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Hiking trip - Germany

Harz hiking trip - Harz Witches' Trail and Brocken

Highlights

  • Multi-day hike along the Harz Witches’ Trail

  • Experience varied landscapes and places during the hike

  • Climbing the legendary boulder

  • Perfect for fans of fairy tales and legends as well as hikers and nature lovers

  • Luggage transport from accommodation to accommodation for an effortless hike

Description

Fabulously beautiful and fabulously exciting - that's how the Witches' trail presents itself to those who experience it. For centuries, tales have been woven around the Brocken, the highest mountain in the Harz. According to legend, witches once gathered here.

The long-distance hiking trail, which is over 100 kilometers long (approx. 62 miles) and weaves through the Harz national park, is a powerful combination of geology, nature, culture, and history. Ancient high moors, green forests, and rocky gorges shape the picture of this varied hiking tour, which inspires nature and culture lovers alike.

Destination

Europe

Osterode - Clausthal-Zellerfeld - Altenau - Brocken - Rübeland - Treseburg - Thale

The Harz Mountains are a year-round hiking destination. Spring, when nature comes to life, and fall, when the leaves turn colorful, are especially beautiful period to visit. Ice and snow can start falling at the end of fall and last until April, causing part of the trail to be closed.

The medieval town of Osterode is the starting point of your multi-day hike and vacation in the Harz Mountains. The historic half-timbered town, which is also part of the German Half-Timbered Houses Route, invites you to stay and discover its buildings, churches, and towers. Stroll through the picturesque alleys or along the city wall and experience the culture and history of the city with your own eyes. If you prefer a more comfortable stay, you can relax in one of the cafés or restaurants.

Natural beauty also abounds here: unspoiled mountainous forest landscapes surround Osterode and invite hikers as well as cyclists to numerous activities.

1 overnight stay incl. breakfast in Osterode, Harz

Pack your hiking backpack, because today of your hike along the Witches’s trail begins. After a hearty breakfast, the hiking trail first leads you uphill along the old trade routes. Soon you will discover the first ponds, ditches, and watercourses of the so-called Oberharzer Wasserregal (“Upper Harz Water Regale”). This system, created in the 16th-19th century, was used to divert and store water, which drove the water wheels of the mines. It is considered the world's most important pre-industrial water management system in mining.

After a 16-km (almost 10 miles) hike through the varied mountain landscape, you will reach the Clausthal-Zellerfeld climatic health resort. Especially the Zum Heiligen Geist market church attracts all eyes with its bright blue facade. The church was built in the middle of the Thirty Years’ War from oak and spruce wood and is considered the largest preserved wooden church in Europe. Hikers interested in mining history can learn more about the extraction of raw materials in the Upper Harz Mining Museum.

Clausthal also became famous for the Clausthaler Alkoholfrei beer, which got its brand name from the Claus-Bräu brewed by the municipal brewery of Clausthal until the middle of the 20th century.

Time spent hiking: approx. 4 hours / approx. 16 km (or almost 10 miles)

1 night including breakfast in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Harz

Once you’ve rested and fortified yourself, you will begin the the second stage of your tour. You will leave the former mining town of Clausthal-Zellerfeld and set off toward Altenau. The journey consists mainly of forest paths and narrow paths at the same level, staying at the same level along the fascinating system of dams. Before you reach the idyllic village of Altenau, you will pass the iron spring on the Gerlachsbach, which owes its name to the red, iron-rich water. You will get a particularly beautiful view of the town and the surrounding area from the southern Schützenklippe.

In 2004, the largest herb park in Germany was opened in Altenau. The botanical garden, which specializes in medicinal plants as well as kitchen herbs and spices, attracts thousands of visitors. The plant collection shows not only local plants but also herbs and spices from all over the world. An experience for all the senses!

Time spent hiking: approx. 5 hours / approx. 17 km (or 10.5 miles)

1 night incl. breakfast in Altenau, Harz

Today, the main attraction of your hike through heart of the Harz National Park awaits you. You will climb the highest peak of Northern Germany: the Brocken.

The 1,141-meter-high (or around 3743 ft high) Brocken, also called Blocksberg, has always been surrounded by many myths and legends. Beware of witches and the Brocken ghost, especially during Walpurgis Night. Thanks to its exposed location, the Brocken is often shrouded in fog, which only adds to its mystical appeal. The climate on the forest-free peak is comparable to the Nordic latitudes, which is why the Harz is often referred to as the Scandinavian mountains in the heart of Germany.

