Welcome to Thuringia
Thuringia has a long and exciting history. One trip is not nearly enough for you to see all the sights and to learn about their past.
But this state with a population of approximately 2.4 million offers not only history. You can spend your vacations here to learn about the culture, enjoy nature and participate in many outdoor activities.
For example, you can follow the footsteps of Martin Luther and visit the Wartburg, where he translated the New Testament from the Greek language into German, or enjoy music by Johann Sebastian Bach played on period instruments.
Come follow us through Thuringia to get a little taste of all the culture and interesting things to see and do. Don't get upset when many elderly people in Thuringia do not speak English. They had to learn Russian before unification. Not being able to speak English does not mean that the person in front of you is uneducated. In a certain part of Thuringia a law existed as early as 1642 that children had to go to school. The educational system in the former GDR (German Democratic Republic) was excellent - everybody had a chance to go to university. Not everything was bad under communism, and likewise, not everything is good in other systems.
This is the first issue of our travel guide through the regions of Thuringia. It will give you an idea of what to expect.
If you find any errors, please tell us. We are also aware of the fact that this guide needs more work - we will update it with your help.
As in almost all of the "New States" of Germany, the infrastructure is highly developed in Thuringia. Much money has been spent in the last years. Now jobs are required and people must adapt to a more challenging system than under the former socialist regime. For many, this was a rude awakening from a dream. Life in West Germany was much harder than shown on TV, and to run one's own business, good concepts and lots of hard work are needed. Businesses unwilling to learn and to respond properly to customer demands will fail, and nobody should feel sorry about that.
Travellers should be aware that they may be confronted with this situation for some time to come; so, consider it as an adventure.
Travelling is slowed down because of the fact that many highways still pass through villages and towns. This does not apply to the "Autobahn," but you must consider this when you plan your trips: do not plan to drive too many kilometers/miles per day.
Don't look at this as a disadvantage, though. Driving through all the towns and villages gives you a chance to see much more of this state than if you were driving on the "Autobahn" at high speed. Stop anywhere, stretch your legs, have a cup of good coffee and fresh baked goods. Try a real pretzel (Brezel) and the unique Thuringian food!
Wherever you go in Thuringia, you will read or hear the name "Rennsteig." I am sure that most German people do not even know what it means.
The word comes from Old German and means a path or a road which allowed relatively fast travel. The "Rennsteig" in Thuringia is an old hiking trail with a length of 168 km (105 miles) which guides you through the beautiful Thuringian Forest on top of mountainous ridges.
As most people of Germany, the Thuringians also love to celebrate events - even the closing of a local school as shown here. Naturally, a newer one has been built which should provide better services.
Just stop and participate. Listen to live music and have some food and a drink
Much money has been invested into the new states after the unification of Germany. Especially in Thuringia many state-of-the-art spas and health centers have been built. Don't miss at least one visit between all the sight seeing and hiking. We became addicted and went several times.
Finally, a very important note: If you drive in Europe for the first time, please familiarize yourself with the different traffic rules. Not doing so can have serious consequences. Ask your automobile club before you leave. Be aware that most cars have manual gear shift for better fuel efficiency.
Germany spend lots of money to built up the infrastructure of the former GDR. Many west Germans became very jealous about that. Even when money was wasted in this process that was still much better than for a war which could not be won.
To improve and expand the net of the "Autobahns" was one of the very important achievements and it is still going on.
If you want to reach a city in Thuringia which is further away you may find an "Autobahn" which allows you to drive to this place faster. Some of these highways are even very picturesque.
When you travel between Suhl and Erfurt the "Autobahn" passes through the "Rennsteigtunnel". This longest tunnel in Germany has a length of about 8 km (5 miles) and is considered to be one of the safest tunnels. The tunnel cuts through mountains with the famous hiking pass called the "Rennsteig"..
On the German Autobahn there are still large sections without a speed limit for cars and motorcycles, but not for trucks and busses.
If you believe that the high gas prices would force people to drive at speeds which conserve fuel you will be surprised. Only a few cars travel at a moderate speed of 130 km/h (80 miles/hour). Many will pass you at this speed. Don't be surprised when you see cars with diesel engines going far beyond 200 km/hour (125 miles/hours). Modern diesel engines can not be compared with what is still used in the USA. The quality of diesel fuel is also better and contains less sulfur. The fuel efficiency can be compared with that of hybrids without the burden replacing a battery pack. Why not combine diesel engines with the hybrid technology?
Traffic flow is electronically controlled and depending on speed limits that show up automatically if needed. Please do what most German drivers do and obey them. Otherwise you may receive a picture of yourself with a not nice bill for speeding attached. Radar cameras are placed almost everywhere to enforce that - especially in tunnels.
If you are not used to these high speeds, please stay on the right or the middle lane. If possible use country roads - you will see much more. Obey the posted speed limits - automatic cameras control them and you do not want to pay a fine when you return your rental car.
Don't miss to visit the Wartburg in Eisenach.
Here are the ochre foundation blocks of one of the most remarkable nations of Dravidian history, one of the few kingdoms to expand Hinduism beyond Ind...
The Cauvery River is the beating heart of South Indian agriculture and, back in its day, connected the entire region via riverine routes. Today the Ca...
At fi rst glance Kumbakonam is another Indian junction town, but then you notice the temples that sprout out of this busy city like mushrooms, a remin...
Kadmat Beach Resort (%0484-4011134; from €185 per person; a) has 28 modern cottages, administered by Mint Valley and can be reached by overnight boa...
The village located on this 2.7-sq-km island has several mosques, which you can visit if dressed modestly. There’s no alcohol on the island. Agat...