fbpx
Skip to content
Hidden Gems
The Harz Witches Trail

The Harz Witches Trail

Overview

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 105 kilometres on old trade routes. Along the way, you will reach the highest peak in the area – the Brocken (1141 m). During the walks, quaint medieval towns with timbered houses will make a fascinating cultural contrast to the Harz Mountains’ mystic forests.

Highlights

Click to view map

Itinerary

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 (90 km, 2.5/3h).

Day 2: Osterode – Clausthal-Zellerfeld | 16 km

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: 16 km, 4 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Clausthal-Zellerfeld (Hotel Goldene Krone or similar)

Day 3: Clausthal-Zellerfeld – Altenau | 17 km

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.

Day 4: Altenau – Brocken – Schierke/Wernigerode | 20 km

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: 20 km, 6 hours
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel in Schierke or Wernigerode (Hotel Brockenscheideck or similar)

Day 5: Schierke/Wernigerode – Rübeland | 21 km

If you stay in Wernigerode, you have to take the bus to Schierke, from where you start the walk. Today you will cross the Trudenstein mountain and enjoy incredible views from the top. You will then hike downhill to reach the waterfall in Königshütte. Then, you follow the Bode river through Tiefenbachtal, where you can enjoy a fantastic view of Rübeland with its stalactite caves from the viewpoint of Hoher Kleef.

Day 6: Rübeland – Altenbrak/Treseburg | 15/20 km

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: 20 km, 5-6 hours (15 km, 4-5 hours if you stay in Altenbrak)
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel or guesthouse in Treseburg or Altenbrak (Hotel Bodeblick or similar)

Day 7: Altenbrak/Treseburg – Thale | 14/10 km

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: 10 km, 3 hours (14 km, 4 hours if you stay in Altenbrak)
  • Accommodation: 3-star 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

Accommodation

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

*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.

Meals

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 & terrain

This holiday is appropriate for walkers with a good fitness level; there are no steep ascents and descents and walking is on average 4-5 hours 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 – 25°C. Spring and autumn are cooler with occasional rain. Expect the weather to change rapidly during the day.

Getting there

FCO up-to-date travel advice

Click to view travel options

By plane

Our recommended arrival airport for this holiday is Hannover.

By train or bus

Osterode is easily reachable from Hannover Airport by train or bus (90 km, 2.5-3 h).

Inclusions

Included

  • 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 20 kg)
  • Phone assistance by our local office/representative

Excluded

  • 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 & 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

Reviews