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Discover the Green Belt in Germany’s Thuringian Slate Mountains with BUND

Jenni

Discover the Green Belt in Germany’s Thuringian Slate Mountains with BUND

Hiking Collection by BUND e.V.

7

Tours

19:52 h

54.5 mi

2,725 ft

As part of the project ‘Cross-linking the Green Belt’, we at BUND für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland e.V. (Friends of the Earth Germany) have put together a total of six hikes and one cycle Tour on which you can explore the Thuringian Slate Mountains and the Franconian Forest.

With this project, we’re creating cross-connections along the Green Belt, Germany's largest biotope network, to other natural areas nearby. The line is becoming a network, a unique memorial landscape and habitat for many endangered animal and plant species. You can find more information here: bund.net/bund-in-english/?utm_term=textlinktx_bundpoolpublication_display%255Bfilter%255D%255Btopics%255D%255B0%255D%253D21cHash%253Df70a977f615d8158395807b68c6c2565

Our Tours in this Collection take you through Thuringia and Bavaria, where you can hike and cycle through beautiful countryside and the decades-long division of Germany on both sides of the border. Some routes lead through the Mitwitz Forest and the surrounding heath and meadow landscapes of the Franconian Forest, while a part of the famous Rennsteig awaits you in the Thuringian Slate Mountains. Everywhere you go, you’ll be surrounded by idyllic landscapes along the former death strip. Information boards along the way provide you with interesting facts about Germany’s history.

Immediately after the fall of the Wall, we, the BUND, made it our task to protect these habitats, which are important for rare animals and plants. In addition, there are all kinds of relics of the former German border to discover along the Green Belt – the perfect combination of culture, history and nature.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

    Heath and meadow landscapes in Upper Franconia – hiking along the Green Belt

    Intermediate
    03:35
    8.54 mi
    2.4 mph
    325 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Starting at the moated Mitwitz castle, this round tour takes you into a beautiful heather and meadow landscape. You cross the Föritzau landscape protection area, a floodplain with bordering wetlands, silted ponds and former gravel pits. Here you can keep an eye out for dragonflies. Then we continue to

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  • Expert
    05:03
    11.9 mi
    2.4 mph
    550 ft
    550 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    You can start this beautiful round tour from the moated Mitwitz castle. The tour gives you wonderful insights into regional history. You walk past the ponds and settlements around Mitwitz, directly over the Green Belt. Then there is a small circular route over the Rotheuler desert structure. Wustungen

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  • Intermediate
    02:04
    4.65 mi
    2.3 mph
    400 ft
    425 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Meadow Panorama Trail - the name of this circular route does not promise too much. The short tour takes you from the edge of Nordhalbens over almost endless Bärwurzwiesen. Views over the vast landscape between Bavaria and Thuringia are of course also included. Another highlight is the section where you

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  • Intermediate
    02:03
    4.91 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    Along the GDR border, the SED regime had many villages and yards evicted and demolished if they were too close to the border. The little village of Liebau on the Thuringian-Bavarian border also fell victim to this hustle and bustle. On our route we will take you from Fürth am Berg on the path of the

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  • Intermediate
    03:53
    8.64 mi
    2.2 mph
    900 ft
    875 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.

    The Rennsteig - Germany's most famous and oldest long-distance hiking trail - was interrupted by the inner-German separation for many decades in six places. North of the Bavarian town of Tettau was one of these interruptions. On our tour we take you from Tettau to the reopened Rennsteig, which you follow

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  • Intermediate
    02:14
    5.28 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This circular walk takes you from the Bavarian village of Bächlein through the quaint Mitwitzer forest. Along the way, which takes you along the picturesque forest pond Reginasee and along the renatured Föritz, you can experience the whole natural diversity of the Green Belt. Attentive hikers can discover

