German Sights

Travel to Thuringia

Thuringia is one of the central German states with important transport links between the north and south of the country as well as the routes through to some of the major cities of the eastern part of Germany.

The major business and population centre of Bavaria is located to the south, while Leipzig and Dresden are to the east in Saxony. The important financial hub Frankfurt am Main is to the west in the state of Hesse.

The state capital is Erfurt, the largest settlement situated centrally along the string of towns that run from west to east in northern part of Thuringia.

Erfurt also is home to Thuringia's only major airport and has been developed into a major link in Germany's high-speed rail network.

Thuringia in Germany

Flying to Thuringia

Thuringia's only major airport is located just outside the capital Erfurt, although its correct title is Erfurt-Weimar Airport. The airport is linked to the city by a regular tram service and is just off the A71 motorway which skirts Erfurt and links into the main motorway network around the state. The airport is, however, generally used by charter flights, although there have been shortlived attempts to use it as a destination by low-cost scheduled airlines.

Leipzig-Halle Airport and Dresden Airport in Saxony and Nurembug Airport in northern Bavaria are the next closest options, but again they do not offer the wide range of international scheduled flights that major airports do. It is worth checking to see if a service is available from a particular European country or another internal German airport.

Probably the widest range and most convenient transport links are offered by the major airport at Frankfurt am Main. This is the largest German airport in terms of passengers carried and is one of the four biggest in Europe. It has good Intercity rail links and motorway connections to Thuringia. (Note that the 'Frankfurt' destination used by certain low-cost scheduled carriers is actually the smaller former military airport Frankfurt-Hahn 100km to the west of Frankfurt.)

The other major airports which come into play are those in Hanover and Berlin. Hanover is around the same distance as Frankfurt and also offers good transport links, if a slightly smaller range of destinations. Berlin-Brandenberg airport offers a wide range of destinations and airlines.

Thuringia by Rail

Thuringia has benefited from its central position in Germany with massive investment since reunification in rail links in all directions. Erfurt is one of the main Intercity hubs in the country. Travel to Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich and Hanover (to take just a few major German cities) is speedy and convenient.

The German rail system has limited special offers on longer-distance high-speed services if booked at least a number of days in advance.

One of the best rail bargains in any state is the day pass for the (slower) regional services. In Thuringia's case this is called the Thüringen-Ticket and offers unlimited travel on local services from 09.00 to 03.00 the following day (or from midnight on weekends).

Importantly, in Thuringia's case, this regional travel ticket also includes all local services in neighbouring Saxony and Saxony Anhalt (and the equivalent tickets for those states also include Thuringia).

The single price is low (24 Euros at the time of writing) but the real bargain is that extra people can be added to the ticket up to a maximum of five for only 7 Euros a person. Thus five people can have unlimited travel for a day in Thuringia and two other neighbouring states for only 52 Euros. (Note that Intercity services are not included.)

Driving in Thuringia

Since German reunification, the motorway network in Thuringia has seen major investment and upgrades.

The following major national motorway routes run through Thuringia:

  • the A4 motorway is the most important in the state, running from Frankfurt am Main past Eisenach, Gotha, Erfurt, Weimar, Jena and Gera to Dresden
  • the A9 motorway runs from Berlin to Munich and has a junction with the A4 between Jena and Gera
  • the A38 motorway links Göttingen and Leipzig and crosses the northern part of Thuringia near Nordhausen
  • the A71 motorway runs from Erfurt (near the airport) down to Schweinfurt in Bavaria, passing Suhl and close to the towns of Meiningen and Schmalkalden
  • the A73 links Suhl to northern Bavaria and eventually Nuremberg and is the most direct route south from the central part of the state

Thuringia is not as mountainous as its southern neighbour Bavaria. However care should still be taken driving on local roads in winter. Snow chains and winter tyres can be obligatory.

The German automobile club is called ADAC and it offers information on traffic and road conditions on its website (German only):

Map of Thuringia


The Free State of Bavaria