Day trips around the Ilm-Valley Cycle Tour
It pays off to explore the surrounding area of the Ilm-Valley Cycle Route, to stay in one of the picturesque places along the bike path and set off for a day trip. From Ilmenau, a side trip to the Gera Cycle Route is recommended. Quite near Bad Berka is Blankenhain with a sprawling golf course. In Weimar it is worth making a detour to the Ettersburg Castle, and at the end of the Ilm-Valley Cycle Route the Raddreieck at Auerstedt comes up with a sporting challenge. These are only a few tips, a detailed planning of side trips, however, is best made with the Radroutenplaner Thüringen.http://radroutenplaner.thueringen.de/
Ilmenau - Langewiesen - Gehren - Großbreitenbach - Neustadt am Rennsteig
The Ilm-Rennsteig Cycling Route runs along the former railway line from Ilmenau via Langewiesen, Gehren and the Hohe Tanne to Großbreitenbach or via Neustadt to the Rennsteig Cycle Trail. The route is almost completely paved and signposted as a bicycle road. The steady but slight rise is ideal also for untrained cyclists who would like to get up on the Rennsteig.
The route’s start/end point is at the main station of Ilmenau, university town of Goethe. About 100 m past the ice rink, you hit the Ilm-Rennsteig Cycle Path, which - together with the Ilm-Valley Cycle Route - runs to Langewiesen. Between Langewiesen and Gehren you cross directly below the imposing ICE-high speed train bridges. Behind Gehren with its ruined castle and the castle park the bike path to Möhrenbach rises moderately but steadily and offers gentle views of the villages in the valleys and on the slopes. From the former train stop in Möhrenbach you can comfortably ride along through shady forests to the industrial park Hohe Tanne and further on into the officially recognised resort towns of Großbreitenbach and Neustadt. In Großbreitenbach you may either take a look at the Thuringian Forest-Creative Museum (Wald-Kreativmuseum) with the Museum for Dumpling Making (Kloßpressenmuseum) or relax in the herb garden and the outdoor swimming pool. In Neustadt on the Rennsteig, you can visit the Rennsteig Museum and Information Centre. From Ilmenau station there is an hourly train connection to Arnstadt and further on to Erfurt and vice versa.
On Feiningers Tracks
Weimar - Gelmeroda - Mellingen - Weimar
The cycling tour invites to follow in the footsteps of the famous Bauhaus artist Lyonel Feininger through the Weimarer Land in order to get to know some of his favourite subjects and to gaze at interesting monuments of cultural heritage. Feininger himself was an avid cyclist, having pencil and sketchpad always with him on tour. South of Weimar there is the landscape conservation area ‘Mittleres Ilmtal' with its idyllic villages, that Feininger visited repeatedly on foot or by bicycle between 1906 and 1937, that’s why "Weimarer Land is Feininger country!"
The well signposted cycling route starts in the Geschwister-Scholl-Straße in Weimar at the Bauhaus University, the building complex of the former Bauhaus. Feininger taught here from 1919 to 1925. In the immediate vicinity, in 7a, Bauhausstraße, the artist had his first studio. The next stop is the house no. 16 in the Gutenbergstraße where Feininger lived with his family from 1919 to 1926. The tour then continues in a westerly direction until the end of William-Shakespeare-Straße and further on past pretty gardens into the Kirschbachtal. Through the open landscape the path leads from village to village, until after about 25 km it reaches the bridge in Oberweimar. From here you can easily get to the Goethe Park and the Weimar city centre.
The route is mostly on quiet roads and country lanes, the conditions of which are different and their trafficability weather dependent. The church in Gelmeroda houses an exhibition of Lyonel Feininger’s works and is open to visitors all day. The route is provided with attractive glass display stands at the individual stations, which usually represent a bright coloured copy of Feininger’s picture of the very church that you can see from where you stand.
Bad Sulza - Eberstedt - Auerstedt - Bad Sulza
The Ilmtal-Raddreieck is idyllically nestled between the hills of the Tuscany of the East. In the sole wine growing region of Thuringia, the Raddreieck links the towns of Bad Sulza, Auerstedt and Eberstedt. It’s a round tour that is perfect for a small day trip by bike, on foot or with the Segway.
Starting in Bad Sulza, you may well visit the Goethe garden house 2, the copy of the original Goethe garden house in Weimar. It was put up as an art project in 1999 and can be visited by guided tour.
Through the Thüringer Weintor and past the salt works (Gradierwerk) of Bad Sulza, the Ilmtal-Raddreieck continues on to Auerstedt, known for the battle in 1806 near Jena / Auerstedt. Today, Schloss Auerstedt includes the restaurant "Reinhardt's im Schloss", serving fresh, regional cuisine inside in the restaurant or outside on the courtyard. The castle grounds are also home to the Maloca Auerworld, a modern wooden Brazilian architecture, and to the Auerstedter Museenwelt with a collection of Duchess Anna Amalia’s historic carriages (Kutschenmuseum). Outside Auerstedt, you can visit the osier stake palace, one of the largest living structures in the world. The entry is free.
The Ilmtal-Raddreieck leads from Auerstedt over a gentle rise to the old mill in Eberstedt. At the destination, you are rewarded with refreshing drinks in the beer garden, Thuringian cuisine in the Mühlenschänke and a lot of things to do around the oil mill: Whether animal park or table tennis, there are many recreational opportunities for all the family.
Those who want to relax after the bike tour should head for Bad Sulza: with its Liquid Sound the Toskana Therme offers pure recreation. You can also stay the night in the hotel adjacent to the spa.