Full of life and charm, Rudolstadt is an ideal starting point for discovering the wonderful surroundings. In the vicinity, there are the towns of Saalfeld and Bad Blankenburg, which form together with Rudolstadt the "town triangle by the Thuringian Saale bend".
At a distance of about seven miles, there is the village Großkochberg with its famous Castle Kochberg. The picturesque castle, which is surrounded by water, was already mentioned in 1125 and extended to its present size between 1580 and 1815. With its park and classic court theatre, it was closely connected with the residence towns Rudolstadt and Weimar for several centuries. Having a close relationship with Lady von Stein, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe often visited Castle Kochberg.
The ruin of the Benedictine friary, consecrated in 1124, belongs to the most important Romanesque monuments in Germany. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller were deeply impressed when they visited the friary that lies in the valley of Rottenbach. Next to the ruin, there is an old hunting lodge, which houses a museum that displays the history of forestry, hunting and the friary.
When travelling through the wild and romantic valley of Schwarza, you will get to the recreation place Schwarzburg. Next to the huge ruin of Castle Schwarzburg, you will find the Kaisersaal (emperor hall) in the castle park. The exhibition shows the portraits of all German emperors.
Being the steepest cable car of the world, the Mountain Railway in the upper Schwarza valley is a very special attraction. It runs from the valley station in Ostfelderschmiede to Oberweißbach, Friedrich Fröbel’s place of birth. From the highs of the Thuringian Slate Mountains, you can get to Neuhaus and the ridge of the Thuringian Forest within a short time.
The water reservoir in Hohenwarte is a popular recreation area 15 miles south-east from Rudolstadt. It offers many possibilities to water sports enthusiasts and is a camping paradise in the summer months.
If you travel downstream in the Saale valley, you will see Castle Leuchtenburg near Kahla, which is half-way to the university town of Jena. The medieval castle lies on the hills to the right side of the valley.
Some miles further, you may also visit the towns Jena, Weimar, Erfurt, Ilmenau or Arnstadt on a day trip or enjoy a summer concert at the water reservoir in Hohenfelden.