The Harz Witches Trail
- Hike the complete Harz Witches Trail, crossing Germany's magical Harz Mountains
- Immerse yourself in the fairy tales, half-timbered villages and forests of the Harz National Park
- Follow in the footsteps of Goethe and summit the Brocken, North Germany's highest peak
- Walk from West to East, crossing the former border of a once divided nation
- Explore Quedlinburg, one of the best preserved medieval and renaissance towns in Europe
ItineraryDay 1 Arrive in Osterode
Osterode am Harz is easily accessible from Berlin by train (3 hours) or Hannover (2 hours). Located in the southeastern edge of the Upper Harz, Osterode is a historical trading town filled with half-timbered houses and picturesque, cobbled streets. The Town Hall dates back to 1552 and provides an impressive backdrop to a relaxing beer in the Marktplatz. Prepare for your first day of hiking on the fantastic Harz Witches Trail.
The Harzer Hof is centrally located in Osterode, a pretty town filled with picturesque half-timbered houses. The hotel offers comfortable rooms, an on-site restaurant and copious breakfasts - perfect for fuelling up before a day of hiking.
Das Hotel & Restaurant zum Röddenberg befindet sich nur wenige Gehminuten vom Ortszentrum von Osterode entfernt.
Starting from the centre of Osterode the trail follows the Hundsche Weg, an old mining road that brought supplies to the Oberharz mining area. Midway through the day you reach the World Heritage 'Oberharzer Wasserregal', an intricate system of 110 dams built between the 16th and 19th centuries, which supplied power to the mines of the area. The trail continues to the Sperberhaier Dammhaus, where you can enjoy a refreshment before taking the bus or a taxi (not included) to Altenau for your overnight.
For the first 2 days, you’ll be walking through the national park, some parts of which are in transition and being managed by the local park authorities due to a combination of environmental factors. This is an area where non-native spruce trees have been planted over the course of time. In addition, there are patches of forest where the bark beetle has sadly killed the older spruce trees. The bark beetle used to only be found at high altitude, but due to climate change, they have moved lower, with the planted spruce trees being easy prey for them. The national park management is helping the forest by planting new native trees and making safety strips to stop the spread of the beetles. The dead trees have been kept in situ to provide food and shelter for animals and fungi that live in the forest. Younger beech and spruce trees are also beginning to grow protected by the dead wood. Whilst it can look sparse in places, the area is in fact full of life that is just starting over again. On day 4, beyond Drei Anne Hohne there are fewer of these areas and by the time you arrive in the Bode Valley the evergreen slopes prevail.
This country guesthouse benefits from a fantastic location in the middle of the a lovely meadow. Enjoy the peace and quiet along with a wonderful view of the Harz Mountains. The town centre is just a ten-minute walk away.
A warm welcome awaits at the small, family run Hotel Zum Harzer at the foot of the Harz Mountains. The on-site restaurant offers local specilaities as well as international cuisine. Why not relax in the in-house sauna at the end of your day's hike?
Return to Dammhaus by bus and rejoin the trail. Your day begins through tranquil forests and along water ditches before you join the Magdeburger Weg, widely regarded as one of the finest walking trails in the Harz which leads you up to the summit of Torfhaus, where you can clearly see the summit of Brocken (1,141m), your objective for the day.
Germany's famous writer, philospher and statesman, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was well known for having summited Brocken in 1777, 1783 and 1784 and from here on you will be following the Goetheweg footpath to the summit. The Brocken has always featured in myths and legends of witches and devils and interestingly gave its name to the Brocken Spectre, an optical illusion whereby your shadow, surrounded by a rainbow, is cast on the clouds below. Enjoy the view from the highest mountain in the Harz before taking the legendary Brockenbahn steam engine (included) to Schierke, where you will spend the night.
In unmittelbarer Nähe zum Kurpark gelegen, empfängt Sie dieses moderne Hotel in einer von Schierkes schmucken Villen, für welche der Ort bis in die 1940er Jahre als „St. Moritz des Nordens“ bekannt war.
Die Familie Weidlich heißt Sie am Fuße des Brockens in dem wunderschönen Stadtchen Schierke willkommen. Erleben Sie die schönsten Seiten des Harzes und lassen Sie sich im Nationalpark Hochharz verwöhnen. Das Hotel mit seiner sehr schönen Lage bietet 14 im Landhausstil freundlich eingerichtete Zimmer.
Return to the Brocken on the steam train (included) where once again you can soak in the views from the highest peak in Northern Germany. Descend on foot to the village of Drei Annen Hohne, this quaint hamlet sprung up around the historic train station which is worth exploring. Continue downhill through pretty forests and past unusual rock formations to the Konigshutter waterfall. Arrive in the town of the same name and check into your comfortable hotel. Indulge in a hearty German dinner of Wurst, Sauerkraut or Schnitzel, all washed down with locally brewed beer or fine German wine.
