Home » An overview of the Harz Mountains – attractions and facts about the low mountain range
Vacation in the Harz Mountains

An overview of the Harz Mountains – attractions and facts about the low mountain range


A Holiday in the Harz is associated with exciting natural phenomena, evidence of mining history, picturesque old towns with half-timbered houses and the nostalgic narrow-gauge railway. An extensive network of paths makes the varied low mountain range landscape a real experience for hikers, mountain bikers and skiers alike.

Holiday in the Harz Mountains: National Park Harz

Situated in the middle of Germany, the Harz tourism region is easily accessible from all parts of the country. The Harz trip is worthwhile, as the low mountain range is home to an abundance of very different attractions that are relatively close together. These include UNESCO World Heritage sites, natural phenomena and a wide range of cultural and leisure activities. About ten percent of the total area is covered by the Harz National Park. It offers rare animals and plants a protected habitat and offers its visitors special experiences of nature.

Geological extent of the Harz region

On satellite photos the Harz massif appears almost like an ellipse rising from the North German lowlands. It extends approximately 110 kilometres long from northwest to southeast and is approximately 30 to 40 kilometres wide. Thus, an area of approximately 2,226 square kilometres is made up of mountains and valleys, dense deciduous and coniferous forests, watercourses and moors. The Hochharz with the Brocken 1141 meter rises far out of the landscape; while the eastern and southern Harz gradually become flatter, the northern edge of the Harz falls relatively steeply. An extensive network of paths opens up the region for hiking, cycling and winter sports activities.

Geological diversity & mining shaped landscape and culture

From a geological point of view, the mountains are also versatile. Beside the dominating rocks granite, slate and limestone there are numerous minerals and in the stalactite caves bizarre stalagmites and stalactites enchant big and small visitors. The history of mining began in the Harz region as early as the Bronze Age, when coveted mineral resources such as silver, lead and copper were stored in the Harz mountains. Their exploitation shaped culture and landscape equally and left behind, among other things, the unique ponds and ditches of the Upper Harz water shelf.

This water art belongs together with the old town of Goslar and the former ore mine Rammelsberg to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. The eventful mining history can be traced in further numerous accessible tunnels and mining museums. Under the pretext of mining studies, the minister Johann Wolfgang von Goethe fled from his statesmanly duties into the lonely and mysterious nature of the Harz mountains. Just like the poet Heinrich Heine later, he processed his impressions and hiking experiences in literary works. Archaeological finds during excavations on the battlefield at the Harzhorn. Prove that the Romans were also in the Harz Mountains.

Holiday in the Harz Mountains – Old Buildings & Experience Steam Locomotives

Former rulers built castles and palaces at the most beautiful viewpoints in the mountains. Whether as ruins or well preserved, still today the old walls like Burg Falkenstein attract guests from near and far. True visitor magnets are also the historical old towns such as Blankenburg, Wernigerode and Quedlinburg with their colourful, decorated half-timbered houses from different construction periods. Among the most magnificent and historic buildings in the Harz Mountains are churches and monasteries, whose origins often lie in the Romanesque period. Many places of interest and excursion destinations are connected by short paths or lie directly on the hiking trail.

Vacation in the Harz
Harzer Schmalspurbahn: Ride with the steam locomotive on the Brocken

Distant destinations can be reached by car or public transport. These include the Harzer Schmalspurbahn, which with its nostalgic wagons and steam locomotives is also a tourist attraction. Their total route network of around 140 kilometres leads across the Harz Mountains, through Selketal and up to the Brocken summit. Other mountains and peaks can be reached by cable car or chair lift.

A colourful mix of leisure activities also enables Travellers with children a varied holiday in the Harz Mountains. The offer ranges from adventure pools and climbing parks, open-air theatres and zoos to action-packed programmes in the Western town of Pullmancity. In the specially protected nature of the Harz National Park, all age groups, recreation seekers and sports enthusiasts will find what they are looking for.

Holiday in the Harz Mountains – Skiing, tobogganing and winter hiking

In the winter months, the chances of snow are particularly good in the High Harz Mountains, whose mountains are over 800 metres high. The centre of the Harzer Wintersports lies in the Upper Harz Mountains, in the region around Braunlage, where the Wurmberg can even be artificially snowed. But if the snow cover is sufficient, there are hills everywhere in the Harz region for tobogganing and trails for snowshoeing. For the cross-country skiers skiers, around 500 kilometres of cross-country ski runs will be prepared, including leisurely circuits and challenging day tours. In addition, numerous cleared paths and hiking trails invite you to winter hiking in the snow-covered mountain world.

On hiking trails and mountain bike trails through the Harz Mountains

During snow-free periods, hikers and walkers have a well signposted network of hiking trails with a total length of about 9,000 kilometers at their disposal. The hiking trails lead to all altitudes of the Harz Mountains, to places with magnificent views and to mystical places. Among them are wide, easily walkable paths in the valley, but also stony paths with roots, some of which rise steeply. Wooden footbridges lead over the moor and iron stairs make bizarre cliffs accessible. On the way, the flora and fauna, rich in species, offers some rarities for attentive hikers, other natural beauties, waterfalls and rock formations are unmissable.

Whoever prefers to be on tour by bike in the Harz Mountains can look forward to a total of approximately 2,200 kilometres of mountain bike routes, including daring descents and adventurous MTB-Singeltrails.

Holiday in the Harz in every season

Egal whether summer or winter, with its diverse tourist infrastructure, the Harz holiday region is well prepared for all travellers. The healing climatic conditions at higher altitudes and culinary specialities of the region complete the offer. A vacation in the Harz offers from the action-rich adventure up to the pure one wellness stay a broadly varied offer.

If you are on holiday in the Harz you should definitely visit the Rappbodetalsperre. The reservoir is four square kilometres large and with its numerous bays an ideal destination for the whole family. Attractions such as Europe’s largest rope suspension bridge and Harzdrenalin are located directly on the dam wall.

The Harz is centrally located. For a holiday in the Harz Mountains you need about 2 to 3 hours by car from the northern German cities of Hamburg, Berlin, Bremen and the Rhineland. Therefore, the Harz Mountains are also suitable for day trips or a short holiday. Nature lovers get their money’s worth on a holiday in the Harz mountains.

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