Germanyâ€˜s hidden treasure where fairy tales begin
Discover a beautiful landscape in the heart of Germany take a journey through nature, culture and adventure Index Nature The Harz National Park The Green Belt Nature Parks
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Culture UNESCO Sights Mines of the Harz The Harz Narrow Gauge Railway Castles of the Harz Churches and Monasteries Legends and Myths of the Harz Witches Festival (Walpurgisnacht)
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Adventure Mountain Biking Hiking in the Harz Water – Wet and Wonderful Up High Kids Adventure Winter Magic Christmas Markets
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Editorial: Bärbel and Martin Coombes (This is Harz), Harzer Tourismusverband Concept/Composition/Performance: FOUR MOMENTS - Brands. Design. Communication. Print: Harzdruckerei Wernigerode Pictures: Harzer Tourismusverband: p. 3 right and left, p. 4, p. 7 right, p. 8, p. 9 bottom, p. 13, p. 20 / Harzer Tourismusverband, Foto M. Gloger: title, U2, p. 1, p. 2-3, p. 3 middle, p. 7 middle, p. 9 head, p. 10, p. 15 right and left, p. 16, p. 17 / Armin Maywald: p. 12, back side / Biosphärenreservat Karstlandschaft Südharz: p. 5 / Fotolia © Klaus-Peter Adler: p. 21 bottom / Fotolia © Robert Cocquyt: p. 18 / GOSLAR marketing gmbh: p. 21 head / Harzwasserwerke: p. 6-7 / Lutherstadt Eisleben: p. 7 left / Matthias Bein: p. 13 bottom / Sebastian Schieck für HARZ-Agentur: p. 14-15, p. 15 middle / Seilbahnen Thale: p. 19 / ZisterzienserMuseum Kloster Walkenried, Foto Günther Jentsch: p. 11
â€?..the Harz Mountains steeped in legend and beauty..â€œ T
he Harz is a secret little gem located in the middle of Germany, where you will discover medieval romantic towns with their half timbered framed buildings, old castles set against a mountainous backdrop and historic mines which brought wealth and prosperity to the region. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as the medieval towns of Quedlinburg and Goslar as well as the Upper Harz Water Management System and the Mines of Rammelsberg. The Harz Mountains rise from the North German plain, covering an area of 100km long and 30km wide and spreading over three states; SaxonyAnhalt, Thuringia and Lower Saxony. The Harz has an unforgettable landscape of mountains, deep valleys with rich forests, mysterious caves and clear
mountain lakes and waterfalls. The Harz National Park, a nature reserve set across the Harz Mountains, protects this legendary landscape of moors and unspoilt rivers and is home to rare plants and animals. Famous walking trails such as the Goethe, and the Witches trail lead you across this mystical land, towards the Brocken, the highest point in North Germany at 1,142 m (3,743 feet). There is something for everybody, both young and old, to ensure that your time in the Harz will be an unforgettable experience. You can go hiking in the national park on one of the many signposted trails, take beautiful bike tours or enjoy mountain biking - even deep underground in the mines. You will find plenty of opportunities for golf, sailing, fishing,
swimming and other exciting activities to see and do. If you would like to just relax and pamper yourself, then you will find amazing spa towns with natural springs and a vast collection of wellness programmes. Once the first snow has fallen, the Harz takes on its winter magic. The ski resorts are ideal for both beginners and advanced and offer alpine and cross-country skiing as well as snowboarding, snow - tubing, sledging and ice skating. However, the Harz is not all about sports in the winter; you can relax while being pulled along by a horse-drawn carriage, enjoy sipping mulled wine at the Christmas Markets or let the snowflakes drift over you while relaxing in the thermal baths.
Nature Germanyâ€˜s natural beauty breathing space for you for life....
