Germany's most famous long-distance hiking trail runs for 170 kilometres along the Thuringian Forest ridge, on breath-taking high-altitude trails and deep valleys. The starting point of the hiking trail is the middle course of the Werra near Hörschel, which leads to the upper reaches of the Saale near Blankenstein.
You can enjoy beautiful views and sometimes adventurous paths along the entire route. Along the way, there are about 1,300 historical boundary stones, you will see typical houses from this region, and you are invited for a wonderful rest in one of the many inns and rest areas along the route. Important medical care, should something go wrong on the way, is always ensured by means of bases specially set up by the Thuringian Mountain Rescue Service.
The Rennsteig was first mentioned in 1330 as “Rynnestig” and ran as a boundary path. The Rennsteig is both a connecting road and a separation road. It is the connecting road between the numerous pass crossings. It is a watershed between the basins of the rivers Weser, Rhine and Elbe.
Along the Rennsteig, approximately 1,300 historic boundary markers were placed in the 16th century. Particularly striking are the 13 Dreiherrensteine (popularly called Rennwegsteine) of which only 10 are located directly along the Rennsteig itself. The border markers that remain today mainly date from the 18th century. There are also a few stone crosses and memorials.
The current course of the Rennsteig was first described in 1830 by Julius von Plänckner, a topographer and road builder from Gotha. The existing Rennsteig trail is divided into 6, 7, 8, 9 or 10 stages ranging from 17 to 33 kilometres per day with a total walking time of 45 hours.
Hiking at high altitudes in Thuringia
During your hiking holiday without luggage on the Rennsteig, you can dedicate yourself completely to a relaxing hiking experience, because we ensure a smooth journey and reliable luggage transport. This leaves plenty of time to experience and enjoy the popular Rennsteig in the Thuringian Forest. You will be accompanied by pure hiking pleasure along the entire route: impressive viewpoints, adventurous paths through breathtaking natural landscapes and cosy inns with delicious specialities from the region. Experience the best of the long-distance hiking trail on our 11-day hiking tour from Eisenach to Blankenstein. The starting point of the route is Eisenach because this is where the tour starts according to ancient tradition. The path leads you to Ruhla-Ascherbrück, on to Ebertswiese and Oberhof, where you reach the highest point of the Rennsteig.
On the next day's stage, the trail leads you to Masserberg in the Thuringian Slate Mountains. From there you can walk to Neuhaus and Steinbach am Wald. Our tip: take an action-packed ride on the summer toboggan run in Ernstthal! The next day, spectacular panoramas await you on the road from Steinbach am Wald to Grumbach at the lookout point on Lauenhain. The last leg of the hike on the Rennsteig takes you from Grumbach to Blankenstein, where you can enjoy your active holiday after 11 days.
The two shorter options Eisenach - Neuhaus, 8 days and the short holiday variant from Eisenach to Oberhof, 5 days allow you to experience the Rennsteig from its most beautiful side.
Location: Thuringia and Bavaria
Length: 170 kilometres
Route: from Hörschel to Blankenstein (Active on holiday hiking tour from Eisenach to Blankenstein)
Season: Best time to travel is from April to October
Height difference: 787 metres
Highest point: 983 metres (Großer Beerberg)
Lowest point: 196 metres (Werraufer in Hörschel)
Path marker: white "R"
Unique features: The historic Grenzweg partly runs on former trade paths, the history of which dates back to the 14th century. The Rennsteig is also a certified quality hiking trail in Germany.