Did you know that the largest point in the western Thuringian Forest in Germany is the Inselsberg mountain? From here you can hike directly along the Rennsteig (which is one of Germany’s most popular hiking trails and there’s marathon events on it too) or simply enjoy the magnificent view from the mountain and the radio tower. There’s plenty to explore on a quick day trip to the Thuringian Forest.
**** Dieser Artikel stellt unbeauftragte Werbung durch Namensnennung dar. Eventuelle Affiliate-/Werbe-Links werden mit Sternchen (*) gekennzeichnet. Wenn du darauf klickst und etwas über diesen Link kaufst, bekomme ich eine Provision (ohne Aufpreis für dich), mit der ich diesen Blog online halten kann. Als Werbe-Partner verdiene ich an qualifizierten Verkäufen.****
Is the Inselsberg worth it?
I always find a visit to the Inselsberg mountain a good idea because you can see so incredibly far into the Thuringian Forest and the surrounding valleys.
For example, you can see the big ski jump in Brotterode. And just looking over the tops of the huge firs is something nice.
The view is spectacular and getting there is pretty straightforward too.
Dining at the Inselsberg
At the top, you can also find the restaurant Berggasthof Stöhr, where you can enjoy good Thuringian home cooking and hearty meals to energize before or after your hikes.
The food is quite good. Note that you need to order at the till (the menu is written above it, but there is no English translation).
I highly recommend the beef roulade with Thuringian dumplings and red cabbage (“Thüringer Klöße mit Roulade”).
For vegetarians, there typically is a delicious mushroom ragout, dumplings with blueberry sauce (“Knödel”) or very good veggie patties (“Käsetaler”).
Where is the Inselsberg?
There are two Inselsberg mountains in the Thuringian Forest in Central Germany. This article is focused on the bigger one, known locally as the Große Inselsberg.
The Inselsberg can be found in the middle of Germany, in the state of Thuringia. It’s part of the famous mountain range Thüringer Wald (Thüringian Forest), which basically splits into a northern and southern half.
Fun fact: This also affects the weather, local food and dialects. And histprically, it also served as a divider between the different duchies.
Where is the Big Inselsberg?
The Big Inselsberg mountain sits 916.5 metres above sea level, which makes it the fourth highest independent mountain in Thuringia. The Großer Beerberg mountain is the highest of the mountain range, sitting at 983 metres.
The Große Inselsberg mountain is located near Gotha and Schmalkalden and marks the border between the districts of Gotha and the district of Schmalkalden-Meiningen.
Where is the Small Inselsberg
Since there is a big Inselsberg, there also must be a smaller one.
Ironically, the mountain Kleiner Inselsberg (Small Inselsberg mountain) is smaller than the mountain peak of the same name, which has a height of 732 metres. This peak is what is typically referred to by locals as the Kleiner Inselsberg.
It lies more southern than the “big brother” by 1300 metres.
It’s also worthwhile to visit this mountain as well if you’re in the region as it is more geared to family and fun outings besides hiking.
At the Kleiner Inselsberg, you can find a local weather station as well as a restaurant and summer toboggan run. There is a bus stop and parking lot for easy access as well.
Distance to Oberhof
If you are visiting the Rennsteig in the Thuringian Forest, chances are you would like to check out Oberhof. That’s the heart of local winter sports and the seat for the Biathlon World Cup. You can get tickets to see the competitions. The after show parties are free and hosted in the town centre.
You can see more details about the Biathlon WM in Oberhof in 2023 here.
How do you get to Inselsberg?
It’s best if you come by car. Otherwise, you have to change trains and buses umpteen times and your trip will be quite long. And there’s quite a bit of hiking involved too.
With a car
Type in Grosser Inselsberg into your GPS.
Below the restaurant there is a larger parking lot directly on the street and then you go up the stairs to the restaurant and the information point with a lookout tower.
For example, from the train station in Schmalkalden, you can take the 851 bus to Georgenthal (direction Gotha) and then the 857 bus to the Inselsberg ski lift (direction Brotterode). That one will then take you up the mountain.
From Eisenach, you can take the train to Bad Tabarz. There you take the 142 bus to Eisenach to the Kleiner Inselsberg and hike for half an hour up to the Großer Inselsberg.
Hiking on the Great Inselsberg
Großer Inselsberg hikes are of course a must. The view from the restaurant and the viewing platform is great, but afterwards you can look directly at the Rennsteig and a few forest paths.
- The World Cup runs from 8 to 19 February 2023
- The Rennsteig Run takes place on 13 May 2023
Good to know
It is a good idea to use the webcam to get an idea beforehand. I did that too to see if there was enough snow. Really handy. You can see the cam here.
In addition, I can only recommend sturdy shoes. I personally love my Lowa hiking shoes*. They have held up for years and are extremely comfortable.
More travel tips for Central Germany
- Visiting a nearby castle with an English Garden at Altenstein
- Fairy tale town Schmalkalden with its half-timbered houses and castle
- What to do in Jena every month of the year
- Seeing Europe’s largest winter aconite fields in February
- Amazing cultural things to see in Weimar
- The best Christmas markets of Thuringia in December