Simply beautiful. There is no better way to describe Birki, an historic brick-built house in Thale, a small town on the northeastern rim of Germany’s Harz mountains. Situated by a babbling pebble creek on an elevated hill slope near the edge of the town, this 120-year-old house accommodated summer vacationers back in its early days. Now, having been renovated and converted into a spacious holiday home with two family-sized apartments, it has rediscovered its old purpose. But there’s a sense of something new and fresh in the air, too – as the dark grey painted conservatory and the sleek, straight-lined benches in the garden suggest, even from the outside. Inside, the traditional character of the house has been preserved and complemented with modern touches. Fair-faced brick walls, original doors and old timber floorboards provide for a lot of atmosphere. And the understated decor, complete with bespoke furniture and modern design elements, adds a contemporary twist. The photographs you will see on the walls throughout the house reveal glimpses into the town’s history. They depict motifs from the local iron works museum and parts of a mural created by the artist Willi Neubert, once a professor at Thale’s Institute for Architectural Enamel.
The small, courtyard-like garden with its old fruit trees, seating area, barbecue and large sandpit opens out to the south, facing the mountains. Walking from the house, you will find yourself amidst nature within minutes and you can quickly reach the lifts to the Harz’s Hexentanzplatz and Rosstrappe cliffs. The centre of Thale with its restaurants, shops and the train station is also nearby.
What to do
The wild and rugged landscape of the Bode valley is one of the most beautiful hiking areas in Germany and is also very popular with mountain bikers. Day trips to the Harz National Park and the Brocken (on foot or with the Harz light railway), to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Quedlinburg, to Halberstadt, Werningerode or Goslar. There are various other attractions in the region. In Thale: the iron works museum, and thermal baths.
Why we like this house
Stylish, modern holiday apartments have always been hard to find in the Harz. Birki has changed all that. It’s a great base from which you can explore the region’s abundant natural and cultural offerings.
This house is great for
Couples and families. Ideal for larger groups of friends or two families when both apartments are rented together. For people who enjoy active holidays or are just looking to relax and unwind – and anyone who loves the simple, beautiful things in life.
Getting there without a car: The train station is within walking distance. At weekends there is a direct connection to Berlin main station.
|Region||DE – Germany, Saxony-Anhalt, Thale|
|Name||schlicht & ergreifend: das Birki|
|Scenery||small town on the northeastern rim of Germany’s Harz mountains|
|Number of guests||2 apartments for 4 and 5 people|
|Completed||1897 / 2018|
|Design||Jan Hamer, Hanover | Robin Kluge, Bad Sachsa; Interior Design: Kristin Ohlendorf, Hanover|
|Published||sanvie.de 7/2018, forays, Das Haus, Cosylodging|
|Architecture||Historical, Old & new|
|Criteria||1-4 (house/apartment), 1-6 (house/apartment), 8+ (house/apartment), Apartments combinable, Dog-friendly, Family, Garden, Hiking, Mountains, Spa, No car needed|
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