­ing ground. Nowadays, the trail leads walk­ers over old bridges and past an oak that is more than 400 years old to a former hunt­ing lodge, castle ru­ins and the Seufzer­tal, the so-called ?Val­ley of Sighs? in which plague vic­tims lived long ago. No less than 41 ?rem­nants of the past? can be ex­plored along the 13-kilo­metre trail, and the si­lence of the forest ab­sorbs all noise from the nearby city of Arns­berg.

Bens­ber­ger Schlossweg

The winter months cast an es­pe­cially ma­gic­al light on the castles and fort­resses, call­ing old fairy tales to mind and put­ting vis­it­ors in a re­flect­ive mood. A hike along the Bens­ber­ger Schlossweg takes walk­ers past sev­er­al of these seem­ingly ma­gic­al struc­tures in the Ber­gisches Land. Nine kilo­metres in length, this trail not only leads past the castles of Ben­berg and Lerbach, but also to the most glor­i­ous lookout points. On clear winter days, you can gaze out over the Rhine val­ley, and some people claim that you can make out the spires of Co­logne cathed­ral in the dis­tance.


A walk on the moor is par­tic­u­larly im­press­ive in winter. In cool tem­per­at­ures, va­pour rises from the ground and blankets the land­scape in a mys­ter­i­ous fog. In the Struffelt nature re­serve in the Ho­hes Venn nature park (Eifel), wooden board­walks guide walk­ers on an el­ev­en-kilo­metre round trip on the moor. The view­ing plat­form on the Dreilägerbach dam of­fers a unique pan­or­ama of the frosty Eifel land­scape.

Eifel Na­tion­al Park, a ?Dark Sky Park?

In winter it gets dark earli­er ? but who says you can?t make the most of it? In the Eifel Na­tion­al Park, hikers take ad­vant­age of the dark to gaze at the stars. In the wil­der­ness at the heart of the huge na­tion­al park, the dark­ness is not pol­luted by the bright city lights and vis­it­ors can see the Milky Way with the na­ked eye. On clear winter even­ings, an ex­cur­sion to Ger­many?s first Dark Sky Park is there­fore well worth the ef­fort.

Snow shoe hik­ing

Hikers ex­per­i­ence the sheer ma­gic of winter on walks in the deep snow. In or­der to avoid sink­ing in­to the snow in heavy boots, there are spe­cial snow shoes with large, flat sur­faces that glide com­fort­ably over the deep snow. The Win­ter­s­port-Arena Sauer­land provides a list of places where you can hire snow­shoes, while in the Sie­gen-Wit­tgen­stein re­gion, hik­ing guides of­fer GPS snow­shoe tours or torch lit walks through the icy forests.
www.sieger­land-wit­tgen­stein-tour­is­mus.de | www.win­ter­s­port-arena.de/schneeschuhe

Winter sports in North Rhine-West­phalia

Ski­ing and to­bog­gan­ing in the biggest winter sports re­gion north of the Alps

Go­ing ski­ing needn?t al­ways mean go­ing to the Alps. NRW also of­fers plenty of op­por­tun­it­ies to ex­pend en­ergy out­side in winter. Win­ter­s­port-Arena Sauer­land is in fact the most im­port­ant winter sports re­gion north of the Alps! Here there are more than 120 pistes for ski­ers, snow­boarders and to­bog­gan­ers, and two-thirds of them are covered with ar­ti­fi­cial snow if ne­ces­sary ? provided the tem­per­at­ure is be­low zero. This has the ad­vant­age that the num­ber of snow days is sig­ni­fic­antly high­er com­pared to pistes that rely solely on nat­ur­al snow. Con­sequently winter sports are usu­ally pos­sible from Decem­ber to March ? quite un­usu­al for Ger­many?s low moun­tain ranges.


Ski­ing and to­bog­gan­ing in the Eifel re­gion

The Win­ter­s­port-Arena is in­dis­put­ably North Rhine-West­phalia?s biggest winter sports re­gion; how­ever, there are also many smal­ler areas in which ski­ers will feel at home. The Eifel for ex­ample is a great des­tin­a­tion for a winter ex­cur­sion with the whole fam­ily. The smal­ler ski re­sorts not only of­fer cheap­er lift prices but also mar­vel­lous op­por­tun­it­ies for to­bog­gan­ing. There is a to­bog­gan slope with an ex­tra lift for chil­dren near the beau­ti­ful town of Mon­schau with its half-timbered houses. There are also sev­er­al ski lifts and a cross-coun­try ski trail around 60 kilo­metres in length. In all, the Eifel re­gion is home to around a dozen winter sport re­sorts with down­hill pistes, cross-coun­try ski trails and to­bog­gan slopes.

