The little village of Thale, nestling in the lap of the dramatic Bode Valley in the Harz Mountains, has found its way into the works of several legendary German poets. This strikingly beautiful hamlet is also known for its legends of witches and pagan Germanic worship, which add another layer of unique charm. Let’s find out why Thale should be part of your Harz Mountain holiday itinerary.
There is no better way to fully appreciate the stunning beauty of Thale than by cable car. It takes visitors on a panoramic ride across the breathtaking Bode Valley all the way to Hexentanzplatz. En route, you can catch views of the imposing Harz Mountains, endless greenery, craggy rocks, and gushing streams. Some of the gondolas (the light-green ones) have glass floors, providing uninterrupted views of the deep valley, but are probably not a good choice for the fainthearted.
Once you reach Hexentanzplatz (meaning ‘dance floor of the witches’), a plateau perched high up on the Bode Gorge, you are spoiled with an endless array of fun activities. One of the most popular attractions here is the zoo. Several species of exotic birds and animals live in this beautiful oak-and-beech forest unimpeded by cages and bars, giving visitors a chance to observe them in their natural habitat.
Roßtrappe is a 1,322-foot (403-meter) granite crag above the Bode Gorge, accessible from Thale by road, foot, or chair lift. Local myth has it that a giant named Bode tried to force Princess Brunhilde into marrying him, and pursued her as she fled on horseback. The horse, Ross, gracefully leaped over a deep ravine, while the giant fell to its death. The supposed hoof mark of the stallion is today a wishing well. Roßtrappe is known for its hiking trails and gorgeous views over the Harz Mountains.
The Bode Valley is steeped in natural wonders and features some of the most scenic hiking trails in the country. The six-mile (10-kilometer) route from Thale to Treseburg is immensely popular with hikers. It meanders through the deep Bode Valley gorge, meadows of colorful blooms, and thick forests, passing by gurgling streams and granite boulders, and ends at the ruins of a castle in Treseburg. From Thale, you can also hike to Hexentanzplatz or Roßtrappe.
Bodetal Therme awaits with the promise of a day of relaxation, rejuvenation, and fun. Unwind at the spa or the sauna, or take a refreshing dip in the warm thermal pool. You can also treat yourself to a rejuvenating massage or beauty treatment. Top it off with a hearty meal at their restaurant and it’s sure to go down as a day well spent.
When the weather does not cooperate, no worries: Tollhaus ensures that the fun continues uninterrupted. This indoor play area has ball pools, slides, bouncy castles, small merry-go-rounds, and a lot of activities to make little hearts beat faster.
Walpurgis Hall (‘Witch Hall’) is a unique Germanic-style museum in Hexentanzplatz and a fitting addition to a land steeped in legends about witches. The museum houses five huge murals depicting scenes of the Walpurgis Night from Goethe’s Faust. At the entrance you will see a big sacrificial stone, adding to the creepy aura of the place.
Funpark, true to its name, promises a heap of fun for children and children-at-heart. It has bumper cars, rollercoasters, a steam train, a nautical jet, trampolines, mini cars, and climbing walls – in short, everything that spells fun!
Kletterwald, an exciting climbing park, is a great choice for sporty families. This park, in the wilderness of Bodetal valley, offers eight courses of varying difficulty and thrill, suitable for ages five and up. Some of the courses take adrenaline-seekers right over the river and offer amazing views of the valley.