The Harz National Park T
he spectacular landscape of the Harz National Park will allow you to experience the fascinating natural diversity of Germany‘s most northern mountain range. A nature reserve set within a mystical landscape, where the flowing rivers, moors and mountain forests provide a suitable home for the many rare plants and animals that coexist. In keeping with all national parks, the motto of ”let nature be nature“ is central in the protection of this natural process. Today 24,700 hectares of the Harz are a protected nature reserve in which rare and reintroduced animals find a safe place to live. The preservation of wildlife and nature is of particular importance to the Harz National Park. While walking through the national park, visitors might get the opportunity to see indigenous animals such as wild boar, red deer, roe deer as well as a rich variety of birdlife, which includes the black woodpecker and the ring ouzel. The very lucky might even catch a glimpse of a wild cat or a lynx. The former German border that once separated East and West Germany ran through the Harz and therefore large parts of this region were prohibited areas. After the reunification of Germany and the collapse of the wall, the Harz National Park was established in 2006 by merging the Upper Harz Natio-
nal Park in Saxony-Anhalt and the Harz National Park in Lower Saxony. Rising over the national park is the legendary Brocken. A mountain, which is both rich in historical legend and myth, has become a mighty symbol for a modern reunified Germany after it represented the separation for so many years. The Brocken with its summit at 1,141 meters (3,743 ft) is the highest peak in Northern Germany. It was off limits to all civilians during the years of the cold war, when it was used by the Russian military and the East German secret police, the ”Stasi“, as a listening post towards radio communications coming from the west. Modern history is not the only reason why people travel to the Brocken today. The mountain has long been the centre of stories about the devil and witchcraft. The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe described the Brocken in his play ”Faust“, published in 1808, as the meeting place for witches on Walpurgisnacht (April 30th). The Brocken, often shrouded in mist, produces an eerie optical illusion known as the Brocken Spectre, where a climber‘s shadow is cast onto the mist. Many walking trails such as the Harzer-Hexen-Stieg (witches trail) and the Gotheweg (Goethe trail) take you across this legendary, magical
and varied landscape. The 94km long Harzer-Hexen-Stieg runs from Osterode in the West to Thale in the East. It ranks among the top trails in Germany and is a great way of getting a sense of this remarkable mountain range. The 9km long Goethe trail begins at the Torfhaus and leads you up to the summit of the Brocken and makes an excellent day trip. The Torfhaus is a popular destination in all seasons. Here you will find the National Park Visitors Centre Torfhaus, with its newly designed interactive exhibition about the region, habitat and fauna. Another possibility is to walk along the 75km trail of the former inner German border, also known as a part of “Green Belt Germany“; which acts as a refuge for rare plants and animals.
Wild Lynxs of Harz The reintroduction of these rare animals started in 2000 as part of a 10 year programme. The last known lynx in the Harz was killed in 1818. Between summer 2000 and autumn 2006, a total of 24 lynxes (9 males and 15 females) were released into the wild. The first success of this programme was recorded in the summer of 2002, when wild-born pups were detected. You can visit the lynx enclosure by the ”Rabenklippe Café“ in Bad Harzburg and watch public feeding.
The Green Belt T
he Green Belt is a valuable habitat for plants and animals, which has replaced what used to be the longest fortified border in the world. Where once walls, watchtowers and landmines created a death zone for many, now a rich biodiversity of plants and wildlife flourish. For nearly 40 years the Iron Curtain split across Europe and divided it into two very different political, ideological and geographic areas. In the Harz the Iron Curtain left its mark across the mountain range, with the Brocken standing guard over the divided neighbours. After the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, conversation groups from all over Germany acted quickly to ensure that the many threatened species were to be protected.
The idea of the Green Belt was created and now extends across Europe taking in over 150 nature reserves. In 2004 European countries committed to the Green Belt as a monument of European history, thus making it one of the largest conservation projects in Europe. Today, the Green Belt stretches 12,500 km, through 23 countries. You can discover this unspoiled nature while walking along the Green Belt Harz trail. Explore historical monuments and places of cultural importance such as the ”Memorial Stapelburg“ and parts of the former border in Eckertal as well as the watch tower and the “Ring of Remembrance” in Sorge.
It is also recommended to visit the famous Cistercian Monastery in Walkenried as well as the Grenzland Museum in Tettenborn near Bad Sachsa.
Nature Parks A
walk through the Harz is like looking through a unique window into the Earth, where millions of years of geological history are on show. The internationally recognised Geopark â€?Harz - Braunschweiger Land - Ostfalenâ€œ displays the important geological and mineralogical diversity of the region. The Geopark is divided into so called landmarks representing places of historical and cultural importance. Due to a long history of mining, the Harz has been geographically well researched and you will find plenty of information in museums and historic mines. The virtually untouched natural landscape of the Harz together with evidence of a long history of settlements provides us with one of the most bio-diverse regions in Germany. This is due, mainly to the various altitudes; from river valleys in the foreland to
the tree line in the Upper Harz, and to the different climatic conditions of the Atlantic in the west and continental in the east. In a corresponding manner, the region has a rich selection of wildlife as well. Typical indigenous animals are the wild cat, the fire salamander, the dipper, grey wagtail and the boreal owl. The natureâ€™s richness is protected by three legally independent nature parks, covering almost the whole mountain range.
carpet of white wood anemone, the intense aroma of wild garlic forests, pink flowering fruit trees and brilliant red poppies as far as the eye can see. The large deposits of Zechstein salt, which form to become gypsum, have helped to shape the characteristics of this region. As a result, caves, sinkholes and disappearing streams gradually evolved, thus becoming integral parts of the landscape.
