Harzspots holiday planner
Spots Name Type Place Date  

Walpurgis in the Harz Mountains

When witches fly on their brooms and devils swing their tridents in the Harz Mountains, one thing is clear: Walpurgnisnacht is just around the corner. Holidaymakers and tourists travelling to the Harz Mountains at the end of April will see numerous witch dolls dangling from lanterns or hanging from house walls and trees in many places. The witches' festival on the last night of April is all about dark powers and mysterious myths. Numerous villages around the Brocken traditionally organise Walpurgis celebrations in the spirit of the mystical witch cult.

In many places, the devil's cult, a mixture of magic and customs, delights visitors and guests of all ages, young and old. Walpurgis Night is ideal for families with children as well as couples or singles, as the more than 30 towns in the Harz region offer a wide variety of events, including parades, medieval markets and, in some places, the election of the May Queen. While the spa gardens in Hahnenklee-Bockswiese are lit up at night, a wonderful firework display is put on in front of the Kranich pond. Music lovers can look forward to Walpurgis in the Harz Mountains, as Goethe's Faust is performed in the form of a unique rock opera in the hostel on the Brocken. However, many visitors also use the Harz narrow-gauge railway to get to the famous witches' dance floor, where an exciting programme of shows and entertainment awaits them. It's clear: Walpurgis Night in the Harz Mountains has something for everyone.

The significance of Walpurgis in the Harz Mountains

The Walpurgis festival in the Harz Mountains has been firmly anchored in tradition for several hundred years and is intended to drive away winter once and for all while welcoming spring with cheerfulness. The history of the European festival dates back to pre-Christian times, whereby it is assumed that the inhabitants of the Harz Mountains at that time already celebrated such a spring festival more than 1,000 years ago, on the occasion of which offerings were made to the Germanic god Wodan. As well as celebrating the arrival of spring, the festival also served to drive away evil spirits by dressing up in costumes and masks.

According to legend, witches gather every year above the Bode Valley at the witches' dance site near Thale to fly together to the Brocken and marry the devil there. Once at the actual meeting point of the witches' festival, all the witches danced around the fire and the devilish goings-on took their course. By marrying the devil, the witches were supposed to gain the magical powers of sorcery.

The historical development of Walpurgis Night

Regardless of the veracity of the legend, the spring festival of pagan origin is still known beyond the borders of the Harz Mountains today. In the course of Christianisation, the representatives of the new religion at the time attempted to adapt the customary festival to the new circumstances, but were unsuccessful. It was particularly important to the missionaries of the time to condemn everything pagan. Nevertheless, the festival, which gained its fame primarily through Goethe's "Faust", underwent a number of changes over the centuries. How exactly the ancient Germanic tribes celebrated it, however, can only be surmised today.

A Walpurgis celebration was officially organised for the first time in 1896, after which it was even possible for revellers to climb the Brocken summit on the Brocken Railway from 1899, until Prince von Stolberg-Wernigerode finally banned the mystical celebrations from 1901. This eventually led to more and more towns and cities in the Harz region organising annual celebrations on the eve of 1 May.

During the division of Germany, no Walpurgis celebrations took place in the former GDR. It was only after the end of this division that celebrations and parties in the style of witches and devils were once again organised in the eastern part of the Harz Mountains. Over time, the Walpurgis Festival developed into a tradition with the character of a folk festival, which still attracts around 100,000 visitors to the Harz Mountains every year.

The witches' dance floor

The Hexentanzplatz is certainly one of the most famous excursion destinations in the entire Harz region. After all, the historic plateau near Thale in the Harz Mountains is precisely the place where, according to legend, the witches meet on 30 April to continue their ritual dance to the Brocken, where they will try the devil's hand. It is therefore hardly surprising that the witches' dance site is a magnet for numerous visitors who are captivated by the spring festival, especially on Walpurgis Night.


A real experience awaits you here on a night full of live acts, fireworks and laser shows surrounded by thousands of people dressed up as ghoulish devils, witches or fantasy creatures.

Click here to find out more about the Hexentanzplatz.

Walpurgis events 2024

The following selected events and happenings await you around Walpurgis Night in the Harz Mountains. This is just a small selection of Walpurgis events worth seeing. Be sure to check out our calendar of events to discover more exciting Walpurgis events.

Walpurgis spectacle in Schierke

Walpurgis in Schierke, one of the most outstanding Walpurgis festivals in the Harz Mountains, will once again offer a unique medieval spectacle on the Brocken in 2024. On 30 April and 1 May, guests can expect mystical goings-on with witches and devils, medieval and folkloric sounds in an impressive natural setting. The medieval adventure market, musical performances by bands such as Rauhbein, Nobody Knows and the Bohemian Bards as well as the big witches' parade and a pyro and laser show on Walpurgis Night on 30 April are just some of the highlights. For party fans, there is a separate stage with the band Z(w)eitreise and DJs. On 1 May, a fantasy show with the dragon Fangdorn and other characters will cast a spell over visitors.

Walpurgis in the Altenau witches' cauldron

Spring is also welcomed in Altenau with witches and devils on 30 April. For the first time, visitors can use the mystical witches' cauldron and the witches' hut as photo motifs and look forward to the programme of the "Witches of Bruchberg". A varied children's programme, live music from "Two Voices and Friends", a spectacular fire show and fireworks to welcome May round off the festival - all free of charge. During the day, there will be face painting, music, a witches' parade, games and a witches' theatre. Live music, dance performances and the devil's speech with fireworks follow in the evening. The Walpurgis Market also offers culinary delights and themed accessories.

Walpurgis Market in Thale

The Walpurgismarkt in Thale has established itself as one of the largest folk festivals in the Harz Mountains, which takes place from 27 April to 1 May. With a varied stage programme, including party music, and five days full of market activities with many traders, restaurateurs and showmen around the town hall square as well as a medieval and flea market in the spa gardens, it attracts visitors - and there is no admission fee.

Highlights of the programme include performances by the Atemlos Band on 27 April from 7 pm, an Andreas Gabalier lookalike called Kevin on 28 April from 2.30 pm, the band Tänzchentee on the same day from 7 pm and Stefan Mross on 1 May from 5 pm.

Walpurgis in Sankt Andreasberg

On 30 April 2024, the family Walpurgis starts in Sankt Andreasberg at 3 pm under the humorous motto "Skilled labour shortage in the underworld". There will be a call to compete in individual costumes for the titles of Super Witch and Super Devil, with a jury awarding prizes for the most creative costume. Meanwhile, the Kurpark unfolds a varied programme, including a colourful parade at 6 pm and an inspiring concert by the Forest Workers' Instrumental Music Society. The evening is rounded off by the region's largest indoor Walpurgis festival, which begins at 8 pm with music, shows and, of course, dancing. The crowning highlight is a theatre play inspired by Goethe's "Faust" at 11 pm.