Winter in the Harz: Unique UNESCO World Heritage Sites
When the snow glistens in the light of the low sun, and dense banks of fog hover over the mirror-smooth lakes, then it is winter in the Harz. The cold and most magical time of the year is best experienced in Germany's northernmost mountain range.
Hiking enthusiasts can take leisurely walks in the crunching snow on cleared hiking trails and then stroll at dusk through one of the historic half-timbered towns such as Goslar, Quedlinburg, Wernigerode, Osterode and Stolberg.
You will also find more than 35 Advent and Christmas markets throughout the Harz.
The Harz offers varied winter fun for young and old with snow and ice: Alpine ski areas for beginners and experienced skiers, fun parks for snowboarders, over 500 kilometers of cross-country trails, toboggan runs, snow tubing, winter hiking trails and much more.
It is not only the locals who know about the cultural treasures of the Harz. UNESCO has put three of them on the list of world heritage sites.
The World Heritage Sites are the old town of Quedlinburg, the Luther memorials in Lutherstadt Eisleben and the Rammelsberg mines, the old town of Goslar and the Oberharzer Wasserwirtschaft water supply system.
Here you can really enjoy the winter in the Harz.
Historic winter in Quedlinburg
In the world heritage town of Quedlinburg, one of the most famous half-timbered towns in the Harz, 2069 half-timbered houses from eight centuries in combination with other special buildings make the town an "extraordinary example of a European medieval town".
The Church of St. Servatii was recognized by UNESCO as an "architectural masterpiece of the Romanesque period". The narrow alleys, numerous cafes, shops and studios make Quedlinburg a cultural and historical monument and a lovely town.
The cozy Christmas season is particularly magical here. At Christmas time, the historic old town of Quedlinburg shines in festive splendor. Both the Christmas market on the market square and as many as 20 courtyards open their gates and doors for "Advent in den Höfen" - Advent in the courtyards - to sweeten the festive season with delicacies and handicrafts.
It's definitely something. you have to experience when you go to winter in the Harz.
Winter in the Harz: the Goslar area
In the Goslar area you will find unique mining monuments in the heart of the World Heritage Site. The Rammelsberg ore mine is the only mine in the world with continuous ore extraction for more than 1000 years. The splendor and prosperity that came with the mine can still be seen in Goslar's old town today.
The Imperial Palace Kaiserpfalz Goslar from the Middle Ages is an impressive landmark for the city.
In 1992, the Rammelsberg mines and the old town of Goslar were the first industrial monuments in Germany to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
In 2010, the Oberharzer Wasserwirtschaft water supply system was added. It is the world's largest and most important pre-industrial energy supply system. Altogether, the UNESCO sites provide a fascinating trinity of technological and cultural history, covering an area of more than 200 square kilometers.
It is especially beautiful to walk between ponds and ditch systems in autumn and winter. Part of the well-known hiking route Harzer-Hexen-Stieg – a 100 km stretch that leads from Osterode to Thale – passes the Oberharzer Wasserwirtschaft.
At the beginning of winter, the popular Advent and Christmas markets in the Oberharz start and bring light into the dark season. The Christmas market with Christmas forest in Goslar is one of the most popular when it is winter in the Harz.
From here it is not far to the high-altitude ski areas such as Wurmberg in Braunlage, Bocksberg at Hahnenklee or Sankt Andreasberg, which is also a cozy mountain town.
Winter in Martin Luther's footsteps
The Luther memorials in Lutherstadt Eisleben have been part of UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1996. They show, in UNESCO's words, "authentic sites from the Reformation of extraordinary universal significance".
The reconstructed house where Martin Luther was born follows the events of his life and, among other things, gives an insight into the reformer's upbringing and also into the piety of the Middle Ages. The exhibition in the house where Luther is supposed to have passed away tells of his last days and hours in Eisleben.
The more than 80 kilometer long route known as the Luther Road runs through five federal states and connects the places where Martin Luther carried out his work. It also leads through Lutherstadt Eisleben and here it passes the Luther memorials and the churches of Sankt Petri-Pauli, Sankt Andreas and Sankt Annen.
Luther spent his childhood in the nearby town of Mansfeld. His childhood home has been extensively renovated and expanded with a modern new museum building. The Christmas season is also celebrated here in Lutherstadt, which offers a varied cultural program on the market square.
You can enjoy much more than winter in the Harz, too Harzen can do something special all year round.