Winter Vacations with Kids: Sledding in Germany
Does sledding bring back fond childhood memories for you? A winter holiday with children in Germany wouldn't be complete without sledding. It's a sport that unites generations, brings joy to the entire family, and even the littlest ones can join in. So, hop on a sled and zoom down the mountain. Full-speed ahead!
We'll guide you through the best sledding spots in Germany and what safety aspects to consider when sledding with children.
Sledding: The most popular winter activity for kids
Sledding is the unrivaled number-one outdoor activity in the snow for children, according to a foundational study on winter sports conducted in Germany. Planning to sled during your winter holiday with kids in Germany comes with numerous benefits:
- Sledding can be enjoyed by children and adults of all ages, no special skills required. Younger kids can share a sled with a parent, while older ones can steer a sled of their own.
- No need for expensive gear. You can also rent sleds locally, saving space in the car.
- Families with children of various ages often face a challenge while skiing: teens get bored on the beginner slope while the younger ones are not yet stable or confident on their skis. Sledding allows the family to stick together as everyone can participate.
- The focus is not on performance but on fun and enjoyment!
- Of course, you can perfectly combine sledding and ski holidays.
- Modern sledding areas offer a variety of options. You can, for example, rent different types of equipment like snowtubes for a delightful downhill ride. Or perhaps experience the enchantment of nighttime sledding through an illuminated winter forest.
Snowy Fun: The Best Sledding Slopes in Germany
In Central and Southern Germany, there are numerous holiday regions where your family can enjoy sledding. Mid-elevation ranges like the Fichtelgebirge, the Erzgebirge, the Harz, the Schwäbische Alb, and the Bavarian Forest are particularly popular amongst families with younger children because the slopes are less crowded or steep. However, snow conditions in these areas are becoming less reliable due to milder winters. One exception is the sledding hill by Schloss Augustusberg in the Erzgebirge, with snowmaking capability, as needed, from December to March.
As you venture farther south into Germany’s mountainous regions, the sledding slopes become both higher and more reliably snowy. Families will discover a variety-packed winter experience at the Hochschwarzwald Fun Park near Schluchsee, for instance. Here, traditional sleds give way to quirkier rides like the "cow pie sledder" and the "Zipfelbob," offering truly unique down-hilling experiences. The Allgäu region is a sledder's paradise, boasting one fantastic slope after another. Given its northerly orientation in the Alps, you can almost always count on excellent snow conditions. The natural toboggan run known as the Hirscheckblitz in Ramsau near Berchtesgaden has consistently received top ratings, even securing first place in the 2012 ADAC Toboggan Test. It's fast—with slopes of up to a 22% gradient enabling speeds of 50 km/h—though also very safe since the run is reserved exclusively for sledders.
If you're planning a winter getaway with the kids in Germany and sledding is on the agenda, Bad Hindelang is another spot you won't want to miss. The area boasts three toboggan runs, each about 3.5 km long, offering the right level of excitement for everyone. What's more, this place also has snowmaking capability. For those in search of an even longer ride, the Allgäu region is home to some of the longest runs far and wide—like the ones on the Wallberg in Rottach-Egern and the Ostforstlerweg on the Breitenberg near Pfronten, both stretching roughly 6.5 km. These runs can take up to half an hour to complete and are better suited for school-age kids rather than the littlest ones.
For a sledding destination you can always rely on, the Alpsee Bergwelt has definitely got you covered. You can choose from two natural toboggan runs, and if there's not enough of the white stuff on the ground, no worries—the Alpsee Alpine Coaster operates year-round as a great backup plan.
In the immediate and surrounding areas of our German ALPS RESORTS—namely the Englmar Chalets in the Bavarian Forest and the Inzell Chalets in Chiemgau—you'll find sledding options for both young and old. The icing on the cake? After all the frosty fun, you can warm up in your private sauna or your own hot tub. So, say goodbye to cold feet and grumpy kids.
Sledding Safely: Tips for Tobogganing with Kids in Germany
Every sledding hill is unique, so it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules and warning indications on-location. Make sure the kids are aware of basic safety guidelines beforehand. This includes how to sit correctly, maintaining a safe distance from others, and staying on the designated runs. For youngsters who are new to sledding, starting on smaller slopes is advisable. Broad, not-too-steep hills without ski traffic are ideal for beginners.
As a general rule, kids should always wear a bike or ski helmet before letting loose. Bright or reflective clothing helps make them easily visible, even in dim light. It's important to have a sled that's appropriate for the child's size. Toddlers are much better off riding with an adult. Going solo on “professional” sledding hills should only be considered for kids roughly six years and older. More experienced teens might enjoy the extra adrenaline rush provided by specialized racing sleds or other fun forms of ride. And if you're ever in doubt, the sled rental shops are more than happy to offer advice.
Toddlers between 1 and 6 years of age are best seated on a parent’s sled. Once they reach school age, kids can usually begin to sled solo depending on the hill in question.
A ski or bike helmet and proper winter clothing (snowsuit, hat, gloves, scarf, winter boots) are essential. Preferably, these should be in bright colors and equipped with clearly visible reflectors. Additionally, a sled appropriate to the child’s size and experience is also a must.