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Europe > Central Europe > Germany > Thuringia > Erfurt

Erfurt

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Erfurt is the capital of the German state of Thuringia (Thüringen). It is also its largest city and a major transportation hub.

Understand[edit]

With over 215,000 inhabitants today, Erfurt was an important trading centre during the Middle Ages. It has many beautiful old buildings and parks. It lay on a medieval trading and pilgrams road network, the Via Regia, and it was a member of the Hanseatic League. Today the city, which is at the centre of Germany and Europe, is still an important logistics and transport hub, with high-speed ICE trains, which run north to south and east to west through Germany, interchanging at the city's train station.

Krämerbrücke, one of the few remaining bridges in the world that have inhabited buildings.

Get in[edit]

View over Erfurt with Cathedral and Serverichurch

By car[edit]

Erfurt lies on the intersection of two motorways (Autobahnen): A4 and A71.
Distances on the motorways to some cities: Berlin 300 km, Leipzig 150 km, Dresden 215 km, Kassel 150 - 200 km depending on route, Frankfurt 260 km, Munich (München) 400 km, Hanover 220 km

By train[edit]

1 Erfurt Hauptbahnhof (main train station). The station is one of the central hubs of Germany's high-speed rail system. Trains travelling at up to 300 km/h link Erfurt directly with Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin, Frankfurt and Munich. Regional trains are timed to connect with the long distance lines and some are explicitly set up to connect some smaller towns with the Erfurt hub. Erfurt Hauptbahnhof on Wikipedia Erfurt Central Station (Q476107) on Wikidata

There are hourly ICE connections with Leipzig (45 minutes), Nuremberg (1:20 hrs), Berlin (1:45–2 hrs), Frankfurt (2:10 hrs), Munich (2.5 hrs), Stuttgart (3:40 hrs) and Hamburg (under 4 hrs), once in two hours with Dresden (2 hrs).

By plane[edit]

2 Erfurt-Weimar airport (ERF IATA). is located about 4 miles west of the city center. As of August 2016 operations are modest and mainly cater to people from Thuringia flying to Mediterranean tourist destinations, in part because fast train connections make domestic flights from ERF rather pointless. Tram line number 4 offers a convenient connection to the city center and the main station in about 25 minutes (at a 20-minute interval). Erfurt–Weimar Airport on Wikipedia Erfurt-Weimar Airport (Q703794) on Wikidata

The most useful alternative is Germany's most frequented airport at Frankfurt (FRA IATA), easily reachable by train within 2.5 to three hours. Other nearby airports are at Leipzig/Halle (LEJ; just over an hour by train), Nuremberg (1:45 hrs) and Berlin (TXL or SXF; 2.5 hrs). Munich Airport—Germany's second major airport—is about 3.5 hours from Erfurt by train.

Get around[edit]

The city centre is quite compact so walking is often the best way to explore the city. Regular tram services cover much of the city; they are supplemented by buses. On most sections trams have service intervals of at least every 10 minutes during daytime, becoming less frequent in the evenings. Night buses are available throughout the night after midnight; these run once or twice every hour and meet at the very heart of the city centre (Anger) or depart from the main station (within walking distance from Anger).
Info about public transport (in German language)

  • 1 Tourist Information (Touristeninformation), Benediktsplatz 1, +49 361 66400. Mo-Sa 10:00-18:00, Su,PH 10:00-15:00. They also offer guided city tours.
Roland-statue in front of the Haus Zum Roten Ochesen (House of the Red Ox)

See[edit]

House in the street Anger Nr. 23: Papenbreerhaus

Much of Erfurt's charm is found in its narrow streets, many of which are pedestrianized, with their beautiful old houses, green areas and little bridges across the Gera river and the Stadtpark and the Nordpark on different sides of the city center.

In the tourist office you can buy a small guidebook in one of several languages that leads you through the city along the main sights.

