The Erzgebirge lie on the border between Saxony and Czech Bohemia. The picturesque landscape is characterized by densely wooded mountains, untouched moors, wide mountain meadows and quiet forest lakes. On the Anton Günther Trail, you can follow the traces of the folk poet on a four-day roundtrip — and experience the peaceful landscapes on both sides of the border.
Anton Günther was born in 1876 in Gottesgab, amidst the wooded mountains of the Erzgebirge. At that time, the border between Saxony and Austria-Hungary ran through the region, although Czechs, Hungarians and Germans lived here peacefully together. Anton Günther, who had initially worked as a lithographer and draughtsman in Prague, returned to Gottesgab in 1901. In Prague, he had already met with other people from Gottesgab and delighted the others with songs about his homeland in the Erzgebirge. Back in Gottesgab, he continued to sing and delighted people in Saxony as well as in Bohemia with his songs. Until his death in 1937, Anton Günther wandered through the Erzgebirge and delighted men, women and children with his songs.
After the horrors of the Second World War, the border in the Erzgebirge was closed for many years. Not until the 1990s did the Czechs and the Germans reflect on their common history. Even now, the memory of Anton Günther remains an important link. In 1995, the Anton Günther Trail was ceremoniously opened as the first cross-border hiking trail between Germany and the Czech Republic.
From Johanngeorgenstadt, the officially signposted Anton Günther Trail takes you on a four-day roundtrip to the most important milestones of the life of the poet and singer. In between, you hike through dense, untouched forests and up to panoramic mountain peaks. The four individual stages are quite short and therefore perfectly suited for occasional hikers. Sporty hikers can also hike the Anton-Günther-Weg without any problems in two or three days. At all stage destinations, you will find a good selection of comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation.
You can reach Johanngeorgenstadt on the region train or in your own car. As there is no cross-border bus service yet, the individual stages are not perfectly suited as day hikes. On the German side, the bus line 334 between Johanngeorgenstadt and Rittersgrün will serve you well, as well as the bus lines 330 and 414 between Rittersgrün and Oberwiesenthal. In the Czech Republic, you can take the bus line 421103 from Abertamy to Potůčky, the border village near Johanngeorgenstadt.
Timetables can be found at vms.de/startseite and dpkv.cz.
Your hike on the Anton-Günther-Weg begins in the tranquil spa town of Johanngeorgenstadt. Originally, the small mountain town was a thriving mining town. At the end of the 19th century, a busy spa was built. Anton Günther had a deep friendship with Carl Truckenbrodt, who ran the Hotel de Saxe in Johanngeorgenstadt. In addition to his activity as a hotelier, Truckenbrodt was also a trained ethnologist and local historian with a special interest in his own home in the Erzgebirge.From the city center of Johanngeorgenstadt you cross the river Schwarzwasser and a little later you enter the forest. On the first day, the Anton-Günther-Weg leads along an old post road close to the German-Czech border. Most of the time you wander on wide, comfortable forest and forest roads.At the idyllic Preißhaus pond, tables and benches invite you to take a leisurely break on the shore. After eating your food, you can continue your hike. In the shadow of the old spruce trees, you will reach an old border post between Saxony and Bohemia. The monument with a barrier and a guardhouse recalls times when border crossing was not as easy as it is today.Along the border you continue hiking to the village Halbmeiler. From here it goes in a loop through the forest to the stage destination Rittersgrün.In the small, scattered town you will find various pensions and apartments for your overnight stay.Johanngeorgenstadt, the starting point of the Anton-Günther-Weg, is approached once an hour by the regional train 535 from Zwickau. Timetables can be found at erzgebirgsbahn.de/erzgebirgsbahn/view/fahrplan/fahrplaene.shtml.
The second leg of the Anton-Günther-Weg will take you along the border to the spa town of Oberwiesenthal, the highest town in Germany. After Oberwiesenthal, at the foot of the Fichtelberg, many tourists and spa guests traveled at the beginning of the 20th century. Anton Günther performed on entertaining evenings in inns and hotels and presented his songs in the dialect of the Erzgebirge - with great success.From Rittersgrün you follow the signposted path into the Pöhlwassertal. After a short while you will find a monument in honor of Anton Günther. The Erzgebirgsverein has erected here a stone with an engraved bronze plate reminiscent of the poet and singer.Always upstream, you walk along the Pöhlwasser to the tiny hamlet of Zweibach. As the name implies, the two streams Höllbach and Klingerbach merge here and henceforth flow as Pöhlwasser downhill to Rittersgrün. You now walk uphill on the course of the Klingerbach.In the village of Tellerhäuser the country inn invites you to a cozy rest. Then it goes through the forest steadily upwards until you reach the hotel Sachsenbaude at the foot of the Fichtelberg. If you still have reserves, it is definitely worth the detour to the summit. The detour is about one kilometer long and you should allow 30 minutes for it.East of the Fichtelberg you finally reach your stage destination Oberwiesenthal. In the popular health resort you are spoiled for choice: Should it be a simple guest room, a pension with breakfast or rather an elegant spa hotel?
Get recommendations on the best single tracks, peaks, & plenty of other exciting outdoor places.
On your third stage we are heading to the Czech Republic for birth and death of Anton Günther. He was born in Gottesgab, today in Czech Boží Dar. Even his father was a dialect singer and so little Anton rose early in his footsteps.On the picturesque Old Post Road, it goes out Oberwiesenthal and continue to the border crossing at Bozi Dar. In the small Czech village you can visit the tomb of Anton Günther.Then you will hike through the wide, unspoiled dugrew peat bog. The trail leads you along the foot of the Spitzberg. At 1,115 meters, it is the third highest mountain in the Erzgebirge. For reasons of nature conservation, its summit may no longer be entered today, but also from its slopes are always beautiful views of the vast landscape.On forest trails you first hike a bit downhill and then back up to the summit of Plešivec. Once here, a visit to the prospect is a must: from the top you have a phenomenal panoramic view of the lovely home of Anton Günther.If you do not end up in the hotel on Plešivec anyway, it's only a few steps down to Abertamy. The Abertamy winter sports resort offers a good selection of budget and cozy accommodation.
The fourth stage takes you on silent forest paths back across the German border to Johanngeorgenstadt. It goes again high on the Plattenberg. On its slopes you can admire collapsed mining tunnels, which today form an exciting gorge landscape.Along further meadows and with magnificent views of the Plešivec, it goes out Abertamy. Soon, the gently rising trail leads you into a light forest. In the shadow play of the trees, you rise leisurely up to the Plattenberg.Once at the summit, you can climb the more than 100-year-old lookout tower or spoil yourself at the kiosk with drinks and snacks. By the way, in any case worth the detour to Wolfsbinge, a collapsed mining tunnel from the 18th century.From Plattenberg it is now through the forest downhill towards the final destination. Before the German border pass the small village Potůčky. Shortly thereafter it goes over the border and you are back on the market square of Johanngeorgenstadt.After four hiking days in the Erzgebirge you will be able to understand Anton Günther's love for his homeland - and you now know that being close to one's home is also possible across borders.