Wernigerode

Wernigerode Castle in winter

Wernigerode is a picturesque, timber-framed town in the Harz Mountains of Germany.

Understand

Described by the German heath poet, Hermann Löns, as the "brightly coloured town by the Harz", Wernigerode is an attractive destination on the Holtemme river, nestling against the northern foothills of the Harz Mountains. Its has an impressive medieval town centre with rows of charming, centuries-old, timber-framed houses and is dominated by a fascinating, fairy tale castle that is open to visitors.

Its popularity and charm have led to it becoming a waystop on two major tourist routes: the German Timber-Framed Road and the Orange Route, a German-Dutch holiday road. The town is also a good base for exploring the northern Harz on foot or by mountain bike.

History

Wernigerode is first recorded in 1121 when it was the seat of the medieval County of Wernigerode, a status it held until 1429. It was during that time, in 1229, that it was granted town rights. Wernigerode's heyday came during the 14th and 15th centuries as it grew wealthy through trading in cloth, beer and brandy. However, it suffered from plague epidemics in the 16th century as well as the ravages of the Thirty Years' War and fell into decline.

From 1645 to 1807, Wernigerode became the seat of the County of Stolberg-Wernigerode. At the end of the 18th century, the town's economy picked up again, this time based on tanning and the manufacture of cloth and linen. In 1815 it was absorbed into the Prussian Province of Saxony. The industrial revolution saw new metal and wood industries settling here. The railways arrived in 1872, the same year that the Harz's best known brewery, the Hasseröder Brauerei, was founded.

After the Second World War, Wernigerode fell on the East German side of the Inner German Border in the newly-created state Saxony-Anhalt. Wernigerode became part of the restored state of Saxony-Anhalt in 1990 after German reunification and did not take long to restore the beauty of its timber-framed town houses.

In 2004 Wernigerode celebrated the 775th anniversary of being granted town rights.

Get in

By road

Wernigerode has two junctions (Wernigerode-Nord and Wernigerode-Zentrum) on the B 6, a motorway-like dual carriageway that runs along the northern edge of the Harz from west to east. The B 6 branches off the A 7 motorway near Goslar and the A 395 motorway from Brunswick to Vienenburg.

The local bus services offer four routes into the local area.

By rail

Wernigerode has a railway station on the Heudeber-Danstedt–Vienenburg line with two-hourly services that run between Hanover and Halle using the Harzexpress.

Wernigerode is also the main depot and terminus on the Harz Narrow Gauge Railways. Trains, including steam-hauled services, than run to various destinations in the Harz, including its highest mountain, the Brocken.

TIP: The HarzTourCard enables you to travel by bus, train and narrow gauge train (except trains to the summit of Brocken) as much as you like within three days. It cost from 18 €, family: 34,50 €. Go to www.insa.de or the local tourist information.

By air

Wernigerode is about 1 hour 15 minutes by car from Hanover airport and about 1½ hours from Leipzig airport.

Get around

Wernigerode has a number of car parks and roadside parking meter bays near the centre. The town centre and castle are all within easy walking distance of the more central car parks.

See

The medieval town hall in Wernigerode

Wernigerode has a wealth of historic sights and curiosities. Without a shadow of doubt, though, its top sights are its preserved medieval castle overlooking the town and its splendid town hall. But wandering around its ancient, sometimes still cobbled streets, the tourist will come across rows of colourful timber-framed houses and oddities like the Leaning House and the tiny "Smallest House" in Wernigerode, as well as museums that reflect the town's history and culture.

Sights

Museums

The museum has audio guides in English, so you can go at your own pace and take in the atmosphere. There is also a cafe in the courtyard and great views from the terrace. A must if you have a couple of hours. Adults €6; children 6-14: €2.50; under 6: free; family card: €14.50.

Do

There are several worthwhile walks in the local area, but Wernigerode is also a great starting base for exploring the Harz... by rail, road, mountain bike or on foot.

Local walks

Steam railway

Hiking

Wernigerode is a great starting point for hiking in the northern Harz and the Harz Club (Harzklub) maintains hundreds of miles of trail and organises guided walks. For more information contact at their local branch: Volker Friedrich, Horstberg 18, 38855 Wernigerode, Tel. 03943 / 654301.

Buy

Christmas time in Wernigerode

Eat

Wernigerode has a range of good restaurants ands cafes to tempt the palate, whatever your budget. It's well worth sampling the regional specialities such as game dishes and local cakes (such Harzer Baumkuchen or Brockentorte).

Budget

Mid-price

Splurge

Drink

Sleep

Budget

Mid-price

Splurge

Connect

The nearest Internet cafes are in Goslar:

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 28, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.