The 98-kilometre Leine-Werra Nature Park Trail leads through one of the most varied areas of the Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal Nature Park. Demanding climbs alternate with sections through the wild and romantic Werra river valley.
It could hardly be more varied. Both scenically and culturally. The 98-kilometre Leine-Werra Nature Park Trail in Thuringia winds through a mosaic of deciduous forests, pastures, orchards and historic villages. Between Heiligenstadt and Creuzburg, hikers can expect athletic climbs, pleasant valleys as well as a barren high plateau and lush river landscapes. The route also passes numerous castle ruins from the Middle Ages and richly decorated pilgrimage chapels. And not to be forgotten: the many delicacies of the region, which is famous for its traditional sausage processing, fruit juices and Eichsfeld sour cream cake.
The starting point of the five-day hike through the Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal Nature Park is the more than 1,000-year-old town of Heilbad Heiligenstadt with its many well-preserved Gothic buildings. Theodor Storm Literature Museum is also located here. Before the first stage is over, it is also worth visiting the nature park centre in Fürstenhagen, which is housed in the water tower of a former railway station. Later, hikers can watch the primeval forest come into being in the Dieteröder Klippen. At around 510 metres above sea level, this is also the highest point of the stage and thus one of the most impressive vantage points of the "Walkable Germany" quality trail.
At least as exciting as this first part of the hike are the following four stages, which are between 16 and 22 kilometres long. The Lutter and Klostermühle mills, for example, bear witness to the former importance of the mill trade. In Luttergrund, the Lutter waterfall pours over a freshwater limestone cliff about ten metres high. One of the most impressive disused railway lines winds through the romantic valleys of Frieda and Lutter. And Lengenfeld is home to the region's largest half-timbered building, Zella Monastery, built in 1175.
But perhaps the most beautiful section of the Leine-Werra Nature Park Trail is the last. Between Falken and Frankenroda, where the inner-German border once ran, the Werra flows through an impressive rocky landscape. Via Wisch, which is known for its abundance of orchids, the hikers finally reach their destination: Creuzburg's Gottesackerkirche.
TIP: Normannstein Castle
As one of the few medieval castles still preserved in its original state, Normannstein Castle is a special highlight of the tour. It is located above Treffurt on a rocky ridge and watches over the Werra valley.