Mountains steeped in legend – Harz National Park

A mountainous region shrouded in mist or brightly lit by the sun, with water and woodland, tales of witches and a sense of wellbeing – you can find all this and more at the Harz National Park. Located within Germany's most northerly mountain range, the national park is a popular area for walking and skiing.

Extending across two northern federal states, Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, the Harz National Park offers unforgettable scenery and exciting leisure activities. Since 1990, the national park has been protecting Mount Brocken along with other central parts of the Harz mountains – from Altenau in the west to Bad Harzburg and Ilsenburg in the north, Drei-Annen-Hohne in the east and Herzberg in the south.

The Goethe Trail and the Witches' Trail take you through legendary forests, across mysterious moors and along unspoilt streams. The region's undisputed highlight is Mount Brocken, northern Germany's highest mountain at 1,142 metres. Its peak is often only visible in outline as it is frequently shrouded in mist, a natural spectacle that gave rise to legends of witches – and to the annual Walpurgis Night celebrations. Other attractions include the Brockenbahn steam railway, the 100-year-old Brocken garden and guided walks with a park ranger. The network of the Harz narrow-gauge railway covers a total of 130km, which includes Germany's highest train station on top of Mount Brocken.

During a walk you may well encounter the local wildlife, such as red deer, roe deer and wild boar. There are always plenty of birds, including black woodpeckers, ring ouzels and wrens. With a bit of luck you might even spot a wildcat or a lynx. In future, although still accessible, these habitats will be developing without human interference.

In addition to the diverse local fauna, the region also offers many other attractions, for example the magnificent medieval towns of Goslar and Quedlinburg, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. You can go below ground in visitor mines or marvel at the Rübeland dripstone cave and the Unicorn Cave.

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