View from the Kernberge hills
View from the Kernberge hills

One-day walks on the SaaleHorizontale

Explore the SaaleHorizontale on a guided walk with a qualified guide.

Jena from above – along the Kernberge hills to the Fuchsturm tower

Guided walks with a qualified guide
Alongside Jenzig hill, the Kernberge hills are some of Jena’s most famous natural landmarks. The bright limestone cliffs are visible from afar, and their narrow paths are the perfect way for keen walkers to explore the Saale valley from above. From here you can get a different perspective of Jena’s city centre, the Zeiss and Schott factories, the suburbs of Lobeda and Winzerla, and the surrounding region up to Leuchtenburg Castle near Kahla. We start our walk on the market square. After crossing the Saale river, we continue through the small streets and steps of the Heimstättensiedlung garden city, before the steep climb up to the SaaleHorizontale. A narrow path along the hill provides views of Jena from above. Passing the natural formations of Studentenrutsche and Diebeskrippe, we walk along the side of the hills to Fürstenbrunnen spring, a great place for a break. The walk continues up the hill through open beech forest to Steinkreuz (stone cross). We carry on past orchards and gardens to the Fuchsturm, a fortified tower that was part of one of the four castles that once stood on Hausberg hill. This is also the site of Jena’s oldest hilltop restaurant, and its beer garden is the ideal location for a break. The extended ridge of Hausberg hill takes us down into the centre of Jena.


Start point of walking tour: Jena market square or by arrangement
End point: Wenigenjena or bus no. 16
Distance: Approx. 13km, altitude difference approx. 350m
Duration: Walking time 4.5 hours + 2 hours for breaks/refreshments (full-day tour)
Available: 2018 and 2019, all year, except Mon (Fuchsturm restaurant closed)
Participants: Max. 16 people
Group price: €170

 


Napoleon Stone and Rautal valley

Guided walk with a qualified guide

The walk starts in the centre of Jena and heads out of the city along the Leutra stream. At the Papiermühle, a former paper mill which is now a brewpub, the SaaleHorizontale continues up steep steps to the Sonnenberge hills. A narrow path along the cliff edge affords great views of the city before the walk turns into the forest. The path now heads uphill to the Windknollen nature conservation area. In 1806, Napoleon’s army won a decisive battle against Prussia at this location, and the Napoleon Stone is a memorial to this historic event. There are wide vistas across the Saale valley from here. Crossing the plateau, we reach the Closewitz nature conservation area, where information boards provide fascinating facts about the habitats of indigenous animals and plants. The walk continues through the grove and along the edge of the village, and we soon reach the Rautal valley. The area is renowned for the abundance of winter aconites that grow here. They bloom in February and tempt people out for their first walks of the new year. We then follow the Steinbach stream to Burschenplatz, which was a popular meeting place of the historical German student fraternities, known as Burschenschaften. Here, the stream cascades downhill, and there is a picnic area that is perfect for a break. We continue back towards Jena along the Mittlere Horizontale, a trail along the side of the hill. There are amazing views along the way to Landgrafen restaurant, a popular destination for walkers. Here, you can rest your weary feet in the beer garden or the café and enjoy panoramic views across the city. There’s not far to go now. A fair few steps lead down to Philosophenviertel, a quarter adjoining the city centre.

Start/end point:
City centre (market square)
Distance: 14km, altitude difference 330m
Duration: Walking time 4.5 hours + 2 hours for breaks/refreshments (full-day tour)
Available: 2018 and 2019, all year, except Mon (Landgrafen restaurant closed)
Participants: Max. 16 people
Group price: €170

 


To the Dornburg Palaces

Guided walk with a qualified guide
We leave the city centre through the surrounding residential districts and then climb up a small path. Along the way through forest and meadows we encounter enigmatic place names such as Munketal and Eule. We stop for a break at the top of Weidenberg hill, and with a little luck we might see some paragliders taking off. The views are good too, across the Gleistal valley to Grosser Gleisberg hill, Jenzig hill and Hausberg hill with the Fuchsturm tower – the distinctive peaks of the region. The path continues through shady forest across Plattenberg hill to Neuengönna, an idyllic little village once known for its winegrowing. We now turn back towards the Saale valley, crossing a small spur where a castle once stood. Passing fields and meadows we reach Dornburg. Here we take time out to enjoy the magnificent palace complex in its stunning setting overlooking the Saale valley. Always worth a visit, the palace gardens are especially lovely in June when the roses are in bloom. The Schlossberg restaurant is perfect for a break. We now make a rocky descent to the Saale valley and Dornburg train station, where there are hourly trains to Jena.

