Germany off the beaten track

Erfurt has one of Germany's best preserved medieval Old Towns. © HHoG/ Takano

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Practical information

Why go?

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Erfurt has been the cultural, spiritual and political center of Thuringia for centuries. Many richly decorated traditional Renaissance residences as well as other fascinating historical buildings show visitors that Erfurt flourished to a center of culture and prosperity in those days.

It was not far from the "Erphesfurt" - a ford through the river Erphe - as it was called in the Middle Ages, that the missionary bishop Boniface founded a bishopric in 742.
This is the first time that the name "Erfurt" appeared on record. Erfurt, the 1,270 year old state capital of Thuringia, is characterized by its medieval Old Town, one of the best-preserved in Germany. The cityscape is dominated by the Dom St. Marien (St Mary's Cathedral), Severikirche (St Severus Church) and the Krämerbrücke (Merchants' Bridge). This bridge is  famous for its built-on houses in which people still reside today and is the only one of its kind Europe. But Erfurt is not just an architectural pearl. As the center of Thuringia's economic, intellectual, cultural and political life, the city has always attracted great personalities, especially those who significantly influenced the spirit of their age: Martin Luther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller, Johann Sebastian Bach and Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the 17th century, commercial gardening pathed the way for Erfurt's blossoming economy and renewed prosperity. Until this day, Erfurt as the Blumenstadt (City of Flowers) is known not only in Germany but also throughout Europe.

When to go?

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Erfurt is a popular destination for city breaks. It has a rich cultural heritage but is also vibrant and cosmopolitan. A university city with plenty to offer for art-lovers, it also has a great club scene and a lively pub quarter. Choose from the wide range of cultural events such as the Thuringian Bach Festival, the Merchants' Bridge Festival, the Cathedral Steps Festival, the Festival of Church Music or the Ecumenical St. Martin's Festival.

Germany is a popular travel destination all year-round, with a typical four-season climate. Winter temperatures vary from west to east, with around freezing temperatures in the west and well below freezing in the east of Germany. Summer temperatures are typically between 20°C (68°F) and 30°C (86°F). In terms of tourist numbers, May through to September are the most popular months to visit Germany. However, the winter holidays with their enchanting Christmas Markets are also a major highlight. Those who enjoy the benefits of uncrowded attractions will favor January through to April.

The weather in Erfurt is continental in the sense that it varies from year to year, meaning a chilly spring and rainy summer one year can be followed by a spectacularly warm and sunny season the next year.

Long periods of fine weather can be followed by unsettled conditions.  To be on the safe side, make sure you bring a sweater and wet weather clothing with you.

What to eat?

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Erfurt is renowned not only for its historical and cultural scenes, but also for its gastronomy.

It is always a delight to taste the famous Thüringer Klöße (Thuringian dumplings), the well-known Thüringer Rostbratwurst (Thuringian roasted sausage) and the savory local beer, which, according to a long tradition, is offered to customers in the beer gardens and pubs of the town.

The Martinshörnchen is a special kind of pastry which is eaten on St. Martin's day but you will find this specialty throughout the year in most of the master bakeries.

The Schittchen is a special version of delicious Christmas Stollen cake that can be traced back to the 14th century.

Erfurt Gallery



Map of Germany


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That´s Germany

In the city center are various possibilities to enjoy a traditional Thurinigan Bratwurst which considered being the traditional dish of the region. It’s a must to have a Bratwurst and a local beer while staying in Erfurt.

VIP: Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach had a close relation to Erfurt because most of his relatives lived there.
His parents even got married in the capital of Thuringia. Later his sons lived in Erfurt.