  • 1 Dom (Cathedral), Domstufen 1. Erfurt Cathedral on Wikipedia Erfurt Cathedral (Q701567) on Wikidata
  • 2 Severikirche (Church), Domplatz. One of the most important gothic buildings in Germany. de:Severikirche (Erfurt) on Wikipedia Severikirche (Erfurt) (Q1786237) on Wikidata
  • 3 Krämerbrücke ("Merchants' bridge"). One the world's only remaining inhabited bridges, and it is the oldest, built in 1325. Over 80 people still live in the half-timbered houses on the bridge, and there are shops at street level. It is in much the same use now as it was over 500 years ago. It is Erfurt's most renowned tourist attraction. Krämerbrücke on Wikipedia Krämerbrücke (Q896890) on Wikidata
  • 4 Fischmarkt. with its Burgerhouses and town hall. (Q119584) on Wikidata
  • 5 Augustinerkloster (St. Augustine's Monastery), Augustinerstraße 10. A former medieval monastery and church complex, established 1277, most famous as the home of Martin Luther (1483-1546), the father of the Reformation. St. Augustine's Monastery (Erfurt) on Wikipedia St. Augustine's Monastery (Erfurt) (Q420158) on Wikidata
  • 6 Anger. Main square of the city. Full of stores with the old Post Office building. de:Anger (Erfurt) on Wikipedia (Q537840) on Wikidata
  • 7 Petersberg Citadel (Zitadelle Petersberg). One of the largest and best preserved town fortresses in Europe. Provides a great lookout over the city Petersberg Citadel on Wikipedia Petersberg Citadel (Q206200) on Wikidata
  • 8 Margaretha Reichardt Haus (Margaretha Reichardt Museum), Am Kirchberg 32, +49 361 7968726, e-mail: . Guided tours by appointment. The home and weaving workshop of Margaretha Reichardt (1907 - 1984), a Bauhaus trained textile designer, who ran her own private weaving business in communist East Germany. She worked with Marcel Breuer, designing cloth for steel tubular chairs. Working wooden looms, including two that came from the Bauhaus weaving workshop can be seen. Margaretha Reichardt on Wikipedia
  • 9 Topf & Söhne Holocaust Memorial site (Topf and Sons), Sorbenweg 7. Tue–Sun, 10 am–6 pm. A holocaust memorial and museum on the site of the Topf & Söhne factory, where cematoria ovens for Auschwitz, Buchenwald and other Nazi concentration camps where made. It is the only museum which examines the complicity of a private firm in the holocaust. The museum is housed in company's old administration building. Free of charge. Topf and Sons on Wikipedia

Jewish heritage[edit]

An early Jewish community was driven out of the city in 1349 in a pogrom caused by the belief that it was the cause of a Black Death plague. However, by 1354, it restablished itself until Erfurt city council again expelled the Jews in 1453/4. During the 19th century, the Jewish community grew and by 1932 it had 1290 members. Few survived the Nazi period and most that did, fled Germany. There was a small Jewish community in Erfurt during the GDR period and it is growing again due to partly to immigration from former East bloc countries. During the 1349 pogrom, a wealthy Jew hid a hoad of jewellery and gold coins in the cellar of a building in the Jewish quarter, which was only rediscovered in 1998. Known as the "Erfurt treasue", it is now housed the Old Synagogue museum.

  • 10 Old Synagogue, Waagegasse 8. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. One of the oldest synagogue buildings in Europe, dating from 1094, it is now a museum that has an impressive collection of 14th century Jewish jewellery

    After the 1349 pogrom the synagogue was converted into a warehouse and later had other uses. It was only in the 1980s the interest in the building was renewed. After German reunification, Erfurt city council bought the building and conserved it. adult: 8€ reduced: 5€. Old Synagogue (Erfurt) on Wikipedia Old Synagogue (Erfurt) (Q436286) on Wikidata

  • 11 New Synagogue. This synagogue sits on the site of an earlier 1884 synagogue which was destroyed in the nationwide Nazi Kristalnacht riots on 9 November 1938. After World War II the city council gave the land back to Jewish community and present building was built in 1952. de:Neue Synagoge (Erfurt) on Wikipedia Neue Synagoge (Erfurt) (Q763159) on Wikidata
  • 12 Medieval Mikveh (ritual bath). Guided tours: Nov – March: Th 15:00 April – October: Th 16:00 & Sa 14:00. A Mikveh is a ritual bath fed by "living" water (in this case the Gera river). The Mikveh was in used in the period as the Old Synagogue and is mentioned in tax records as early as the 13th century. The Mikveh was damaged during the 1349 pogrom but used again after 1354. Following the 1453 expulsion of the Jewish community, the mikveh fell into disuse and was converted into a cellar which was subsequently forgotten about. It was rediscovered in 2007 during an archeological dig, and opened for public viewing in 2011. It can been seen through a viewing window near the Krämerbrücke and entered on guided tours. Free. Medieval Mikveh (Q20479539) on Wikidata

Do[edit]

  • 1 Egapark. A huge and beautiful botanical garden and accessible by the Straßenbahn. Garden lovers can find many things to do and see. Check out for any exhibitions or programmes. de:egapark on Wikipedia Egapark (Q1296736) on Wikidata
  • 2 Erfurt Theater. Watch an opera or play Theater Erfurt on Wikipedia Theater Erfurt (Q2415749) on Wikidata
  • 3 Stadtpark (Near the main station). Take a walk around the town park and see the green side of the city de:Stadtpark (Erfurt) on Wikipedia (Q25089818) on Wikidata
  • 4 City tour, Benediktsplatz 1. Join a historical city tour organised by the Tourist Information to have better and entertaining insight into the long lasting history of the town.
  • 5 Relax. Right at the Wenigemarkt or behind the Krämerbrücke beside the river you can have a beautiful look at the old houses standing on the 'bridge'.
Anger 1, Kaufhaus Römischer Kaiser

Buy[edit]

Shops on the Krämerbrücke offer unique crafts and souvenirs. Around the city centre, along the street Anger, Bahnhofstraße and all the way to the Fischmarkt and Domplatz along Schlösserstraße and Marktstraße you can find almost every apparel shop a European heart desires, from H&M over Mango to Zara, Esprit, C&A and many, many more!