The Biosphere Reserve Karst Landscape of South Harz, one of the most significant gypsum karst sceneries in Europe, is located between the historical European city of Stolberg in the west and the city of roses Sangerhausen in the east of Harz. The diverse landscape has evolved from a tropical sea, which used to cover this area more than 250 million years ago. The sea now long gone has been replaced by an endless
Culture UNESCO World Heritage in the Harz world famous cultural treasures
UNESCO Sights T
he significance of the Harz can be clearly demonstrated by the fact that among the many sites of cultural and historical interest, three have been selected by UNESCO as unique and important places of human history.
and zinc, which were mined in the 1000 year old Rammelsberg Mines. In addition to this, the Upper Harz Water Management System is testimony to medieval hydropower; a perfect combination of culture and nature.
The mines of Rammelsberg, Goslar and the Upper Harz Water Management System
Quedlinburg Old Town Cradle of our nation, beloved by the king.
The mines of Rammelsberg and the Historic Town of Goslar have not only had UNESCO World Heritage status since 1992 but were the first industrial monuments on German soil to be recognised by UNESCO. In 2010, UNESCO added the Upper Harz Water Management System to its list, which is the world‘s largest and most significant combined system of lakes and water ditches.
UNESCO describes Quedlinburg as an ”extraordinary example of a medieval European town“. The narrow streets and over 1300 half-timbered houses from over eight centuries reveal a valuable insight into many centuries of history. The Collegiate church St. Servatius is an architectural masterpiece of the Romanesque period. According to legend, this is the place where Henry l (Heinrich der I) was invested with royal dignity, thus becoming the first king of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.
The cultural uniqueness of these UNESCO sites, each interconnected to the other, make them so remarkable. The preserved Old Town of Goslar with its narrow streets and historical buildings owes much of its splendour to the deposits of silver, lead, copper
Lutherstadt Eisleben Discover the birthplace and gain an insight into the background and early stages of the life of Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer who was born in Lutherstadt Eisleben in 1483. The Luther Memorials display a significant stage in human history and were designated World Heritage Sites in 1996. An exhibition in the new museum at his former residence portrays the life of this eventful reformer.
Mines of the Harz T
he Harz used to be one of the most important mining regions in Germany. Silver, lead, copper and zinc were mined here. Great wealth was accumulated from the mining, especially of silver, as during the 16th 19th centuries nearly half of the entire German silver production came from the Harz. Apart from the Mines of Rammelsberg, which have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there are also other mines that not only display an important part of the history of the Harz, but also hold many mysteries and surprises. The HoehlenErlebnisZentrum Iberger Cave in Bad Grund has a fascinating story of genealogy where two current residents were introduced to their 3000 year old former ancestors. Apart from traditional tours and exhibitions, the large mine in Son-
derhausen offers plenty of adventure; you can reach the lower levels by using a 36 meter slide, take a boat ride across the salty lakes or even play bowling 700 meters below ground. Some of the oldest mines can be found in the Upper Harz. The Mining Museum in Clausthal Zellerfeld, which is the oldest of its kind in Germany, has valuable collections of art and cultural history as well as the mystery of the mountain monk. The silver mine Grube Samson in Sankt Andreasberg offers a unique insight into the mining history. One of the oldest operational man engines is situated in the pit, where it can be seen in use. The large water wheel now powered by a motor used to get its power from the Oderteich, a historic reservoir, which is part of the Upper Harz Water Management System.
There are so many mines to discover within the Harz, each providing a unique opportunity to see and feel at firsthand what life was like for the miners and their families. Experience the awesome magnitude of more than 1000 years of mining history, that has helped to shape this fascinating region.
The Harz Narrow Gauge Railway W
hat better way to enjoy the beautiful mountainous landscape of the Harz, than by travelling aboard a vintage steam train. Remember a time when rail travel was something special and unique; the sound of the engineâ€˜s whistle, smoke drifting past the window and the smell of a real steam train evoke memories of a bygone age. Settle back, relax in the comfortable historic carriages and enjoy train travel as it should be done. The Harz Narrow Gauge Railways (Harzer Schmalspurbahnen) have the largest network of narrow gauge railways in Germany and have been classified as historical monuments since 1972. With a fleet off 25 steam trains, the oldest dating from 1897, 16 diesel engines and over 140 km off tracks, they connect the towns of Wernigerode, Nordhausen and Quedlinburg. The network
can be divided into three principal railways; the Harz Railway, which connects Wernigerode to Nordhausen, the Selke Valley Railway, which branches of the Harz Railway to arrive in Quedlinburg, and the very popular Brocken Railway, which also branches of the Harz Railway and runs to one of the highest train stations in Germany, the summit of the Brocken. The outstanding natural beauty and steep gradients that you will travel through make the Harz Narrow Gauge Railway so special. There are over 400 bridges, countless tight bends around the many narrow valleys and not forgetting the spectacular panoramic views as you ascend to the summit of Germanyâ€˜s highest northern mountain, the Brocken.
