Germany » Saale and Unstrut River | Germany

From the wine yards to the Elbe


Saale and Unstrut River | Germany: Characteristics & Overview

Rating of waterway

Length of waterway: 160 km
Number of locks: 17
Lock dimensions: 49.30 x 5.60
Max. depth: 0.50 - 1.20
Max. headroom: 3.70
Degree of difficulty: Demanding
Requirements: No license asked for hired boats
Character of waterway: back to nature, old waterway, to be rediscovered
Profile of waterway: Hardly ever used
Facilities groundside: Sufficiant

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Waterway has access to:

Weser River | Germany

River Saale in Sachsen-Anhalt
There runs at the moment a test here for holiday boating with a charter license. One asks oneself what for, since leisure boaters can hardly find real wharfs. There is no Marina and infrastructure on the waterside doesn’t exist at all.
Its source is in the Bavarian Fichtelgebirge; it crosses then the Thüringer Schiefergebirge and finally reaches Sachsen-Anhalt. It is navigable from its confluence with the Unstrut, southerly of Weissenfels. At Barby it meets the Elbe. It is 417 km long and partially navigable over 160 km.

The Unstrut in Thüringen and Sachsen Anhalt
Works to make it navigable from Artern to its outflow in the Saale at Naumburg started in 1791. 12 locks were built and in 1795 navigation on the small river started. There are 7 locks left today. They are now used by canoeists only.
Everything is in good order and the surroundings offer a lot, especially the places along the wine growing areas are gorgeous.  One could imagine tourism with small motor boats with little draft. A beginning has been made already. The Schifffahrtsgesellschaft Salle-Unstrut cruises with 3 passenger ships between Naumburg and Freyburg. Motor boats can even be chartered at Onkel Fu on the Unstrut at Rossleben (between Artern and Nebra).

The best site to these two rivers is found here:

Blaues Band durch Sachsen-Anhalt

Wine and Dine
In the hilly south of the navigable stretch is the wine growing area of Saale-Unstrut with the typical wines for these positions:  Müller-Thurgau, Riesling, Silvaner, Weisser Burgunder, Grauer Burgunder, Gutedel for white wines and Blauer Zweigelt, Spätburgunder und Portugiesen for red wines.

Special dishes of the area are: Forelle in Apfelsosse, beim Alt-Sächsischen Schweienbauch oder dem Sächsischen Liebesmahl.