Monday, April 20, 2015

A German Forest - the Herz Region

We recently spent a weekend in a more rural part of Germany, the Herz Forest.  Both my husband and a friend's husband were traveling, so we did a mom and kids weekend.  It was a blast, and here are some highlights about this less-well-known part of Germany.

Where IS Herzberg am Harz?
Herzberg am Harz is a forest region with some slight elevations that is about 2 and a half hours northeast of Frankfurt.  It has some skiing areas, tiny villages and towns, and local legends about witches (Hexen auf Deutsch).  It was a mining area, and is known for hiking and outdoorsy activities in the Harz national forest.  A perfect weekend getaway for two moms and six kids!

Where we stayed...
We stayed at Harzer Hof.  It is a gorgeous hotel in a tiny town, right on the main street.  It has an incredible yard that was perfect for the children to play in, and really beautiful rooms.   This hotel is a great base for exploring this area of Germany.

Some cool activities....

Unicorn Cave.  The Unicorn Cave, or Einhorn Hoehle, is a very short distance from the Harzer Hof hotel.  This cave is in the middle of some gorgeous woods and is great for hiking and exploring with children.  A highly recommended destination!!

Rhume Quelle.  The Rhume Quellle is a natural spring near to Herzberg am Harz.  It has great historical significance due to the naturally occurring blue water.  We took a nice walk around the spring, and explored the woods surrounding.  It is fascinating to think that ancient coins were discovered in the spring from people believing the water could grant wishes!

Models of the mines!
Samson Mine Museum.  The Samson Mine was a really cool excursion.  We took a tour of the mine, which was in German, but the guide did translate a bit.  This tour really gave us a sense of the lives of the miners, and how long it would take them to get down to the pits - several hours!  It is the site of one of the first elevators, which dramatically changed the miners lives as they could get into and out of the mines much more easily.  We all found this fascinating.  There is also a cute town nearby that is worth a visit!

Cable Car.  As the Herz region has some elevated areas, in the winter time there is skiing.  We visited in the warmer months and took a cable car up to the top of an elevation for lunch at a beer garden and some exploring.  It was gorgeous.  There are also several tobogganing runs in summer months.

Witches!  There is a long history full of legends of magic and witchcraft in this area, and the local shops love to capitalize on this!  There are witch-themed restaurants and shops in many small towns in the area that are just waiting to be explored.

The Herz region of Germany is a great destination for families with children and people looking for outdoorsy activities.  It's not possible to walk or take public transportation easily, so a car is required, but this is certainly an interesting trip that is well worth a weekend!