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Thuringian Slate Mountains/Upper Saale River Nature Park – from the Rennsteig trail to the Saale river

The nature reserve is situated between the forests of the Rennsteig and the castles on the Saale river – a picture-perfect landscape of mountains and valleys, streams and rivers, meadows and woods.

Blue slate houses in small towns and villages are testimony to the skill of the slate roofers of the past and to local mining traditions. Several visitor mines, aimed at both adults and children, provide more information. On the historical, densely-wooded Rennsteig trail, the peaks reach heights of almost 800 metres, and you may spot the rarely-seen dipper bird fishing in one of the clear, cool streams. You can also go nature spotting throughout the reserve on a walk with an experienced guide.

With its great reservoirs, the 'Thuringian Sea' in the Saale valley is a popular choice for holidays and excursions, offering plenty of walking and cycling routes, vantage points, water sports and scenic campsites. The 'Land of a Thousand Ponds' (Land der Tausend Teiche) is a stopover for migratory birds and provides a habitat for various waterfowl, fish and other creatures. Food lovers will appreciate the cuisine based on regional produce, particularly in the hunting and fishing season of October.

But the reserve has so much more to offer than natural beauty and good food. There are galleries, art markets, artisan crafts and small specialist workshops steeped in tradition, and many of them give you a chance to get creative yourself.

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