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Harz Mountain Railway

We're planning a three-day stay in Quedlinburg in mid-September and one of our party is a railway enthusiast. So we're planning on taking the train from Wernigerode to the Brocken (with a change of trains in Drei Annen Hohne).

Is any reader of this forum familiar with this trip? How much time should we allot to the time on the Brocken? (We've already looked at the timetables so we know the duration of the trip.) Do we need reservations for either leg of the trip?

Any other hints or information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
18943 posts

I went up the Brocken on the narrow gauge railroad in 2008, but I was staying in Braunlage and took the bus to Schierke and the train from there. I don't remember there being any seat numbering in the coaches. I certainly did not have a reservation; just bought a ticket at the station. It was November and there weren't too many people on the train. There are not a lot of things to see. There is the view, and the best view is from the hotel building. After that, there is an interesting museum in a nearby building with wildlife exhibits and history of the Brocken. I would think you want to stay at the top for at least two hours.

If you like to hike, you might want to hike down to Schierke and take the train back to Wernigerode from there.

Watch the weather. When I got to the top, there was a great view northward, to Wernigerode and the plains of northern Germany. When I came out of the museum, it was so foggy that I couldn't see the main buliding from the museum. Fortunately, I remembered where it was.

Posted by
12040 posts

It's a tourist train, so no reservations.

Other than the view, the small museum, the hotel and a Biergarten, there's not much up there. How long you stay probably depends on how many beers you choose to consume.

If you have any interest in hiking, the ascent from Schierke is a fairly easy and popular walk. On the clear summer day my dog and I hiked it, there must have been over a thousand people on the mountain. It only took us about two hours to reach the summit.

This is a gorgeous region of Germany, enjoy it!

Posted by
16893 posts

Sounds like you're on the right track. Gute Reise!

Posted by
4684 posts

I travelled it last September, and there is no point in travelling all the way to the Brocken if it isn't a clear day. If there's cloud, save your money and try a different line.

Posted by
18943 posts

If it is not a clear day, the view is not there, but the historical significance of the site remains.

The Brocken was the inspiration for Goethe's Walpurgisnacht in Faust.

During the cold war the Stasi built a radio station on the mountain to try and intercept radio transmissions from the west to Berlin. They built a "Berlin wall" type wall around the top of the mountain to try to keep hikers out of the area.

All this is in the museum.

Posted by
548 posts

I'm going to be in Wernigerode in September, and am staying at a train-oriented hotel (Altora) . check out their website. It sounds interesting.
Good info about the weather....I'll plan my day trips accordingly.
Re hiking down from the Brocken to Schierke...two hours? or maybe to Drei Annen ? Hours?
As always, I'm impressed with everybody's helpfulness. Thanks!

Posted by
12040 posts

"Re hiking down from the Brocken to Schierke...two hours?"

Consider that it took my dog and I about two hours to hike up, so I doubt the descent would take as long.

One caveat, though...the shortest hike up (the one we took) goes over one very rough stretch of strewn rocks. Don't even try it without good ankle support. There's a longer rout that bypasses this section, but I don't know how much time it adds.