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All bike tours on the Saale ☀️

Map of the Saale Cycle Path

Cycling holiday on the Saale

Stately castles, romantic river valleys and a glass of wine every now and then: Cycle along the Saale on one of the most beautiful river cycle paths in Germany. The Saale Cycle Path guides cyclists from the source of the Saale in Upper Franconia to Jerichower Land on the Elbe and is perfect for everyone who loves variety. Here we go!


  • Length exactly 403 kilometers
  • Many cultural monuments such as palaces, castles and ruins along the bike path
  • On the road in Europe's northernmost wine region: Saale/Unstrut
  • Saale cycle path is one of the most diverse river cycle paths in Germany
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Popular bike tours on the Saale bike path

Everything you need to know: The Saale Cycle Path

Cyclists who are on the Saale cycle path can enjoy one of the most varied river cycle paths in Germany.

Like the Saale itself, the cycle path begins in the Fichtelgebirge. The river begins at a height of 707 meters on the north-west slope of the Großer Waldstein. Since the area here is still very hilly and cyclists have to overcome many inclines, cycle tours start with the Mecklenburger Radtour only a few kilometers further north in Saalfeld. Up to the confluence with the Elbe at the gates of Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt, the Saale Cycle Path is of excellent quality and uniformly signposted.

natural profile: On a cycle tour through the Saale, you can explore alluvial forests worth seeing, narrow gorges, quiet country lanes and picturesque reservoirs.

Culture Profile: The Saale Cycle Path takes you past old Thuringian farmhouses in Rudolfstadt, through the historic old towns of Jena, Naumburg, Merseburg or Halle and along cultural sites such as the castle and monastery churches of St. Marien and St. Cyprian in Nienburg. The Dornburg castles come from three eras and are among the eye-catchers on the Saale cycle path. The Neu-Augustusburg Castle, towering in Weißenfels, exudes morbid charm.

Culinary profile: It was only around 30 years ago that the Saale-Unstrut wine route was founded - as the northernmost wine route in Europe. The Saale cycle path runs along the wine route for around 40 kilometers and not only offers magnificent views of the idyllic vineyard cottages and vineyards with steep terraces that are hundreds of years old, but also plenty of opportunities for wine tasting at wineries. A total of around 60 winegrowers line the cycle path.

The Saale Cycle Path at a glance? Our map gives you an overview of the course of the cycle path. 

The Saale cycle path runs along the Saale. The river rises in the Franconian part of Bavaria and flows through Thuringia to its mouth in northern Saxony-Anhalt. This crosses three federal states.

Due to the numerous climbs, especially in the upper reaches of the Saale, the Saale Cycle Path is one of the more demanding river cycle paths in Germany. The elevation profile of the cycle path is 50 to 717 meters. Anyone who wants to go on a bike tour with the Mecklenburger Radtour undertakes is led through less mountainous terrain. In this way, even beginners get their money's worth. However, a certain everyday routine on the bike should be present.

The Saale Cycle Path has numerous connecting cycle paths: European Cycle Path R1, Elbe Cycle Path, long-distance cycle path in the Thuringian chain of towns, Selbitztal Cycle Path, Schwarzatal Cycle Path, Thuringian Mill Cycle Path, Jena-Thalbürgel Church Cycle Path, Unstrut Cycle Path, Iron Curtain Trail, Orla Cycle Path, Renewable Energy Cycle Path, Zuckerbahn Cycle Path , Elster Cycle Path, Sky Disk Cycle Path, Saale-Harz Cycle Path, Fuhne Cycle Path, Boder Cycle Path, Börder-Hamster Cycle Path

Would you like to find out more about cycle tours on the Saale Cycle Path and similar cycle paths?

It's best to secure our catalog for cycling and hiking tours today. Here you will find all routes and information clearly displayed. Plus lots of other tips for cycling holidays in Germany and Europe.

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Cycle tours and hiking catalog 2021

Five stages, five highlights

1. Between Rococo and Schiller: Heidecksburg in Rudolstadt

On your stage from Saalfeld to Jena, there is one waypoint that you mustn't - and can't - miss: Rudolstadt. Far above the beautiful historic old town, you can see the majestic Heidecksburg Castle from afar. It is the former residence of the princes of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, today the Thuringian State Museum is housed here. A visit is worthwhile, not only to get to know the unique state rooms or the impressive court kitchen. You should also take a look at the outside area. In the shadow of the approximately 40 meter high baroque castle tower lies a sentimental and romantic garden worth seeing. A particular rarity here is the original baroque sound house, which preserves one of the few remaining sound rooms. Oh, and did you know that Goethe and Schiller met for the first time in the local Schillerhaus?

