I’m excited to finally post about our amazing trip to the friendly villages around the Harz Mountains, but first, a little background…The Harz Mountains are a small mountain range in northern Germany, about 4 hours north of Frankfurt, and 3 hours west of Berlin. Most tourists here are from various places around Germany. I’m not sure how I discovered it…probably just looking up random towns while mapping a route somewhere. Well, I struck gold (or silver-it’s what they mined here) with this location!
NOW we can start our top 5…
Hexen Culture: From fairy tales and trinkets to full-costumed women and curious menu item names, these people are all about witches. And for good reason-many fairy tales with witches (ie Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood) were set in this area. Truth be told, many of the villagers almost have that hexen look. Read some of these tales before you travel! There are many stories regarding the royal family who had lived in the area as well, immortalizing them. I was able to find many stories Legends and Tales of the Harz Mountains by Toofie Lauder online, although if you are able to find Faust by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe it may suffice. There is even a witches holiday-Walpurgisnacht (the night of April 30) is when everyone in the region dresses up for a Halloween-style holiday, complete with bon fires. Named after a nun, it is ironic that it is considered the night of witches. If you are looking for a different kind of Spring celebration, don’t miss it!
Cold War History: Brocken Mountain is the highest peak in the Harz mountains. On the border between East and West Germany, it was closed to the public for many years, used only as a surveillance point to spy on the West. When it was at last reopened, the locals took whatever means they could to reclaim their mountain from the Soviets. In that single day in 1989, a record number of people flooded the mountain.
Castles: Wernigerode, Quedlinburg, and Blankenburg have some of the area’s most impressive castles.
And from these castles, some of the area’s most impressive views.
Villages: The Harz area is visually my favorite area in Germany. Steep red and slate roofs, colorful fachwerk (timber frame), and winding cobblestone streets all will make a person feel a part of their own fairy tale.
Fun for All: There are many things to do in the villages (like visiting the tiny house below), but there is also a beautiful landscape to explore. Hiking and biking, exploring the mines or taking the Brocken Bahn through the village and up to the top of Brocken Mountain and just a few of the activities you will want to try in this area.