Thuringian Forest - The Green Hiking Paradise
The wooded low mountain range in the south of Thuringia has a special appeal with lovers of nature and hikers. However, the Thuringian Forest is not only suited for numerous activities but also offers cultural sights such as Wartburg Castle.
Geography - A nature park with great tourist charm
The Thuringian Forest is a low mountain range in the south of Thuringia, which is about 150 kilometres long and 35 kilometres wide. Its mountains reach a height of up to 983 metres and the highest one is the Großer Beerberg. The Thuringian Forest can be divided into the following geographical areas: Westlicher Thüringer Wald (Western Thuringian Forest), Mittlerer Thüringer Wald (Central Thuringian Forest), Schiefergebirge (Thuringian Highland), Schwarzatal (Schwarza Valley) and the region of Inselberg. There are several towns which are of interest to tourists. The most beautiful ones are Eisenach, Friedrichroda, Ilmenau, Meinigen, Oberhof, Schmalkalden and Suhl. The climate is a typical low mountain range climate with mild summers and snowy winters. The best travel time is June in summer or January in winter.
Nature - Thuringia's "green lung"
The landscape of the Thuringian Forest has the character of a densely forested low mountain range. The Rennsteig, one of the best-known and most popular hiking trails, is the ridgeline of this range, most of which is protected as part of a Nature Park. The Thuringian Forest is crossed by the Saale, which is one of the region's most beautiful river valleys, and by the Schwarzatal (another valley). Peaks like the Großer Inselberg, Großer Beerberg, Schneekopf and the Großer Finsterberg offer a wonderful view of the breathtaking region. In addition, there are many interesting caves and tourist mines which are waiting to be explored. Examples are the Marienglashöhle (a cave), the Altensteiner Höhle (another cave), the Felsengrotte Garküche (a grotto) and the Schaubergwerk Morassina (a tourist mine). Lovers of nature definitely get their money's worth here.
Experience - Natural and cultural richness
While you hear the Thuringian dialect north of the Rennsteig, people speak Franconian south of the Rennsteig. The cuisine is strongly influenced by Bavaria and Franconia as well. Typical dishes are Thüringer Klöße mit Roulade (potatoe dumplings with beef rolls) and the Thüringer Bratwurst (fried sausage). Some towns still have small family breweries which produce black beer or Pilsner, which people have with their hearty meals. Travellers who enjoy going out and partying should visit the cities, e.g. Eisenach, because it is rather quiet in the small tourist towns. Popular sights in the Thuringian Forest are scenic routes like the Spielzeugstraße ("toy route"), Porzellanstraße ("porcelain route") and Klassikstraße ("classic route") as well as the famous Wartburg in Eisenach. The city is very attractive and popular with tourists as are Schmalkalden, Ilmenau and Meinigen. Other attractions are museums like the Goethedenkmal (Goethe monument) in Ilmenau, the Fahrzeugmuseum (automotive museum) and the Waffenmuseum (arms museum) in Suhl and the Gartenzwergmuseum (garden gnome museum) in Gräfenroda. So, culture enthusiasts do not go short in this region either.
Activities - Endless hiking trails and ski tracks
Most holidaymakers come to the Thurigian Forest to go hiking. Therefore, the many towns along the hiking trails have adjusted to this kind of tourism. The most famous attraction is the Rennsteig, which is 168 kilometres long. The hiking trails are well developed and signposted but sturdy shoes are still extremely important. Cyclists love this region too because they can explore it on the Rennsteig Cycle Trail. Whether you want to go on a relaxed cycling tour or a long and challenging mountain bike tour, the region caters for all tastes. Travellers who are looking for tranquillity and relaxation should visit the swimming pools and thermal baths in Oberhof and Tabarz. When the first snow falls, the Thuringian Forest transforms into a winter sports paradise. There are numerous ski tracks for cross-country skiing, hills for tobogganing and ski slopes with ski lifts for downhill skiing. A highlight is a ride on the Oberweißbacher Berg- und Schwarzatalbahn, during which you can enjoy the region's landscape to the fullest.
You can reach the Thuringian forest by train arriving at the station in Erfurt, Eisenach, Gotha, Meinigen or Saalfeld. The transport connections to the smaller tourist towns are good. Travellers who want to travel in their own car reach the low mountain range on the Autobahn A71, A4 and A73 or the Bundesstraße B19, B4, B247 and B281. Erfurt even has a small airport.
Thick forests, fascinating caves and wonderful hilly landscapes take travellers' hearts by storm. The landscape of the Thuringian Forest, Thuringia's green lung, is a real paradise for hikers, skiers and lovers of nature. Hiking trails like the famous Rennsteig or cultural attractions such as the Wartburg promise a memorable holiday.