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  • Intermediate
    01:00
    10.6 mi
    10.5 mph
    175 ft
    175 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    On this tour you cover a few kilometers around Fürth am Berg on the Iron Curtain Trail, an exciting cycle path along the former Iron Curtain. In addition to  idyllic highlights, such as along the Steinach, you can also come to Liebau. There you will find a memorial stone to commemorate the time when

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  • For decades, the GDR border troops kept the plants on the death strip of the inner German border as short as possible. This is how a unique heathland was created amidst the dense coniferous forests between Thuringia and Bavaria. In order to preserve this special landscape even today, the BUND grazes the Green Ribbon of sheep and goats today. So you enjoy on your walks heather and juniper bushes. In addition, you can see rare birds here - for example, the Red-backed Shrike.

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    Tip by Sebastian Kowalke

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  • Der Kolonnenweg

    Hiking Highlight (Segment)

    It is impressive how the concrete slabs of the old GDR border patrol seem to stretch endlessly over the hilly landscape between Thuringia and Bavaria.

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    Tip by Sebastian Kowalke

  • Versteckter Reginasee

    Hiking Highlight

    Unexpectedly, the dense forest opens here and presents you the romantic Lake Regina. The quiet forest lake is under nature protection and here countless insects and water birds live - among other things the extremely rare gnomes. With a little patience, you can also discover the inhabitants from the shore.

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    Tip by Sebastian Kowalke

  • In Bavarian-Thuringian cooperation, the stream of Föritz was renatured again. So that you were so successful that even beavers live on the Föritz - whose tracks you can discover in many places: bite marks on the trees, trimmed branches and of course castles and dams.

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    Tip by Sebastian Kowalke

  • Ausblick am grünen Band

    Hiking Highlight

    Along the former inner-German border, which today bears the name "the Green Belt", the BUND deploys sheep and goats as landscape keepers. In the middle of the dense Thuringian and Bavarian forests, the unique heath and meadow landscape is preserved. Thanks to the careful work of the grazing animals you also have a great view over the course of the Green Belt.

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    Tip by Sebastian Kowalke

  • Wasserschloss Mitwitz

    Hiking Highlight

    The moated castle Mitwitz is located in the market town of Mitwitz between Coburg and Kronach in the Steinachgrund at the mouth of the Föritz in the Steinach.
    The moated castle Mitwitz was first mentioned in documents in 1266. It belonged at that time as bambergisches fief the barons von Schaumberg. The basement of the north wing and the northern corner tower already existed at that time.
    In 1425, the richly wealthy gentlemen of Rosenau, a Coburg mint master, became new owners of the castle and village of Mitwitz. Plundered in the German Peasants' War and partially destroyed by a fire in 1525, the castle was repaired only provisionally in the following years, before it acquired Jerome of Würtzburg in 1575. At the end of the 16th century, Hans Veit I of Würtzburg had the castle rebuilt by the architect Daniel Engelhardt, who had previously planned the expansion of the Rosenberg fortress in Kronach, and extended it to its present appearance.
    Until the death of Ludwig Freiherr von Würtzburg at the age of 77 years in 1922, the plant was owned by the barons of Würtzburg. Since Annie von Würtzburg, his daughter, 1903 Theodor von Cramer-Klett junior, son of the industrialist Theodor von Cramer-Klett, had married, the castle became the property of the family of Cramer-Klett, who still owns it today. At the end of the Second World War, the Frankfurt City Library was outsourced to the Mitwitzer Wasserschloss.
    In the years 1977 to 1989, the district of Kronach renovated the castle and received a 99-year right of use. In the castle is the Ecological Education Center Upper Franconia and the apiary school Upper Franconia with a small beekeeping museum, which can be visited. Today, the castle and the adjacent park are regularly used for cultural events, markets and festivals. Castle tours are held from May to September. In and around the castle, the filming of the fairy tale film The Three Feathers took place in the summer of 2014.

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    Tip by Wolly

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    7
  • Highlights
    7
  • Distance
    54.5 mi
  • Duration
    19:52 h
  • Elevation
    2,725 ft

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