The Harz Witches Trail will take you to the Harz Mountains, a magical region located in the heart of Lower Saxony in Germany. The trail leads you from West to East, crossing the entire Harz Mountains and winding 105km on old trade routes. Along the way, you will reach the highest peak in the area – the Brocken (1,141m). During the walks, quaint medieval towns with timbered houses will make a fascinating cultural contrast to the Harz Mountains’ mystic forests.
- Harz Mountains
- Oberharzer Wasserregal (Upper Harz Water Regale)
Click to view map
Day 1: Arrival Osterode
Surrounded by impressive city walls, the historic centre of Osterode offers a beautiful setting for a leisurely start to your holiday. Osterode is easily reachable from Hannover Airport by train or bus (90km, 2.5/3h).
- Accommodation: a hotel or guesthouse in Osterode am Harz (Hotel-Restaurant Zum Röddenberg or similar)
Day 2: Osterode – Clausthal-Zellerfeld | 16km
Today you start your hike uphill along the Harz Witches Trail following old trade routes, where you can see the first sections of the Oberharzer Wasserregal, an irrigation system of dykes and channels built in the 16th century and still operational. You will then reach the university town of Clausthal-Zellerfeld, and you can visit Germany’s biggest church, the Marktkirche zum Heiligen Geist.
- Walking for the day: 16km, 4h
- Accommodation: a hotel in Clausthal-Zellerfeld (Hotel Goldene Krone or similar)
Day 3: Clausthal-Zellerfeld – Altenau | 17km
Leaving Clausthal-Zellerfeld, you will mainly walk along flat forest paths and narrow trails without descending or ascending significantly and follow the fascinating dykes and springs of this region until you reach the town of Altenau with its beautiful herb & spices park.
- Walking for the day: 17km, 5h
- Accommodation: a hotel in Altenau (Harzhotel zur Schmiede or similar)
Day 4: Altenau – Brocken – Schierke/Wernigerode | 20km
Today is the highlight of your walking holiday, the climb to Harz’s highest mountain along the Goethe Trail (the poet undertook many walking trips in this region), which leads you through mystical moors and forests up the mountain peak of Brocken Mountain, which is located in the centre of the Harz National Park. If the weather permits, the magnificent view of the Harz Mountains will reward you for the demanding ascent. With its steam engines, the Harz narrow-gauge railway (tickets not included) will bring you down to Schierke or Wernigerode.
- Walking for the day: 20km, 6h
- Accommodation: a hotel in Schierke or Wernigerode (Hotel Brockenscheideck or similar)
Day 5: Schierke/Wernigerode – Rübeland | 15/21/23km
Valid in 2023: Due to issues with accommodation in Rübeland in 2023, there are 4 options for this day:
Option 1: Hiking Shierke – Rübeland, 21km. 4-5h; then bus to Hasselfelde (20min) or Elbingerode (6 min), overnight there, in the morning bus ride from Hasselfelde/Elbingerode to Rübeland
Option 2: Hiking Schierke – Elbingerode, 21km, 4-5h. Overnight in Elbingrode
Option 3: Hiking Schierke – Hasselfelde, 23km, 5h. Overnight in Hasselfelde
Option 4: Hiking Shierke – Rübeland, transfer to Altenbrak and overnight in Altenbrak
Important! The walk for the day will depend on the accommodation availability and not your personal choice. We will do our best to arrange any solution without additional costs. Should such be required, we will inform you in advance.
Day 6: Rübeland – Altenbrak/Treseburg | 11/15/21km
Depending on your overnight place from the night before, you will start the hike for the day in Elbingerode, Hasselfelde or Rübeland (with a transfer in the morning from Altenbrak to Rübeland).
In today’s section of the Harz Witches Trail, you will wander along idyllic forest and meadow paths. You will walk along the Bode river, following small, wide and high paths. Then you will pass the dam in Wendefurth before reaching the town of Treseburg.
