Woods, Fields, Culture
Thuringian cycle route: 7 Thuringian towns in 8 days
On its way through lovely woods, fields and river-shaped landscapes full of contrasts, the long distance bike trail connects seven of Thuringia’s most beautiful towns. The route leads from Eisenach, town of the Wartburg, to Erfurt, with its great cathedral, via the residence town Gotha. After reaching Erfurt, the trip continues to Weimar, home of classical music and the university town Jena to finally end in Altenburg, famous for its skat culture after another two stops in the picturesque cities Stadtroda and Gera.
The great number of historic towns is accompanied by a beautiful landscape. At the bottom of the Thuringian Woods with the proud Wartburg your route passes past the legendary Hörselberge-mountains to follow the Ilm-bike trail, the Saale-bike trail and the Elster bike trail. They wind their way through the wooded Zeitzgrund-valley and the idyllic Mühltal-valley, before reaching your destination in the region Altenburger.
The continuously signposted route mainly consists of paved paths and offers separate bike trails, wide forest tracks and small streets. Every biking day involves long flat episodes, some hilly stages and very few and short parts where you will prefer to push your bikes.
1. day Arrival in Eisenach
Make sure to arrive on time in the historical Eisenach, city of the Wartburg. You will not regret it! A great number of famous characters are still associated with this place: Johann Sebastian Bach, the holy Elisabeth or Martin Luther lived here, many museums are dedicated to them today. (Arrival by train possible/ parking facilities at the hotel / rental bikes at the hotel).
2. day Eisenach - Gotha 40 km
Following the course of the Hörsel you will cycle through the Thuringian basin on small streets. Wide fields seam your way to the „Galopprennbahn Boxberg“, a well preserved horse race track in Jugendstil-style with a restaurant. The residence town Gotha is not far from there. Thus, you will have enough time to visit Friedenstein castle with the integrated Ekhof-theatre and the market place during the afternoon.
3. day Gotha - Erfurt 41 km
New destinations lure today: In the morning, you will reach Wechmar, elected the most beautiful village of Thuringia in 2003 and famous for its Bach-museum. The distinctive castle trio of Wachsenburg-castle, Mühlburg-castle and Gleichen-castle, often called “The 3 equal ones” lies in front you afterwards. Not far from this castle-arrangement, one of Thuringia’s oldest restaurants will be waiting for you even before you will follow the Gera river through most lovely parks right into the heart of the ancient trade centre Erfurt. The cathedral with the Severi-church towers strikingly out of this medieval pearl. The overbuilt grocer’s bridge is regarded as the town’s landmark.
4. day Erfurt - Weimar 25 km
The Thuringian town cluster sticks to its promises! After a rather short day on your bikes you will roll comfortably into Weimar, town of classical music, to stroll on Goethe’s and Schiller’s footprints. Here, you will have the chance to visit the residence castle, the Bauhaus-museum and the national theatre or to just take a walk along the Ilm river. But one thing is for sure: You will once again not have a chance to get bored!
5. day Weimar - Stadtroda 42 km
After a lot of cultural highlights, the landscape will be in the centre of attention from now on. In the morning you will get on your bikes to join the Ilm on its idyllic bike trail out of Weimar. A slight slope leads up to Großschwabhausen, from where you will continue comfortably downhill on magnificent forest tracks to the university town of Jena. The Zeiss-planetarium, the Optic museum and the Schott Glas museum have given special distinction to the town, scene of European history during the battle of Jena and Auerstedt in 1806. Easily, you will cycle along the restored Saale-bike trail. The bike trails leading through the narrow valley of the Roda are bordered by red rock faces. They lead you all the way to the cosy town of Stadtroda.
