Trail - "From Bach to Goethe" - From Arnstadt to Ilmenau - Thuringian Forest
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And yet this trail not only connects the towns of Arnstadt and Ilmenau, it also connects two worlds. Bach's works originate from the early 18th century and Goethe was born only one year before Bach's death in 1749. As different as the creative periods may be, music and literature go hand in hand (not only on this trail).
The tour starts at the market in Arnstadt. Not far from the Bach Church, there is a bronze statue directly on the square. It depicts a relaxed youth man. A lankiness cast in metal and a hint of youthful rebellion against conventions surround this statue. And it's true: Bach was far ahead of his time in some areas - some examples of his early and later works bear witness to this. He got his first permanent job as an organist here in Arnstadt.
The tour takes you past the large church (take a look inside - it's worth it!) in a northerly direction to the former Neideck Castle in Arnstadt. Today, unfortunately, only remains of the complex can be seen here, but a miniature illustrates the splendour of the former residence building.
Past the theatre in the castle garden, turn east and join the Luther Trail right next to the sports and leisure pool. From now on, head straight south and towards the Thuringian Forest. Pass the Kurhausplatz and follow the railway line until just before the "Fasanerie" animal park and then turn into Kirschallee. Through the idyllic allotment gardens you soon reach the first foothills of the Thuringian Forest and enter the "Große Luppe" nature reserve.
Between Kuhberg and Pappelberg, the trail runs through the still gently rolling landscape near Arnstadt to the Wipfratal viewpoint. From here you have a fantastic view to the south, over Reinsfeld with its historic fortified church, to the Heyda dam.
Continue past the "Ziegenried" nature reserve to the former Reinsburg Castle. At an altitude of almost 600 m, however, only the remains of the former robber baron's fortress are still visible today.
The trail follows a winding forest path to the next vantage point on the Rabenberg and on over the Walsberg to the Halskappe and the Heydaer Berg. Through the "Veronika Berg" nature reserve, you soon reach the Karolinenblick from where you have a wonderful panoramic view over Martinroda to the mighty Reichenbach bridge on the 71 Highway. The trail soon climbs back up through the village to the Thüringerwald Highway. Now Ilmenau is not far away.
Passing the Hirtenbusch ponds, you reach the "gateway to the Thuringian Forest" not far from the Pörlitzer Höhe. After a detour through the historic cemetery and past the Goethe Fountain, the tour ends at the GoetheStadtMuseum on the market square.
For seasoned hikers, the second section on the trail of the great Thuringians begins here: The Goethe Trail takes you over the local mountain of Ilmenau, the Kickelhahn, past the famous Goethehäuschen and the Gabelbach hunting lodge to the Gabelbach Mountain and Hunting Hotel and on via the historic Auerhahn forest inn to the Goethe Museum in Stützerbach.
Rest stopsHotel Stadthaus Arnstadt
Thüringer Kloßhotel Goldene Henne - Arnstadt
Schellhorns Restaurant & Bar - Arnstadt
Hotelpark Stadtbrauerei Arnstadt
Safety informationThe trail runs partly on very winding forest paths. Please always make sure your footing is safe and do not leave the signposted hiking routes.
Tips and hints
The hiking trail on thueringen-entdecken.de
Arnstadt and Ilmenau are connected to the Deutsche Bahn network and are directly linked to each other. Use DB's travel information to search for connections:
Getting thereComing from the A71, take exit 14a (Arnstadt Süd) and continue on the L1048 west to Arnstadt. Follow the main road in Arnstadt to Schloßplatz and then turn left into Schlossstraße.
Use the Schlossstraße car park (Google NAV point)
Book recommendation by the author
Regional Guide to Ilmenau and the Goethe Hiking Trail: History, Landscape, Tips
Ilmenau - Heimatkundliche Beiträge zur Geschichte der Stadt und Umgegend
Author’s map recommendations
Book recommendations for this region:
Recommended maps for this region:
- Sturdy shoes
- First aid kit
- GPS navigation device or smartphone
- 19 Waypoints
- 19 Waypoints
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