Cycling in idyllic nature, in between seeing masterpieces or the stars - that's a delightful contrast program. On the long-distance bike trail Thuringian City Chain, this is possible without detours. After all, you'll be spending the night in seven of the most beautiful cities in the state along the way. We have a few tips for cultural diversion after each day's stage in the saddle.:
The long distance bike trail "Thuringian city chain"connects seven of the most beautiful cities in Thuringia with each other and leads through great natural landscapes in between. 230 kilometers lie between Eisenach in the west and the skat city of Altenburg in the east - so it goes right across Thuringia, and the cities with their rich cultural treasures are ideal as stage destinations. As part of the D4 route, the Thuringian Town Chain is also connected to the Germany-wide long-distance bike trail network. All cities along the long-distance cycle route - Eisenach, Gotha, Erfurt, Weimar, Jena, Gera, Altenburg - are of course also connected to the Deutsche Bahn network. Thus, parts of the route can also be covered by train.
The approximately one-week bike tour starts in Eisenach. The city lies on the edge of the Thuringian Forest and has a cozy old town. If you arrive early the day before, you should visit the famous Wartburg visit - and take a stroll through the city in the footsteps of the young Martin Luther. He lived here from 1498-1501, long before he translated the New Testament in Wartburg Castle and thus became a famous man: Eisenach is where Luther spent his last school years. During this time he lived in one of the oldest and most beautiful half-timbered houses in Thuringia today. Elaborately renovated and restored a few years ago, the Luther House The Luther Museum is an exciting exhibition on several floors that tells the story of Luther's life and explains the influence of his Bible translation on contemporary and world history. You can get into the swing of things for a long day in the saddle with a great breakfast in the Vienna House Thüringer Hof Eisenach - By the way, you can enjoy this even without having spent the night there.
You can find more information about Eisenach here: Eisenach: Twice Wartburg, once Wagner, many villas
This is how you get to Eisenach by train: Plan arrival.
The first recommendation for cycling Gotha visitors is a stop at the beautiful main market with its cafes and restaurants. There you will usually also find a mobile stand selling Thuringian grilled sausages. Strengthened you can then go to the imposing Friedenstein Castle walk up the hill. On a hill above the city, the largest palace complex of the 17th century awaits the visitor here - and nothing less than a "baroque universe": In addition to magnificent representative rooms, the palace park and the orangery, also impressive art historical, historical and natural history collections. They are displayed in three museums; in the Ducal Museum, for example, the art collection of the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha can be seen: Mummies and ancient vases from Egypt, treasures from Greece, China and Japan, works by famous Renaissance painters, as well as ceramics and sculptures from various eras. Also included is a unique collection of portraits and photographs of the British royals of the 19th century - because there was a close bond between Gotha and Great Britain at the time: in 1840, Duke Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha married Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland. The west tower of the palace is home to the Ekhof Theater, one of the oldest baroque theaters in Germany.
This is how you get to Gotha by train: Plan arrival.
It's almost too good for a short cycling stopover: You could easily plan a whole week of cultural activities in the Thuringian capital. Erfurt has many original Luther sites, one of the most beautiful old towns in Germany, plus the famous Krämerbrückefestivals and many other cultural treasures. You should definitely plan a little time for the Kunsthalle am Fischmarkt. Just a few steps away from the Krämerbrücke, it features mainly works by young visual artists, as well as sculptures and other contemporary art forms such as installations, video and photography. The cuisine in the "Pied Wagtail" - the chef Maria Groß has already earned a Michelin star with her seasonal-regional top cuisine.
This is how you get to Erfurt by train: Plan arrival.
The old town alleys of Weimar are full of history, art and literature, you actually stumble upon them. The poets Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe both lived here. Because of its extensive collection of works of contemporary art, the Neues Museum is worth a visit. At least from the outside you should have a look at the National Theater. The poet prince Goethe once directed the stage - and incidentally helped the art of acting, which until then had been considered somewhat disreputable, to achieve higher esteem. But modernity can also be found in the city on the Ilm: Not only was a new era ushered in politically here in 1919 with the founding of the Weimar Republic, in the same year Walter Gropius also founded his art school in Weimar: the Bauhaus. Almost 20 years earlier, Henry van de Velde had laid the foundation stone for it. A collection in his former home, the Haus Hohe Pappeln, tells of the work of the Belgian-Flemish artist in Weimar. Probably the best place to stay in Weimar is the former estate of the cavalry captain Carl von Kalckreuth. Dorotheenhof is today a four-star hostel.
More information about Goethe and his time in Weimar can be found here: Classic: The UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Weimar
This is how you get to Weimar by train: Plan arrival.
Jena is a young student town with nice pub alleys, where you can end the cycling day well. In addition, you can look into space from Jena - in the world's oldest operating planetarium. Opened in 1926, the Zeiss Planetarium is now equipped with state-of-the-art ultra-HD technology and offers much more than "just" a view of stars and planets. In 360-degree multimedia shows, visitors go on a journey through space, and there are exciting exhibitions on the subject of astronomy especially for children. You also have to go high up if you want to visit the Landgraves dine: The restaurant at the viewpoint of the same name offers a great view of the city - and excellent cuisine.
On the stage from Jena to Gera, the Brewery inn Ziegenmühle in Schleifreisen - ideal for a snack on the road. Four types of beer are brewed here and served fresh from the tap with traditional, regional cuisine specialties. In Gera, art enjoyment is once again on the agenda: In addition to the art collection in the baroque Orangerie, you should also take a look at Haus Schulenburg, designed by Bauhaus trailblazer Henry van de Velde, in the city on the White Elster River. A guided tour of Gera's caves is also exciting: a total of around nine kilometers of tunnel system under the old town, once built as a cellar under the cellar, so to speak, for storing beer. Some of the caves, which lie up to ten meters below the earth's surface, have been turned into a museum.
This is how you get to Gera by train: Plan arrival.
You can always get a good hand in Altenburg, because the card game was invented in the former royal seat at the beginning of the 19th century. This is not the only reason why Altenburg is known as the "Skat Town": playing cards have been produced here for 500 years, the playing card store on the market square stocks an assortment of more than 350 decks of cards, there is the Skat Fountain, and the Residence Palace, which towers over the beautiful small town on a hill, is home to the Playing Card Museum. In addition, the highest decision-making body in disputes concerning the game of skat has its seat in Altenburg: the German Skat Court. If that's too much skat for you, the unique neo-Gothic Church of the Brethren with Art Nouveau elements, built at the beginning of the 20th century, is also worth seeing.
How to get to Altenburg by train: Plan arrival.
Cover photo: The Thuringian long-distance cycle route Städtekette combines nature experience and cultural enjoyment © TTG
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