Castles of the Harz T
here are many castles and fortifications in the Harz which have the power to capture the imagination; some of them are large and have left an enduring mark on the landscape as mighty symbols of the former importance of this region, others are less well known and lay as almost forgotten ruins. Over the centuries, the Harz has seen more than 500 castles and palaces which were destroyed in bloody battles and rebuilt again. These were once homes to well known emperors and kings such as Heinrich I and Frederick I Barbarossa. The historical Imperial Palace of Goslar is considered to be one of the oldest and best-preserved examples of secular architecture in Europe. The palace was built in the 11th century by Emperor Heinrich II. Thirteen kings and emperors have held court here and it is the resting place of the heart of Henry III. Other fairy tale castles such as the ones
found in Wernigerode, Quedlinburg and Herzberg, stand imposing above the towns, as reminders of past glories. The Wernigerode castle displays a range of different architectural styles; from its original Romanesque style to its brushes with Neo-Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neo-Romantic style, which Count Otto added in the 19th century. The large Renaissance style Quedlinburg Castle was founded by "Henry I", who was the first king of Germany. After his death in 936, his widow Saint Mathilda founded the Quedlinburg Abbey, a religious community for women. Both Henry I and his wife are buried in the crypt of the church. The castle museum is a great place to see the restored rooms as well as other important historical collections. Apart from the well preserved architecture, the Harz also displays many enchanted castle ruins such as the medieval Scharzfels Castle located east of the village of Scharzfeld. It was built in
the 10th century and first captured in 1761 during the "Seven Years' War". The impressive Regenstein Castle situated on a steep rocky hill about 3 km from Blankenburg, which is surrounded by the remains of a more recent fortress, has an open air museum, an annual festival and knight's tournament. Take the time to discover these and many more spectacular old castles and palaces set among beautiful scenery, which will provide you with a feeling of history and splendour.
George I King of Great Britain Duchess Anna Eleanor (1601-1659) lived at Herzberg Castle in the Harz alone after the death of her husband Duke of Brunswick. One of their sons, Duke Ernst August, became the electorate for the Principality of Hanover in 1692. His eldest son, George Louis was born in Hanover in 1660 and ascended after the death of Queen Anne to the throne at the age of 54 to become King of Great Britain George I.
Churches and Monasteries T
he Harz was once a centre of religious power and church influence, which made a significant contribution to the shaping of belief. Many well preserved churches and monasteries located in this region date back to the Ottonian dynasty (9191024). Admire the various churches and monasteries all over the Harz that display not only impressive architecture but also religious heritage. The steeples that rise above the towns have helped to shape this landscape, each telling its own story and becoming famous sites of religious history. Visit the Romanesque Monastery Church St. Servatius in Quedlinburg and discover one of the most important and most precious collections of medieval church treasures in Germany. View the ornate ceiling frescos in the church crypt, where the first king of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, King Henry I and his wife Matilda lay to
rest in the royal tomb. One of the most valuable comprehensive church treasures worldwide can be seen in the Halberstadt Cathedral of St Stephen and St Sixtus, which ranks among the most impressive Gothic churches in Germany. This unique collection of treasures comprises of all art forms since the Middle Ages, from alter pieces, sculptures, manuscripts, silver and gold pieces imbedded with precious stones to one of the oldest surviving tapestries in Europe; the Romanesque Apostles tapestry from 1170. Also of importance to the religious history of the Harz are the former monasteries which existed for spiritual guidance and the worship of god. The Druebeck Monastery, a former Benedictine monastery and once home to nuns, is today well known for its dream gardens, which are part of the Historic Parks in Saxony-Anhalt. In the South Harz the Cistercian Monastery
Walkenried used to be the largest and most influential church in North Germany. Here you can see some of the impressive remains of the abbey plus an excellent new museum, which is one of the largest and most innovative museums in Europe covering the history of monastic life. Woeltingerode Monastery was founded 1147 as a Benedictine monastery and later converted to a Cistercian nunnery. You can visit the monastery church with its baroque furnishings, take a distillery tour and enjoy a delicious meal in the Klosterkrug with its beer garden. Discover many more churches and monasteries, where you will find interesting and revealing facts of sacred history of the Harz as well as Germany.
