Sport is a very popular pastime in the German-speaking countries.

Some of the sports enjoyed in these countries will be familiar to you, but others may surprise you as they're quite different from the sports enjoyed in the UK.

Here are the top ten sports in the German-speaking countries. How many of them can you work out?

DeutschlandÖsterreichDie Schweiz
Der Wettbewerb means 'the competition', so when you see the prefix Wett- in front of a sport it means 'competitive' or 'competition', eg Wettklettern is 'competitive climbing'. You might also see das Wetttauchen which means 'diving competition' or 'competitive diving' and das Wettschwimmen meaning 'swimming competition' or 'competitive swimming'.

Look at some of the favourite sports in the German-speaking countries and find the sport which matches each picture.

Icons showing various sports.
  • A.Fußball – football
  • B.Turnen – gymnastics
  • C.Radsport/Radfahren – cycling
  • D.Reitsport/Pferdesport – riding
  • E.Leichtathletik – athletics
  • F.Wandern/Bergwandern – hiking
  • G.Skifahren/Ski/Skilauf – skiing
  • H.Joggen/Laufen – jogging
  • I.Tanzen – dancing
  • J.Wettklettern – competitive climbing

Using nouns and verbs correctly

Here are a few things to remember:

  • all nouns in German start with capital letters
  • in the list above, all the sports are nouns so they all have to have capital letters at the start
  • Turnen with a capital T is a noun and means 'gymnastics' whereas turnen with a small t is a verb meaning to do gymnastics

In a sentence you would use the verbs and nouns as follows:


  • Mein Lieblingssport ist Turnen. – My favourite sport is gymnastics.
  • Ich mag Schwimmen. – I like swimming.


  • Ich turne dreimal pro Woche. – I do gymnastics three times per week.
  • Ich schwimme gern. – I like to swim.
In English, ich turne is translated as 'I do gymnastics'. German uses just one verb – turnen – but as there's no such verb in English as 'to gym', we have to translate it as 'to do gymnastics' for it to make sense.

Did you know?

Because of the different climate where snow is guaranteed throughout the winter months, people in the German-speaking countries enjoy a range of snow-based sports.

Eisstocksport – ice stock – is a popular sport in Austria. It is similar to curling and played in two teams. The aim is to slide the ice stocks over the ice and get as close as possible to the target.

Skiing is a very popular sport in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. St Moritz is one of the most famous and exclusive ski resorts in Switzerland. Lots of rich and famous people ski there. They even play snow polo there – Schneepolo. This unusual sport was introduced to the town by English soldiers in 1899.

Members of the 'Cartier' team battle for the ball with team 'BMW' during the final of the Snow Polo World Cup
English soldiers built a polo field in St Moritz at the turn of the 20th century