Backed by the dramatic peaks of the Harz Mountains, Thale is a picturesque town that has long been associated with pagan legends. It lies on the banks of the Bode River with its dramatic gorge, which has long attracted literary figures such as the German poet Heinrich Heine and the novelist Theodor Fontane.
Things to do in Thale
Soak up the scenery aboard the Hexentanzplatz Cable Car, which offers stunning views of the Bode Valley and the Harz Mountains. Some of the cabins have glass floors, allowing you to peer down toward the rushing streams below. If you prefer to reach the Hexentanzplatz on foot, you can follow one of the hiking trails that ascend its beech and oak-forested slopes.
Translating as “Witches’ Dance Floor”, the Hexentanzplatz is an Old Saxon cult site home to one of the oldest open-air theatres in Germany. Don’t miss a visit to the Walpurgishalle, which is decorated with scenes from Goethe’s “Faust”, or the Hexentanzplatz Wildlife Park. Home to native wildlife, this small zoo works to reintroduce animals back into the wild.
Rising high above the Bode River is the Roßtrappe, a granite crag with a hoof mark associated with a local legend about a giant. Ride the chair lift that ascends to the massif and wander along the rampart remains of the Winzenburg, a refuge castle that has been used since the New Stone Age. A zigzagging hiking trail descends from the Roßtrappe to the Bode Gorge.
Getting around Thale
Thale is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Leipzig and just over an hour from Leipzig/Halle Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe and Africa. Regular trains connect to the Thale railway station and buses travel throughout the town. Most of Thale’s attractions are accessible on foot or by chair lift.