During the GDR, Harz was a divided region, separated by the “anti-fascist protection wall”. However, where a wall once stood, today you will find re-awakened nature. You can hike along the Harze Border Trail from the former inner-German border and through the Harz Mountains.
Barbed wire, watchtowers and searchlights once made it possible to pass through the border. Today, the patrolled pathway’s concrete slabs are the only traces of this history. Along the 91-kilometer-long (56.5 miles) Harz Border Trail, which is part of the Green Belt nature conservation, you’ll find relics from the division of Germany, as well as tranquil nature and wonderful views. This hike takes you on a journey through Germany’s recent past.
In six impressive stages, the Harz Border Trail takes you from a border tower near Hornburg to Tettenborn, a Bad Sachsa district, passing the magnificent mountain range to the south along the way. The trail is characterised by idyllic nature reserves such as the Eckertal Valley with its dam, scenic cliffs and fragrant forest paths. In addition to the GDR history en route, you can also explore the crumbling ruins of the Ahlburg castle, the Drei-Länder-Stein and the art project “Ring der Erinnerung”. A highlight of the hike is climbing the highest Harz mountain, the 1,141-meter-high (3,743 feet) Brocken. If your legs get tired, you can also hop on the Brockenham steam train to Schierke.
Each stage begins or ends near a larger town, so you will always find accommodation en route. As the Harz region is very popular, we recommend you book well in advance.
Avid stamp collectors will also get their money’s worth on the border trail. Along the route, you will come across wooden stamp boxes. You can trade the stamps for a Harz walking pin in bronze, silver, or gold. If you want to earn the Harze Border Trail pin, you need to collect them all. Pick up the stamp booklets at one of the many tourist information offices in Harz. They contain information about the locations of the stamp boxes.
You can reach the Harz region easily by train. Goslar is a central starting point at the northern end of the Border Trail. From here, a regional train leaves every hour for Schladen, the closest station to the starting point. Bad Sachsa, the southern end of the long-distance hiking trail, is also well connected by rail.
So grab your hiking boots and set off to learn more about German history on the enchanted paths of the Harz Mountains.
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Last updated: December 13, 2021
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The first stage along the former inner-German border leads you from an old border tower across vast fields and sleepy places with pretty half-timbered houses. Depending on which starting point you choose, you have a shorter or longer hiking day ahead of you.
The Harzer Grenzweg begins somewhere in the…
Look forward to idyllic floodplain forests, a castle ruin and the gently winding river course of the Ecker on the second stage of the border path. In addition, you can whip out your stamp book three times today and symbolically influence German history on 11/11/1998.
With the second stage you start again…
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Today there is literally a chunk in front of you. The third stage takes you to the highest point in the Harz Mountains and all of northern Germany. It is best to pack an extra layer, because it is usually cold and windy on the Brocken. With a distance of around ten kilometers, you have a short day ahead…
After the challenging climb the day before, you can look forward to a leisurely day of hiking downhill. On your way along the former border from Brocken to Braunlage you collect three themed stamps.
After a delicious breakfast with a beautiful sunrise, you can once again enjoy the view from the highest…
On the penultimate stage of the Harzer Grenzweg you accompany the rivers Bremke and Warme Bode and can find out more about the German division into two in the open-air border museum.
The fifth day along the former inner German border begins with a wonderfully rich forest. You first follow the turns of…
Your stamp book still seems so empty to you? Don't worry, that is changing today. In addition to places steeped in history and beautiful views of the Harz landscape, there are a total of six stamp boxes on your tour on your last stage on the Grenzweg.
The last day begins on the outskirts of Hohegei…
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