We visited Thale on a day's excursion from our base in Clausthal-Zellerfeld. The town of Thale is not particularly attractive, especially considering the likes of the nearby Quedlinburg, but is quite pleasant and based around a sculpture and carving-filled park. There is reasonable parking here (€3 per day) and it is a short walk to the cable car and chairlift, with Eiscafes for refreshments before the drive home.
The cable car offers fantastic views of the gorge and the plain to the North and is not excessively expensive. The route passes over some picturesque rocky outcrops; a couple of viewpoints near the top station allow for some good photo opportunities. Having experienced some very run-down areas of the Harz on our trip we were pleased to see that everything appeared very well looked after!
The top of the gorge is quite intensely touristy, which is a shame considering the natural beauty that is otherwise abundant. We did not go to the tierpark as it seemed overpriced (€7 pp when there is a free one near our home) but we couldn't resist a tandem trip on the rodelbahn / bob bahn (a tobogan on rails). This was extremely good fun and worth the price (€2.50 each).
Ignoring the oppressive quantities of tourist tat we completed a quick circuit of the remaining sights and aimed for the walk back to the car. The remains of a Saxon wall (but little information) and a couple of stages, one indoor and one outdoor, comprised the remainder of the attractions at the top but as there was nothing much going on we headed off quite quickly. The steep walk down is very pleasant, if a little hard on the knees, and took us back to our starting point.
The Hexentanzplatz was certainly in a better state of health than some of the other tourist areas in the Harz. Our visit was much shorter than we'd anticipated but was reasonable value for money and the views were certainly worth it. If you can tolerate the overly-cheesy and witch-heavy side of things it is worth a visit for a couple of hours.
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