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Legends and Myths of the Harz N
owhere in Germany has quite such a colourful collection of myths and legends as the Harz. From giants and ghosts, to witches and devils, to stories of lost love and hidden treasures; enjoy a journey through the land of legend and myths. On the Rosstrappe, which is opposite the Witches Dance Floor and high over the Bode Gorge by the town of Thale, you can see the impression of a horses hoof imbedded into the rocks. Legend has it that a giant called Bodo gave chase to the kings beautiful daughter Brunhilde, whom he wanted to marry against her will. Her horse jumped safely across the mighty ravine, but her pursuer fell to his death. According to legend, he turned into a black dog and is still guarding the Princess Crown which fell off as she made her escape.
Peasants' Revolt in 1525. Alternatively follow in the footsteps of a wealthy nobleman who, once on holiday in Italy, met a man living in a large villa. The man told him that his wealth came from gold-rich sand found in the Harz. Arriving home, the noble man tried to profit from this knowledge but he was only able to find a small section. The rest is still waiting to be discovered.
It's no surprise that a region which used to be rich in natural treasures would have stories of lost treasure. Maybe on your visit to the Cistercian Monastery Walkenried you will discover the treasures that the monks left behind as they fled during the
Stories of witchcraft and sorcery can be found all over the Harz. One famous story is of lost love where a young knight who was nearly tricked by an evil witch to marry her daughter, came out of the spell and fell in love with the beautiful Princess Ilse. The
The mysterious depths of the mountains of the Harz with large natural caves and man-made mines are said to be home to dwarfs, goblins, ghostly monks and even mermaids. Long before Jules Verne wrote, "journey to the centre of the Earth", there had been stories of a parallel universe described by the mountain men who claimed to have seen it.
jealous witch rode to the Brocken on Walpurgis Night and asked for help from the prince of hell. They sent a terrible thunderstorm, sweeping away the castle and killing many people. Only Princess Ilse was saved by magical power, but caught in the enchanted mountain where her heart still searches for the man she loves.
Brocken Spectre Is it possible to be killed by your own shadow? You are climbing along a high ridge, aware of the mist and clouds which surround you. When suddenly the sun breaks behind you, and as you turn back to face the ridge, you see a large figure in the mist, floating, celestial with heavenly halo colour rings surrounding it. Shocked by this mystical figure you slip and fall! This ghost-like image is due to an optical illusion caused by the climbers own shadow being projected on to the mist or fog. So if you are out walking and see a figure in the mist, don't be scared, it's not a ghostly apparition; just a harmless Brocken Spectre.
Witches Festival (Walpurgisnacht) N
o other mountain range in Germany is so strongly associated with witches and the devil like the Harz, where an unnerving landscape with strange rock formations like the "Witches Altar" and "Devils Pulpit" wait for you. The Brocken with its mysterious summit, often shrouded in mist and clouds, evokes the legendary tales of witches and devils. According to legend, witches gather on Walpurgis Night upon the summit of the Brocken to dance around huge fires and worship their lord, the devil, who bestows new magic power upon them. Walpurgisnacht, a former pagan festival, which takes place on the night of April 30th, has its origins from the English missionary Saint Walburga, who lived in Heidenheim Monastery and was canonised by Pope Adrian II on May 1 (ca, 870). Her bones were
removed from her resting place and sent to various churches, after it was claimed that miracle-working oil was seeping from her tomb. In medieval times, Saint Walburga was called upon to defend the faithful against witchcraft and it was said, she could offer protection against plague, famine and the bites of rabid dogs. The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) famously put the Brocken as the scene of Walpurgis Night in his play "Faust". Faust is a highly successful scholar, who is dissatisfied with his life, and so makes a deal with the devil, exchanging his soul for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasures. Although mentioned in earlier German texts, it was Goethe's writings that inspired what today is one of the largest parties in Harz.
People from all over Germany and the world come to experience Walpurgis Night in the Harz. It is a time for celebration and party, where you will see devils and witches with long pointed noses walking around the towns. Most villages in the Harz, especially those near the Brocken celebrate into the early hours, welcoming the beginning of spring with as much noise as possible to drive the witches away.
