We hike like witches: through the Mines of Rammelsberg, the Old Town of Goslar and the Upper Harz Water Regale. The Harz Witches' Trail is an insanely varied 97 kilometre route through Harz National Park. Off we go on our broomsticks to the Brocken mountain…
We start in Osterode am Harz and hike on former trade routes on which ore was once transported. We take a look around the old Upper Harz Water Regale, which lies directly on this trail. This water management system used to supply water to the mines in Harz. Mining used to be incredibly important to the community here, so we explore several tourist mines along this route.
We make our way through vast moorland and over wooden plank bridges near Torfhaus. It feels a little bit spooky and gets us in the mood for the mystical Brocken mountain.
In legends of witchcraft, witches meet on their broomsticks for Walpurgis night on the Brocken mountain. Goethe also wrote about it in "Faust". We follow the Goethe Way Trail and hike up the Brocken, the highest peak of the Harz mountain range. If we are lucky, we will be rewarded with fantastic views here. But the summit is surrounded by mist 300 days of the year. The Harz Witches' Trail then takes us back down the mountain through suspenseful forests. We may even be able to catch a glimpse of the Brocken Railway – a black steam engine still rides on its tracks to this day.
We then reach Bode Gorge and hike over Devil's Bridge (the Devil was a friend of the witches) towards Thale. The Harz Witches' Trail is a journey back in time to the myths of the Middle Ages.
Manuel Andrack, editor, presenter, author and hiking blogger:
"Bode Gorge near Thale is the final stage of the Harz Witches' Trail. I love this wild and romantic valley. We stop off at Gasthaus Königsruhe, one of Germany's prettiest beer gardens."
At a glance: Harz Witches' Trail
Starts: Osterode am Harz
Length: 94 km
Number of stages: 5
Altitude variation: lowest point 183 m, highest point 1,036 m
Terrain: 41% unmade, 9% asphalt, 50% other, e.g. farm tracks
Certified quality hiking trail