There’s an old saying in German: Alles neu macht der Mai. (“April showers bring May flowers.”) In my case, it’s a flourishing of fresh ideas about the range of hiking options in Eastern Germany. Spoiled as can be, you don’t easily expect to impress an Austrian by suggesting a hiking trip in (Eastern) Germany. However, the hiking destination around “Harzer Brocken” is well over 1.100 metres above sea level, and the surrounding timbered towns account for some delight in the local cultural landscape, too.
Janett Schindler, and Monique Hasselbach, of course knew. Both of my friends, who each blog on Teilzeitreisender.de, were born in this area but have now been living in “Western Germany” for many years: “Elena, let’s take a trip where we’ll show you our homeland! What do you think? You’ll really like it here. Let’s rent an apartment, and we’ll take you out exploring for a few days.” Why, yes. Of course, my dear!
“And on the last day of April, let’s go and celebrate Walpurgisnacht ok?!”
Walpurgisnacht, a night of celebrating witches. Magical. Can’t wait! I have always been a fan of tales involving witches and fairies. The more, the better. The area of the Eastern Germany is home to countless such tales and legends, and the night before the first of May is their main spring festival date. Must love an experience of the Walpurgisnacht in Stolberg, something I definitely recommend you to go and live for yourself!
If you really want to experience the nature of the Harz district, try the Flying Fox at Rappodetalsperre, and climb Harz mountain itself: It’s higher than you think!
Not far from the small town of Stolberg, we discover the so-called Rappodetalsperre dam whose adjoining swing bridge is over half a kilometre long! If crossing the wobbly bridge is not in your immediate plans, you can shorten your experience of the valley by taking the Flying Fox: “Harzdrenalin” time it is! And yes, it’s comforting to hear parents mumble to their children: “Don’t you worry dear, the bridge is certainly TÜV approved, you won’t crash, it’s 100% safe …!” Love how TÜV accounts for the ultimate feeling of safety in Germany. Way we go!
If, like us, you are willing to walk, consider doing the 10 kilometre hike, 500 metres up the highest peak of the Harz, called Harzer Brocken. You can start from Drei-Annen-Höhe and cross plenty of forests, open spaces, and windier, more exposed parts as you near the top at well over 1.100 metres above sea level. It’s a gently undulating landscape with lots of lush forests around, so definitely worth the while even for us Austrians: The similarity to some of our very own landscapes back home is striking! Check this out …
And if you are still looking for accommodation ahead of your next Harz hiking trip …
… I can recommend you to stay at the so-called “Klostermühle” in Walkenried, a tiny village centred around a large church ruin straight out of a historic novel. My friends and I just love our self-contained units, breakfast on the sunny terrace, and planning the days ahead exploring the area. I would definitely come back here any time!
And you, have you ever thought about visiting this part of Germany?