Saale Cycle Route

403,8 km across the Weimarer Land and beyond 

“Castles stand proud and bold on the bright shores of the Saale…”

One of the most interesting cycle paths in Germany runs along the banks of the Saale, with a length of 403 km. It consists of mostly asphalt paths and offers one of the most beautiful and varied castle and river landscapes along its route.

Variety guaranteed around every bend

The Saaleradweg starts at the Großer Waidstein in the wild Bavarian Fichtelgebirge. Here the route is particularly demanding in terms of sport. On its way, the river Saale flows through shady forests, narrow gorges and past picturesque reservoirs. At Saalfeld (Thuringia), the cycle path leaves the mountain range and is particularly suitable for families from this stage onwards.

The Saale Cycle Route leads through the middle Saale Valley, past charming towns such as:

  • Rudolstadt, where visitors make an annual pilgrimage to the world music festival “Thüringer Folk Festival Rudolstadt”
  • the exciting dripstone caves near Saalfeld
  • the university town of Jena
  • Bad Kösen – past the Dornburg castles

A stop worth seeing is the graduation house in Bad Kösen, which is one of the longest in Germany.

For wine lovers

The wine-growing region around the medieval town of Naumburg produces excellent wines, and word has spread as far as the Rhine and Moselle. On the section from Naumburg to Halle, the Saale winds its way through an increasingly wide, flat valley. Here, too, valley slopes are crowned by many an old fortress, as in Wettin or Bernburg.

The last stage of the Saale Cycle Route ends with a peaceful ride through meadows and meadows near the small town of Barby, where the Saale finally flows into the Elbe.

Special features on the Saale Cycle Route

The well-signposted cycle path is characterised by many ascents in its upper reaches. The Münchberg to Saalfeld stage is a more athletically challenging route, especially in the area of the Saale reservoirs. From Saalfeld to the mouth of the Elbe, the route becomes flatter, is lined with hills, forests and vineyards and is particularly suitable for families.

In parts, the cycle path is hilly with some steep inclines. For the most part, the paths are asphalted or water-bound and mostly traffic-free, some sections run on busy roads. As the cycle path is very close to nature in parts, a good trekking bike with thick tyres is recommended.

Tour tip: Cycle tour from Weimar to Naumburg

On the Ilmtal cycle path and Saale cycle path (approx. 50 km)

The tour starts in Weimar. After a city tour of Weimar, the route leads via Tiefurt (castle) – Kromsdorf (castle) – Oßmanstedt (Wielandgut) – Apolda (Kunsthaus, Olle DDR, Bell Museum) – Zottelstedt – Wickerstedt – Eberstedt (walk-in sundial, cyclists’ church, running fountain) – Bad Sulza (Thüringer Weintor, Toskana Therme, saltworks) – Großheringen (mouth of the Ilm into the Saale). In Kleinheringen change to the Saale cycle path and follow the signs to Naumburg.

Route conditions: mostly asphalted – moderately difficult.

Special features: Scenic, river valleys, vineyards, castles and palaces, parkland around Weimar.