Campingplatz Jena

Europe Germany South East Germany Bavaria

Campingplatz Jena, Am Erlkönig 3, 07749 Jena, Germany

A relaxing, countryside feel in a handy urban location.

Jena is a bustling place. A university town since 1558, it has attracted its fair share of cultural giants over the intervening centuries and became a centre for science in East Germany – a clutch of top museums and the world’s oldest public planetarium attest to that. It’s still the students that give the place real life though, a thriving young community who inject a lively buzz into crafty little cafés and hip coffee houses. Beyond the glowing evening bars, however, the backdrop is anything but urban. Muscular limestone hills hug the surroundings, topped by dark green trees and divided by the lazy river Saale that slithers through the countryside into the very heart of town.

Treading this precise boundary between tree-clad seclusion and buzzing city get-up is Campingplatz Jena. Owners Sabine and Steffen positively beam as they cast their gaze around the place and conclude it offers, “semi urban camping” – it’s not a phrase we disagree with. From the campsite entrance a tramline and cycleway zip you into the central market place and the most picturesque old quarter of town, 2 kilometres away, while staying put leaves you lazing in the grassy idyll that is the site itself, a slice of country on the edge of the city.

Made up of a flat, grassy, 48-pitch space, the camping meadow here boasts a healthy dotting of mature dappled trees, electrical hook-ups and a separate vehicle-free camping area for tents only. The latter spot is a favourite for passing cyclists, journeying the Saale Cycle Route, a 410km trail from source to confluence and one of the countries most diverse, demanding and spectacular routes. Facilities are on the older side and relatively basic, but all are immaculately kept and suit the established, laid back feel of the site where a relaxing atmosphere is matched by the chilled out owners.

Sabine and Steffen’s reception sums the place up nicely. Housed inside one of the town’s historic old trams it’s a quirky information stop with everything you need for swatting up on the local area. In the morning, the smell of fresh breading oozes from the windows where tram goers once pressed dreamy faces against the glass and a few nights a week the area out front, ordained with a handful of picnic benches, becomes the setting for campsite barbeques sizzling up local sausages.

If you're more county mouse than town, don’t feel every day has to be spent within the compact Jena centre. The campsite is at the foot of mount Jenzig, the highest in the area, and a climb to its summit reveals spectacular views of the settlement below as well as far reaching vistas of the upper Saale valley. The region is still blessed with a climate mild enough for orchids and vines to thrive, and the flanks of Jenzig are segmented in a couple of small areas where tiny, amateur vineyards are still at work. The rest of the valley leaves acres to explore, dotted with ruined castles and historic riverside dwellings. Be back in time for an evening campfire before bed and rise early enough to swim in the neighbouring municipal pool.

The Owner Says

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