The Harz is a German mountain range that is one of the most popular holiday regions in Germany. Many people associate a holiday in the Harz with extensive hiking tours.
The Harz Mountains are geographically divided into Lower, High- and Upper Harz. It stretches across the federal states of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia.
In common parlance, the terms West Harz and East Harz are still used today. This refers to the time before German reunification, when the Harz was still separated by the inner-German border. The Harz region of Saxony-Anhalt is colloquially known as the “Eastern Harz”. The holidaymakers who have discovered the Harz for themselves are relatively indifferent to this division. They are on the road in the Harz.
The Harz Mountains are one of the most popular holiday regions in Germany due to their charming mountain landscape. The Brocken, in the Harz National Park, is one of the most popular destinations. The valleys with their watercourses and reservoirs are also attractive.
Urlaub im Harz
The impressive suspension bridge in the Harz Mountains at the Rappbode Dam has become one of the tourist highlights in recent years. Rightly so, I think, because a visit there is really impressive.
The Harz Mountains are really excellent for a weekend getaway. Wernigerode is located in Saxony-Anhalt in the district of Harz directly on the northern flank of the low mountain range.
I love the TV pictures of the Brocken, when you see the storm sweeping over the mountain top and people trying to move forward. For that reason alone, it was clear to me relatively quickly that if I'm in the Harz, I have to go to the Brocken.
For me, Baumkuchen is one of the most delicious cakes when it is fresh. The fact that I was able to eat this speciality in the Harzer Baumkuchenhaus in Wernigerode was a real surprise for me.
Travel information about the Harz Mountains
The nearest major international airports are in Hanover and Leipzig. Both are a good 100 kilometres from the edge of the Harz Mountains.
The long-distance trains of the railway, i.e. the ICE and IC trains, bypass the Harz Mountains. If you want to go on holiday in the Harz mountains by train, you have to change to regional trains. Trains leave from the long-distance stations in Braunschweig, Hildesheim, Göttingen, Magdeburg, Halle or Erfurt.
The A 7, A 38 and A 36 federal motorways pass by the Harz region. Federal highways and numerous smaller and often very well developed roads lead through the mountain range.
The EuroVelo 13 (Iron Curtain Trail) and the European Cycle Route R1 (EuroVelo 2) run through the Harz Mountains.
On the way in…
With the bus
With the Harz holiday ticket and the registration form, overnight guests can use the regional bus network free of charge.
The Touristikbahn, a partly steam-driven Harzquerbahn, connects Wernigerode with Nordhausen. The Brockenbahn also branches off from this line. The steam-powered Selketalbahn runs from Nordhausen to Quedlinburg.
In the eastern and lower Harz, the Rübelandbahn connects Blankenburg (Harz) with Rübeland.
In addition, regional trains run through the area.
Some of the smaller villages or smaller starting points of hiking routes are very rarely reached by public transport. Here, the car is often the only sensible alternative.
The Harz is a paradise for hiking enthusiasts. Numerous very well signposted trails lead through the entire region.
In addition to the supra-regional Euro Velo 13 and 2 cycle routes, you will find well-signposted cycle paths in the Harz Mountains.
There are specially signposted trail routes for mountain bikers.
Best time to travel
The Harz Mountains are worth a visit at any time of year. However, if you plan a visit to the Brocken, you should bear in mind that the conditions here are different from those in the valley due to the altitude. The mountain top is often shrouded in fog and the average annual temperature is 2.4 degrees. It can be quite cool on the mountain even in high summer.
German is spoken in the Harz Mountains. In some regions there is a strong Eastphalian and Thuringian dialect, which takes some getting used to. The Upper Harz dialect, almost a language of its own, is spoken only very sporadically today.