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Thuringian Chain-of-Towns Long-Distance Cycle Trail experience cultural history

Höhe und Position

Experience cultural history

Eisenach is the starting-point or end of this route covering about 225 kilometres right across Thuringia. High above the town towers Wartburg Fortress (UNESCO World Heritage Site). Here Saint Elisabeth lived, Luther translated the New Testament and Wagner was inspired to compose his opera "Tannhäuser" The next leg of the tour takes you to the former royal seat of Gotha, where you can visit the Baroque castle complex of Friedenstein, the 350-year old vaults of the castle fortifications, the casemates and the Baroque Ekhof Theatre, preserved in its original condition. Passing the Drei Gleichen castles, you arrive in Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia.

Cathedral, world heritage and city of light

Here you can visit the "Krämerbrücke" - the Merchants’ Bridge -, the ensemble of the Cathedral of St. Mary and St Severi Church, Petersberg Citadel and the Protestant Augustinian Monastery where Martin Luther studied. The tour continues to Weimar, the Town of Classicism, where Goethe and Schiller, Bach, Liszt and Cranach lived and worked. With the town of Jena, also calles the city of light, are associated the names of Goethe, Schiller, Napoleon, Zeiss and Abbe and you can pay a visit to the oldest working planetarium in the world.

Mill valleys, cellars and Skat

Then, through the idyllic mill-strewn valleys of the Saaleland, you arrive in the Elster Valley and Bad Köstritz. From here, it is only a few turns of your pedals to the Otto-Dix town of Gera, with its so-called "Höhler" - deep historic cellars. At the end of the tour, you come to Altenburg, the town where the card game of Skat was invented. All the towns along the long-distance cycle trail have railway stations on the Deutsche Bahn network, so partial sections of the cycle trail can easily be travelled by train or combined. Thanks to links to a large number of  long-distance cycle trails, you can also visit other attractive parts of Thuringia.

The cycle trail is suitable for culture enthusiasts and touring cyclists.

Following in Luther's footsteps

Explore by bicycle the 50-kilometre long tour on the Thuringian Chain-of-Towns Cycle Trail and discover the towns of Erfurt, Weimar and Jena and their significance for Martin Luther and the Reformation.

Circular cycling tours

Romanticism and Classicism by bike
Towns with cultural attractions and forests as far as the eye can see
Beautiful rivers - fine vines. The Saale-Unstrut tour.
White gold and mill wheels in a river setting.

Up and off on an e-bike
Heights? No problem! Ascents? No problem! Long distances? No problem!
Get on an e-bike and off you go. Cycle without effort and tackle challenging and hilly routes. It is great fun and good for the environment too. You will have plenty of time for breaks, whether to look around or enjoy the regional cuisine. And luggage boxes are available at some locations for safe accommodation of your bags.

Charging stations:
Jena, Mellingen, Weimar, Erfurt, Wandersleben, Gotha, Eisenach

Luggage boxes
Altenburg, Jena, Mellingen, Weimar, Erfurt, Eisenach



Route data

  • Total length: 225 km
  • Length in Thuringia: 225 km
  • Departure point in Thuringia: Eisenach oder Altenburg
  • Destination point in Thuringia: Eisenach oder Altenburg
  • Difference in altitude: 150 to 360 m above sea level
  • : +3055/- 3009 m
  • Degree of difficulty: Easy to medium
  • Type of trail: 199 km asphalt, 6 km cobbled road, 20 km water-bound surface