Friday, 22 October 2010

Plauen, Syratal trail, Germany Running Route

Click here for route map

Length: 7 km (4.3 miles) for the run to Holzmühle and back, about half that for the run to Stadtpark.

For more running routes, see Route List.

Plauen is located in the green hills of Vogtland, Germany, on the Czech border. The town, like all those in the region, was once a powerhouse of the textile industry, full of mills powered by the quick-moving mountain rivers. The 20th century, though, saw a steady decline of industry and population, a downward spiral continuing to this day.

The area was part of communist East Germany, and a lot has been restored and redeveloped since reunification, but many buildings stand empty: there's nobody there to move into them. It's the same sad story you'll find in many declining industrial towns.

But a lot of the old town survived the bombing raids of the last year of World War II, and the town is beautifully nestled among hills and rivers. The people are down-to-earth, and they were the first brave pioneers to successfully stage a protest against the East German regime, which began a process which later brought it down.
Plauen Rathaus (townhall)
I was working there again a couple of weeks ago, and found a great trail for evening runs:

The Syratal

The Syratal (Syra Dale) follows the Syra creek westwards from the Plauen downtown, heading upriver, curving northwards. The creek actually runs under the main part of the town center, hidden away in a tunnel. Starting out at the Vogtland theater at the Postplatz, you can run out Dobenaustraße, which soon goes under the Friedensbrücke bridge (at the time it was built, it was the world's longest single-span bridge, and out along the park with the kids' mini-train on Hainstraße. Syra creek soon shows up, flowing next to the street, and after another block, you pass the last houses in town.

At this point the street ends, and the way continues as a bike/pedestrian path. You can take either fork in the path: the right-hand way leads to nearby Stadtpark, a pleasant park to loop through, with a pond, playgrounds, cafe, etc. You could just head back to town again, following the way you came, and you would do about 5km.
The Syratal
Or take the left-hand fork, keeping to the left-side of the stream. This will take you out into the beautiful Syratal. You'll soon run under the old stone railway bridge, with wooded hills bordering the dale on either side. The stream meanders beautifully here. You can continue running the main trail all the way to the Holzmühle mill. If you turn around here, you will do about 10km.
Syratal Railway Bridge, 100 years old
You could also continue from the Holzmühle, going either left or right, and continue on the various intersecting trails as far as you like.
Syra at the Holzmühle


  1. I just ran through the syratal 4 hours ago! Do you live near Plauen?

  2. No, I just visited it on business trips a couple of times. But the Syratal really stands out as one of the most enjoyable runs that I ever did. I hope I get to run it again soon! Glad you are getting to do it!

  3. I grew up in Plauen and enjoyed the Syratal dozens of times, and I am quite excited to find your article about it!

  4. I like Plauen and the people there, and I hope I can get back again sometime. And the Syratal is a very idyllic place. I'm glad you enjoyed it!