6. day Stadtroda - Gera 43 km
Today you will understand why Thuringia is also called „Germany’s green heart“ as you cycle over fantastic trails for many kilometres. First, you will cross the wooded Zeitzgrund, to continue along the Rauda through the wonderful Mühltahl-valley with its numerous restaurants later on. A former railroad track will serve as your bike trail from here on. It guides your way to the Weiße-Elster-bike trail leading to Gera via Bad Köstritz, location of the famous black beer-brewery.
7. day Gera - Altenburg 44 km
The grounds of the federal horticultural exhibition from 2007 will host you and your bikes from Gera to Ronneburg. This former open cast mining area for uranium ore was redeveloped and revitalized ecologically by the Wismut GmbH and has become a popular destination for excursions since. The last stage consists of small streets and separate trails leading to Schmölln, “the city of buttons”, along the small rivers Sprotte and Pleiße. It ends in Altenburg, location of an enormous castle complex host of the playing card museum. In the evening, there will be enough time left to get to know the former residence town on your own.
8. day Departure from Altenburg
With a lot of new impressions in your heads you will get on your way back home. You are welcome to take the back transfer to Eisenach.
Individual tours: Here you decide when and with whom you would like to travel. We provide you with detailed tour documents and practical planning tips, and you enjoy our all-in, worry-free package with separate luggage transport throughout your tour.
Guided tours: You can simply get on your bike and enjoy a group holiday (8–20 participants). Your tour guide will take care of everything, and your luggage will be transported separately.
This overview shows you the grade of difficulty for our tours:
In the case of our original Velociped tours, we are the tour operator. We organise and accompany these tours personally.
So that you have an even bigger selection to choose from, we also cover additional routes in collaboration with long-standing partners. With these Velociped partner tours, we are the tour broker.
Prices are per person.
09.04. – 15.04.2023
08.10. – 15.10.2023
16.04. – 06.05.2023
24.09. – 07.10.2023
07.05. – 23.09.2023
bookable additional nights
bookable additional services
- Special dates possible with at least 6 persons
- Accommodation incl. breakfast
- Room with shower/bath/WC
- Luggage transport
- Map of bike trails with marked route
- Digital route guidance via smartphone app for almost all journeys
- Tips for tour preparation
- Touristic information
- 7 days hotline service
Worth knowing about the bike tour Thuringian Highlights: Eisenach - Altenburg
Please find more information about the bike tour Thuringian Highlights: Eisenach - Altenburg below. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us by phone: 0049 - (0)6421 - 886890.
Arrival by train
Eisenach is easily accessible from all major cities in Germany by train. We recommend to take a taxi from the station to get to our partner hotels in Eisenach. Current schedule information and price information can be found at: www.bahn.de.
Parking facilities at the hotel
Our partner hotels in Eisenach provide parking spaces for the entire duration of your bike trip, usually liable to costs.
Furthermore there is the possibility to park your car for the duration of your trip on a enclosed ground (500 m respectively 5 min walk to the train station): 55,- € per car/8 days (as of 2023). Reservation is required with your booking.
Detailed information on parking at your hotel, you will receive with the travel documents two weeks prior to departure.
Condition of cycle paths
The bike path "Thuringian Town Chain" has a total length of 225 km. Each cycling day includes long flat sections, some sections through wavy landscapes and only occasionally a few pushing sections must be overcome.
The route is well signposted. Sometimes a railway line runs parallel to the bike path. For more information on the bike path and the profile GPS data can be found at:
Available rental bikes
If you choose to rent a velocipede-rental bike for the tour, we bring it to your first hotel and pick it up at your destination. You can choose between woman’s and men's bicycles either with 7-speed gear shift and coaster brake or 27-speed gear shift and freewheel or electric bikes. All ladies' bikes have a low opening that makes mounting and dismounting much easier. The bikes are suitable for all ladies from 150 cm in height and for all gentlemen from 165 cm in height. You simply specify your wishes at time of booking.
