A winter hike in the Eastern Ore mountains

Mikulov v Krusnych horach Travel Blog

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Altenberg, Germany - train station

The Ore mountains along the Czech-German border are usually a safe bet for snow in winter. A popular skiing/winter sports area in the Eastern Ore mountains on the German side is Altenberg and its surroundings (see my Altenberg blog). From time to time I hop across the border and do a hike or so on the Czech side, though. This entry describes such a hike on a day in February.

I took the train to Altenberg, then a bus to a stop near Neu-Rehefeld, about 2 km from the Czech border. After a walk on the road with very little traffic I passed the abandoned customs/border police station to Moldava, the village on the Czech side - no checks at the border anymore. Moldava wouldn't be worth a look if there wasn't the scenic mountain railway that once went over the Ore mountains from the Bohemian coal district (Klostergrab/Hrob) to the Saxon metallurgic plants around Freiberg.

Altenberg, Germany - skilift
It was opened in 1885, sadly the railroads were removed between Moldava and Holzhau on the German side. Nowadays trains run Freiberg - Holzhau and Hrob - Moldava. Due to the steep drop-off on the Czech side, this part of the railway has lots of tunnels, bridges, narrow curves and is very interesting for fans of railways (like me).

I quickly got to the train station Moldava, at an elevation of 789 m highest point of this railway, and found the historic diesel engine railcar to be ready for departure. I was looking forward to the short ride to Mikulov (only two stations), from where I wanted to start my hike. First the weather was still gorgeous, snow and blue sky, but soon we dipped into the low clouds and fog that came in from the so called Bohemian basin, a typical phenomenon in winter.
Neu-Rehefeld, Germany - historic milestone and signpost
The ride was nonetheless enjoyable, the fog turned the scenery into a magic winter wonderland. After passing one of the tunnels I got off the train in Mikulov, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the station building abandoned. I took a very steep snowy trail up to Vitiska mountain hut, but ignored this restaurant this time and went into neighbouring restaurant Mikulaska instead.

It was nice, rustic inside and although it was quite busy a table was available. Upon recommendation of another guest I ordered baked cheese with french fries and white cabbage. Very tasty except for the fries, which were not crisp enough and had *way* too much salt. Gambrinus beer was VERY good, of course. Service was friendly and quick, German spoken, payment in Euro possible for a very good exchange rate.
Getting closer to the border


I didn't linger too long in the restaurant, followed the marked - but not groomed, not enough snow - cross-country trail north toward the German border. Soon I got out of the fog/clouds and enjoyed the marvellous blue sky and sunshine. I had the choice between crossing back into Germany on a flat trail or going up and to Cinovec, where I would cross the border to Zinnwald. I chose the latter option, which was apparently the wrong decision - the sky soon turned cloudy and grey. Once I reached the trail on the main crest of the mountains I saw walkers and cross-country skiers that defied the lousy snow conditions. Outside the woods it was even worse, the strong wind had blown away most of the loose snow. Anyway, I walked to the German side as planned and reached it next to the station of the German weater service (DWD) - very appropriate in this iffy weather. About 15 minutes later I had found the bus stop, waited a couple of minutes and then hopped on the bus home.

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Altenberg, Germany - train station
Altenberg, Germany - train station
Altenberg, Germany - skilift
Altenberg, Germany - skilift
Neu-Rehefeld, Germany - historic m…
Neu-Rehefeld, Germany - historic …
Getting closer to the border
Getting closer to the border
Moldava train station
Moldava train station
Moldava train station
Moldava train station
Moldava train station, the (ancien…
Moldava train station, the (ancie…
inside the railcar (totally overhe…
inside the railcar (totally overh…
view from the railcar
view from the railcar
view from the railcar
view from the railcar
at Mikulov train stop
at Mikulov train stop
Mikulov train stop
Mikulov train stop
view of the downhill runs at Mt. B…
view of the downhill runs at Mt. …
Mikulaska mountain hut
Mikulaska mountain hut
Mikulaska mountain hut, lunch
Mikulaska mountain hut, lunch
Mikulaska mountain hut
Mikulaska mountain hut
Vitiska mountain hut
Vitiska mountain hut
board with map of cross-country sk…
board with map of cross-country s…
a first glimpse of blue sky
a first glimpse of blue sky
cross-country skier
cross-country skier
Blue sky near the border
Blue sky near the border
still sunshine ...
still sunshine ...
view to the German side (TV/radio …
view to the German side (TV/radio…
Overcast again ... cross-country s…
Overcast again ... cross-country …
cross-country skiers near Cinovec
cross-country skiers near Cinovec
Cinovec
Cinovec
Cinovec (Czech Republic), view to …
Cinovec (Czech Republic), view to…
Zinnwald, station of the German we…
Zinnwald, station of the German w…
Zinnwald, bus stop
Zinnwald, bus stop
Mikulov v Krusnych horach Restaurants, Cafes & Food review
Lunch in a rustic mountain hut
This restaurant is located at about 800 m above sea level at the main crest of the Eastern Ore mountains in quite isolated position above the village … read entire review
Mikulov v Krusnych horach
photo by: german_eagle