Whether you choose to ramble the heights of the Eichsfeld, cycle along the Werratal Cycle Path, explore the course of the Werra in a canoe or walk through the wild primeval beech forests of Hainich – you are sure to be rewarded by a fabulous nature experience.
Hainich National Park is surrounded by the much bigger Nature Park Eichsfeld-Hainich-Werratal, which stretches over 858 km² between the old towns of Heiligenstadt, Eschwege, Mühlhausen, Bad Langensalza and Eisenach. Hainich with its large natural beech forests lies in the southeast.
The nature park is characterised by the Eichsfeld Escarpment with its towering shell-limestone plateaus, Hainich with its wooded range of hills, and the deep valley of the river Werra. Cultural landscapes steeped in history and beautiful natural landscapes are closely intertwined here and exist in harmony here, with dreamy villages and their half-timbered houses, extensive beech forests and the romantic Werra valley.
At the Naturparkzentrum Fürstenhagen, visitors find an exhibition on "Man and Nature", an adventure trail with a tree house, a garden for the senses and a snack bar. From there, you can walk through one of the largest yew woodlands in Europeon the Yew Nature Trail. The Dieteröder Klippen Nature Trail passes through fragrant juniper heaths.
The best way to explore the nature park and its variegated nature and rich cultural landscape is along the 102 km long walking path. Various nature trails, specialist lectures and excursions with certified nature guides, canoeing tours, adventure walks and project days for children and young people invite you to engage closer with different nature topics. The Geological Route gives insights into the eventful history of the Earth in the region.
The river Werra winds its way along 302 km from source to its estuary through Thuringia and Hesse, crossing five nature reserves. With its pleasant flow speed, the Werra carries nature enthusiasts leisurely past numerous fortresses and castles, romantic cityscapes, reed beds, wooded ridges and cliffs leaning into the river.
One of the most beautiful and best-preserved castles in Thuringia is without a doubt Creuzburg Castle. With a surface area of 7,400 m² it is one of the larger Romanesque castles in Germany. Dating back to the 12th century, it accommodated Landgravin Elisabeth of Thuringia, who was later canonised. The castle, which was in a sorry state of decay in the early 1980s, was thorougly restored in 1997. Today, Creuzburg Castle is in a very good condition and a museum open to the public. Exhibition rooms include an impressively designed testimony of the most sinister chapters in the castle's history – the torture cellar. Attractions of the castle today are the Medieval Festival, castle concerts and the possibility to get married in very historic surroundings.
In 1957, an extremely important Germanic cult site was found during peat digging between the villages of Ober- und Niederdorla. The Opfermoor Vogtei was once the largest Iron Age sacrificial place in central Europe. Since 1991, true to original reconstructions of the cult sites and of a 3rd century Germanic were erected here.
By the way, if you visit the Opfermoor, you are also in an important geographical place – the "central point" of Germany. A lime tree marks this particular spot.