8 days
Duration
Easy to Moderate
Difficulty
Germany
Location
April-October
Availability

  Walk the complete Harz Witches Trail, crossing the old border from West to East Germany

 Immerse yourself in the legends and fairy tales of this magical region

  An enchanting walk through the highest mountain range in northern Germany

  Discover mystic forests, rocky canyons, towering cliffs and picturesque medieval villages

  Follow in the footsteps of Goethe as you climb the Brocken, North Germany’s highest peak


Hiking in the Harz mountains

One of Germany’s most beautiful and popular hiking regions – the Harz Mountains – is located right in the middle of the country. Famous medieval towns with half-timbered houses offer a fascinating cultural contrast to the mystic forests of the Harz Mountains. The region has been renowned as a hiking paradise since medieval times, due to its thousands of kilometres of well-signposted hiking routes.

One of the most famous hiking trails of the Harz region is the Harz Witches Trail. This trail leads you from West to East, crossing the entire Harz Mountains and winding 100 kilometres on old trading routes through the upper Harz region. Beginning in the medieval town of Osterode in Lower Saxony, the trail passes through the Harz and upper Harz national parks, crosses the old Iron Curtain, before ending in the dramatic Bode Valley canyon in Saxony-Anhalt. Along the way, you will also climb the highest mountain peak of the area – the “Brocken”. Legend has it that witches and devils gathered here on Walpurgis Night (a traditional spring festival). You will have the option to finish your trip with an exploration of Quedlinburg, one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe.

The Harz Witches Trail has been certified as a “quality trail” by the German Hiking Association.

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS From €599 per person sharing*

*A single supplement charge will apply for solo walkers

ACCOMMODATION

3* standard hotels with continental breakfast. Extra nights can also be booked at any of the hotels along the way.
AVAILABILITY You can start on any day of the week, subject to availability, from April 1st to October 31st.
INCLUDED
7 nights in selected 3* hotels & guesthouses
7 breakfasts
Welcome surprise
Luggage transportation from hotel to hotel while you walk
Detailed maps and route notes
Pre-departure information pack
GPS tracks
24/7 telephone support
NOT INCLUDED
Flights & travel insurance
Lunches & dinners
Local buses, trains or taxis
Local tourist taxes
Transport to first and from last accommodation
Any other items not mentioned in the program
OPTIONAL EXTRAS
Additional nights before, during or after the walk
Single room supplement
Transport between Thale and Osterode
DIFFICULTY This hiking trip is graded easy-moderate overall. The Harz Witches Trail is suitable for beginners, although a certain degree of surefootedness is required.
WALKING WITH A DOG It is possible to book this hiking tour from Osterode to Thale accompanied by your dog. We are happy to request dog-friendly accommodation for you. Please ask us for a quote and let us know the size and breed of dog.

Please note: Additional costs for your dog (e.g. for public transport or in the accommodations) are not included in the tour price and have to be paid on site.

1

Day 1: Arrival in Osterode

Surrounded by the well-maintained city walls, the historic centre of Osterode offers a beautiful setting for the start of your walking holiday in the Harz mountains. You can take a wander around the cobbled streets, lined with picturesque half-timbered houses, and enjoy a relaxing coffee or beer in the historic Marktplatz.

Osterode is easily reachable by train from Berlin or Hannover.

Overnight: Osterode

2

Day 2: From Osterode to Clausthal-Zellerfeld

Distance: 16 km | Approx. walking time: 4 hrs

You begin your first day’s walk on the Harz Witches’ Trail with an uphill section which follows ancient trading routes. You will see parts of the World Heritage “Oberharzer Wasserregal”; a system of dams, reservoirs, ditches and other structures, much of which was built from the 16th to 19th centuries to divert and store the water that drove the water wheels of the local mines.

Finally, you reach the university town of Clausthal-Zellerfeld, where you can visit Germany’s largest wooden church, the Marktkirche zum Heiligen Geist.

Overnight: Clausthal-Zellerfeld

3

Day 3: From Clausthal-Zellerfeld to Altenau

Distance: 17 km | Approx. walking time: 5 hrs

Leaving the mountain town of Clausthal-Zellerfeld, you will mainly walk along forest paths and narrow trails as well as the characteristic dykes and mineral springs of the Harz region. The route is relatively flat, with no major ascents or descents. Your destination for the day is Altenau, a very pleasant village with a beautiful park.