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Adventure Germanyâ€˜s exciting heart more than just holidayâ€Ś
Mountain Biking T
he Harz is the best mountain-bike region in Northern Germany, with one of the largest bike parks in Europe. Well marked trails from short and easy to long and extremely challenging offer something suitable for every level of fitness. While cycling along the trails, which take you through pristine scenery, deep valleys, beech and pine forests and upland moors, you will discover impressive historical and cultural monuments, charming idyllic Harz towns as well as the legendary Brocken. One of the biggest Mountain Bike parks in Europe the Volksbank Arena Harz, provides 62 signposted routes, marked according to their level of difficulty, with a total length of about 1,800 km. You can start your tours in over 20 villages and towns. These varied routes are suitable not only for day trips but can also be combined to make a complete holiday. The Harz also has four downhill mountain bike parks: The Rosstrappen Downhill Park in Thale, located in the midst of the Bode Valley, where 2 km long trails drop down 250 meters.
The Bike Park Hahnenklee with seven downhill routes and a practice course has everything for beginners and professionals. The Bike-Alpinum Schulenberg and the Braunlage Bike Park also put emphasis on adventurous mountain biking; the natural downhill runs, man-made obstacles and different levels of difficulty make sure that your visit will be an unforgettable one.
If you want to try something different, then ride the Monster Roller in Braunlage. Take a journey down the Wurmberg on one of the oversize scooters with disc brakes and large treaded tires. The route is 5 km long and with a fast descent of 411 meters it guarantees the ultimate thrill for young and old.
If you need more adrenalin then try cave mountain biking at the Sonderhausen Adventure Mine. This unique underground challenge is a very special experience for even skilled cyclists; barely lit trails, tight turns and inclines of 20 %, while riding 500 to 800 metres below ground is ideal for cyclists looking for that new sporting challenge. Bikes and equipment can be hired around the Harz. In addition to this many hotels offer great mountain-bike facilities and even repair shops, which make it easy to go on an adventurous tour spontaneously. Discover the full beauty of the Harz and live your love for mountain biking during your holiday.
Golf in the Harz Golfers will find the perfect conditions to improve their handicap and game in the Harz. There are four challenging courses nestled harmoniously among the beautiful natural scenery. So if it is teeing off with a view towards the Harz Mountains, or a relaxing drink at the 19th hole afterwards, you can be sure of a warm welcome.
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Hiking in the Harz W
hether you would like to take a leisurely Sunday stroll through the forest or a 5 day energetic hike along one of Germany's top walking trails; you will discover a landscape of mixed coniferous woodland, rocky canyons, towering cliffs and ancient moors. The legendary Brocken is one of the many highlights of the excellent hiking trails that lead across the Harz Mountains and the Harz National Park a landscape which is filled with stories of fairy tales, witches and legends. The most famous long distance trail is the Harzer-Hexen-Stieg (Harz Witches Trail) which is just less than 100km long and runs from Osterode and crosses though the Harz to Thale via the Brocken. Although this trail is one of the most popular there are other trails such as the Selketal-Stieg or the Harzer BaudenSteig, which runs from Bad Grund to Walkenried through the gentle valleys of the South Harz. Along the way you can visit cosy mountain inns known as "Bauden", where you can enjoy regional hearty specialities. Alternatively walk along sections of
the former German border "Green Belt", a 100km trail that takes you along this once divided country and today provides a valuable habitat for plants and animals. The hiking trails of the Harz can be taken in a leisurely day walk or spread over a number of days to cover a longer distance. Another option is the rapidly growing sport of "Speedhiking". This fast walking sport, using poles to stabilize the body and develop upper body strength is the perfect combination of physical challenge and intense natural experience. If you wish to try something a little bit more extreme, than take part in the world's greatest team challenge the "Oxfam Germany Trailwalker Event", which is held in the Harz once a year. Teams of four have to complete a 100km walk (run) in less than 30 hours. This special challenge was once a military exercise for the elite Queens Gurkha Regiment in Hong Kong and now is not only one of the world's leading sporting challenges, but also an event to raise money for good causes.
Harz Hiking Badge The Harz hiking badge (Harzer Wandernadel) is a network of 222 stamps, checkpoints spread across the Harz. If you would like to start the adventure, you need a hiking pass which can be bought at any tourist centre. The pass must be stamped at each of the stations. It is permitted to gain the awards gradually as there is no time limit within, which the stamps have to be collected. Once you have achieved a required number of stamps you hand it over to the tourist board who will issue you with a badge for a small fee. There are different levels of badges depending on how many checkpoints you have achieved. For 8 stamps you will receive the bronze badge, 24 stamps will gain you the gold badge, with 50 stamps you can call yourself "Harz Hiking King" and with all 222 stamps you will become the "Harz Hiking Emperor"!
