Snow and Ice
Favorite thing: The Erzgebirge mountains, although only mid-range mountains, are quite snow reliable (exception in 2013/14 so far, just like anywhere in Germany) and with Oberwiesenthal / Fichtelberg / Klinovec area being the highest region in the Erzgebirge it is most likely you'll find snow there from November through March, sometimes even in April. This is perfect for skiing and other winter sports activities, but also pure fun for anyone who loves the bizarre formations that snow and ice can form.
You don't really need sunshine. Fog or low clouds make the best and most bizarre formations out of trees (pics 1+5), signposts and wooden frames for bells (pic 2), lamps and signposts (pic 3) as well as wooden tables on outdoor terraces (pic 4).
I could go on and on - I have many dozens of such pictures. Pics 3, 4 and 5 were taken during the cross-country skiing trip from Mt. Fichtelberg to Neudorf (see sports tips) in early March 2013. You can see the sun faintly shining through the clouds - only maybe 20 or 30 m higher up the clouds ended and it was sunshine. But it never cleared up that day.
Pics 1 and 2 were taken in early February 2012 on a glorious sunny day with an inversion weather situation, meaning that it was terribly cold in the valleys (- 15 C max if I recall correctly) and milder up in the mountains (slightly below freezing only) with extremely low humidity. That also was reason for the gorgeous blue sky on pic 2 - northern direction. In southern direction, facing the sun, you never get this blue sky (pic 1).
Of course the sun adds to the brilliance of the pictures, but it doesn't take too long then and the fascinating snow and ice formations are gone - where the sun shines, it is just too warm! So you must catch the first rays of sunshine after a foggy/cloudy day for best pictures. See my travelogues for more of these!
Favorite thing: This discount card is of interest to visitors who want to see a lot in the area. This card offers free entry to about 100 attractions all over the Ore Mountains region. Due to the distances between these places you'll only be able to use a fraction of these. Anyway, with some planning it pays.
There are two varieties available: one which is valid for 48 hours (22 € for adults and 11 € for kids 6-14) and one which is valid for any 4 days in 14 (33 € for adults, 16 € for kids 6-14). The latter is really useful for longer stays, as you can select the days when you use it.
Unfortunately the information on the website is only available in German! The card can be ordered in advance through this website but there is no need to bother with that and pay postage - you can just as well buy it on the spot at a tourist information office or at the cash desk of the participating attractions.
Fondest memory: For a day trip to Oberwiesenthal the ErzgebirgsCard is definitely worthwhile. It includes the ride on the narrow gauge railway from Cranzahl to Oberwiesenthal and back (otherwise 12 €), the cable car up Fichtelberg (otherwise 6 €), the chair lift (otherwise 6 € - well you'll prbably use only one of these two), admissionto the viewing tower and museum (otherwise 2 €), a ride with the post carriage through the town (otherwise 6 € - but unfortunately the thing runs only on two or three days per week), one ride on the summer luge (otherwise 3 €)... well, do the maths.
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