Visit Rammelsberg Mine

These mines in central Germany were used continuously for more than 1000 years! So what’s it like to go inside the tunnels of Rammelsberg today?

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

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There’s rattling all around. It’s almost deafening.

Hurtling down a tunnel in a small enclosed train, it’s dark.

Flashes of light come through the narrow open windows as we race past the occasional artificial lights on the tunnel walls.

This is how you descend into the depths of Rammelsberg.

Visiting Rammelsberg Mine in Goslar, Germany

Deep underground, it’s cold.

It’s much lighter than in the train – but only because of all the electric globes buzzing around me. If it wasn’t for them, though, you could easily imagine you had gone back in time to centuries ago.

The walls are rough – probably cut by hand and with rudimentary explosions. Old tools and trolleys look slightly rusty and water drips off the beams and cages near the ceiling.

Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

This is no illusion. The mountain of Rammelsberg, right in the centre of Germany, has been used for mining for more than 1000 years. Evidence of centuries of industry remains underground here.

At first, it was kings and emperors in the 10th century who extracted silver to create symbols of their wealth. In the early part of the millennium, it was things like lead, zinc and copper that were used to help build an empire.

In more recent times – particularly during the 20th century – the mines were expanded and the metal ore extracted from within Rammelsberg was a critical part of the expansion of Germany and the war efforts.

Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

In all, it’s estimated that about 30 million tonnes of ore were mined from Rammelsberg. Thousands and thousands of men spent much of their lives in the tunnels deep beneath the surface, extending the mines, exploding the rocks, and transporting them up to the surface.

It all came to an end in 1988 when the mine was closed permanently after more than 1000 years of continuous operation. Rather than fill in the tunnels and demolish the buildings on the surface, it was decided to keep the site and turn it into a museum.

Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

It was a good move, considering the importance of what happened here for so many years and the significance in the history of Germany.

And it joins a few other fascinating industrial sites that have become World Heritage Sites in Germany, like the Völklingen Ironworks and the Zollverein Coal Mine.

Rammelsberg Mine guided tours

When you visit Rammelsberg Mine these days, you’ll be able to independently explore the museum on the surface, which takes you through several historic buildings. I’ll tell you more about that in a moment.

But to go underground, deep into the network of tunnels dripping with dramatic stories, you’ll need to join a guided tour.

Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

There are actually a number of tours that go to different areas and many visitors will go on more than one. In the next section, I’ll run through the pricing structure and you’ll see that each extra tour you take becomes much cheaper.

For now, though, let’s have a look at each of the tours and what they include:

The Roeder Stollen Gallery

Named after the chief mining engineer who created the tunnel, the Roeder Stollen Gallery is a historic part of Rammelsberg Mine that was used in the 19th century to mechanise parts of the network.

It’s basically a series of underground waterways with wheels and shafts, and the tour follows the path of the water to see how energy was created from its force.

  • The minimum age for the tour is 4 years old
  • The temperature can go as low as 12 degrees, so it’s advisable to bring a jacket and sturdy shoes
  • Available in: English and Danish

Mine train tour

As the name suggests, most of this tour is done on one of the narrow metal trains that are able to move through the tunnels on the railways that have been built here.

The tour somewhat replicated a day in the life of a miner, including the spot where they would eat breakfast, where they would drill and blast, and where the ore gets loaded onto the carriages.

You aren’t on the train the entire time, but it is a good option that doesn’t involve too much walking, so it’s recommend for less mobile visitors.

  • Minimum age: 4 years
  • Available in: English and Danish

Inclined elevator tour

This tour is a bit different because instead of going down, you go up!

The main element is taking the inclined elevator (similar to a funicular) about 100 metres up the hill on one side of the mining site. From up here, you can see some of the historic buildings and get great views across the area.

The elevator was built in 1936 but was restored in 2014 so that it’s safe for visitors.

  • Operates between 1 April – 31 October
  • Most tours are in German
  • Suitable for children
  • Accessible for wheelchairs and people with impaired mobility
  • The tour takes about 30 minutes

From Lump of Ore to Concentrate

Here’s another tour of Rammelsberg Mine that doesn’t actually go underground.

This one focuses on the buildings on the surface, which are also an important part of the World Heritage Site. As you go through the industrial complex, you’ll be accompanied by the noise of the machines, to get a sense of what operations were like.

  • The tour takes about 1.5 hours
  • It’s not accessible for people in wheelchairs or with impaired mobility because of steep staircases
  • It’s not recommended for young children because of its duration and noise

Small becomes big!

This is a tour aimed at children, so is a fun one for families – although note that it’s only run on the weekends and is usually in German.

The route goes through some of the buildings above ground and then down underground into the Roeder Gallery. There are some games along the way as well as lots of opportunities to ask questions about the site.

  • The tour takes about 1.5 hours
  • It is run on Saturdays and Sundays at 11:15 and 14:15

The Rathstiefste Gallery

Finally, there’s a really special tour that is not part of the usual options.

The Rathstiefste Gallery doesn’t have as much tourism infrastructre as other parts of the mine that tourists visit, so you’re going to need stamina… and waterproof clothing!

This is a long tour that goes into areas that were mined as far back as the 12th century. It’s a really adventurous trip that is the closest you’ll come to feeling like a miner, carrying a lamp and wearing protective equipment.

At the end, you’ll even get a hearty ‘tscherper’ meal, just like they used to eat.

  • This tour must be pre-booked as a group of between 5 to 9 people.
  • This tour is not included in the standard pricing model. It costs €109/€98
  • It goes for about 4 hours
  • The tour is not wheelchair accessible and the minimum age is 14 years old

Visiting the Mines of Rammelsberg

While it may be a ‘museum’ these days, a visit to Rammelsberg feels more like a journey inside a recently abandoned mine – and that’s why it’s such a great experience.