Water - Wet and Wonderful W
ith its unspoiled and beautiful landscape, the Harz is particularly suitable for visitors who enjoy being outdoors. There are plenty of opportunities to get wet and wild in the Harz, because of the many natural rivers, lakes, reservoirs as well as large indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Depending on the weather and season, you can either visit one of the indoor or outdoor water attractions. Waterslides, wave pools, diving boards, whirlpools and numerous water sports will guarantee both fun and relaxation for the whole family. On warm and sunny days the lidos and fresh outdoor lakes are the perfect place to relax and cool down. The Harz has some of the most beautiful forest lidos in Germany, that combine the experience of nature with comfort, where you can swim safely surround-
ed by rolling meadows and tall trees. The unspoiled beauty of the many rivers, dams, lakes and ponds found in the Harz help to make up the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Harz Water Management System. These ponds such as the Wiesenbecker Teich in Bad Lauterberg and the Kleiner Okerteich in Altenau provide relaxing days in secluded parts of the forest where you can swim in the middle of world culture.
was flooded to make way for the Oker Dam. Trial lessons and professional tours are offered by diving schools. There are opportunities for canoeing, both in wild water by the Oker Reservoir or more relaxing in Canadian canoes across the many lakes and rivers. Sailing and fishing are also possible; please contact the tourist office for more details.
Discover the colourful underwater landscape of the Harz. Some parts of this region benefit from clear gravel ponds which allow good visibility and an excellent chance to see many species of fish and plant- life or old ship wrecks while diving. The very lucky might even see the old church of the small town of Schulenberg, which
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Up High F
or the more adventurous, see the Harz from a different angle. Get up high on a sightseeing flight by helicopter, float in a hot air balloon across the mountain tops or feel the adrenalin flowing as you try to navigate across one of many obstacles in the tree-top Skyrope parks. Adventure climbing The Harz provides many opportunities to go climbing. The mountainous landscape and many granite rock formations mean both beginners and experienced climbers will discover one of Germanyâ€™s most popular climbing regions. Different types of rocks such as sandstone, granite and chalk give plenty of variety and provide new challenges. Enjoy climbing in unspoiled nature and if required, take part in guided tours, taster or climbing courses.
Skyrope Suspended high above the ground, you precariously navigate across various obstacles, although wearing a harness and attached to a safety line, there is a clear perceived sense of danger. Skyrope parks are fun, exciting, high level thrills, which provide an adrenaline fuelled experience. The Bergsport Arena in Sankt Andreasberg has a variety of rope and suspension bridges, obstacles as well as nearly 100 stations plus a 300 metre long zip line. All guaranteed to give you a day full of adventure. The Climbing Forest Thale and the Climbing Forest Blankenburg are both surrounded by beautiful nature and provide many elements such as climbing walls, ropes and bars as well as
several courses for adults and children. The Skyrope Bad Harzburg is one of the most interesting forest rope parks. Here you will overcome heights of 10 meters while walking across narrow wooden bridges. Special attractions include a jump from an 8 metre high wooden stake and a giant slide. Birdâ€™s eye view of the Harz One of the best ways to experience the unspoilt nature of the Harz is from above; floating gently across the sky in a hot air balloon allowing the wind to decide the direction, paragliding with an experienced pilot on a tandem flight or by helicopter as you sit back and enjoy the scenery.
Kids Adventure T
he Harz is an ideal destination for child-friendly family holidays. There is just so much to see and discover that it will feel like an adventure holiday from beginning to end. Both young children and teens will find a world of fun and entertainment in these magical mountains. The kids will especially love the outdoor toboggan runs located in the Harz. In Sankt Andreasberg you reach the start of the toboggan run by chair lift, and then ride the vertical drop of 130 meters down the mountain. Two all weather toboggan runs, one found in Thale at the Hexentanzplatz (witches' dance floor), with nine hairpin bends and speeds up to of 40 km and the other, the Brocken Coaster in Schierke, mean that whatever the weather, including snow you can be assured of some great thrills.
The many swimming pools around Harz both indoor and outdoor ensure an ideal opportunity to have some water fun. Many of the pools have 3 meter and 5 meter diving boards as well as water slides, wave machines and separate paddling pools for the little ones. Outdoor heated pools in the summer months, with sun terraces, lawns, playgrounds and restaurants provide give a whole day of entertainment. The majority of the pools offer recreation and wellness facilities such as saunas, solariums, steam rooms and whirlpools. Perhaps your children would prefer to travel underground in one of the mines that can be discovered in the Harz. Take a train into the heart of the UNESCO Rammelsberg Mine in Goslar, row across the submerged salty lake in the Sonderhausen Mine or play
bowling 700 meters below ground. If your children like riding scooters, then let them try the monster scooters in Braunlage. For the younger guests as well as adults the small amusement park Krodoland in Bad Harzburg ensure plenty of fun, with a play barn, Indian village as well mini golf facilities. In Thale is the largest indoor playground in the region, with a 40 meter giant slide, 5 meter climbing wall and several trampolines. So whatever your children want to do; you can be assured the Harz always offers something that will keep them enthused and entertained.
