Travelling from seeing our friends in Denmark to Southern Germany to see my family meant picking out a 1000km route straight through Germany. With the efficient German autobahns, it wouldn’t take too long, but we wanted to get a taste of the country along the way.
Our first stop was Harz National Park, 555km from the island of Funen in Denmark.
The drive to the Harz Mountains, along the number 7 highway, was long, straight and relatively quiet and, despite leaving Funen at midday, we arrived in Bad Harzburg in the early evening.
We found this campsite on Google Maps (my go-to for trip planning!) and it was great for a night. It’s one of the easy pay-on-meter systems and we paid just 10euros for 24 hours. We also plugged in and paid for 1.5euros for power, and then another euro each for a hot shower the next day. We parked around the other side of the small lake, beside the tall hedge and it felt really private. I’ll never understand why all other campers park right next to each other?!
We woke the next morning to brilliant sunshine and took advantage of the location with a long walk in the woods just behind the campsite. Having a walking trail right there beside the campground is a highlight of a campsite for us.
We climbed up and had views over the town, the outdoor spa that the town is famous for and the hills stretching out into the distance. We were tempted by the 7 euro thermal pools looking out onto the mountains but decided to make the most of the beautiful weather instead.
So, we packed up and set our sights on the lake in the centre of the park. The drive sent us around tight mountain corners and through picturesque villages. As we started climbing up towards the dam, the roads got busier with parked cars lining the thin roads. We drove through a tunnel, along the dam and passed a giant suspension bridge and parked high up in a large car park.
We decided against paying to walk across the suspension bridge as the views from the dam were lovely enough.
It was a Sunday when we visited and incredibly busy with families, couples and friends on a day out. There was also a large proportion of people who had come to the dam simply to drive through the tunnel in their fast cars and on motorbikes, revving like crazy all the way!
For us, we were happy to leave the crowds and take a slow ambling route through the park and enjoy the sunshine. It was an incredible 12 degrees and we rolled down the windows as we climbed up into a stunning high alpine valley.
There were plenty of walks we could have done and, I’m sure, sights to see in Harz National Park but, just a week into our road trip, driving through and admiring the scenery was enough.
There is just something about driving on a sunny day, right?
For our second night, we stayed just outside the park at the Kelbra Reservoir. There’s a huge campground there – with a serious selection of long-term caravanners – but we arrived after the gates had closed. We parked up in the carpark next door and were even able to plug in. A friendly sign informed us that we could pay in the morning (10 euros again) but we ended up leaving before anyone arrived!
Harz National Park may not have the high peaks and epic hikes that we’ve come to love in Bavaria and the German Alps but it made a really lovely stop on the way down from Denmark to Southern Germany. This was also our first taste of just how easy it is to camp with a motorhome in Germany!