The underground tunnels have been maintained but not renovated or modernised for visitors. It is an authentic look inside centuries of industry.

Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

You can only see inside the mines as part of a tour. There are different options to choose and you can combine them to get a full experience.

It might start with the train journey into the heart of the mountain and then gradually you can see the different stages of the work that occurred here.

During peak periods, I would recommend booking the tours in advance. Generally there are English ones in the busy months, but it’s worth checking what is available for the day you’re planning to visit.

Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

There are more recent tunnels with mechanical equipment and, as you go further, there are older tunnels, clearly rough cut, where wooden systems with pulleys and swings were built to help with the process.

The way that large wooden wheels used natural water flow to power operations is really quite ingenious.

Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

It’s a fascinating insight and helps you imagine what it must have been like for the workers who spent hours – and often days – down here away from the sunlight and their families.

Although the mines are the highlight of the World Heritage Site, the historic town and the nearby water management system are also included and worth seeing.

As well as the tours, there’s the museum on the surface that leads you through an exhibition in a historic part of the complex, explaining more about Rammelsberg Mine and the lives of those who worked here.

You can choose to just buy a ticket to the museum, or you can add on tours. There are ticket options with 1, 2, or 3 tours. (By the time you’re getting the third one, it’s so cheap that you may as well include it, if you have time.)

A few other bits of useful visitor information:

  • There are no dogs allowed on site, except for service dogs
  • Children must be at least 4 years old for the underground tours
  • Photography and filming is allowed for personal use
  • The temperature underground is 10-12°C, so dress appropriately
  • About 70% of the public areas have been made accessible for a wheelchair or are barrier free
Rammelsberg Mines, Goslar, Germany

If you’re coming by car, there’s parking at Rammelsberg Mine, so it’s pretty easy.

But something you might like to consider is the special World Heritage Shuttle, which is free with the HATIX card or for overnight guests in Goslar. It’s a hop-on hop-off bus with 13 stops that covers the locations in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, including Rammelsberg Mine.

The shuttle starts at the World Heritage Information Centre in the centre of Goslar, and you can see the timetable here.

Where is the Rammelsberg Mine?

The Rammelsberg Mine is southeast of Hanover. Its nearest town is Goslar.
The official address is Bergtal 19, 38640, Goslar, Germany.
You can see it on a map here.

How do you get to the Rammelsberg Mine?

To get to the Rammelsberg Mine, catch the train to Goslar and then take the bus numbers 803 or 830 to the site, which takes about 30 minutes.
With the World Heritage Shuttle (line 809), you can travel every 30 minutes from the World Heritage Information Centre on the market square to Rammelsberg Mine.
By car, there’s free parking close to the museum facilities, including a couple of disabled parking spaces.

When is the Rammelsberg Mine open?

The Rammelsberg Mine is open daily.
November to March: 09:00 – 17:00. (last tour: 15:30)
April to October: 09:00 – 18:00 (last tour: 16:30)
It is closed December 24 and 31.

What is the Rammelsberg Mine entrance fee?

There are different ticket options depending on how many tours you want to do:
Museum only: €9 for standard ticket, €6 for concession, €4.50 for children 4-17 years
Museum and one tour: €18 for standard ticket, €14 for concession, €11 for children 4-17 years
Museum and two tours: €25 for standard ticket, €21 for concession, €14 for children 4-17 years
Museum and three tours: €29.50 for standard ticket, €25 for concession, €16 for children 4-17 years
Do note that the tours do not include the Rathstiefste Gallery.

For more information, see the official website of Rammelsberg Mine.

As you’ll likely be spending the entire day at the site, grab some lunch in the on-site restaurant Casino.

With your ticket, you get an extra 10% discount at a selection of museums if you visit within 3 days

If you think you still have energy, there’s this interesting private tour of Goslar, which is good value if there’s a group of you.

THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN GOSLAR

Even though it’s quite a small town, there’s a lot to see in Goslar. It is worth staying overnight to explore properly.

BUDGET

You can get an affordable room near the Old Town at Gästehaus Graul.

BOUTIQUE

For a nice fresh design, I would recommend AKZENT Hotel Villa Saxer, which also has a great location.

LUXURY

And for a bit of luxury, Schiefer Hotel is a four-star property right on the market square.

Time Travel Turtle was supported by DB Bahn, the German National Tourist Board and Youth Hostels in Germany but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

UNESCO logo

This site is on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
I'm on a mission to visit as many World Heritage Sites as I can. Only about 800 more to go... eek!

9 thoughts on “Visit Rammelsberg Mine”

    • Yeah, it’s pretty remarkable, isn’t it. I guess people have needed metal for a long time. We tend to think of mining these days as a huge operation but there were ways to extract the ore hundreds of years ago too – just in a much more rudimentary way.

      Reply
  1. Thank you for posting this and the article on Zollverein. It’s tough to get a sense of how a place is sometimes, but you’ve done a great summary of the two.

    Quick question for you on Rammelsberg… Some parts of the official website indicate that tours in English must be arranged beforehand, while other parts seem to indicate that one can just show up and a tour will be available at some point during the day. Which was your experience?

    Thanks again.

    Reply
    • A great question. I would definitely get in contact with them in advance. You can’t be guaranteed to get an English guide for the bits you want to see because there are several different ways to do the tours. If you turned up without a booking, I presume you could still join a German tour and see it all – which is still very interesting (you just wouldn’t get the explanations, obviously).

      Reply

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