Start point: Jena city centre (market square)
End point: Dornburg station – Jena Paradies station
Distance: 16km, altitude difference 400m
Duration: Walking time 5 hours + 2 hours for breaks/refreshments + 1 hour for looking round the palaces (full-day tour)
Available: 2018 and 2019, all year, except Mon (Schlossberg restaurant closed), alternative: Ratskeller
Participants: Max. 16 people
Group price: €170

 


Via Kunitzburg Castle to Jenzig hill

Guided walk with a qualified guide
We hop on the train for two stops to Jena-Zwätzen. A cycle and walking trail takes us from here to Kunitz, past Hausbrücke bridge, which was destroyed in 1945 and rebuilt in 2012. We leave the village for the southern slope of Gleisberg hill, passing a vineyard before ascending to the ruins of Kunitzburg Castle along a serpentine path offering great vistas. Through the arched windows of the castle ruins you can see far into the Saale valley. The SaaleHorizontale trail now leads us down to the idyllic village of Laasan. This little village is so well hidden in the valley that it was missed during the Napoleonic wars. We briefly stop to admire the timber-framed town hall before continuing up a gentle incline to the foot of Jenzig hill. We remain on the lower, undulating edge of the hill in the shady beech forest. Then the northern ascent takes us to the top of Jenzig hill, Jena’s most famous peak, and one of its seven wonders. This is one of the best-known views across the city. There is an opportunity for a break at the Jenzighaus restaurant before we continue along the trail, remaining at the height of the ridge along Jenzig hill. There are glorious views on the way down into Wogau, from where an hourly bus takes us back to the city centre.


Start point:
Jena Paradies station (two stops to Jena Zwätzen)
End point:
Wogau – Jena bus station
Distance: Approx. 12km, altitude difference 350m
Duration: Walking time 4 hours + 2 hours for breaks/refreshments (full-day tour)
Available: 2018 and 2019, all year, except Mon (Jenzighaus restaurant closed)
Participants: Max. 16 people
Group price: €170

 


Via the Pennicken valley to Lobdeburg castle ruins

Guided walk with a qualified guide

We take the bus to the village of Wöllnitz. In the 19th century, it was a popular location for raucous student celebrations known as a Bierstaat, or ‘beer state’. The babbling of the Pennicken stream accompanies us as we make our way through the village and the surrounding gardens further into the valley. The highly calciferous water has deposited large quantities of travertine here. Small quarries are testament to the use of this type of limestone over the past 300 years, for example in the local glass-making industry (e.g. Schott) and in the manufacture of toothpaste. At Fürstenbrunnen spring, the stone-clad source of the Pennicken stream, we stop for a short break and enjoy the glorious natural surroundings. From here, the SaaleHorizontale climbs steeply, passing open fields on the way up to the top of Johannisberg hill. As it drops sharply into the Saale valley you can enjoy far-reaching views over the city and the surrounding countryside. A small path along the edge of the hill, also with lovely views of the valley, takes us to the ruins of what was once a castle in three sections. The remains of Romanesque Lobdeburg Castle are part of the Transromanica routes. The Lobdeburgklause restaurant is ideal for a break. Leaving Schlossberg hill behind us, we descend to Drackendorf. Here we visit a small park with a pavilion, which was extended into an English landscape garden with the help of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. We leave the park at the old transformer building and head to the Universitätsklinikum tram stop. Along the way, we catch a final glimpse of the Lobdeburg castle ruins. The tram takes us back to the city centre, giving us the opportunity to reflect on a good day’s walking.

Start point:
 Jena bus station (or skip the bus and walk from the bus station via Teufelslöcher and Wöllnitzer Oberweg, adding 3km to the tour)
End point:
Universitätsklinikum – tram to Holzmarkt – Jena city centre
Distance: 11km, altitude difference 250m
Duration: Walking time 3.5 hours + 2 hours for breaks/refreshments (full-day tour)
Available: 2018 and 2019, all year, except Mon and Tue (Lobdeburgklause restaurant closed)
Participants: Max. 16 people
Group price: €170

Contact Jena Tourist Information to book one-day walks on the SaaleHorizontale

 

Provider: Jena Tourist Information

Diebeskrippe

[Translate to English:] Diebeskrippe

Fuchsturm tower

[Translate to English:] Blick auf den Fuchsturm

Photo credits: source: JenaKultur, photos by: Herbert Baar, Andreas Hub, Frits Meyst, Christian Häcker