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Winter Magic W
ith snow crunching underfoot and an enchanted atmosphere, winter is one of the most beautiful seasons of the year. As snowflakes drop onto the mountain peaks and glistening rivers freeze over into cool ice, the Harz becomes a magic winter wonderland. The Harz, located in the middle of Germany, is known as an ideal and affordable ski destination which is easy to reach. Skiing areas for both beginners and advanced, fun parks for snowboarders and sledging runs for great fun ensure an adventurous holiday in the middle of a winter paradise. The well maintained slopes in this region offer appropriate lifts which make winter sports in the mountains even more enjoyable. A very special and romantic feeling can be experienced at night, when some runs are lit by floodlight. Alpine skiers and snowboarders will
find excellent ski resorts to pursue their favourite pastime. Braunlage, Hahnenklee and St. Andreasberg rank among the most popular ski areas and also have modern snowmaking equipment to help support the natural conditions. The smaller resorts also offer excellent facilities such as ski lifts and floodlight skiing. Beginners and advanced skiers will find a choice of slopes with different levels of difficulty. Ski lessons for beginners and those that want to learn snowboarding or improve existing skills and ski schools for children can be found in all the majority of resorts. The cross country network provides 500 km of well signposted groomed ski tracks for all skill levels. Cross-country skiing is an intoxicating unforgettable experience, particularly in the Harz National Park, where snow is relatively guaranteed during the winter months.
As ski rental is offered by all major ski resorts, it is not necessary to bring your own. Enjoy ice skating, curling and ice discos in the indoor ice rinks in Braunlage and Bad Sachsa. Hockey fans should catch a game by the official Harz Ice Hockey team the "Harzer Wolfs" in Braunlage. Outdoor romantic natural ice skating rinks can be found in Bad Harzburg, Hahnenklee, HohegeiĂ&#x; and Schierke. Please be aware of the dangers of skating on thin ice. Wellness hotels in Harz offer saunas, beauty treatments and pure pampering which will help you to relax during your holiday. Discover the snowy winter wonderland and take an incredibly romantic trip in a horse-drawn carriage after which you can drink tasty mulled wine while warming up in front of an open fire.
Christmas Markets T
he Christmas Markets in the Harz draped in shimmering snow and illuminated by twinkling fairy lights with the scent of mulled wine, cinnamon and almonds in the air, attract people from all over Europe. A fairytale landscape, beautiful medieval market squares, timber frame buildings and highly picturesque settings provide a perfect backdrop for Christmassy winter wonderland. Outdoor Christmas shopping is so much nicer with a cup of hot mulled wine in your hand, as you walk around one of the 40 Christmas markets in the Harz, admiring the romantically adorned stands selling ginger bread hearts, homemade food, drinks as well as traditional Christmas goods, beautiful handicrafts, decorations and ornaments.
Every Christmas market is decorated with the greatest care and love in order to reflect the special atmosphere of the winter landscape of the Harz. The Christmas market in Goslar, one of the most beautiful in Northern Germany, is known for its unique Christmas forest. The splendour of countless sparkling lights and lovely adorned stands changes the lively city into an enchanted winter scene. The town of Quedlinburg characterised by centuries-old half-timbered houses, shows Saxony-Anhaltâ€™s most beautiful Christmas market. One of the most impressive Christmas markets can be found in Wernigerode, where the market square with its 15th century town hall and charming halftimbered houses make a picturesque setting for the festively sparkling
Christmas stands. Concerts, choirs and orchestras provide Christmas music while the snow is falling gently to the ground, covering the historical town in a white blanket. A special highlight of the Christmas market in Nordhausen is Germanyâ€™s biggest handmade Schwibbogen, which is a decorative candle holder, three meters high and six meters wide. The Christmas market takes place by the town hall square and shows lovely decorated stands which will get you in the mood for Christmas.
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Harzer Tourismusverband e.V. Marktstraße 45 D – 38640 Goslar Tel.: +49 (0)5321 3404-0 Fax: +49 (0)5321 3404-66 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Internet: www.harzinfo.de
Kindly supported by the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt. The travel destination Saxony-Anhalt impresses its visitors with numerous buildings along the "Romanesque Road”, idyllic parks and gardens –“Garden Dreams”, active experiences of the “Blue Ribbon” waters as well as sensational archaeological finds on the “Sky Paths”. www.sachsen-anhalt-tourismus.de