Winter sports in the Ber­gisches Land

The Ber­gisches Land, situ­ated at the gate­way to the Ruhr and the great Rhine cit­ies of Co­logne and Düs­sel­dorf, also caters to lov­ers of winter sports. If you can?t de­cide wheth­er to go down­hill ski­ing, to­bog­gan­ing or cross-coun­try ski­ing, the Block­haus Belmicke re­sort is per­fect for you, be­cause you can do them all. Here you will find down­hill pistes with tow lifts, sign­posted to­bog­gan slopes, and cross-coun­try ski trails of vary­ing lengths; what's more, you can hire the ski­ing and to­bog­gan­ing equip­ment you need. If you are not yet able to ski, you will have no dif­fi­culty find­ing a ski school.


Snow tubes and snow­boards

However, it?s also great fun to hurtle down the moun­tains on so-called snow tubes. Snow tubes are thick, air-filled tyres that turn on their own ax­is when speed­ing down­hill. The tubes are not al­lowed on every slope be­cause of the risk of col­li­sions between snow tubers and ski­ers. However, spe­cial slopes and tubes for hire are avail­able for ex­ample in Olpe, Medebach, the nat­ur­al to­bog­gan run in Neuasten­burg and in Snow World Züschen.

Neuasten­berg is also a para­dise for snow­boarders: Fun­park Postwiese was set up es­pe­cially for them and is mainly in­ten­ded for ad­vanced and ex­pert snow­boarders; how­ever, there is also an ?easy line? for be­gin­ners. The flood­lights are also switched on sev­er­al times a week to cre­ate a unique at­mo­sphere when you are out on your snow­board.

Winter sports for ad­ren­al­in junkies

If tra­di­tion­al winter sports are not enough, you should try snowkit­ing. However, you must already be an ex­pert ski­er or snow­boarder. This is be­cause snowkit­ing takes you off the pre­pared pistes in­to deep powder snow where the kite ? de­pend­ing on the wind ? can pull you through the white land­scape at tre­mend­ous speed. Any­one who wants to learn this trend sport will find a kite school in Win­ter­berg.

Even faster than snowkit­ing is a trip in a taxi bobsleigh on the bob run in Win­ter­berg. Three people join an ex­per­i­enced pi­lot in the bobsleigh and hurtle down the ice chan­nel at up to 130 km/h. The fun is over after just 60 seconds ? but your vivid memor­ies of the trip are sure to last a long time.

Ice skat­ing

Along with ski­ing and winter hikes, ice skat­ing is one of the most pop­u­lar winter activ­it­ies in Ger­many. A lot of towns have their own skat­ing rinks, but it?s much nicer to go skat­ing out­side and feel the fresh breeze caress your cheeks. North Rhine-West­phali­a's cit­ies in par­tic­u­lar of­fer a num­ber of un­usu­al loc­a­tions for this sport­ing activ­ity.


Any­one who prefers nat­ur­al sur­round­ings will find an un­usu­al ice rink in Zülpich ? on the beach! This sounds purely ima­gin­ary, but ac­tu­ally ex­ists in the Eifel re­gion; an ar­ti­fi­cial ice rink with an area of 400 square metres is set up every winter on the shores of Lake Zülpich.

Healthy through the winter

Source of heat: no more cold feet

Win­ter­'s no fun when one cold fol­lows an­oth­er and your hands and feet are al­ways chilly. Luck­ily you can do something about it! The thermal spa in Bad Salzu­flen in the Teuto­burg Forest of­fers a num­ber of ther­apies to help pre­vent typ­ic­al winter ill­nesses or help you re­cov­er from your last bad cold. The open-air in­hal­at­ori­um, in which up to 600,000 litres a day of salt wa­ter trickle down walls made of black­thorn brush­wood, is heav­en for your air pas­sages, par­tic­u­larly if you have a cold or sore throat.

Thermal baths

Winter time is also thermal bath time. There?s noth­ing bet­ter than a re­vital­iz­ing vis­it to a swim­ming pool with thermal wa­ter when you want to re­lax. The many thermal springs and baths in North Rhine-West­phalia of­fer a wide vari­ety of ser­vices and are a great place to en­joy a warm, cosy day. At the thermal baths VitaSol Ther­me in Bad Salzu­flen, for ex­ample, you can com­bine a day in the thermal baths and sauna with a vis­it to the fit­ness club for a re­lax­ing break from your every­day routine.

Well­ness hol­i­day

Re­lax and give your­self a treat ? this is something you can do in NRW?s well­ness ho­tels. If you want something really spe­cial, the sev­en "Well­ness Stars" are the right place to be. These four and five star ho­tels of­fer a wide range of ex­cep­tion­al ser­vices to help you re­lax.

Images and videos

Be inspired: images of your NRW

Süßes vom Engel auf dem Soester Weihnachtsmarkt, © Gero Sliwa
Weihnachtsbaumschlagen in Winterberg, © Tourist-Info Winterberg
VitaSol Bad in Bad Salzuflen, © Vita Sol Bad Salzuflen
Silvester in Köln auf dem KD Schiff, © KD Deutsche Rheinschiffahrt AG

Tips for a winter break in NRW

Duisburger Weihnachtsmarkt, © FrischeKontor Duisburg GmbH, www.krischerfotografie.de

Christ­mas Mar­kets in NRW