Someone told me Naumburg has a fantastic gothic church and there are good bike trails via the towns of Pegau and Zeitz. So myself and my good friend Chris – fellow Leipzig expat – decided to hop on our bikes and check it out. We figured 70km+ over two days was well doable with a train back to Leipzig from Naumburg.
For something planned whilst more or less drunk it all went surprising well. I even plotted out a GPS track of the trip – see the red line in map below.
Under a warm but moody sky threatening heavy rain we departed the Leipzig suburb of Markkleeberg. We headed south toward Zwenkauer See (Lake). This is one of the many man-made lakes around Leipzig.
There are two paved biking trails that go under the A38 autobahn running south of Leipzig. There’s one underpass at the south end of Cospuden See and another at Markkleeberg. Look out for the big red autobahn bridges at both underpasses. Take one or the other. The trail we took was from Markkleeberg and we took the underpass at the 4.7km mark indicated on map above.
Once south of the A38 we continued around the eastern tail of the lake to the quiet town of Zwenkau. Then headed straight through the town and followed signs for the Weiße Elster river and re-joined the bike trail (yes we got lost). Basically, we followed the river south as far as Pegau**.
The storm that was threatening all day finally broke and we took shelter in an old barn somewhere a few kilometres from Pegau. Soaking wet and feeling miserable we didn’t stop in Pegau and hurried on to Zeitz via the main A2 road. Shame really since Pegau looked very nice, even in the rain.
In fact, we didn’t stick around in Zeitz much either. Except to have camembert schnitzel at the excellent Orangerie Restaurant and drink plenty of the regional Greizer Pils beer. We stayed at the Hotel-Pension Sankt Nicolai. A good value place I would stay at again. The friendly Bulgarian owner is a former clarinet player of the Leipzig Radio Symphony Orchestra.
The next day we headed for Naumburg with our first stop at the little town of Droyßig (the 49km mark on map above). There’s a big castle here with a bear pit with, yes, real bears.
At Droyßig we hooked up with the amazing Zeitz – Camburg radweg (bike trail). This was the best bit of biking trail on the whole trip. It’s amazing how much fun biking is and how quickly you can move on a well-designed dedicated biking path. No vehicles to worry about just great scenery and fresh air.
We left the radweg near Cauerwitz and headed north through Wettaburg and Mertendorf towards the main road into Naumburg (the A87). Traffic was light and biking was fun on the L200 regional road through these well-kept and prosperous looking wine-growing towns.
We reached Naumburg mid-day and had a look around this charming town. Like many mid-size towns in eastern Germany Naumburg had that vague air of somewhere being slowly depopulated into oblivion. But there is something special about Naumburg that makes me think this will town will eventually boom once again.
Naumburgs’ big tourist attraction is the Cathedral, Naumburger Dom St. Peter und St. Paul. Despite the usual fires and random destructions most buildings comprising the site date back to 13th century. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site and well worth the EUR6 to get in for a look around.
From Naumburg we caught a regional train to Weißenfels, then changed there for a direct Leipzig train. I can’t wait to do more longer biking trips like this around Leipzig.
For more images of Schloss Droyßig (and the bears!), the Zeitz – Camburg bike trail, and beautiful Naumburg go to Pinterest.
** Picking up the Leipzig – Pegau bike trail from Zwenkau was harder than we thought. We used the maps on our phones plus a dogged determination! In hindsight, it’s probably easier to take the Leipzig – Pegau bike trail from Cospudener See. If you do that you’ll follow a well sign-posted trail around the western side of Zwenkauer See.