From the death strip to the lifeline – where once the inner-German border divided the country into east and west, today a green vein extends through Germany. Animals, plants and a unique nature form the so-called Green Belt. A natural paradise full of rare animals and plants, with memories and new projects. Several federal states have set themselves the task of converting the almost 870 miles (about 1.400 kilometer) long former border to the green belt, thereby creating space for fauna and flora. In this collection we show you the most beautiful tours on foot and on the bike to experience this green oasis in Thuringia. So you have the choice, whether you prefer to cycle or hike.
The first three tour suggestions will take you on a bike through sections of the unique Rennsteig that leads you across Thuringia. If you have enough time, you can go through the three stages over the Kammweg in one go. On the five hikes in this collection you will experience the Green Belt on foot and can explore the beautiful landscape along the borders of Thuringia, Hesse and Lower Saxony at walking pace.
Along the routes you will find many relics thay remnd you of the division of Germany – from historic border posts or impressive exhibitions with goose bumps feeling. This important chapter of history will accompany you on your excursions. Because four decades of separation have left a scar. So it is all the more beautiful to see that a green stripe of nature connects this wound – and today we can again undisturbed and cross the borders of the country. You can read more about the Green Belt here: gruenes-band.thueringen-entdecken.de.
On this varied 35-kilometer bike tour you will cross three federal states - Thuringia, Bavaria and Saxony. The starting point is at the historical railway station of Hof, where the refugee trains from Prague arrived in 1989. Through the Saale valley, the route takes you to the flat hilly Bavarian Vogtland.On the way, you will pass on time-witnesses of the inner-German border again and again. Definitely plan a stop in "Little Berlin", as the small village Mödlareuth is also called. In 1989, the place was divided by a barbed wire and the wall. Today you will get an impression of this historical chapter in the border museum.The road leads you through the beautiful landscape and various villages, such as Sparnberg. Here you roll over the wooden bridge, which fell victim to the Second World War, but since 1993 the two banks of the Saale again connects. Not long, then you reach Blankenstein, the start or end of the Rennsteig and the goal of your tour today. Here you will find several restaurants to strengthen.
Off to the wheel and explore the extraordinary natural landscape of the former border region in Germany. On the tour you will cycle on the Green Belt over the Rennsteig into the Selbitz and Saale valley, through the European bird sanctuary "Frankenwald-Schieferbrüche" and the "Franken (ur) forest". Starting point of the 35-kilometer tour is in Steinbach am Wald. You drive along the ridge path of the Rennsteig to its foothills in Blankenstein.
Your first stop is after eleven kilometers on the Altvaterturm. This towers on the 792 meter high whetstone. Stop at the foot of the mountain for an extraordinary hiking hut in the form of a steel bunker: this was once the local command center of the Stasi.The road will take you past the Rennsteighaus in Brennersgrün. You cycle through the beautiful green landscape of the unspoilt Franconian Forest. On the gently sloping road you roll relaxed to your destination Blankenstein, the end point of the Rennsteig. Here are some restaurants where you can stop off.About Kaulsdorf an der Saale you come back by train to your starting point Steinbach am Wald.
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At the time of the German-German division, the 170-kilometer Kammweg on the Rennsteig was not passable. Sections of it long in East and others in West Germany. Fortunately, nothing stands in the way of the nearly 50-kilometer bike ride today. But you will learn a lot of interesting things about this section of the story - and you can still enjoy a great nature.You cycle the first half of the tour up and down, then you let your bike almost roll to Kronach. Starting point is in Steinbach am Wald. On your first kilometer on the Rennsteig you can enjoy the beautiful landscape in the Franconian Forest Nature Park. Keep your eyes peeled for the highland cattle that have been at home here since 1980.At the village Kalte Küche turn left. It used to be a border chapel, today you can visit the information center of the nature parks Thuringian Forest, Thuringian Slate Mountains / Upper Saale and Frankenwald. The biotope is the habitat for many endangered bird and fish species as well as endangered butterflies and plant species.After about 20 kilometers, you gradually leave the heights of the Rennsteig and continue to roll south. On the way to Heinersdorf you drive along the railway embankment of the former Tettautalbahn, which is also popularly called Tettauer Mockerl. This crossed from 1947 to 1952 a total of 14 sections of the inner German border. Today, a few hundred meters of track in the Franconian village of Schauberg still remind of the "Mockerl", which was virtually "strangled" by the barbed wire in 1952.The last 15 kilometers to Kronach you roll relaxed downhill. Once you arrive at the destination, you can fortify yourself in one of the restaurants in the beautiful old town, before you return by train in 20 minutes to Steinbach am Wald.
