Old Watch Tower in Quedlinburg worth a visit

by Germany

The rolling foothills of the Harz mountains that surround Quedlinburg feature forested terrain with open, rolling meadows, some hills and plenty of farmland – perfect for those who need to stretch the legs and mind a bit on an easy wander.

We’d heard about the Quedlinburg Old Watch Tower (“Altenburgwarte”) that was located approximately 0.5 miles (just under 750 meters) from the southwest edge of town, on a sandstone ridge overlooking the village below.

Craving exercise with our typical added dose of touring, we headed out from just below the Schlossmuseum (“Castle museum”) through a park and then along a picturesque lane (“Huttenweg”).  We really had no idea where we’d end up. But we figured with any luck, we’d find our way along country lanes and footpaths (the signing in Germany for all walking paths is excellent) and we’d eventually arrive at the Altenburgwarte. And, well, if we didn’t, we’d still have an adventure with a few tales to tell.

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We jogged past groups of German kids on their way to school, past farmers tending their orchards who waved hello despite our rather alien-to-the-area looks (think tech running gear), and then came upon a sign pointing toward, yes, the sought-after Altenburgwarte. We stopped to poach an apple and a few berries too. Ssssssh!

Cherries on a branch hanging over onto the trail just outside Quedlinburg proved too much for Michael Hodgson to pass up.

Cherries on a branch hanging over onto the trail just outside Quedlinburg proved too much for Michael Hodgson to pass up.

Into the forest we went, along a lovely, cool dirt road – feeling a little bit like Dorothy and her companions entering the dark woods in Wizard of Oz — making turns when the signs said to. Hard to get lost here!

The signing for all walking paths, as you can see, is excellent in Germany. This one points the way to the Altenburg -- the Watch Tower.

The signing for all walking paths, as you can see, is excellent in Germany. This one points the way to the Altenburg — the Old Watch Tower.

The Watch Tower itself is a simple, albeit fun and somewhat quirky destination that you can still climb up – 51 steps through a dark narrow interior (a bit of an adventure sans flashlight which, of course, we forgot to bring). The Harz Club built the current 10-meter-high, restored tower in 1889. It was created from ruins of the original tower, which was five meters in diameter and built in the 14th or 15th century.

Trees blocked the view to town from the top. We’re guessing hundreds of years ago they could still see the bad guys coming to protect the town.

Therese Iknoian standing on the steps at the base of the Altenburgwarte -- Old Watch Tower.

Therese Iknoian standing on the steps at the base of the Altenburgwarte — Watch Tower.

Therese Iknoian wonders if it really is a good idea to go back down the dark steps without a flashlight.

Therese Iknoian wonders if it really is a good idea to go back down the dark steps of the Old Watch Tower without a flashlight.

Wildflowers carpeted the fields we ran through as we followed paths through farmland toward the Watch Tower.

Wildflowers carpeted the fields we ran through as we followed paths through farmland toward the Watch Tower.

HITT TIP: Since you likely burned a few calories on your hike and/or run, it is time to replenish! Do not pass go or miss the Café Käsekuchenbäckerei (Café Cheesecake Bakery – www.kaesekuchenbaeckerei.de), heaven for cheesecake lovers. Worth the sin,” the website says and OH BOY is that right. An ever-changing array of cheesecakes –mango to pineapple to chocolate whiskey, with perhaps a dozen being served at a time — fill the window case. And you can watch more being baked during the day. Being a cheesecake fan, She ordered a piece and got one the size and weight of two bricks – when She gasped at the size, the server shrugged and said, “It was the last piece so it either had to be either too small or too big — and bigger seemed better.” Boy, did heads turn at tables near us. Death by cheesecake! He just smiled and grabbed a fork too– several hours of wandering and running will do that.

Cafe Kasekuchenbackerei is pure, delicious, cheesecake decadence.

Cafe Kasekuchenbackerei is pure, delicious, cheesecake decadence.

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Harz Mountains - a land of fairy tales and witches

The Harz Mountains includes the magical towns of Quedlinburg and Wernigerode and features dark forests (hence the tales of witches) tumbling streams, timber houses and narrow cobblestone streets. Learn more about this region of fairy tales with Quedlinburg: An ubercute villate in Germany’s Harz mountains and Harz mountain Brockenbahn railway is a narrow gauge wonder.

Heads up! This information on the Old Watch Tower was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). It is your sole responsibility to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, and any other important details before your adventure.

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Michael Hodgson

Co-Conspirator at HI Travel Tales
Winner of a 2018 Silver Medal from the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel writing excellence, Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years. His bylines have appeared in Backpacker, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to all seven continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
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