The Elsterperlenweg hiking trail takes you on an 80 kilometre (50 mile) journey of discovery through the Thuringian Vogtland in the central Elster Valley in Germany. The circular trail, which is a certified Wanderbares Deutschland premium trail, runs along both sides of the White Elster River from the residential town of Greiz, the ‘Pearl of the Vogtland’, to Neumühle, Wünschendorf, and Berga an der Elster before returning to Greiz.
The trail consists of six stages, which you can combine together or plan as individual day tours. The Elsterperlenweg trail has many cross-connections, allowing you to easily combine stages together. In Neumühle, for example, you can go to the opposite side of the White Elster after the first Stage and hike back to Greiz via Stage six.
The Vogtland region straddles the border of Bavaria, Saxony, Thuringia, and Bohemia. Its name refers to the former dominion of the Reeves’ of Weida, Gera, Plauen, and Greiz. On the way through the wild and romantic valley of the White Elster, you pass dreamy villages steeped in history with countless unique buildings. Charming panoramic views reveal the beautiful low mountain range landscape, interrupted again and again by the White Elster.
In addition to the numerous natural wonders, you can also marvel at many historical sights on the Elsterperlenweg. At the northern turning point of the Tour, there is the thousand-year-old St. Vitus Church, the Mildenfurth Monastery, and the covered wooden bridge in Wünschendorf which is more than 225-year-old.
In the middle of the densely wooded Elster Valley, you can visit the Clodra Mill, which is still in operation, the town of Berga an der Elster or the imposing Elster weir in Neumühle an der Elster. To the south of the hike you will reach the 800-year-old residential town of Greiz with its internationally renowned Greiz Park, the Upper and Lower Castle and the Church of St. Mary's.
The six stages are between 10 and 16 kilometres (6 and 10 miles) long and you never conquer more than 440 metres (1,440 feet) in altitude. With an average level of fitness and good surefootedness, the trail does not present any major difficulties. The short duration of the stages means that you can either start later in the morning after a hearty breakfast or enjoy a cup of coffee and cake in the afternoon before relaxing in an inn in the evening.
You can reach Greiz or Wünschendorf by train and continue by bus to the actual starting point. If you arrive by car, you can park it close to Greiz Park. Look forward to a break in the Vogtland, walk in the footsteps of the bailiffs, immerse yourself in the nature and history of a uniquely beautiful region!
On the first stage of the Elsterperlenweg you will discover the 800-year-old city of Greiz, walk past imposing rock formations and enjoy wonderful views of the Elstertal. Your time in Vogtland couldn't start better! The start and end point is the city of Greiz, which is nicknamed the “Pearl of the Vogtland” because of its charming location and its numerous historical buildings. Greiz was the royal seat of the Principality of Reuss older line, which existed as an independent federal state in the German Empire until 1918 and was ruled by the House of Reuss.You start at the main entrance of Greizer Park and walk past the famous summer palace, the small castle in Greizer Park. It is an example of early classicism in central Germany. In the nearby café in the kitchen house you can try a tasty piece of cake in a historical setting.You can also use some energy, because from now on things will go uphill. First you hike up to Idahöhe. From here you can enjoy a fantastic view of the Upper Castle. Continuing uphill, you will reach the Teufelskanzel viewpoint and rest area at 370 meters above sea level and continue past the legendary blades at 397 meters above sea level.On the ridge you hike for another hour and enjoy great views of the wooded Elstertal until you start the descent. You finally reach the former climatic health resort and the stage destination Neumühle an der Elster. Here you can move into your accommodation and treat yourself to an after-work drink. Tomorrow it goes on!
Water, spectacular rocks and great views: Stage 2 of the Elsterperlenweg will cast a spell over you with its beautiful nature. After a delicious breakfast you can start. You start in Neumühle an der Elster. First you walk on a soft forest path and later on a beautiful high path until you reach the slate rock.You can take a short break at the Lehnamühle rest area. After you have crossed the small town of Lehnamühle, you go back into the forest. It is essential to follow the signs "Elsterperlenweg" and "Rüßdorfer Alpenweg". You only use the alternative route in bad weather or if you do not feel comfortable at altitude. At the end of the path you have a wonderful view of the Elstertal at an altitude of 295 meters.After another half an hour you will reach the Elster weir, which is used to generate energy. The difference in height of the large Elsterschleife is used to drive the turbines. Very spectacular!You can also discover past relics at the largest meander of the White Elster. For example the "Rüßburg" near the town of Rüßdorf. You can still recognize the old castle site of a refuge by its surface shape. It lay on the western high bank of the Elster and was already laid out by the Slavs. In the late Middle Ages, the castle square in front was fortified. That is where Rüßdorf came into being.Now follow the Mühlburschensteig. On the level, slightly sloping path you get to the Eulamühle. At the end of your stage you will finally reach Berga an der Elster. You move into your night camp in this beautiful city. You can end the day with a cool drink and wonderful memories of an eventful day.