Overnight: Altenau

4

Day 4: From Altenau to Schierke via Brocken Mountain

Distance: 20 km | Approx. walking time: 6 hrs

Today is the highlight of your Harz walking holiday, as you climb to the summit of Brocken – the region’s highest peak (1,142 m) located in the heart of the Harz National Park. The Brocken is associated with many myths and legends of witches and devils. It is the focal point for the Walpurgis Night festival, when witches and devils are said to gather on the mountain. Your hike to the summit follows the Goethe Trail, named after the famous writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, who is known to have climbed the mountain several times during his life. If the weather is on your side, the magnificent view of the Harz Mountains will compensate for the challenging ascent.

After enjoying some refreshment on the plateau, you will then start the more comfortable part of the day. You will board the Brockenbahn steam engine (ticket not included), for a very scenic journey to the nearby spa town of Schierke, where you will spend the night.

Overnight: Schierke

5

Day 5: From Schierke to Rübeland

Distance: 21 km | Approx. walking time: 6 hrs

On today’s hike, you will pass the “Trudenstein” mountain. Stop to enjoy the wonderful panoramic view before descending to the waterfall in Königshütte. You then follow the Bode river through Tiefenbachtal.  As you reach the Hoher Kleef viewpoint, you can enjoy a fantastic view over today’s destination – the village of Rübeland. Located on the Bode river, Rübeland is known for its caves with enormous stalactites and stalagmites, which are well worth a visit.

Overnight: Rübeland

6

Day 6: From Rübeland to Treseburg

Distance: 20 km | Approx. walking time: 5½ hrs

On today’s section of the Harz Witches Trail you wander along idyllic forest and meadow paths, through an old mining area, with many interesting geological features. Following the course of the Bode river, you pass the Wendefurth dam before reaching the peaceful and idyllic village of Treseburg.

Overnight: Treseburg

7

Day 7: From Treseburg to Thale

Distance: 10 km | Approx. walking time: 3 hrs

The last section of the Harzer-Hexen-Stieg takes you through the dramatic Bodetal Gorge, which is steeped in legends. High granite rocks tower above the narrow riverside path, while the river itself flows through a spectacular series of rapids and clear pools.

Your destination is Thale. For a nice ending of your tour, we recommend taking a chair lift up to either the Hexentanzplatz (Witches’ Dance Floor) or the granite rock “Rosstrappe” for wonderful views over the gorge.

From Thale you can reach Quedlinburg within a very short time via train or bus. There, you can alternatively stay overnight (extension price on request). A beautiful World Heritage town of half-timbered houses, a towering castle and cathedral on the hill above town, Quedlinburg is one of the best preserved medieval and renaissance towns in Europe and is the perfect place to finish your Harz Witches Trail.

Overnight: Thale or Quedlinburg

8

Day 8: Departure

Your walking holiday comes to an end after breakfast this morning, unless you have booked any additional services with us. You have the possibility to prolong your walking holidays with some additional nights, e.g. in Quedlinburg or other towns along the Harz Witches Trail. We will gladly book further overnight stays for you so please do not hesitate to ask us!


Getting to Osterode

  The closest airports are Hannover and Berlin
Osterode is easily reached by train from either Hannover or Berlin airports (2h 1 and 2h30 respectively). Check Deutsche Bahn’s website for more information.
If travelling by car, it is usually possible to park your car at the first hotel for the duration of your trip. Nevertheless in most cases it is not possible to reserve the parking lot in advance. Please find contact information of your hotels in your travel documents to be able to inquire about a car parking options. Parking spaces are subject to fees in the majority of cases, with parking fees to be paid directly to the hotel. We can arrange return travel from Thale/Quedlinburg to Osterode at the end of your trip.

Departure from Thale/Quedlinburg

Quedlinburg has a train station and regular trains connect to Berlin (approx. 3 hours) and Hannover (approx. 2 hours), as well as several other destinations in Germany. Check Deutsche Bahn’s website for more information.
Harz Witches Trail
Typical half-timbered houses in Osterode
Harzer-Hexen-Stieg
Hiking the Harz Witches Trail - Oberharzer Wasserregal
Oberharzer Wasserregal (Upper Harz water shelf)
The largest wooden church in Germany, Clausthal-Zellerfeld
Harz forest path
bench in forest
Harz hiking signposts
Brocken view
Brocken summit
Brocken steam train
The picturesque village of Treseburg
Harz National Park
Thale gondola
Devil statue, Hexentanzplatz, Thale
Hexentanzplatz, Thale
Bodetal view
Rosstrappe, Bodetal, Thale
The medieval city of Quedlinburg
Fachwerkhauser, Quedlinburg

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