Wernigerode with its romantic castle was first mentioned in 1121 and is situated at the foothills of the Harz Mountains. The town is often referred to as "the colourful town of the Harz", is now a very popular tourist town, easily attracting 2 million day visitors and numerous overnight stays per year; a vast difference to 1777 when Goethe first visited Wernigerode where it would have been just a rural town.
Wernigerode Castle, which dominates the skyline, was first built in the 12th century. German Emperors of the Middle Ages used it for their hunting trips. It got its fairy tale look from Count Otto of Stolberg-Wernigerode in the last century. The castle has been open to the public since 1930. Two museum tours lead you through over 40 original part-furnished living rooms of the German nobility. You can reach it by foot or take the Castle Wagon train from Marktstrasse. In the summer horse drawn carts will take you through the narrow streets up to the castle.
In the town Market Square you can see the Town Hall (Rathaus) which dominates the market place and started out in life as a theatre in 1277. Walk around the Town Hall and you will see the Gardenstedt, an old watermill, one of the best buildings in Wernigerode, known by locals as the "tilted house". Back in the Market Square you will see the Neo Gothic fountain built in 1848, and the 15th century Gothisches Haus which is now a Hotel with some amazing facade.
From Wernigerode the small Narrow Gauge Steam Railway will take you up to the Brocken, please refer to the link for more information. Before you start your journey maybe some light refreshments can be had in Cafe Wein near the Market Square which dates back to 1583 and has some impressive architecture inside and out, plus a good menu. Wernigerode has so much to explore you will want to return, maybe to experience the excellent Christmas Market.