Wernigerode travel guide // A beautiful little gem of a town
It has taken me a while to get around to it, but I have finally written a little Wernigerode for you guys. It is quite a different travel destination from what I am used to, but it is such a beautiful little gem and I can definitely recommend visiting this charming old town.
I stayed in Wernigerode for a couple of days in August, I was on a little German roadtrip with my family and after a a couple of days in Hamburg we drove down to Harz for a relaxing stay in Wernigerode. It is an area mostly know for being the favorite holiday destination for elderly tourists and apparently my great grandparents enjoyed going there on yearly trips. I can see why the area and the town of Wernigerode is so popular with elderly tourists, but I think it is a shame that many younger tourists might avoid the area due to its reputation for primarily being a destination for the older generation.
I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive about the town because of it, but I was pleasantly surprised when we arrived. The town is so full of life and is buzzing with people of all ages + SO many dogs! I swear I have never seen so many people walking their dogs in my life! It didn’t really help that all I am thinking about these days are whether or not to get a puppy, but my gosh they were so cute! And don’t worry if you are not a dog person, they were all on a leash and well behaved, so they shouldn’t bother anyone :)
Wernigerode is a beautiful old town that kinda reminded my sister and I of Harry Potter (the oldschool steam train and the castle really made our HP fantasy come true), haha which definitely only made us like the town more! It is very small though, so I wouldn’t really recommend staying for more than a couple of days, but it would make a perfect stop on a road trip!
We stayed in Wernigerode for 3 days and I feel like it was the perfect amount of time for us to relax and enjoy the town, but also to see the local attractions. Continue reading below for my recommendations on where to stay, what to see, where to eat etc.
Where to stay
There are so many cute hotels in Wernigerode and I would definitely recommend booking a hotel close to the city center in one of the old original buildings to really experience the ambience of the town. We stayed in Hotel Gothisches Haus (affiliate link), which I can definitely recommend. It has the perfect location right by the town square and town hall as well as the perfect setting with gorgeous oldschool buildings (there are 2 more buildings to the hotel other than the one pictured above) that were still supplied with all modern amenities like tv, internet and tablets in the rooms. The rooms where lovely as well, the beds super comfy, there were aircondition and no noise from the other rooms or outside, big spa + most importantly, they had a great breakfast buffet with lots of options (also healthy ones, which I had missed when we stayed in Hamburg).
What to do/see:
Wernigerode city center
One of the most important things to see in Wernigerode is simply the beautiful old part of the town. Walk around the old cobblestone streets, enjoy the cute architecture, the many flowers, have a coffee or a glass of wine in one of the many of the lovely cafes and restaurants with outside seating – there are so many by the town square – and simply enjoy the town and its lovely surroundings.
Harz steam railway
One of the things I really enjoyed was going for a ride on the oldschool train. I know we are the biggest geeks ever, but my sister and I totally felt like we were riding the Hogwarts Express and it was amazing! It is super old school and maybe not the comfiest, but you get to enjoy a beautiful ride and you can even go outside and stand between the different sections, feel the wind in your hair and really take in the views.
It is a bit pricy and sometimes the trains can be full, so I would recommend going early in the day to avoid being squished or having to stand. It is super cold at the top, so make sure to bring extra clothes. We ended up only staying for 15 minutes before taking the train back down because it was simply too freezing cold for us to stay there another 2.5 hours until the next train left – and we had even brought jackets!
It didn’t seem like there was that much to do at the top unless you are going hiking, so I would recommend maybe only taking the train halfway up, there is a restaurant where you can eat lunch before heading down again. It is an experience in itself to ride the train, so you dont really to go all the way to the top.
A lot of people go to Wernigerode and Harz to hike in the beautiful Harz National Park. You can maybe even combine two things on the list by taking the steam train to the top of Brocken and then hike down the “mountain” (I think it is more of a high hill, not sure though).
On the top of the list of things too see is most definitely this beautiful old fairytale castle (again kinda gives a HP vibe) that towers over the city and has the most beautiful view of the town. The walk up there is lovely and I would visit the castle for the view alone, it gives you the perfect panorama view of the town and surrounding areas. You can also go on a tour of the castle and chapel, most information is only available in German though.
You can find a list of more things to do and see right here.
Where to eat:
In Wernigerode you will mostly find traditional German cuisine and it is absolutely delicious, but like Danish traditional cuisine it is also quite heavy, so after a while we went looking for alternatives as well. You have to try their local cuisine though and I can really recommend their dishes with chanterelles, so delicious and they are very generous with the mushrooms, I have never had some many chanterelles in my life! We had the most delicious tenderloin with chanterelles for lunch at Hotel Weisser Hirsch, we were seated outside by the town square (I think the menu might vary if you are eating in the restaurant inside) with a lovely view of the town hall.
We also enjoyed some of their traditional meals at Rathouse Wernigerode – the food was good, the service amazing and I loved the decor and ambience of the place.
Other than that the food on our trip was a bit meh, only one other place really stood out and it was actually quite a surprise! We had gotten a bit tired of the german cuisine, so we went to get pizzas at this random pizza place by the town square. The decor inside is horrible, so sit outside if possible. It seems to mostly be know for its over the top ice desserts, but their pizzas were truly amazing! I was so surprised, because the place honestly does not look like much and it is far from fancy, but the pizza I had was beyond delicous! The owners and employees are Italian though, so I shouldn’t really have been surprised, Italian pizzas are obviously the best!
Another must try is the snow balls (pictured below), they are these weird dessert balls made from some kind of biscuit like dough with different flavors and toppings. They are fun to try, very photogenic (hey instagram) and makes for a great souvenir as they can keep for quite a while.
You can find a list of the highest rated restaurants in Wernigerode right here.
Where to shop:
Okay Wernigerode isn’t exactly the shopping central of the world, but I did manage to buy a couple of things. One of our first stops were the local beauty- and drugstores (my sister is a makeup artist) and I loved discovering so many new brands – a lot of them were super affordable as well! I stocked up on face masks, makeup and even a bunch superfoods! I loved how their drugstores are full of health foods and superfoods, the selection is so much better than in Denmark!
I also stumbled upon this amazing crystal shop with the most impressive selection I have ever seen! I forgot to write down the name of the shop, but I found it on the way to the castle (on a street close to one of the churches) and the town is very small, so it should be possible to find again. They litterally had all kinds of crystals and stones + in all sizes. I wish I could have bought a large amethyst as decor for my home, but it was sadly a bit too pricy.
My mother bought some really lovely handmade wooden christmas ornaments as well, they have them in several of the stores on the main shopping street and they would make such a great souvenir. I kinda regret not buying any, but I had already spent so much money in Hamburg.
We didn’t end up going, but I have been recommended to check out Harzkristall Deremburg as well. They are know for their beautiful handblown glass vases and lamps and I think they offer a tour of the factory as well.