At the top of the dome, hikers are rewarded with an impressive view of the surrounding landscapes. Under perfect visibility conditions, even the Rothaargebirge (“Red Hair Mountains”) can be seen.

Those who want to rest a little after the strenuous ascent can use the steam-powered Harz narrow-gauge railroad for the rest of the journey down to their accommodation (not included in the tour price). The steam-driven railroad takes you through forests and the valley of the Kalte Bode down to Schierke.

Time spent walking: about 6 hours / about 20 km (or around 12 miles)

1 night incl. breakfast in Schierke, Harz

Today you will leave Schierke and get back on the trail. Passing the famous Trudenstein, you will continue to walk downhill towards Rübeland. The summit of the rock formation, located between Schierke and Drei Annen Hohne, can be climbed up a steel ladder and offers a breathtaking view over large parts of the eastern and southern Harz Mountains. Another highlight along the way is the Königshütte waterfall. The 15-meter-high (or almost 50 ft high) waterfall was artificially created in the early 1990s and plunges down into the Kalte Bode valley. Here, a new landscape emerges - limestone mining is still being carried out above ground in the area today.

The destination of the day is the Harz cave town of Rübeland. The town owes its fame to the Rübeländer stalactite caves, which open up a world of glittering stalagmites and stalactites, grotto lakes, and crystal chambers to visitors.

Time spent walking: about 6 hours / about 21 km (or 13 miles)

1 night incl. breakfast in Rübeland, Harz

The Bode river will keep you company today. It meanders through the Harz Mountains for 170 km (approx. 105 miles) and flows into the Saale. Sometimes on smaller, sometimes on wider paths you will follow the course of the river to Treseburg. On the way there you will pass the Wendefurth Dam, which visitors can walk on. In the adjacent engineering park, you can also see old dam parts. If you are looking for more adrenalin, you can fly through the air on the largest double-rope slide in Europe, the Megazipline, or walk across the 480-meter-long (approx. 1500 ft long) rope bridge.

Treseburg is located directly at the entrance to the rugged part of the Bodetal and offers visitors and hikers a place for rest and relaxation in picturesque surroundings. The Treseburg Watch Museum, which leads visitors through the history of timekeeping, is worth a visit.

Time spent walking: approx. 5 hours and 30 minutes / approx. 20 km (or 12 miles)

1 night incl. breakfast in Treseburg, Harz

On the last day of the hike, the trail will guide you through the mythical and legendary Bode Valley. You will hike across narrow paths between towering granite rocks along the river. After traversing Harz forests, you will reach the final destination of your hiking tour: the village of Thale.

Thale is best known for its Witches' Dance Floor, which is enthroned high up on a plateau above the town. A cable car will take you up there from the valley (not included in the price.) At the Hexentanzplatz, you will not only have a wonderful view of the surroundings and the Rosstrappe, a 403-meter-high (or around 1322 ft high) granite rock, but also mythical and cultural attractions. You will find, for instance, one of the oldest natural theaters in Germany and a museum dedicated to the mythical world of the Harz Mountains. In the Walpurgishalle (“Walpurgis Hall”), scenes from Goethe's Faust come to life. During one of three visits here, Goethe took a break in the Bode Valley and was inspired by the gorge between the Hexentanzplatz and Rosstrappe to write scenes for Faust.

Time spent walking: approx. 3 hours / approx. 10 km (about 6 miles)

1 night incl. breakfast in Thale, Harz

Today your multi-day hiking tour along the Harz Witches’ Trail ends. We hope your journey back home is filled with the lovely memories you’ve created here.

If necessary, a bus transfer will bring you back to the starting point in Osterode. You will find the prices under "Notes".

If you want, you can continue the hike to Quedlinburg and end your journey there. (Price upon request.)

Hotel & Restaurant Zum Röderberg***, Osterode, Lower Saxony

The hiker and cyclist friendly Hotel & Restaurant Zum Röderberg is located only a few minutes walk from the center of Osterode. The family-run three-star-superior-house impresses with its quiet and sunny south-facing hillside location, which invites you to relax and feel good. Hikers and cyclists can strengthen themselves in the hotel's own restaurant. The comfortable rooms have a shower, bath, WC, hairdryer, minibar, safe, satellite TV/flat screen and free W-LAN. Some of the rooms are equipped with a balcony or terrace. The accommodation offers its guests paid parking facilities.

