After three short weeks of living in Berlin, I had my first visitor come over! My friend and I decided to stay in Berlin the first few days she was here (granted, I had to work), but we decided for the weekend we would get away and go explore some of Northern Germany. So in traditional backpacker fashion, we filled our backpacks and booked a random hostel a few hours outside of Berlin. In a ‘grown-up’ traveler sense, we still rented a car to get to our destination though. On short trips, it was much more convenient to rent a car then to figure our buses and trains. Plus, a little European road trip is always fun.
So bags in tow, we headed off to the Harz Mountains; Germany’s northern “mountain range”. Anytime I mentioned to a German I was going hiking, they asked where and then almost laughed when I said Harz Mountains. Then would reply with something along the lines “But you are from Canada, you are going to laugh at our mountains here….they are more like hills to you.” Yes, the Harz are pretty small in comparison to the Alps or Rockies, but for a nice weekend trip and easy hiking, they were perfect.
My friend and I heard there were tons of trails in various small towns, but there was one we wanted to do. The trail started in the small village of Schierke and twisted its way up the mountain, through forests and past streams, until it reached the highest peak of the Harz Mountain range: Brocken, 1141 meters above sea level. The great thing about this hike is that you had the option of walking the road up (a bit easier for the people who are not that keen on hiking), or you could hike through the woods, or even take a train up! We opted to hike up and down, approximately a fifteen kilometer hike round trip.
After a two hour hike up, we arrived at the top. There must have been a hundred or more people up there (a lot of people took the train). But the best part of a sunny day hike, was when you get to the top, you can stop at one of the pubs or stands, grab a beer and currywurst and then sit back and enjoy the view.
How to get here: From Berlin, head west approximately 200 km towards Wernigerode. *Use a map or GPS…we had multiple detours due to construction, so I can’t say exactly what roads and highways are the best. From Wernigerode, you can either take a bus, train, or drive to Schierke (about 20 kms and there are signs everywhere). Once in Schierke, park along the main street and walk through the town on the main street until you reach the park entrance. From there, your options are either to walk up the road or turn onto the well-marked trail.