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Harz National Park

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For a taste of nature at its simplest and yet its best, head over to the Harz National Park during your trip to Germany. As one of the northerly outposts of Germany, it is a far wonder to reach but certainly worthwhile because it is home to many different faces of the environment. The word simple isn’t to lessen the abundance of beauty found at Harz but rather to reflect on how nature exists in its raw form here without being airbrushed by mankind and how its beauty lays within that natural existence itself. “Let nature be nature” is the motto adopted here and that does the best to give you a brief look at all that Harz probably is.

How to reach: You can fly down to Hannover which is approximately 95kms away from Harz National Park. From there you can either hop on the bus after confirming its availability in advance or you can even rent a car and drive down yourself, as many travellers do.

Best time to visit: April to September

So, what is today known as one single park was actually two separate parks. Really? Yessss! So, back in 1990 in the Sachsen-Anhalt region the eastern part of the park was established. And then four years after that the Niedersachsen federal government set up the western end. Each separately covered 8,900 ha and 15,800 ha. It was only in the year 2006 that the two came together to be recognized as a national park. This in turn made it the first of its kind park in Germany because it is the first one in the country that stretches over two separate states. Subsequently, it has come to be known as one singular park.  

national parks in germany
Source: https://theculturetrip.com/europe/germany/articles/14-reasons-you-should-drop-everything-and-visit-the-harz-mountains-2/

From stretches after stretches of trees, landscapes of mountains wherever you see, babbling brook valleys to high-standing cliffs curved in their rocky existence, there are a number of ecological systems that exist within this national park. This park is known as being quite popular amongst the adventurous ones because it offers a number of hiking trails, from shorter ones to longer and more challenging ones. So, make sure to pack that sturdy pair of shoes so that you may climb up wherever your heart pleases. And in case, you end up there without a definitive plan ready, don’t worry, because you can simply pay a visit to one of their information centres that are happy to help set you up with this requisite information.

Now this national park is essentially known for its splendid views of nature that too in a number of varying forms. But since it is a national park, the question does naturally arise, what about the wildlife? So, yes, within its vast existence it does play home to many living creatures. But spotting animals in the Harz National Park isn’t always an easy feat. Thus, if you are not the sorts who likes to merely chance upon such animals but likes to actually see them, observe them in silence and appreciate their actual form of existence, then take a deep breath and get prepared because this will take a while. Spotting or not spotting aside, what can one expect to find in the park? You may end up befriending some wildcat, ouzel, falcon and the most popular ones here, red deer and lynx. Gaze upon them as they live their lives within the thick of this park.

harz national park
Source: https://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/germany/braunlage/harz-national-park

As the national park in its magnitude plays home to a number of peaks, you can go from seeing some low-lying ones here at 240 metres to the highest one in the park area, Brocken peak at 1,141 metres. Roam around there to catch the entire landscape of the unfurling trees, the mountains that stand besides each other, the mist that comes to lay upon them and the sky that descends below upon them. The huge park has a number of areas for one to explore and you can go about spending your days here trying to glimpse the different peaks, the wildlife and the views. Most of all, you can go right ahead and just spend as much time as your heart craves in the arms of nature. It is a chance of getting away from the business of the regular life and seeing the quietness here that Earth has to offer.

To add to the charm of this place is how the mountains of Harz are also home to many myths and legends. Some believe it to be home to the kingdom of witches and devils! Every year as the season of spring commences, the Walpurgis Night is celebrated near the Brocken mountain. It is believed that King Odin had married the goddess of love and fertility, Freya, over here. The mountain range is also said to have been the point for the famed “witches meeting” took place and saw hundreds of them arriving here. Additionally, myths also speak of dwarves and mountain men having made this their very own home. Enter the world of the Harz Mountains to be smitten not just by their beauty but also by their tales which leave the mind tickled in many ways.

offbeat places in germany
Source: https://www.germany.travel/en-mobile/leisure-and-recreation/natural-landscapes/nature-parks/natur-und-geopark-harz.html

Furthermore, a visit to the park can also be combined with visiting and seeing the nearby areas which comprises of medieval castles and churches. So, you can make your visit here not just one where you get up close and personal with nature but also an experience of your getting transported into a whole other era.

So, would your visit to the Harz National Park be for the forested lands, the hiking, the myths or like most of us, for all of it?

Click here to read about Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, USA!

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