There are also a few shopping malls and other shopping opportunities spread over the whole city:

  • 1 Anger 1, Anger 1 (directly in the city center Anger). Mon-Sat 10am-8pm. Shopping mall directly in the city centre. Offers the opportunity to shop for apparel, electronics, groceries and more on four floors. de:Anger 1 on Wikipedia Anger 1 (Q537873) on Wikidata
  • 2 Thüringen-Park, Nordhäuser Straße 73 t (tram 1 and 3 direction Europaplatz). Mon-Sat 10am-8pm. Shopping centre approx. 20 min outside the city centre. Shop for apparel, groceries, electronics and more. Post office, drug store and "Sparkasse" (a German bank)also inside. Special events happen around holidays or around special themes (e.g. fashion, sport etc.)
  • 3 TEC (Thüringer Einkaufszentrum), Hermsdorfer Str. 4 (Bus 51, 59 or 155 from main station, direction Niedernissa). Shopping mall 10 minutes outside the city centre. Shop here for groceries or electronics. Only a few apparel shops are here. The several shops open at different times, have a look at the website for details!

Be aware: most shops (besides most grocery stores) are only open until 8pm. Sundays all shops and stores are closed! (Exemption: a few Sundays each year are open for sale)

Christmas Market in Erfurt

Eat[edit]

The Thüringer Bratwurst (famous grilled sausage) comes from Erfurt, and the city has numerous stalls selling this world-famous delicacy. Don't miss out to try one or more to sample on the differences.

  • 1 San Remo, Marktstraße 21. Supposedly an excellent ice cream shop.
  • 2 [dead link] FAM (Feines am Markt), Am Fischmarkt 19 (left side of the town hall, Fischmarkt). Closed on Mondays.. Nice location with the option to sit outside and watch passing by people, good breakfast and food in general.
  • 3 Christoffel, Michaelisstraße 41, +49 361 26 26 943, e-mail: . 11:00-22:00. Old school German cuisine in medieval setting.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 Übersee, Kürschnergasse 8 (near Wenigemarkt). Nice cafe and bar with the opportunity to sit outside and have a nice look at the Gera river. Every day they offer a different special.
  • 2 Hemmingway, Michaelisstraße 45.

Dance[edit]

Erfurt has numerous small bars in the city center. When looking for a nice bar to have a drink or two don't miss taking a look at the Michaelisstraße near Fischmarkt where you can find numerous bars that offer a variety of drinks and snacks. Of course most of the cafes and restaurants mentioned in the "eat and drink" section also offer alcoholic beverages and are open until late.

If you intend to go clubbing or dancing, Erfurt can also offer some clubs, most of them are open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

  • 3 Musikpark, Willi-Brandt-Platz 1 (opposite of the main station). Black, House and Rock music. Every Thursday: Ladies World with free entrance until midnight and all you can drink for €6. Every Friday: Night of the Stars with special drinks. Saturdays: varying themes.
  • 4 Engelsburg (E-Burg Studentenzentrum), Allerheiligenstraße 20/21 (between Fischmarkt and Domplatz). Varying program and events, regular: Fightclub (different music styles). More alternative and rock music.
  • 5 Presseklub, Dalbergsweg 1 (near the city centre). Cocktail lounges, salsa parties and 70s/80s/pop events on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • 6 Cosmopolar - unique music lounge, Anger 66 (right at the Anger (central square), in the big Old Post building). pop, electronic, house, black. Varying events on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Sleep[edit]

Willy Brandt ans Fenster

For budget travelers Erfurt offers a few hostels and low budget hotels or pensions.

  • 4 Radisson Blu Hotel Erfurt, Juri-Gagarin-Ring 127, +49 361 55 10 0, e-mail: . €69.
  • 5 Erfurter Hof. This hotel was the site of an important event in GDR-FRG relations, when Willy Brandt stayed here during a 1970 visit. The visit was the first meeting of East and West German heads of government, but besides the political deliberations (which provided few concrete results) there was a memorable scene when Erfurters broke through police and Stasi barricades demanding to see Willy Brandt with the words "Willy Brandt ans Fenster" until he ultimately did show himself in the window. Brandt reminisced about this moment as one of the most emotional in his life in his memoirs two decades later. A sign on the roof of the hotel reads "Willy Brandt ans Fenster" in commemoration of the event. de:Erfurter Hof on Wikipedia (Q1350214) on Wikidata

Go next[edit]

  • By train, Weimar is only a quarter of an hour away.
  • Jena is just half an hour by train.
  • Leipzig is 45 minutes by high-speed train.
  • Wander around on near-by Thuringian Forest, on which Thuringia called the "green heart of Germany".
  • Halle about 35 minutes away and has some great things to see. The largest city in Saxony-Anhalt is the birthplace of Handel and has a few castles.
Routes through Erfurt
NurembergBamberg/Erlangen  Munich ICE-Logo.svg Hamburg  Halle/LeipzigBerlin
FrankfurtEisenach  Munich ICE-Logo.svg Berlin  Leipzig
FrankfurtGotha  Frankfurt ICE-Logo.svg Dresden  Leipzig


This city travel guide to Erfurt is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.