Welcome to the Selketal!

In the middle of Germany in the beautiful Harz Mountains lies the Selke Valley. We cordially invite you to visit our region, including the towns of Ballenstedt, Harzgerode and Falkenstein/Harz. As an impressive nature reserve covering almost 700 hectares, it offers a generous habitat for rare and protected animal species and plants in a rich biodiversity. A river, the Selke, flows through the scenically enchanting valley and offers visitors to the large biotope the opportunity to experience unforgettable moments in nature on the banks.
The 75 km long Selketal-Stieg trail is a delight for walkers and hikers. Along the Stieg you will find a potpourri of wild botany with lush deciduous forests and extensive meadows, historic castles, palaces, churches and houses. But there are also numerous opportunities to discover the Selke Valley and its all-embracing beauty beyond this unique hiking trail. And be it on a ride on the nostalgic Selke Valley Railway, which also invites its passengers on a journey through time, puffing through the countryside.

The towns of Ballenstedt, Falkenstein and Harzgerode represent the Selke Valley destination.


Ballenstedt is a small town in the Selke Valley in the heart of the Harz Mountains. The former royal seat fascinates with its impressive history. The name of the town is said to come from a nobleman called “Ballo”, who founded a settlement in ancient times. The Ascanians, an ancient Saxon noble family, have their roots here, which is why Ballenstedt is often referred to as “The Cradle of Anhalt”. Esiko was first mentioned in a document as the first Count of Ballenstedt in 1036.

The idyllic town still shines today with a beautiful baroque castle from the 18th century, with a castle park that is considered a work of garden art. Often described as a “fairytale castle”, the Princes of Anhalt-Bernburg resided here and the Dukes of Anhalt used it as their summer residence. The structural basis of the former domicile was a building from the 11. and 12th century monastery complex.

Today, a visit to the castle is not only inspiring because of its architectural beauty. Exhibitions on the history of the castle and its noble inhabitants provide fascinating information. Culture takes place all year round in the castle theater from 1788. But the town also offers many wonderful places to visit, with the old half-timbered town hall, numerous museums and the traditional library(s). In addition, various hiking trails lead out of the town to the sights: to the Selkemühle mill, the remains of Anhalt Castle or to Selkesicht.


The town of Harzgerode with its 13 districts is located in the immediate vicinity of the towns of Ballenstedt and Falkenstein/Harz. It is a state-approved resort with plenty to discover. With a Renaissance-style castle built in the 16th century, a baroque church, St. Marien, and a city wall, the city shines in the light of its buildings from past centuries. But the town hall in the red half-timbered building is also enchanting with its almost picturesque beauty.

There is also a delightfully quaint 19th century half-timbered railroad station in the middle of the town. From here, visitors can travel comfortably to the surrounding area on the historic narrow-gauge railroad, the Selketalbahn. Those who enjoy hiking will find plenty of trails to enjoy. Well signposted, they invite visitors on tours to attractive destinations and viewpoints in the wonderful Selke Valley. Into a landscape that is full of nature, deciduous and coniferous forests.

But fishing, rowing and swimming are also possible in the variety of ponds and lakes. And if there is enough snow in winter, you can whizz down the nearby cross-country ski trails and pistes.

Falkenstein / Harz

The town of Falkenstein is named after the imposing Falkenstein Castle, which is perched on a rocky outcrop over 300 meters above sea level. Built in the 12th century, the complex still has a strong medieval character and is a very popular excursion destination in the Harz Mountains. It is part of the Romanesque Road, which runs through Saxony-Anhalt as a vacation route. Visitors can experience the Middle Ages at the castle.

A falconry demonstrates free flight with birds of prey such as falcons, eagles, vultures and eagle owls, which were once used for hunting. “Knights’ dinners” are held in the local restaurant and annual castle festivals celebrate the Middle Ages to the full. But there is also plenty to explore in the valley at the foot of the castle: The town of Falkenstein comprises seven districts within a radius of 100 square kilometers. Around two kilometers south of the Falkenstein district of Ermsleben is another castle, Konradsburg. It already existed in the Bronze Age, long before Falkenstein Castle, and was used by people as a protective settlement.

Falkenstein also includes the Friedrichshohenberg nature reserve, which covers an area of almost 120 hectares. It is in turn surrounded by the “Harz and foothills” landscape conservation area, which has been protected since 1994. In the midst of this sheltered environment, you will come across extensive beech forests with a coppice and middle forest character. Wild flowers grow and bloom in all their glory. Orchards and farmland conjure up a picture-book atmosphere. The nature reserve is also home to many species of rare birds, which live happily here with salamanders, butterflies, frogs and beetles.