The Free State of Thuringia is a federal state of Germany, bound by Bavaria (specifically Franconia) to the south, Hesse to the west, Lower Saxony to the northwest, Saxony-Anhalt to the north, and Saxony to the east. It is located in the central part of the country; most of it is within the watershed of the Saale, a left tributary of the Elbe. Erfurt is its capital. Thuringia has an area of 16,171 square kilometres (6,244 square miles) and 2.29 million inhabitants, therefore making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of the country’s 16 states. Although not well-known among foreign travellers, it has a good reputation among local vacationers. The region is known in Germany for nature and winter sports, being home to the Rennsteig, Germany's most famous hiking trail, and the winter resort of Oberhof. It is mountainous and forested, and is home to a quartet of stunningly beautiful ancient cities and the Wartburg Castle, known as the most important castle in Germany.
What to see & do
The region is comprised of seven cities. You can plan your itinerary depending on the places you want to visit. Erfurt, the capital, is home to the Dom (Cathedral) and Severi Kirche (Church), which both overlook the Domplatz (main market square); the Krämerbrücke; Fischmarkt; Augustinerkloster, the monastery where Martin Luther lived; Petersberg Citadel, a historical defence system; and Old Synagogue, the oldest surviving European Synagogue that now houses a great collection of 14th-century Jewish jewellery. There’s also Jena, where the biggest university in Thuringia is located. It is also home to Goethe and Schiller. Visit the Wartburg Castle in the city of Eisenach; the former capital, Saalfeld; Rudolstadt, where the largest folk music festival in Germany is held; and Mühlhausen, the historic home of Johann Sebastian Bach, John A. Roebling (builder of the Brooklyn Bridge), and of the peasants' leader, Thomas Muentzer.
How to get around Thuringia
Thuringia is a vital hub of transit traffic, being the most central land in Germany. For most parts, public transport in the region is good, fast, and reliable. For day trips, it is recommended to purchase the Thüringen-Ticket, which covers all regional trains in Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt, and Saxony plus public transport in Erfurt, Gera, Weimar, Jena, also Halle and Leipzig (excluding Dresden). The ticket is valid from 9:00 a.m. on working days (all day on weekends) until 3:00 a.m. the following morning. Although Thuringia has rivers, they are too small to be navigable, thus rendering the region to be unconnected to waterways.
How to get there
One can get in to the region via air. One of the airports in Thuringia is Erfurt–Weimar Airport, located at the state’s capital, Erfurt. It is located five kilometres (3.1 miles) west of Erfurt city centre. It is mainly used for seasonal charter flights to European leisure destinations, currently served by seven airlines: Air VIA, Bulgarian Air Charter, Croatia Airlines, Germania, Nouvelair, SunExpress, and Tailwind Airlines. The destinations it serves include Burgas, Varna, Pula, Split, Enfidha, Antalya, Fuerteventura, Funchal, Gran Canaria, Hurghada, Lanzarote, London-Gatwick, Palma de Mallorca, Tenerife-South, Heraklion, Hévíz–Balaton, Paphos, and Rhodes. Important airports that offer scheduled flights are Frankfurt Airport, Berlin Brandenburg Airport, and Munich Airport, all located in adjacent states.