2. Three in one go: Dornburg Palaces

It is around 50 kilometers on the Saale Cycle Path from Jena to Naumburg. After about a third of the cycle path you will reach the town of Dornburg, where the Dornburg castles are enthroned on the edge of a shell limestone plateau above the Saale. There are three in number, each with a different character. The Dukes of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach used the "Balcony of Thuringia" as a holiday residence every summer. Today, cyclists roam the charming town, which also has a lovingly tended castle garden for rose lovers. Incidentally, it is somewhat misleading that the Dornburg castles are called what they are called today. Strictly speaking, the ensemble does not consist of castles at all, but of manor houses, which only got their current appearance decades later.

3. Probably the most beautiful city in central Germany: Merseburg

Cycling through wide floodplain forests and idyllic valleys not far from the Saale, you have a clear goal in mind on your third stage: Halle an der Saale. It goes past the magnificent Goseck Castle and the baroque Neu-Augustusburg Castle in Weißenfels. After you have made an eventful rest with your bike at the longest graduation tower in Europe in Bad Dürrenberg, you should head straight for Merseburg. Here it is essential to plan more time to linger. Merseburg is one of the oldest towns in central Germany and with the cathedral as the “crown of Merseburg” has one of the most beautiful town views far and wide. Visit the mediaeval French fountain, which has been around for more than 400 years, and find out what the famous Merseburg magic spells are all about on a city tour.

4. Beware of bears: Bernburg Castle and its wild side

On the penultimate day, it goes from Halle to Bernburg. It's getting flat - don't let the name of the "Brachwitzer Alpen" irritate you. Through the nature park "Unteres Saaletal" you will soon reach the pretty village of Gröna. However, the highlight of this cycling stage on the Saale Cycle Path is today's destination: Bernburg. To be more precise, the Renaissance castle of Bernburg, which is also known by the nickname "Crown of Anhalt". It rises on a high sandstone cliff on the eastern bank of the Saale and was reputed to be the most beautiful and proudest castle of all. Don't be alarmed if you are surprised by wild animals in the former moat. Generations of brown bears have lived here since the middle of the 19th century, once a district administrator brought them as a gift.

5. Art and Balls: The Ottostadt Magdeburg

Numerous cultural sites accompany you on your last stage on the Saale Cycle Path. Through untouched nature, which is now so different than at the beginning of the Saale cycle path, you go to Barby on the Elbe. Even if your cycling holiday on the Saale officially ends here, you should definitely make a detour to the Börde city of Magdeburg. The 1.200-year-old city is ideal for discovering by e-bike or bicycle. Embark on a two-wheeled city tour, for example to the Green Citadel of Magdeburg. The pink-striped building was created by the well-known artist Friedereich Hundertwasser. In the Otto von Guericke Museum you can find out why Magdeburg is also called Ottostadt – and what the famous Magdeburg hemispheres are all about. By the way, Magdeburg is a real hub for cyclists - here you often meet cyclists who are on the Elberadweg arrived from Dresden. Would you like a little shop talk on the subject of cycle tours?

Additional services included - for a relaxed Saale bike tour

With our exclusive bike tours we offer you convenient additional services at no extra cost to make your stay as pleasant as possible. We take care of your physical, physical and mental well-being and ensure that you experience an unforgettable holiday.

Comfortable accommodation on the Saale cycle path

Allhotels are clean and well-groomed and have one shower or bath. In all accommodation you will receive a rich breakfast. So you start the day well nourished and can look forward to your daily excursions.

All hotels offer a rich breakfast.
All hotels offer a rich breakfast.

Luggage transfer from hotel to hotel

So that you can travel freely throughout the day, we transport your luggage from hotel to hotel. So you don't have to worry and you can enjoy the fantastically beautiful nature of the Baltic Sea coast.

We transport your luggage from hotel to hotel every day.
We transport your luggage from hotel to hotel every day.

Individual cycle tour along the Saale Cycle Path

All bike tours are individual trips without a guide. So you have no stress and cycle the stages at your own pace. Take breaks according to your taste. This gives you the opportunity to stay longer in certain places and to stroll through the numerous towns. Enjoy your bike tour to the fullest!

Travel documents with tips for daily planning

In our extensive travel documents you will find detailed suggestions and tips for planning the day. Of course, you can also completely deviate from it and plan something of your own. The only important thing is that you arrive at your destination or your accommodation in the evening.

You will receive comprehensive travel documents for every trip booked.
You will receive comprehensive travel documents for every trip booked.

