Thuringia - The Green Heart of Germany
Thuringia, the state in the centre of Germany, captures many travellers - whether you are most fascinated by its impressive architecture and culture, which is most apparent in cities like Erfurt and Weimar, or by its varied natural areas such as the popular Thuringian Forest.
Geography - Germany's centre
Thuringia has an area of 16,172 km² and lies in the centre of Germany. The Free State is surrounded by the states of Bavaria, Hesse, Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony. Thuriniga has a population of about 2.3 million people, which means that the state is relatively sparsely populated in comparison to the other German states. Besides the capital of Erfurt, the cities of Weimar, Jena, Eisenach and Gotha are of interest to tourists. The Free State lies in the temperate climate zone and has a continental character due to the protection of the low mountain ranges. Therefore, it has dry summers and cold winters.
Nature - Discovering diverse natural areas
The Free State of Thuringia is the most densely forested German state. Its best-known region is probably the Thuringian Forest, which is a low mountain range, which is 150 kilometres long and 35 kilometres wide. East of it, you find the Thuringian Highland. Thuringia can be divided into seven types of natural areas: hilly Buntsandstein ("colourful sandstone") areas, basalt areas, low mountain ranges, hilly Muschelkalk ("shellbearing limestone") areas, pastures, lowlands and hilly farmland. Both its flora and fauna are rich. The forests are vegetated by English oaks, sycamore trees, silver firs, small-leaved linden, hornbeam and the Norway spruce. Another natural highlight in Thuringia is the Hainich National Park, which was founded around 1991 to protect the native beech forest. Since 2005, it has been equipped with the canopy walkway, on which you can walk above the treetops for 310 metres. While the Hainich National is now home to the wildcat again, the lynx has been crossing the Harz in the north of the country. You also find many bodies of water in Thuringia. The most important rivers are the White Elster, the Werra, the Saale and the Unstrut. There also is a number of lakes but most of them are very small. Well-known bodies of water are the Bleiloch Dam, the Ilmenauer Teichgebiet (a district consisting of six ponds) and the Plothener Teiche (another pond district).
Culture - Following the traces of Schiller, Goethe and Luther
Thuringia's culture was shaped by bright minds in music and literature. Some of them are Bach, Goethe and Schiller. In addition, you see a fantastic scientific and architectural heritage. Travellers can marvel at medieval castles, churches and monasteries or experience the region's history at first hand in one of the many museums, for example in the Wartburg, where Martin Luther took shelter and translated the Bible into German for the general public. The castle has been part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage since 1999. Other Cultural Heritage sites are the Bauhaus in Weimar as well as eleven sites of Classical Weimar. The latter comprises the Goethe House, Schiller's House, the Herder House (a church) and Old High School, the Stadtschloss (a palace), the Wittumspalais, the Duchess Anna Amalia Library, the Park on the Ilm with Goethe's Garden and the Roman House, the castles Belvedere, Ettersburg and Tiefurt as well as the Historic Cemetary. Other attractions are the Kyffhäuser Monument in honour of Kaiser Wilhelm I (Barbarossa), the Friedenstein Castle in Gotha, the University of Jena and Erfurt Cathedral. The cities of Erfurt and Weimar are generally the cultural centres of the Free State of Thuringia. They fascinate travellers with their fairytale architecture.
Experience - The state with the attribute "family-friendly"
Whatever you are looking for in your holidays, you will definitely find it in Thuringia. Travellers who want to relax can visit one of the many thermal and water parks. Visitors who are connoisseurs and want to treat themselves to fine food should taste the hearty Thuringian cuisine. Local delicacies are the Thüringer Rostbratwurst ("roasted sausage"), Thüringer Klöße (dumplings) and Zwiebelkuchen ("onion cake"). Entertainment is provided by discos, cinemas and theatres. The state caters for all tastes. Furthermore, Thuringia is very family-friendly. Experience unique family holidays and explore the fairytale and fun paths or visit one of the dwarf and miniature parks or a water park. At Christmas, you find some of the most beautiful German Christmas markets in the Free State, which are built against historical backdrops.
Activities - A hiking and skiing paradise
Thuringia is most of all known as a hiking paradise. One of the most popular hiking regions is without doubt the Thuringian Forest with the long-distance trail called "Rennsteig". The Thuringian Forest is equally frequently visited in winter, especially the town of Oberhof. Skiers are drawn to the region and the Oberhof bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track is another popular tourist destination in winter, when the winter sports fans run down the slope with a speed of up to 120 kilometres per hour. You can even go skiing in summer in the indoor ski hall. You find great cycling trails between the cities. The Saale is excellently suited for going canoe camping, kayaking and canoeing. Travellers who enjoy motorcycling can explore the region on selected trails. Golfers can pursue their hobby on one of the golf courses in the Thuringian Basin. Holidaymakers who are looking for a rush of adrenaline should go diving, climbing, quad biking, rafting or summer tubing. There is a variety of activities for every season.
Due to its central position in Germany, there are very good traffic connections in and to Thuringia, which make it possible to arrive by car or train. The best time for travelling the Free State depends on your plans. Thuringia offers an abundance of attractions and activities at any time of the year.
Deep, green forests which cover vast parts of the Thuringian mountain ranges, medieval castles and fascinating architecture promise a memorable holiday experience.