This tour starts magnificently: At the Schlossplatz Geisa starts your almost 17-kilometer circular route with great views and an interesting highlight shortly before the end. At the Point Alpha memorial you can experience in a very impressive way what division in Germany meant for the people in the region.Slightly hilly at the beginning, the trail climbs steeply after about four kilometers. But that's worth it: from the so-called Cross of the Geiserämter you have a fantastic panoramic view. On one of the benches you can relax and enjoy your deserved view.You hike over hilly meadow paths and through the tranquil village of Wiesenfeld before the path rises again. Not far away, then you are on the Green Belt, the former inner-German border, which has developed in the course of time to a peaceful natural oasis. Here you wander on a path steeped in history.You want to know more about the whole background of the former border? All you have to do is travel a short distance, and you will reach the Point Alpha memorial. Harbingers of NATO and the Warsaw Pact stood face to face here for four decades. Today the house of the border is located on the area, with several interesting permanent exhibitions. Allow sufficient time to visit one of the most important observation bases of the US armed forces in Europe.It's three kilometers from Point Alpha until you get back to Geisa. There, you can end the day in one of the restaurants or on the shores of Ulster.
This 13 kilometer long hike takes you through Eichsfelder Schweiz, which, with its shell limestone plateau and numerous viewpoints, forms a great backdrop for your hike. Start of the circular hike is at the Wanderparkplatz Alter Steinbruch between Asbach and Sickenberg. You are hiking - as befits a Switzerland - once uphill. After four kilometers on beautiful forest trails you will reach your first vantage point: the Dietzeröder stone.It is a scenic trip on the plateau. Again and again you will find benches on which you can settle down to enjoy the landscape extensively. Past the Vatteröder stone and over the Rachelsberg you walk through the hilly landscape.After ten kilometers worth a short detour to the ruins Altenstein, a popular destination in the region. Here you can walk between the medieval wall ruins and travel back in time. The following section also holds you back a bit in the past: You are now hiking on the Green Belt, the former Inner German border and the present state border between Thuringia and Hesse.The last route will take you through Asbach before returning to the starting point. There, in the courtyard café, you can again fully and freshly bake with freshly baked cakes. Along the way, you will not get past any stops, so pack some water and some provisions.You want to know more about the time of the border between East and West Germany? Then you will find plenty of information in the nearby Border Museum Schifflersgrund. It is the first border museum in the reunified Germany. The aim is to preserve the credentials of the German-German division and to bring it to life.
On its 13 kilometers route this hike led you through a variety of animal and plant life with a lot of great views. Let's start the circuit in Heldra. After wandering out of town, you cross the Werra and begin the ascent. 360 meters you leave at the first four kilometers behind you.You follow the former patrol paths on the German-German border for a while - nowadays a beautiful forest and meadow landscape. If you have mastered the climb, you will be rewarded with a fantastic view from the Hüneburg. Although there is not much to see from the former fortification, it is a great place to breathe. From the ruin it is not far to the mountain peak Heldrastein, the next vantage point. The tower of unity standing there is a symbol of German-German division and reunification.You wander on the plateau until you complete the trio of your vantage points after about one kilometer at the Three Men's Stone. From here you can see the tranquil town of Großburschla, your next destination. About forest and meadow paths you walk downhill. As soon as you leave the forest, the path leads you along the bank of the river Werra. In Großburschla you cross the river and walk back to your starting point on the other side of the river.There are no stops along the route, so pack enough water for the ascent. In Heldra, you can strengthen yourself at the community tavern (closed on Mondays).
On this tour you will be hiking on a section of the Harz Border Trail - and on a section of German history. The long-distance hiking trail leads on a total of 100 kilometers along the former inner-German border. Today you can enjoy the peaceful nature along the Green Belt.The eight-kilometer round tour starts at the trail parking lot of Ellricher Stadtwald. At the beginning you walk along the edge of the forest to the crossroads "Spitzer Winkel". Now you are on the Grenzweg, a blackboard provides you with the first information about the Green Belt Project in the Harz Mountains. Today, where the border between Thuringia and Lower Saxony runs, Germany used to be divided into East and West. You wander through the forest past historic landmarks to the "Two-Country Oak".On a narrow path, the path leads you uphill until you reach the Wendeleiche - the highest point of the tour. In good weather you can even look up to the chunks from here. A nice place to rest and enjoy the view.Now you leave the green strip and wander to the "Red Shot". Although the trail leads you downhill, you still have a fantastic panoramic view of the southern Harz foothills. The narrow path winds further downhill and brings you back to your starting point.Pack some food for this hike, as there are no places to stop for lunch. But nice resting places and a lot of history to experience.
On this eight kilometer hike you will find a lot of impressive views next to an imposing castle. Start is at the inn Klausenhof in Bornhagen.For the first two and a half kilometers, the trail climbs steadily. However, you will be accompanied by the view of Hanstein Castle, one of the most beautiful castle ruins in Central Germany. How about a trip to the ruins? If you also want to visit the castle garden, then you should register in advance at the Klausenhof.Soon you will have made the demanding part of the hike and can enjoy the fantastic views. From the Junkerkuppe offers you a magnificent panorama, no less impressive is the Lindewerrablick. After one kilometer you reach the so-called Devil's Pulpit, also a perfect place to enjoy the view of the Werratal. From up here you have a unique view of the Green Belt.It goes back the same way. In the Klausenhof, you can come back to the end and get more valuable excursion tips for the region.