- Lower Saxony
- North Rhine Westphalia
- Frisian Islands
- Harz Mountains
The Harz is the highest mountain range in northern Germany and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. The legendary Brocken is the highest summit in the Harz with a height of 1,141 m above sea level. The mountain range has a length of 110 km, stretching from the town of Seesen in the northwest to Eisleben in the east, and a width of 35 km. The Harz is divided into the Upper Harz in the northwest, which is up to 800 m high, apart from the 1,100 m high Brocken massif, and the Lower Harz (Unterharz) in the east which is up to around 400 m high and whose plateaus are capable of supporting arable farming.
Mainly recognized among Germans and Scandinavians, the Harz Mountains rise up in Lower Saxony and can be reached by a quick train ride from the southern tourist centers. Despite the fact that they do not have valleys and peaks as prominent as the Alps do, they still offer a wide variety of sporting activities throughout the year, foregoing the overpopulation of tourists that are also a part of the Alps.
The Harz Natural Park is an outdoor sports paradise. It has been adapted to hikers and cyclists while at the same time preserving its natural beauty. It is a very popular area for amateur cyclists. The Harz Mountains are also an extremely popular area for winter sports, especially among cross country skiers.
A wide range of wild animals live in the beech forests of the Harz mountains. Over 5,000 species, most of them insects, have their home in these woods. In addition to many species of birds (e.g. owls, woodpeckers, falcons), there is a multitude of butterflies and bats in the various spruce woods that, outside of the Harz, are seriously endangered or simply non-existent. Amongst the mammals that live in the Harz mounains are the wild cats, red deer, roe deer, wild boar and mouflon. In 2000, the lynx was successfully reintroduced by the Harz National Park, and it has since fitted well into the ecology of the region.