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Today you will experience pure nature again! Stage 3 starts in Berga an der Elster. From there you get to the idyllically located clodr mill. Enjoy delicious cheese and a cool drink before continuing towards Wünschendorf. You can also take a break at the cloister courtyard, rent a boat and go on a short round tour or go for a walk in the fairytale forest.An hour later you will reach the next highlight. Mildenfurth Castle is a curiosity among the Thuringian monuments. Originally it was founded in 1139 by Heinrich II. Vogt von Weida as a Premonstratensian monastery. But in the 16th century the three-aisled basilica of the monastery was transformed into a Renaissance castle. Today, works by the famous sculptor Volkmar Kühn are on display in the monastery area.After Wünschendorf, your goal, it is now not far. On the way you cross a historic wooden bridge. It is the only wooden bridge structure of its kind that has been preserved in Germany. Its construction is comparable to the famous Chapel Bridge on Lake Lucerne. It is a listed building and was voted the most beautiful bridge in Central Germany in 2007.Now you've arrived - enjoy your evening in one of the beautiful, typical Vogtland restaurants with Thuringian dumplings or a delicious bratwurst.
On stage 4, it becomes almost alpine - and again you can be enchanted by the impressive views. The stretch between Wünschendorf and Berga is perhaps the most beautiful section on the Elsterperlenweg. The ridge path on the right side of the Elster above the quarry gives rise to an alpine feeling.You start at the town hall in Wünschendorf an der Elster. After about two kilometers you will reach an imposing quarry. The reddish rock stands out in color from the surrounding green and invites you to discover and linger. From up here you also have a spectacular view of the White Elster. It meanders through the valley in beautiful meanders.After another kilometer you will reach the next highlight. The Geyer stone. From the rocky hill you can enjoy a wonderful view of the Elster and can take a delightful break. As nice and idyllic as the Elstertal looks, a little later you will reach the so-called "evil" stone. If you don't want to miss the great view from up here, you have to take your courage. Perhaps touching it will bring you luck. Who knows.A little later you can challenge your leg muscles a little more - you can reach the Albersdorf dam on 176 steps. Your efforts will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the Elstertal and the dam. Now it's all downhill. Promised!When you arrive in Berga, your destination today, you can examine a very special tree. The pedunculate oak is the city's landmark and is located in the center of the village. It has been protected as a natural monument since 2013. Their circumference is about six and a half meters. Try giving her a hug! After an exciting day you move into your accommodation and end the day with a good meal.
Before you start your stage today, take the time to stroll through Berga an der Elster. The city is located in the district of Greiz in the east of the Free State of Thuringia. It extends along a slope in a widening of the Elstertal. The St. Erhard Church, a rectangular hall church with two-storey nave galleries, is particularly beautiful here. The town hall glows in bright red and is a very nice photo subject.A little later you will reach the manor house in Markersdorf. The former manor has a very beautiful park with trees that are more than a hundred years old. You will reach the Methodist Church in Mühlberg am Waltersdorf after another hour and a half and a slight incline of about 100 meters in altitude.You can really take a deep breath at the simple church. The place and the landscape around offer an incredible amount of positive energy and encourage you to pause for a moment. A place to feel good. On your way, you can enjoy wonderful views of the Elstertal again.The Elsterwehr in Neumühle is a cozy resting place. Here you can eat your snack. On the parallel path to the Weißen Elster you will then reach the stage destination - Neumühle an der Elster. It is time to move into your last night's camp and prepare yourself for the last leg of the next day with a good dinner.
Today is your last day on the beautiful Elsterperlenweg. You start in Neumühle an der Elster. First you cover about 150 meters in altitude until you leisurely hike on a mountain ridge. On the way you will pass the White Cross - a great photo opportunity to send your loved ones back home proof of the summit on their mobile phones. The path is very beautiful, runs through calm mixed forest, is rarely used and covered with grass.Now you get to the powder tower. It is located on the northern outskirts of Greiz. The tower was erected in 1841 on a 325-meter-high peak of the Roth mountain and served to safely house the gunpowder supplies of the Reuss-Greiz military. The powder tower is made of red bricks, has a floor area of 14 square meters and is about twelve meters high.Your last goal will soon be reached: Greiz. First you turn here onto the Schlossberg. Then you get to the main entrance of Greizer Park. On the way you will marvel at the Upper and Lower Castle again. In addition to the summer palace, the two castles are part of the palace complex in Greiz.There is a restaurant in the lower castle, which is kept in baroque style - the perfect place to end your hike, to marvel one last time at the cultural and historical value of the Vogtland and to strengthen yourself for your journey home.