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The Saale cycle path — 9 stages from the source of the Saale to the Elbe

© Saaleradweg e.V. | V.Grätsch.jpg

The Saale cycle path — 9 stages from the source of the Saale to the Elbe

Bike Touring Collection by Saaleradweg

4-8

days

3-6 h

/ day

261 mi

10,350 ft

12,500 ft

Beautiful nature, majestic castles and charming towns accompany the Saale cycle path from the Fichtel Mountains to the Elbe. You'll cycle through enchanted forests, past breathtaking reservoirs and into romantic river valleys—and you'll visit some incredibly picturesque vineyards on the way.

The Saale cycle path takes you from Bavaria to Saxony-Anhalt on over 400 kilometers (250 miles) of breathtakingly beautiful bikeways. Starting in the Fichtel Mountains in Upper Franconia, it winds you alongside the Saale river to the cities of Jena and Naumburg—leading you to the point where it joins the Elbe near Barby.

Along the cycle path, you'll find countless accommodation options, such as hotels, guesthouses and campsites. As the regions is fairly popular amongst cyclists, these places are also specially prepared for the specific needs of bikepackers/long-distance tourers. You will also find many restaurants, cafés, beer gardens and wineries as well as beautiful resting places in the middle of nature where you can enjoy a quick rest stop or picnic while you ride. Allowing you to cut the ride short should you suddenly need to head home, you'll also pass numerous train stations which will allow for a quick getaway from any of the individual ride stages.

To get to the start of the ride, you can take the train to Münchberg, which is about nine kilometers (six miles) from the source of the Saale. If you don't want to cycle this section, you can also start the first stage at Seulbitz, where there is a train station, and skip the first 15 kilometers (9 miles). At the end of the Saale cycle path, you can simply continue down the road a little further until you get to Schönebeck. From here, you can take the train to wherever you're headed—whether that be back home or off to your next adventure.

If, after all this biking, you're not quite done yet, you can also combine the Saale cycle path with other long-distance bike routes, such as the Unstrut Cycle Path and the Elbe Cycle Path. You can find our Collections detailing these potential add-ons here:
komoot.com/collection/547/unstrut-cycle-path-4-days-through-thuringia-and-saxony-anhalt
komoot.com/collection/380/elbe-cycle-path-part-i-cross-border-cycling-pleasure

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Saaleradweg

254 mi

9,850 ft

12,125 ft

Last updated: November 29, 2021

Plan your own version of this adventure in the multi-day planner based on the stages suggested in this Collection.

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Intermediate
    02:22
    22.7 mi
    9.6 mph
    725 ft
    1,500 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The Saale Cycle Path begins at the source of the Saale in the Fichtelgebirge, and you can cycle it in nine stages. The first stage takes you 34 kilometers from the source of the Saale to Hof.

    

    The tour starts with a beautiful descent through the forest, which brings you to the edge of the Fichtelgebirge

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  • Intermediate
    02:07
    18.7 mi
    8.8 mph
    1,175 ft
    1,325 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today's stage takes you from Hof to Blankenstein and, at 29 kilometers, is shorter than the previous stage, but also a bit hilly.

    

    In Hof it starts out flat. You cycle along the Saale out of the city, where a beautiful field and meadow landscape welcomes you. The Jean-Paul-Weg takes you through an idyllic

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  • Difficult
    03:24
    28.1 mi
    8.3 mph
    2,050 ft
    2,475 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    On the 44-kilometer stage from Blankenstein to Ziegenrück it is hilly again today, but the landscape is all the more spectacular.

    

    From Blankenstein you cycle to the mouth of the Lemnitz in the Saale. From there you follow the increasingly wider Saale, which is dammed a few kilometers further down. Over

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  • Difficult
    02:50
    26.1 mi
    9.2 mph
    2,350 ft
    2,600 ft
    Ferry
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Today it is 42 kilometers that will take you from Ziegenrück to Saalfeld. The route has a similar characteristic to the previous stage: some hills, a beautiful reservoir and breathtaking scenery.

    

    From Ziegenrück you drive around a loop of the Saale over a small hill. The path leads you mainly through

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  • Intermediate
    03:29
    36.5 mi
    10.5 mph
    1,100 ft
    1,325 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    The 57 kilometers from Saalfeld to Jena are mostly downhill today, only a few short climbs will make you sweat.

    

    The cycle path meanders via Volkstedt and Rudolstadt from Saalfeld to the Saale until it continues its way through wide fields and meadows parallel to the course of the river. Hitting the Saale

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  • Intermediate
    03:20
    33.4 mi
    10.0 mph
    1,150 ft
    1,200 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Today you cycle 49 kilometers from Jena to Naumburg. You come through the Saale-Unstrut wine-growing region. This stage is all about pleasure cycling, because on the route you always have the opportunity to try the delicious wines.

    

    After you have left Jena, you will find yourself in a beautiful landscape

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  • Intermediate
    03:46
    38.9 mi
    10.3 mph
    925 ft
    1,000 ft
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Some portions of the Tour may be unpaved and difficult to ride.

    Today it's 60 kilometers from Naumburg to Halle an der Saale. The route leads you through beautiful nature, but also through many urban sections when you pass cities such as Weißenfels, Merseburg and the foothills of Halle.

    

    After Naumburg, you can first cycle comfortably along the banks of the Saale and

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  • Intermediate
    03:25
    36.5 mi
    10.7 mph
    750 ft
    775 ft
    Ferry
    Intermediate bike ride. Good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    You cycle 58 kilometers on the penultimate stage of the Saale Cycle Path from Halle to Bernburg. The cycle path leads through the unique landscape of the "Lower Saale Valley" nature park.

    

    Behind the gates of the city you have a beautiful view of the Brachwitz Alps nature reserve, which impresses with

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  • Easy
    01:50
    19.8 mi
    10.7 mph
    175 ft
    275 ft
    Ferry
    Easy bike ride. Great for any fitness level. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels. The Tour includes a crossing by ferry.

    Today is the last stage on the Saale Cycle Path, which will take you from Bernburg to the mouth of the Saale on the Elbe. At 31 kilometers, it is one of the shorter and also one of the flattest stages of the bike tour. A really nice end to enjoy.

    

    From Bernburg you roll along the banks of the Saale in

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    9
  • Distance
    261 mi
  • Duration
    26:33 h
  • Elevation
    10,350 ft12,500 ft

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The Saale cycle path — 9 stages from the source of the Saale to the Elbe

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