The Unstrut Valley is a great area for a relaxing holiday.
Most of the towns and villages of East Germany have kept their historical charm and have not been spoiled by the modernization seen in the sixties and seventies in many places in west Germany.
Here are our tips for a pleasant cycling holiday in the Unstrut Valley:
Unstrut Cycling Path
You can explore the area by car. Another possibility is setting off by bike. This is what we did. When you follow the Unstrut – Saale bike path it does not mean that you can cycle all the way through the valley.
Be prepared that very often the path leads you up the hill with a view down onto the valley (especially in the upper part of the valley).
But it is still an easy path to cycle, well signposted and runs through nice countryside. But if it is a warm and sunny time of the year then be prepared that there is hardly any shade on the route. That means, on the other hand, that if it is rainy and windy there is also hardly any protection.
Places of Interest
The towns you pass are beautiful with lots of interesting sights and always worth a stop for at least one or even two nights. The towns, worth an overnight stay are Mühlhausen, Bad Langensalza and definitely Naumburg. Other places where you can spend some time are: Sömmerda, Artern, Nebra and Freyburg.
A highlight not to miss is the the “Arche Nebra” in Kleinwangen, where they found the Nebra Sky disc. The Nebra sky disk features the oldest concrete depiction of the cosmos worldwide. In June 2013 it was included in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register and termed "one of the most important archaeological finds of the twentieth century.
It is wise to book accommodation in advance, not only during the main season but also in the low season, especially if you cycle and are not willing to do longer detours. There are not many hotels and B&B places listed and they are quickly sold out during the day.
Accomodations we can recommend are the following:
Mühlhausen: Brauhaus zum Löwen
Sömmerda: Hotel Balkan
Artern: Hotel Weinberg
Nebra: Schlosshotel Himmelsscheibe
Naumburg: Hallescher Anger
The most expensive place we stayed in was the worst. It was the Gasthaus Zur Weintraube.
From the outside it looked cosy and tempting to stay. But it was noisy, the service was poor, the rooms were not comfortable and the meals (evening and breakfast) were not good at all. Everything was overpriced.
If you started your bike trip from Dingelstädt or Mühlhausen then it is easy to get back by train from Naumburg via Erfurt where you have to change train. There is a Thüringen-Sachsenanhalt special day ticket that you can book in advance and in all trains there are compartments available for storing the bikes.