Three ladies for three towers: three duchesses of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach are linked to the observation towers along the Thuringian Three Towers Trail, which connects Weimar, Blankenhain and Bad Berka.
The Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna had Hain Tower built on Hainberg hill near Weimar between 1828 and 1830. In 1884 came Pauline Tower on Adelsberg hill in Bad Berka and Caroline Tower on Kötsch hill outside Blankenhain followed in 1909, both erected in honour of the duchesses they take their names from. The towers constitute the high points of the 26-kilometre Three Towers Trail, both figuratively and literally. The views from the top of the observation towers look out over Thuringia's densely wooded countryside. Pauline and Caroline Towers are regularly open to visitors, and ramparts by Caroline Tower give a flavour of the region's rich history. There are another three medieval ramparts along the Wanderbares Deutschland (Walking in Germany) approved path, as well as mills and picturesque villages of timber-framed houses. After all that walking, the spa town of Bad Berka makes the perfect spot to relax and unwind, and in summer months there's the Blankenhain leisure pool too. Weimar – home to Goethe, Schiller, Liszt and Bauhaus – continues to attract visitors with its wide range of cultural sights and activities. Whether travelling by car, bus or the Ilm Valley Railway, it's easy to get to the starting points of the Thuringian Three Towers Trail, which allow walkers to break up the walking route however they choose. Holiday apartments, hotels, guesthouses and inns present weary walkers with the ideal setting to sit back, relax and soak up Thuringia's friendly hospitality.
Pauline Tower stands proudly over the spa town of Bad Berka. Open daily, the 26m high observation tower offers a magnificent panoramic view across the Thuringian countryside. Back down at ground level there's a children's playground and a small restaurant too.
At a glance:
Starts and ends: Bad Berka
Number of stages: 1 to 2
Altitude variation (approximate values): highest point: 497m, lowest point: 244m
Terrain: 39% unmade, 14% hard paving, 46% grit track