Hotel Goldene Krone****, Clausthal-Zellerfeld, Lower Saxony

Centrally located in Clausthal-Zellerfeld, the Hotel Goldene Krone is the ideal accommodation for your stopover. All rooms are tastefully furnished with shower, WC, hairdryer, telephone, Flat-TV and free W-LAN. Guests of the hotel can enjoy the culinary delights of the hotel's own restaurant. For guests there are partly free parking spaces available.

Landhotel Alte Aue***, Altenau, Lower Saxony

In the stylish Landhotel Alte Aue, hospitality is a top priority. The rooms are furnished in a lavish country house style and are equipped with shower, WC, color TV with cable connection and telephone. In the restaurant you can enjoy the culinary highlights of Harz cuisine. The hotel provides its guests with parking facilities and garage.

Hotel Brockenscheideck***, Schierke, Saxony-Anhalt

The Hotel Brockenscheideck is located at the foot of the Brocken in an original and romantic mountain landscape. The rooms, some of which are furnished in the rustic style typical of the Harz mountains, have shower/WC, telephone, radio and flat-screen TV. Mineral water is available free of charge. You can enjoy a rich breakfast in the breakfast room. In the nearer surroundings you will find. On the area of the hotel there are enough free parking spaces available.

Apartment complex Herrmanshöhle, Rübeland, Saxony-Anhalt

The apartment complex Herrmanshöhle impresses with its direct location at the wild and romantic Bodetal. All lovingly furnished rooms are equipped with bath, shower, WC, TV and telephone. A family sauna and a solarium are also available for your relaxation. In the morning a rich breakfast buffet welcomes you in the house. A restaurant is available for guests who have booked half-board. On the property there are enough parking places for the guests.

Hotel Bodeblick***, Treseburg, Saxony-Anhalt

The Hotel Bodeblick is situated in a beautiful location directly on the Bode river and can be reached on foot over a bridge. The house was built in the French style from stones of the historical Treseburg and conveys a mystical and legendary impression. In the hotel you will find cosy and rustic rooms with bath/shower and WC and also equipped with telephone, flat screen TV, telephone and W-LAN. For relaxation there is a 90° sauna with sound effects as well as a tanning bed available. The restaurant with its cozy beer garden offers a wide range of regional and national food and drinks for your physical well-being. Parking spaces are available for you on the east side of the Bode on two different parking areas

Inn Forelle***, Thale, Saxony-Anhalt

The Gasthaus Forelle is one of the oldest in the Harz Mountains and looks back on a varied history. The rooms of the guesthouse are bright, modern and furnished with love and have a shower and WC as well as flat TV and W-LAN. In the restaurant you can expect fresh, regional typical dishes. As the name of the inn suggests, the emphasis is on the preparation of fish.

Closest city: Osterode

Duration of the trip: 8 days / 7 nights

Including

  • Welcome on day of arrival
  • 7 nights incl. breakfast in good 3-star hotels
  • Luggage transport from accommodation to accommodation
  • 1 package of detailed maps and information material per room
  • 24-hour telephone service during the trip

Excluding

  • Individual arrival
  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the scope of services
  • Excursions (sightseeing, entrance fees, etc.)
  • Tips and personal expenses
  • Travel protection
  • Tourism tax and visitor's tax (to be paid on the spot)

Notes

  • Available daily, from 04.01.20 to 10.31.20
  • Degree of difficulty: easy - medium
  • All accommodations are good middle-class hotels and guesthouses, which are located as close as possible to the hiking trail
  • A certain basic level of fitness and sure-footedness is required for this hike
  • Hikes with dog possible on request (additional costs to be paid on site)
  • During the hiking tour, a rich breakfast is included. Half board can be added for an extra charge and on request. Guests should make a current reservation.
  • Discount for children:
    • up to 3 years old: free of charge (if staying in the parents' room)
    • up to 12 years old: 50 % (if staying in parents' room)

Packing list for hikers

  • Maps and information material
  • Headgear (preferably water-repellent)
  • Breathable wind and rain clothing
  • High hiking boots made of breathable waterproof material
  • Hiking socks
  • Sun protection (sunglasses, sun cream...), possibly lip balm
  • First aid kit
  • Insect repellent and tick tongs
  • Individually required medication
  • hiking backpack
  • Towel
  • Sufficient liquid and food for the journey
  • Camera and accessories
  • Wet wipes (to clean your hands on the way)
  • Travel detergent, sewing kit
  • Possibly telescopic walking sticks
  • Money, EC card, or credit card
  • Important addresses and telephone numbers