The German state of Thuringia is situated right in the middle of the country and is 11th of 16 when ordered by area. The fact that it has the nickname 'The Green Heart of Germany' tells you a little bit about what you can expect when visiting this region. Thanks to the river Saale, a tributary of the Elbe, the area is lush and the flourishing forest has become a symbol of the state.
Thuringia may not be the most obvious choice when considering a holiday to Germany, but there are many great reasons to visit this beautiful part of the country. Here are a few highlights you can look forward to should you choose to spend a relaxing break here.
Rennsteig Hiking Trail
If you love to breathe in the fresh air of the great outdoors, Thuringia can offer an abundance of hiking trails that allow you enjoy the stunning natural beauty of this place. The most famous and popular of these has to be the Rennsteig. Stretching almost 170km from just outside Eisenach to the town of Blankenstein, the trail takes you through the Thuringian Forest, Franconian Forest and up into the Schiefergebirge Mountains.
As well as wooded areas, you'll encounter waterfalls, quaint towns and villages, and boundary stones along the way. The latter helped to define the limits of Thuringia as far back as the 16th century. A local legend states that a true hiking enthusiast will take a stone from the river Werra at the beginning of the Rennsteig and carry it all the way to the end before throwing it into the river Saale.
Historic Towns And Cities
Thuringia is a state that can offer stunning natural beauty alongside historical towns and cities to provide something for everyone. The capital, Erfurt, is characterised by reconstructed half-timbered dwellings, patrician houses and is one of the best preserved medieval cities within Germany. It is also home to the longest inhabited bridge in Europe; the picturesque Krämerbrücke.
Other interesting places include Weimar, Eisenach and Jena. Weimar is famous for its art and literary classics, mostly thanks to Johann Wolfgang Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, who have a joint monument situated in front of the theatre of which Goethe was director and which premiered many of Schiller's plays. Jena is known as the City of Sciences, whilst Eisenach is home to the dramatic, UNESCO World Heritage listed, Wartburg Fortress.
Oberhof is known for being a relaxing health resort and a great place to take part in winter sports. It, therefore, offers as much for those who want to take it easy as it does for holidaymakers who prefer to live life at a faster pace.
If you wish to do the former, there are thermal baths to soothe your body in and thousands of alpine plant species to be admired in the Rennsteig Garden. However, you can also get your pulse racing by participating in a number of winter pursuits all year round. Try your hand at cross-country skiing at the DKB Ski Centre, slide your way down 2km of track at the Oberhof Natural Toboggan Run, or learn the ropes of Snowbiken (snow biking). Speaking of ropes, if you would rather take part in something active away from the snow, the Woodjump high-rope park offers a 'Go-Ape' type experience.
Johan Sebastien Bach's Influence
After being born in Eisenach and working in Weimar, Arnstadt and Mühlhausen, it is no surprise that Johan Sebastien Bach has left a legacy throughout Thuringia. Everywhere you go in the state there are references to the Baroque musician and composer, as the people of the area have taken him into their hearts.
In the town of his birth, there is a monument and museum dedicated to the man himself. The Bach House features musical instruments and documents from around the time he was alive and a live performance can be heard demonstrating some of these original instruments. Furthermore, there is the Bach Museum and Bach Church in the town of Arnstadt, where he examined and tested an organ. Each spring, there are also a number of festivals dedicated to the man that Beethoven called 'The Original Father of Harmony'. The most well-known of these is the Thuringian Bach Weeks, during which a series of concerts are held all over Thuringia.
Now that you know a bit more about the place, we hope to have inspired you to visit Thuringia for yourself. Our knowledgeable team can create an itinerary specifically for you, which could feature some of the highlights above or anything else you wish to see.