Traveling to Seiffen at Christmas

I’ve grown so accustomed to traveling with ease between German cities that I was a little surprised that getting to Seiffen was kind of a hassle. As usual, the best option for me was the train, so any difficulty was mitigated to a large extent by the ease of booking tickets online and having access to Deutsche Bahn’s explicit timetables (leave from Platform #xx, arrive at Platform #yy, XX minutes to connect to next train, leaving from Platform #zz, etc.).

I’ve written elsewhere that it’s not necessarily inexpensive to travel in Germany, but you do get what you pay for. We traveled from Berlin to Seiffen, changing trains twice for a total journey of four hours. We traveled in second class, which was totally great.

Erzgebirgsbahn in winter

The little red train to Seiffen is pretty cute, however, and modern too. It’s called the Erzgebirgsbahn and it’s almost like riding on a roomy and comfortable streetcar. You stop almost as frequently too, but once outside of Chemnitz, the landscape becomes quite hilly and it’s really quite a pretty ride. If you take the train to Seiffen, you need to bear two things in mind:

  1. You will most likely need to change trains in Chemnitz. We had a 45-minute layover in both directions and the railway station was quite off-putting, with outposts of Burger King, Subway and their German equivalents.
  2. The Erzgebirgsbahn doesn’t go all the way to Saiffen; you’ll need to get off in Olbernhau and either take a taxi, a bus, or have your hotel pick you up. We were booked into the Hotel Erbgericht Buntes Haus and it did offer this service. It was only about a 10-ride from the station to the hotel.

It so happens that we traveled in July and the weather was lovely, but if you go to Seiffen during Advent for the Christmas markets, you can’t count on the roads being free of snow and slush.

Before going, I’d had an idea that maybe we’d hire a taxi and tour some of the better know neighboring towns such as Annaberg-Buchholz or Schneeberg. This turned out not to be a viable plan since the Erzgebirge is a mountain region (the Ore Mountains, to be exact) and there are only so many roads through it and no real highways. Seiffen is 27 miles from Annaberg-Buchholz, for example, and driving time is roughly an hour—in the summer.

To sum up briefly, I think traveling to Seiffen and touring the Erzgebirge is best for go-with-the-flow travelers with a chunk of time to spare. And take care on those winter roads!

Up next, Staying in Seiffen . . .

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