Castles like Burgk are highlights of scenic cycle rides by way of Thuringia.
{Photograph}: Alamy Inventory Picture
1 The Rennsteig – Germany’s oldest climbing trailThuringia’s most well-known climbing path is steeped in custom, and recognized throughout Europe for its very good surroundings. Lots of of historic boundary stones – the image of the Rennsteig – mark the route and inform their very own story about how this path was for years a border between the Franconian and Thuringian provinces.
The 105-mile route winds down from the city of Eisenach (residence of Wartburg Citadel), by way of Suhl, and ends at Blankenstein, proper on the present border between Thuringia and Bavaria. Right now, there’s additionally a 120-mile cycle path that runs nearly parallel to the strolling route, however with longer deviations to keep away from too many buttock-bashing hill climbs. However whereas the cycle path remains to be a youngster, the basic climbing route is sort of 700 years previous. You may sense the souls which have trodden this well-known path through the years, alongside the historic ridgeline above the forests. Some 100,000 walkers come yearly to discover this evocative slice of countryside. And deep beneath your ft a plethora of tunnels carry a few of Germany’s most vital street and rail routes – together with the tubes carrying the model new Erfurt to Nuremberg high-speed railway.
2 The Hochrhoener path Elements of the Hochrhoener path prolong into Hesse and Bavaria, however its coronary heart lies in Thuringia. Operating from Dangerous Kissingen to Dangerous Salzungen, by way of Kreuzberg and the Wasserkuppe mountain, the Hochrhoener path snakes for 87 miles. It’s cut up into 9 phases, if you happen to solely need to stroll a portion of the longer path, and crests out at a powerful 876 metres. And if you happen to nonetheless really feel such as you need to go greater, the Hochrhoener is the proper place for gliding in Thuringia. When you gaze skywards from the paths you possibly can usually see gliders catching the currents, that are good right here as a result of geography of the mountains and the best way the climate techniques work their method by way of the world. Stargazers can veer off the principle path on the Geba path to find the “Sternenpark” or Star Park – one in all Europe’s main darkish sky landscapes. With platforms and viewing gadgets offered, it’s superb for gazing into house and recognizing stars and planets. And for a style of historical past, you possibly can discover the Level Alpha path resulting in the Level Alpha army installations and the stays of the previous inside German border – the iron curtain. On this space on the border there’s additionally Merkers mine – a former salt mine, the place the Nazis stashed treasures throughout the second world struggle.

The route alongside the River Saale is dotted with nice lunch spots. {Photograph}: Alamy Inventory Picture
three The Thuringian Chain-of-Cities – long-distance cycle trailArchitecture aficionados will love this journey by way of the buildings and historical past of Thuringia’s primary city centres. The Chain-of-Cities path runs for a complete of 140 miles, however most of that’s over flat to softly sloping floor – so the going just isn’t like pulling tooth. And the route can also be maybe finest loved in small parts. Electrical bikes are inspired and common charging stations pepper the route, plus there are a slew of DB (Deutsche Bahn) railway stations alongside the best way, the place you possibly can let the practice take the pressure if you happen to don’t need to cycle the entire thing. The Chain-of-Cities path begins in Eisenach, residence to the Unesco world heritage web site, Wartburg Citadel. Subsequent, Gotha and its citadel Schloss Friedenstein. Cosmopolitan Erfurt’s scholar inhabitants ensures loads of bars, and its good-looking, historic centre is residence to such architectural highlights because the Outdated Synagogue – one in all Europe’s oldest, which is itself residence to the well-known Erfurt Treasure of gold and silver. Then it’s on to historic Weimar and Jena, after which to Altenburg, the place the route concludes.

The riverside city of Jena is a good vacation spot for bike excursions. {Photograph}: Alamy Inventory Picture
four Saale cycle route – hills aplentyThose double-wheeled daredevils who look in awe on the Tour de France’s King of the Mountains exploits can discover their biking satisfaction on this difficult and in the end rewarding run by way of the guts of the Thuringian hills following the River Saale. Coming in at a thigh-chafing 250 miles, the Saale cycle route requires loads of Vaseline within the panniers. The primary a part of the route from picturesque Fichtelgebirge by way of the excessive hills is probably the most spectacular, and tea breaks could be taken whilst you marvel at gorges or pristine lakes. Because the river widens and flattens, castles and vineyards grow to be extra frequent sights. Dangerous Sulza’s wineries are particularly famous for his or her bottles of Grüner Veltliner or Muscat Ottonel. Reaching Saalfeld, cyclists or walkers discover the mesmerising Fairy Grottoes, listed within the Guinness E book of Data because the world’s most vibrant caves. Then, lastly, you discover peaceable meadows earlier than the river joins the Elbe and flows on its lengthy journey as much as Hamburg and the North Sea. Jena is one in all Thuringia’s primary cities and offers loads of sleeping, consuming and buying choices. Optical innovator Zeiss was based right here and the city’s Zeiss Planetarium is rightly recognized for its audio and video reveals.

5 Schwarza Valley Panorama path – for tree loversFans of forests can revel on this peaceable journey by way of the bushes that sprout on the japanese aspect of the Thuringian forest nature park. The park is filled with dense thickets of coniferous bushes that present a habitat for an enormous number of fowl and animal species, and you’ll even forage for wild mushrooms and garlic. This 84-mile path follows a loop route, beginning and ending in fairly Rudolstadt. Alongside the best way, the path passes varied picture-postcard villages and cities comparable to Dangerous Blankenburg, Meuselbach, Altenfeld and Cordobang. The trail generally rises out from the forest and up into the foothills of the Thuringian Schiefergebirge mountains – whose top and scenic worth give the Saxon Switzerland hills, and even the Bavarian mountains, a run for his or her cash. Except for the apparent arboreal points of interest, the Schwarza Valley Panorama path additionally passes close to to a number of castles perched on the banks of the River Saale.