Harz National Park is a nature reserve in the German federal states of Lower Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt. It comprises portions of the western Harz mountain range, extending from Herzberg and Bad Lauterberg at the southern edge to Bad Harzburg and Ilsenburg on the northern slopes. 95 % of the area is covered with forests, mainly with spruce and beech woods, including several bogs, granite rocks and creeks. The park is part of the Natura 2000 network of the European Union.
In its current form, the park was created on January 1, 2006 by the merger of the Harz National Park in Lower Saxony, established in 1994, and the Upper Harz National Park in Saxony-Anhalt, established in 1990. As the former inner German border ran through the Harz, large parts of the range were prohibited areas, that apart from the fortifications had remained completely unaffected for decades. Today the park covers parts of the districts of Goslar, Göttingen and Harz.
Rare animals of the Harz National Park include the dipper, the black stork, peregrine falcon, the European wildcat and especially the Eurasian lynx. The last lynx in the Harz Mountains had been shot in 1818, but in 1999 a project for reintroducing was established. Since 2002 several wild lynxes gave birth. An attempt to return the capercaillie (Auerhuhn) however did not succeed.
There are many ways of getting to the Harz National Park. It is not located close to any of the major cities. You therefore need to travel either by car or by train the remaining part of the way.
The closest major airports to the Harz region are Berlin, Hamburg, Hannover, Frankfurt and Leipzig. Once you reach one of these airports, you need to go by train or by car.
This is the best option in general. You get to freely move around in the park and visit the different areas.
When to visit
Map of Harz National Park
Image gallery of Harz National Park
Sights in Harz National Park
Some national parks contain more than just natural wonders. This list shows you some of the sights that are located in the national park. This includes museums, cathedrals, bridges, dams and much more.
Visitor/Information centres in Harz National Park
Most national parks have an associated visitor centre to help visitors. They are usually open most of the year but some close in the off-season. You will often be able to find information on all the activities in the national park. A visit to the visitor centre is often recommended before venturing into the park.
Hiking trails in Harz National Park
Almost all national parks have some opportunities for hiking. You can see some of the more popular trails here. You should get local information for detailed information on all trails of the national park.
Mountains in Harz National Park
This section will list some of the famous peaks in the national park. Be sure to do proper research before venturing on to the high peaks.