Weekend in Wernigerode & Thale - Harz Mountains of Germany
An extensive photo diary with travel tips and things to do
Lets start where we (me and two of my guests- In August 2019) walked down the colorful alleys of the quiet little medieval town of Wernigerode. Right after we unloaded our bags in a spacious apartment with sloping roofs.
Please note: Their train station is on the outskirts and you will need a taxi (or walk 30 min). Be prepared to get lucky or wait at least half an hour for your pickup ;) As there are (as we experienced) just around two taxi drivers in town who are going to pick you up and then return to the station for the next fare. Or vice versa. Ten minutes of a ride and then you arrive!
Also, Wernigerode is in Saxony-Anhalt. Just a little ahead of the border of lower Saxony. So even though your destination is just two hours away from Hanover by regional train, you are still travelling inter-state. In Case you are more than one person travelling, do buy a Day Ticket for Germany (Quer-Durch-Land-Ticket). That is way cheaper than individual tickets.
A few meters down the street, an unusual sight (but typical to the Harz Mountains) echoed: 'Land of the witches' :)
They hang about in the windows of every second shop. Their larger than human size statues at almost each nook and corner tell you that this is going to be one bewitching of a weekend :)
The town is pretty small. If you are in an Airbnb Apartment (like we were- it cost 70 € /night total for three people) or a hotel, you are bound to get a small booklet, which states that you have paid the tourism tax. It includes so many vouchers, with almost every shop, rides and restaurant giving you discounts.
As an owner of this tiny booklet, you will be travelling free on the bus :)
Like every German city, if you find your way to the city center/ market square, you are in for more historic monuments, sights and buildings.
And then there is this ice cream shop, quite close to the shop with the many witches for sale. Oh! We stopped by even the next day! Regional flavours, freshly made and simply yum!
EISCAFE BARBARA/ TACKE
TO THE CASTLE
The Schloss-Bahn (Schloss: Castle, Bahn: Train) is the one that will take you to the castle. Ours was full of adults. Not a Kid in sight ;) It had a stop at Breite Strasse 94. (if it hasnt yet changed).
The ride includes a guided tour of the town. Very informative and comprehensive.
Every sight was beautiful and breathtaking from up there! To get into the Castle you need a ticket.
We very much enjoyed the interiors. Posting just a few pictures, so that there are enough surprises left for you when you visit in person.
THE BROCKEN-BAHN ( train to the Brocken Mountain)
We did not have it on plan (but happened to catch a glimpse of it). Maybe this is an exciting experience for you? In my opinion, this rare train with a steam engine, offers spectacular sights of snow clad mountains and pine forests during winter.
THE MINIATURE MUSEUM
Please look closely at the picture above. That's a toy train ;) We loved this museum! I think we spent about two hours there, watching the replica of the Brocken Train go up and down the mountains, the super detailed copies of different German buildings and the Harz region. The place is on the other side of the city. You need to pass the train station for that.
Highly recommended and super cheap. I think we paid 5 € per person. It is also attached to a park, which makes for a nice stroll.
RESTAURANT- GARDEN OF INDIA
This is a recommendation from me and my guests. Great price-value food, pleasant ambiance and lovely outdoor seating. We were lucky to get a place outside.
We landed here, as there was a voucher for it in our booklet. But voucher or not, they offer a wonderful continental breakfast. You name it and they have it :)
And then remember, Wernigerode is also the place for extensive culinary diversity. Right from a Michelin Star Restaurant to big plate fulls of tasty greek cuisine, you will get your pick.
If walking is your thing, there will be innumerable colorful lanes, mountain streets that go up and down steep slopes and Cafes to sip a Cappuccino.
Now, Thale is an hour's bus-ride away from Wernigerode. The Buses leave from the Bus-Station (which is next to the train station). Its a free ride, if you have the booklet mentioned above (the one with the tourism tax). When you arrive, you are dropped off very close to the train station of Thale. Here, there is also a tourism office. They speak English. Feel free to ask for a map, schedules and everything there.
The destination boasts of two different types of rope-ways. We chose the one, with the transparent bottoms, just at a 10 minute walk from the train station :)
On the top, there were tiny huts selling stuff, cafe's with exquisite meals and restaurants with the German vacation food of finger-chips with ketchup and mayonnaise. We opted for German Vacation food with beer and a view of the beautiful valley (pic above) :) I am wondering how come I did not take a picture of the meal. But now that I remember, there were so many wasps at the table trying to dive into our beers, I froze on the spot.
Its a very nice place to be with kids. There is much witch stuff (trails, games, shops) available for them to enjoy.
So folks, that's 48 hours of exploring! Would you like to put Harz-Mountains on your List for Germany? If yes, do check out my post on one of the most famous Christmas Markets in the country which is held in Goslar click here for it. :)