This comfortable guesthouse is situated directly on the Harz Witches Trail in a wonderfully tranquil location. Choose from a wide-range of delicious dishes and drinks from the on-site restaurant.
Die Pension Königshof befindet sich in unmittelbarer Nähe zum Harzer Hexenstieg in Königshütte.
After a fortifying German breakfast of eggs, freshly baked bread, meats and cheese, continue on the Harz Witches Trail. There is a noticeable change in the countryside today as you walk into the chalk downs around Rübeland. You can still see the evidence of chalk mining as well as the caves of Baumannshöhle and Hermannshöhle, discovered in 1536 and 1866 respectively and both worthwhile visiting. History buffs will enjoy the historic mining village of Neuwerk, your destination for the day.
This atmospheric hotel is located directly on the banks of the Bode river. Specially designed for hikers, bikers and fans of the outdoors, the hotel embodies the spirit of adventure and is a comfortable stop on your Harz Witches Trail adventure.
Today a unique experience awaits in the form of the 'Rappbodetalsperre': the world's longest suspension rope bridge (entry payable locally, can be bypassed if preferred). After this adventure, enjoy the relaxing downhill forest trail as it winds its way into Altenbrak, the perfect place to stop for a 'Kaffee & Kuchen' break at one of the cafés and restaurants in the town. Once re-fuelled, continue to Treseburg, a tranquil village surrounded by nature.
Dieses ruhige Hotel befindet sich in einem Fachwerkgebäude aus dem 18. Jahrhundert im malerischen Bodetal.
The final section of the Harz Witches Trail is particularly beautiful and mystical. It is easy to see why so many legends and myths have arised from such bewitching landscapes. Imposing rock faces and babbling brooks immerse you in the fairy-tale atmosphere of the Harz Mountains. Before reaching Thale, a detour to the Rosstrappe is recommended, from where you can enjoy fabulous views of the Bode River Valley. From here, walk or take a bus or cable car to Thale and then a train onto Quedlingburg. A beautiful medieval town on the UNESCO World Heritage list made up 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.
Please note, as of June 2023, part of the walking route to Thale is currently closed due to a landslide bringing trees down and blocking the path. We're unsure when this will reopen so we have created an alternative route to divert around this, if it is still closed when you travel. It's best to check with the accommodation/tourist information before setting off to see if the path has reopened and to observe any signs you see along the route. It is the Bodetal section that is closed (between Treseburg to Thale). Both the original and alternative tracks are loaded in our app, so you are able to follow whichever is applicable when you travel.
The Stadtschloss hotel has a superb location in the heart of Quedlinburg's romantic old town. Rooms are spacious, comfortable and modern and are situated in a historic building dating back to the 16th century.
Übernachten Sie im ältesten Hotel der Stadt und genießen Sie den ganz besonderen historischen Charme der Weltkulturerbestadt. Die Fachwerkarchitektur im Hotelinneren erinnert an die alten Zeiten. In nur 8 Gehminuten erreichen Sie das historische Stadtzentrum mit Fachwerkhäusern, zahlreichen Cafés und der Stiftskirche St. Servatius.
Das Hotel zum Bär ist bereits über 250 Jahre alt und liegt im Zentrum der Quedlinburger Altstadt, direkt am Markt.
Genießen Sie das Ambiente dieses historischen Hauses und nutzen Sie die besondere Lage, um die Sehenswürdigkeiten Quedlinburgs zu Fuß zu erkunden.
We highly recommend adding an additional night in Quedlingburg. The old, narrow streets invite you to stroll, marvel and enjoy. Relax in cafés and beer gardens, toasting to a wonderful week of hiking the Harz Witches Trail. Just contact us if you would like to add any additional nights.
Other InformationIs it for me?
You'll enjoy this tour if you are a fan of long days of walking on good quality trails and working up an appetite for a hearty evening meal in the evening. The Harz Witches Trail offers a unique combination of natural and man-made highlights and will appeal to those interested in German history, folklore and classic long-distance trails.
Classic Routes | If you’re the active, outdoorsy type, who’s interested in taking on the great routes of the world or looking for a challenge, then our Classic Routes are for you. We’re talking the West Highland Way, Tour Du Mont Blanc and the Passau to Vienna Danube Cycle Path, to name but a few!
Inn to Inn Walking | Walk from place-to-place changing accommodations each night. Generally staying in B&B’s, inns, and guesthouses.
