Great weekend outings in Germany

Between Christmas and New Year's, the kids are off from school, friends or family are visiting, and the gang’s itching to get out of the house. Where can everyone enjoy a good day out? Here are some ideas for those based in Germany.

• Garmisch-Partenkirchen: The favorite Alpine playground of many Americans hosts the International Jura City-Biathlon Friday, an event that takes the competitors through the middle of town, to the delight of the crowds that will gather to watch them pass. This free event kicks off at 5 p.m. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/l8r58ql.

• Munich: The Tollwood Winter Festival is a mix of seasonal activities, many with an ethical twist. The motto for 2013 is “ARTgerecht,” focusing on the fight to halt intensive, industrial-scale animal farming. Also on the agenda is a new take on classical music, in which orchestral repertoires are reproduced on African instruments. A multimedia tent features discussions about ways in which the world can live in harmony and prosperity.

The festival’s traditional “Tief-im-Wald-Bar” offers live music, arts and crafts and culinary treats and also serves as the site of a New Year’s Eve party.

Entry to the festival area is free, but tickets are required for some performances. Find the program at www.tollwood.de.

• Triberg: Deep in the Black Forest, the magic of the season lingers as the “Christmas Magic” program continues daily through Dec. 30. Some of Germany’s highest waterfalls are lit up by the glow of thousands of tiny bulbs as the area becomes a massive showground, offering music, fire shows, fireworks, a Christmas village, numerous cafes and, for kids, a manger scene with live animals.

Entry costs 12 euros for adults, 9.50 euros for ages 9-16 and is free for those 8 and younger. Learn more at www.triberger-weihnachtszauber.com

• Rust: Europapark embraces the season through Jan. 6, as the festively decorated amusement park welcomes guests with live shows, a Ferris wheel, roller coasters, a light parade, a skating rink, glacier bar, 4-D movie and a special children’s winter wonderland.

Entry costs 33 euros for adults and 28.50 euros for ages 4-11;  children up to age 3 enter free. Learn more at www.europapark.de.

• Schluchsee: Saturday through Monday, this Black Forest venue hosts a winter market with music, magic and an illuminated forest. Sleigh rides and torchlight walks also can be arranged.

The market is open daily from 1-9 p.m. Guests who want to arrive in style can arrange to take a steam train that will travel between Seebrugg and Titisee three times daily. The train runs  through Jan. 1. To learn more, see http://tinyurl.com/ksaop54.

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About the Author

Karen Bradbury has lived and worked in Europe for more than fifteen years. She has called Moscow, Copenhagen, Rome and now a small wine-producing village along the Rhine in Germany home. When she's not working, whatever the season, she's probably traveling.

Email: bradburyk@estripes.osd.mil