Rent bikes and on the spot in case of breakdown

Of course you have the possibility Bicycles and e-bikes can be rented from us for a fee. In the event of a flat tire or other complications, we are always happy to help and advise you. You can reach us via our service hotline + 49 (0) 3831 30676-0.

Flat tire with our borrowed bikes? We're here to help!
Flat tire with our borrowed bikes? We're here to help!

The Saale cycle path is considered a demanding cycle path. However, this profile is mainly attributed to him because of the first stages. Directly after the spring, it goes through mountainous terrain, through gorges and over peaks, some of which are more than 700 meters above sea level. In the area of ​​the Saale dams such as the Bleiloch dam or the Eichicht dam, cycling is almost exclusively possible with great difficulty.

In the further course, especially from Saalfeld, it only goes over gentle hills, through beautiful alluvial forests and of course past sublime castles, castles and charming vineyards. Now the official Saale cycle path only rarely leads out of the river valley to lead cyclists over nearby plateaus before it runs completely flat from Halle. From here on, the Saale cycle path is also suitable for beginners and cyclists who only occasionally get on their bikes. Die Mecklenburger Radtour offers Saale cycle tours only from Saalfeld.

Our classification of the path from Saalfeld: level 2 (flat to slightly hilly terrain with height differences of up to 150 meters)

E-bike, hub gears or derailleur gears?

Due to the gently hilly terrain, e-bikes and touring bikes with derailleur gears are primarily recommended. In any case, the bike should have at least eight gears.

Close to nature: the quality of the cycle path

Even if the Saale cycle path has only officially existed under this name for a few years, it is already a veteran. Cyclists have been enjoying the unique scenery of the Saale region for many decades - and the beautiful nature. The cycle path itself is also designed in a natural way and is not paved in large parts. Nevertheless, the path is easily passable with bicycles - nothing stands in the way of your cycling holiday experience!

Best Season: May to August

It is best to plan your cycle tour on the Saale cycle path between the beginning of May and the end of August. Before and after the weather - especially at the beginning of the trail - can still be quite unstable. If you are only planning partial stages, you can still ride the last part of the Saale cycle path from Halle in early/mid-September.

Experiences for young and old

Above all, individual cyclists, friends and couples can be found on the Saale Cycle Path. No wonder, with so many cultural experiences to the right and left of the path. But more and more families and young cyclists are discovering the cycle path along the Saale for themselves. How about a visit to the Zeiss Planetarium in Jena, for example? It is the world's oldest operational planetarium and a real space-time machine - the unique laser dome projection is particularly impressive. Exciting children's programs are on the program almost every day. A visit to the Saalfeld Fairy Grottoes is no less exciting. With a suitable "Glück auf!" you go into the depths of a former slate mine, which today shines as a fairy world theme park.

Tip: It is best to only ride part of the Saale cycle path with kith and kin - so that the experience and fun of cycling has the upper hand. Our bike tour experts gladly advise you! [

Maps

Anyone who wants to go on a cycle tour on the Saale Cycle Path with the Mecklenburger Radtour books, will with extensive maps fitted. In addition, cyclists receive free GPS data for easy navigation. The ADFC cycle tour maps also provide a good overview:

  • Sheet 18 Upper Franconia/Vogtland
  • Sheet 13 Saale Western Ore Mountains
  • Sheet 8 Havelland/Magdeburg Börde

You can get an initial overview of the route on our map of the Saale Cycle Path.

Saale bike path map

This way: Saale cycle path map

Our map of the Saale cycle path gives you a good overview of the individual stages and important towns along the cycle path.

Saale bike path map

green map of the Saale cycle path from Saalfeld to Schönebeck

All Saale bike tours
 

The Giebichenstein Castle in Halle an der Saale
From €495

Saale cycle path

The most beautiful thing the Saale has to offer are the castles along your route. From the source to the mouth, they stand in close succession on both sides of the Saale like hardly any other German river. Old Thuringian towns like Saalfeld and…

Duration
7 days
Length
approx. 277 - 297 km
travel code
SAA 02

Logo: Our top cycle tour
From €569

Double Star Tour Naumburg – Weimar

Follow in the footsteps of poets and thinkers along the Saale and Unstrut. On your bike tour you will discover many castles and palaces, after all there is more than 800 years of history in the area. For wine lovers, the…

Duration
8 days
Length
approx. 150 - 200 km
travel code
ST SAA 05

From €325

Star tour in the Saale-Unstrut wine-growing region

Follow in the footsteps of poets and thinkers along the Saale and Unstrut. On your bike tour you will discover many castles and palaces, after all there is more than 800 years of history in the area. For wine lovers, the…

Duration
5 days
Length
about 119 km
travel code
ST SAA 03