- Walking for the day: Elbingerode-Altenbrak 21km, 5-6h; Hasselfelde-Altenbrak 11km, 3h; Rübeland-Altenbrak 15 km, 4 hours; (additional 4 km from Altenbrak to Treseburg if the overnight is in Treseburg)
- Accommodation: a hotel or guesthouse in Treseburg or Altenbrak (Hotel Bodeblick or similar)
Day 7: Altenbrak/Treseburg – Thale | 14/10km
During the last day of your walking holiday, you hike through the Bodetal, a place steeped in legends. High granite rocks line along the narrow path following the meanders of the river. Your day’s destination is Thale. For a nice ending to your tour, we recommend that you visit either the fairy rings or the granite rock of Rosstrappe. If you want, you can reach Quedlinburg by train for an extension (Surcharge for end of the tour in Quedlinburg on request.)
- Walking for the day: 10km, 3h (14km, 4h if you stay in Altenbrak)
- Accommodation: a hotel or guesthouse in Thale (Hotel Hoffmanns Gästehaus or similar)
Day 8: Departure or onward Travel
The tour ends after breakfast. You have the possibility to prolong your walking holiday with some additional nights, e.g. in Quedlinburg (easily reachable by train from Thale) or other towns along the Harz Witches Trail from Osterode to Thale.
What to expect
7 nights in 3-star hotels or comfortable guesthouses. All rooms are with en-suite facilities. We have carefully hand-picked all places and regularly monitor their quality. We have tried to choose accommodations that offer friendly service, clean and comfortable rooms and local flavour. Please note that a very limited number of twin rooms is available; on request only!
Click to view default hotels
- Hotel-Restaurant Zum Röddenberg (Osterode)
- Hotel Goldene Krone (Clausthal-Zellerfeld)
- Harzhotel zur Schmiede (Altenau)
- Hotel Brockenscheideck (Schierke)
- Appartementanlage Hermannshöhle (Rübeland)
- Hotel Bodeblick (Treseburg)
- Hotel Hoffmanns Gästehaus (Thale)
*Hotels are subject to availability. In case a particular hotel is fully booked for your desired dates, we will replace it with a hotel of equal value and quality level. We will provide exact accommodation details to you upon booking confirmation.
Breakfast is included. When no restaurant location is available on the route, packed lunch can be pre-ordered from your hotel the night before. Dinner is available either from the restaurant in your accommodation or restaurants in the village near your hotel.
Difficulty and terrain
This holiday is appropriate for walkers with a good fitness level; there are no steep ascents and descents and walking is on average 4-5h per walking day (read more about difficulty grades). The trails are very well maintained and waymarked. We strongly advise you to follow only marked trails and never try to shorten the path through the unknown and unmarked terrain. We will provide you with detailed road notes and maps, and you can call our 24/7 local assistance phone number anytime. More detailed info on route navigation will be included in your holiday information pack.
When to go
This trip is available from April until October. The flexibility of self guided holidays means that there are no fixed dates, and you can start your trip on any date in the season – so please indicate desired beginning date when booking. The climate in the region is continental, cold and temperate. Depending on location and altitude, temperatures vary, but in the June-September period, the daily averages are 15 – 25C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.
Click to view travel options
Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Hannover.
By train or bus
Osterode is easily reachable from Hannover Airport by train or bus (90km, 2.5-3h).
- Detailed road notes and maps (1 pack per room)
- 7 nights in 3-star hotels or guesthouses
- 7 breakfasts
- Luggage transfers from hotel to hotel on all walking days (1 piece up to 20kg)
- Phone assistance by our local office/representative
- Airfare and connecting land transfers
- Lunches, dinners, drinks and snacks
- Other public transport
- Travel insurance (required – get a quote online)
- Local tourist tax and entrance fees (payable on the spot)
- Personal expenses
- Any items not explicitly listed as included
Options, extras and supplements
- Supplement applies to members of a group who require a single room / single use of a double room
- This holiday is available for solo travellers; a supplement will be charged as accommodation and luggage transfer costs are not shared (we never mix and match – solo travellers will be accommodated in single rooms)
- Hiking with a dog is possible on request. Any additional costs are payable on the spot only
- Extra nights are available on request