The Harz is spread out between the top of the Brocken plateau and the rolling hills of the foreland; a variety of landscape which is hard to find anywhere in a comparatively small area.
Deciduous and coniferous forests, deep valleys, wild rivers and gentle mountain meadows provide a unique experience. Unspoilt natural landscapes with the evidence of a long history of settlements are close together.
The national parks of the Harz in relation to the flora rank among the most bio-diverse regions in Germany. This is due mainly to the various altitudes (from river valleys in the Harz Mountains to the tree line in the Upper Harz), and particular to the different climatic conditions (Atlantic in the West and Continental in the East). In a corresponding manner, the region has a rich selection of wildlife as well. Typical indigenous animals are the wild cat, the fire salamander, the dipper, grey wagtail and the boreal owl, which is also the “bird logo” of the nature park.
In the Harz there are four legally independent nature parks:
- The Harz Nature Park in Lower Saxony was founded in 1960.
- The Harz Nature Park in Sachsen-Anhalt founded since 2003.
- The Harz Nature Park Sachsen-Anhalt (Mansfelder Land) since 2012 Support for the three national parks is the Harz Regional Association
- The Southern Harz Nature Park in Thuringia was founded in 2010. The South Harz Tourism Association is responsible for the nature park.