Transfer back to the starting point of the journey
Sundays at 9am there is the possibility to transfer back to Eisenach with a small bus (with bike trailer). Arrival at 12.00pm. The driver comes to pick you up at your hotel and has much room for you, your luggage and where required your own bicycle (extra fee). The bus takes you back to your first hotel, thus ensuring a perfect return service without transfer and the hassle of hauling luggage. The minimum number of participants is 2 persons.
A possibly resulting tourist tax is not part of the travel price and therefor it is payable locally at the hotel.
7 days hotline service
Just in case the bike chain is broken, flooding makes it impossible to continue your tour or any other nasty surprise: you can reach us seven days a week and we will do anything to help you as fast as possible.
Passport and visa requirements
For EU citizens, there are no special passport or visa requirements and no health formalities to be considered for this trip.
The tour price already includes the statutory insolvency insurance. In addition, we recommend that you take out travel cancellation insurance upon receipt of your travel confirmation in order to protect yourself against financial disadvantages in the event of travel cancellation, interruption of travel, illness or accident.
The Wartburg is a castle over the town of Eisenach at the north-western end of the Thuringian Forest. It was founded around 1067 by Ludwig the Springer and belongs to the world cultural heritage since 1999. Like hardly any other castle in Germany, the Wartburg is connected with the history of Germany. Between 1211 and 1227 the later canonized Elizabeth of Thuringia lived on the castle. In 1521/22 the reformer Martin Luther as "Junker Jörg" was hiding here and during this time translated the New Testament of the Bible into German in only 11 weeks.
The Friedenstein Palace in Gotha is an early baroque palace. The castle was located within its own strong fortifications (1654-1672), whose casemates have been partially accessible to visitors since 2003. They represent a remarkable attraction whose existence was unknown several meters below the present castle grounds itself.
Old Synagogue Erfurt
The Old Synagogue, with its oldest building from the 11th century, is the oldest synagogue in Central Europe.
One of the most important testimonies of classical Weimar. For almost 50 years, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived in a Baroque-style house on the women's plan. It was rebuilt and designed according to the specifications of the poet. Today the state of Goethe's last years of life is largely visible.
Anna Amalia, Weimar
The Duchess Anna Amalia Library was founded in Weimar in 1691 by Duke Wilhelm Ernst. The oval, three-storey rococoosa is world-famous. Since 1998, the Duchess Anna Amalia has belonged to the ensemble "Classical Weimar" UNESCO World Cultural Heritage. On the evening of September 2, 2004, a fire in the Duchess-Anna-Amalia Library destroyed 50,000 books. Reopening took place on 24 October 2007.
Botanical garden Jena
In the Botanical Garden, over 12,000 species of plants from all climatic zones grow on an area of approximately 4.5 hectares. The plants grow partly on open spaces, as well as in greenhouses. The permanent special exhibition "Ginko - a landmark of eternity" completes the exposure.
The Zeiss Planetarium in Jena is the world's most operated planetarium. It is a projection planetarium in which the fixed stars and the planets are projected onto the inside of a white dome. Each year the planetarium visits between 125,000 and 150,000 people.
Optical Museum Jena
The Optical Museum offers a wide range of possibilities to learn about the way in which optical instruments are produced and the history of the optical industry in Germany.
A labyrinth of cellars, corridors and niches, 5 to 11 m below the old town, from the 16th to the 19th century, prepared by mountain riders for the purpose of beer storage and today accessible by means of guided tours.
The Hofwiesenpark is a 43-hectare, attractive city park with wide green areas. In 2007, he was the second exhibition area of the BUGA 2007 in addition to the "Neue Landschaft Ronneburg".
The museum, which was set up in 1997, provides a comprehensive overview of the changing history of the Schmöllner button industry, which goes back to the second half of the last century.
Schloss- and Spielkartenmuseum Altenburg
The Schloss- and Spielkartenmuseum is located in the Altenburger Schloss. The collection consists of a variety of different playing cards from all over the world and different centuries. There is also a military-historical collection, a porcelain collection and other exhibitions.