Although short, the Gera cycle path is wonderfully varied: from the Rennsteig to spectacular nature in the Thuringian Forest. You will experience rich history and culture in Arnstadt and Erfurt, ride through picturesque floodplains and follow the Gera to Gebesee where it flows into the Unstrut.
The Gera cycle path leads you 47 miles (75 kilometers) through spectacular landscape, exciting history, and culture across two stages. The cycle route through Thuringia is crowned by the region’s culinary specialities which you can spoil yourself with in the numerous restaurants, cafés and huts along the way. You'll also find plenty of overnight accommodation en route.
The starting point of the Gera cycle path is on the Rennsteig in the Thuringian Forest UNESCO Biosphere Reserve where the two source streams of the Gera, the Zahme Gera and the Wilde Gera, spring up. In Plaue, in the foothills of the Thuringian Forest, the two streams flow together to form the mighty Gera. From here, the cycle path runs for long stretches directly along its banks to Gebesee where the Gera flows into the Unstrut.
You can get to the starting point on the Rennsteig, the Schmücke, from Rennsteig, Gehlberg and Zella-Mehlis. You can reach the starting point of the Gera cycle path within four and six miles (seven and ten kilometers) of their train stations. We have compiled the exact routes in this collection in three additional stages. From the end point in Gebesee, you can travel home by train from Ringleben-Gebesee or simply continue on the Unstrut cycle path: komoot.com/collection/547/unstrut-cycle-path-4-days-through-thuringia-and-saxony-anhalt.
The Gera cycle path starts on the Schmücke. Not far from here originate the two Geraquellen in the Thuringian forest. After enjoying the view from the deck, swing on your bike and roll out. This first stage is almost entirely downhill.On well-traveled, curved forest roads and roads you drive through the uniquely beautiful Thuringian Forest. Surrounded by tall trees and wonderful nature, you will descend into the valley. On the way you will come to cozy resting places with shelters and quaint excursion restaurants.After 15 kilometers and a fast descent you reach the first place on your tour: Elgersburg. There is a train station here. So if you do not want to cycle to the starting point on the Schmücke, you can get on the Gera bike path here.A little later in Geraberg you meet the Tame Gera and follow her at some distance through green meadows and quiet forests. Via Angelroda you cycle to Plaue, where the Tame Gera flows into the wild Gera. Both flow from here as Gera on. Directly on its shore, the well-maintained cycle path leads you past fields, meadows and woodland to Arnstadt, the destination of the first stage.At the end of the day you can stroll through the beautiful streets of the oldest city in Thuringia and discover many historic buildings. You will also find many restaurants in which you can indulge yourself with Thuringian specialties.
At the beginning of the second stage you cycle comfortably on the Geraufer from Arnstadt. Beyond the gates of the city, beautiful sections of the bike path will take you through enchanted avenues and woodland. Past wide fields and small villages you follow the Gera, which winds north.About halfway you reach Erfurt. Through the beautiful Luisenpark you cycle towards the main station and then into the old town. Here it is worth taking a long break to explore the city and relax.Strengthened you cycle on the river bank from the city. In light downhill you roll past colorful fields and along long stretches along the banks of the Gera. Here you can look over the water and watch chattering ducks and swans swimming. This is how you reach Gebesee, where the Gera cycle path ends. A few hundred meters from here, the Gera flows into the Unstrut. If you feel like it, you can still go there and wish the Gera a good onward journey.You can start your journey from the train station Ringleben-Gebesee or of course continue on the Unstrut bike path, if the thirst for adventure has really packed you.
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On weekends and public holidays, you can drive to the Rennsteig train station to get to the Gera cycle path. From Ilmenau the Rennsteig shuttle runs to the Rennsteig station. The timetables can be found at rennsteigbahn.de/content.From the Rennsteig train station, take the Rennsteig cycle path to the Schmücke, the starting point of the Gera cycle path.On the way it goes almost continuously uphill, some sections are also flat. When cycling through the Thuringian forest you are mostly surrounded by tall trees, in some places you also roll over clearings with wide meadows. Overall, you are incredibly close to nature on the trail, enjoying silence and seclusion. At resting places with shelters you can take breaks. At least on the Schmücke you then have the opportunity to stop and also to stay, if you do not want to continue immediately on the Gera bike path.
The shortest option from a train station to the Schmücke and thus to reach the starting point of the Gera-Radweg is from Gehlberg. The station Gehlberg is approached by the South Thuringia railway from Erfurt and Meiningen. The timetables can be found at sued-thueringen-bahn.de.From the train station you cycle for a short while through the valley of the Wilder Gera. Then you turn right and pass Gehlberg. In steady uphill you drive behind the village through the forest to the Schneekopf. Up here you can take a well-earned break and enjoy the view. There is even an observation tower on the top.On a flat stretch, it then continues on the forest active path to the Schmücke, where you can comfortably stop and even spend the night. This is where the Gera cycle path starts, where you can either board directly or after a restful night.
Many travel options you have to Zella-Mehlis station, because there are both trains of the Deutsche Bahn and the South Thuringia train, which come for example from Erfurt or Würzburg. Timetables can be found at dbregio.de and sued-thueringen-bahn.de. There is also a Flixbus stop here. The timetables for the long-distance buses can be found at flixbus.de.From the station Zella-Mehlis you cycle once on a flat stretch to Heidersbach. Incidentally, there is a forest swimming pool if you want to take a refreshing break on hot days. Behind the village begins the ascent through the forest to the Schmücke, the starting point of the Gera cycle path. On the way, you are mostly surrounded by majestic trees, which radiate a wonderful peace. To relax the uphill drive, you can always take breaks at managed and unmanaged shelters and at beautiful viewpoints.At the top of the deck you will have the opportunity to stop off at the inn or even spend the night there before you continue on the Gera bike path.