Steep wooded slopes channel the meadows of the Saale Valley, which runs to the cultured, former ducal town of Rudolstadt, 37km southwest of Jena. That it’s largely flat makes this one of the easiest sections of the long-distance Saale Cycle Route (saale-radwanderweg.de), which slaloms along the valley for 200km from Kaatschen-Weichau to Sparnberg on the border of Bavaria. The E3 long-distance hiking route also traverses the area, taking in the Schwarza Valley. Slower but more adventurous is to canoe the lazy meanders of the thickly wooded river valley. Source tourism booklet Wasserwandern auf der Saale for itineraries of the trip – the full route will take around ten days – plus details of boat hire, slipways and campsites en route.

Trains run from Jena to Saalfeld, while as regards information, the valley is covered by the regional tourism board of the Thuringian Forest even though it lies outside the official boundaries.

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