As a guide, we would suggest that the minimum age of traveller this holiday would be suitable for is: 5 Years
This trip is rated 'moderate' overall. The longest day is 23km and the average daily distance is 15km. The trails are undulating with a moderate amount of ascent and descent each day, with a daily average of 360m. You should be a keen hiker used to long days on varied terrain (forest trails, rocky, grassy and mountain paths) to get the most from this tour.
You will stay in comfortable 3 & 4* hotels and guesthouses, all in wonderfully peaceful locations. The hotels have been hand-picked and all offer a warm welcome to hikers. The accommodation we normally use is indicated in the itinerary, however is subject to availability. We will always try our best to accommodate you in the hotels and locations described, however, due to availability it may not always be possible. In these cases we will accommodate you in nearby towns that can easily be reached by either public transport or by private transfer (supplement payable) You can add on extra nights in any of the overnight locations on this tour.
Single Rooms and Solo Walkers
This trip is available to solo walkers but a solo walker supplement is payable. Single rooms are also available should someone in your party prefer to have their own room. Again, a supplement is payable.
All breakfasts are included in the cost of your trip. Expect a continental breakfast with bread, jams, yoghurt and muesli available. Usually there are also local meats, cheeses and eggs on offer. Dinners and lunches are not included so you have the freedom to choose from what’s on offer each day. You may be able to order a packed lunch at your accommodation for the following day, or you can find bakeries and shops in each town to stock up on food for your hikes. There are plenty of options for dinner each night, either at your hotel or in nearby restaurants. If you have any dietary requirements please let us know at the time of booking.
The walks are very well waymarked. We also provide you with detailed turn-by-turn route notes and maps. In addition, you will have access to the Macs Adventure Smartphone App enabling you to follow the route using your phone's GPS so you will have no problems finding the way. You can simply download the GPX tracks to your phone for offline use and off you go!
- 7 Nights in 3*, 4* hotels and high quality guesthouses
- 7 Breakfasts
- Baggage transfers
- Brocken railway tickets
- Information Pack, maps, route notes, GPX tracks, access to our smartphone app
- 24-7 Emergency telephone support from our German and UK offices
- Travel insurance (required)
- Travel to the start and from the end points
- Lunches, Dinners and Snacks
- City taxes (2-3 euros per night)
- Public transport (buses and cable cars)
- Additional nights before, during or after the walk
- Solo walker supplement
- Single room supplement (s)
This trip is available between April and late October. We recommend starting on Sunday-Thursdays for the best chance of availability. The Harz Mountains are particularly beautiful in spring with fresh flowers and leaves all around, and in autumn when the flora changes colour and morning mists hang over the plateaus. The first snow can fall in late autumn and last until April.
Hannover and Berlin are the closest airports, from where Osterode is easily reached by train (2h10 and 2h30 respectively). Check Deutsche Bahn's website for more information. If you are interested in travelling by train from the UK, you can travel from London to mainland Europe by Eurostar, then continue onward travel by rail to Germany. Check Eurostar's website for more information.
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.
Bag transfer is included in this trip; your bags will be moved between hotels. We ask that you limit your baggage to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 20kg per person.
The distances and ascents/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.
The reviews for this tour up until December 2019, are based on a previous itinerary. As of December 2019, minor changes and improvements have been made.
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5 Days 4 NightsWalk part of the Harz Witches Trail from the Brocken to the UNESCO town of QuedlinburgHighlights
- The highlights of the Harz Witches Trail
- Ride the legendary Brockenbahn railway
- Beautiful hikes through a mythical region
8 Days 7 Nights0 ReviewsExperience the charms of Germany's Black Forest on this classic inn-to-inn walking tour.Highlights
- Quintessential German charm in the Black Forest
- Beautiful hikes through a mythical region
- Indulge in some Black Forest Gateau
8 Days 7 NightsWalk through Germany’s oldest wine region, the Moselle Valley, from Trier to Bernkastel-KuesHighlights
- Walk through Germany’s wine paradise
- Hike on trails through forest and vineyards
- Stay in wineries and relax with a Riesling
8 Days 7 NightsWalk along the Rhine Valley on one of Germany's Top Trails; the RheinsteigHighlights
- Walk from Koblenz to Rüdesheim on scenic trails
- Picturesque villages and historic hilltop fortress
- Relax with a locally produced Riesling
8 Days 7 NightsFollow sections of Tyrol's Eagle Trail, also known as the Adlerweg, from Kufstein to Durchholzen.Highlights
- Hike scenic high trails of the Eagle's Trail
- Discover the Alpine town of Kufstein
- Stay in cosy hotels and spend two nights in a hut