If you want to star in your own fairytale then you need to head to Erfurt, the capital city of the Thuringia region. Medieval bridges, captivating cathedrals and colourful squares merge to create one of the cutest hidden gems in Europe I’ve ever visited.
But the region of Thuringia, an area I’ll admit I had never heard of until earlier this year, deserves more of your time than just a flying city visit to Erfurt. Combining visits to nearby Weimar and Gotha make for the perfect week vacation, especially for those who appreciate classical culture and the arts as this region, part of the cultural heart of Germany, is exploding with both.
My journey didn’t start in Erfurt, but being the place that captured my heart the most during my trip to Germany, it’s the base I think you should use as a temporary home to explore the region
Houses in Erfurt Thuringia
The city of Erfurt is the largest in the region, but with a population just north of 200,000 it certainly doesn’t feel hectic or crowded like many city breaks. It may not have the edge of Berlin or the status of Frankfurt but it oozes charm and sophistication and the old-town has enough to keep you entertained for days.
Dating back to around 700 AD, the city slowly built up as an important trading destination in the Middle Ages and thanks to the old town surviving WWII you can still experience it very much as it once was. Home to Germany’s oldest university, the city has a young vibe and in the summer months when I visited beer-gardens were overflowing, and every street felt alive.
Sunrise at the Merchants’ Bridge
The city has a real mix of architecture to discover, and with Central Europe’s oldest surviving synagogue, which now plays home to the Erfurt Treasure and historical Hebrew manuscripts, it’s chasing for UNESCO World Heritage status due to its Jewish Heritage.
But while this is a city with countless attractions easily explored on foot, it’s also a city you can happily get lost in; slowly kicking about from beer gardens to bratwurst venues on the cobbled streets while taking way too many photos of the colourful, wooden beamed facades.