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Erfurt: Awake your curiosity

Merchants' Bridge, cathedral, Old Synagogue - Erfurt, Thuringia's capital city, has a wealth of cultural treasures. And a fantastic student flair.

A good mix for everyone who enjoys exploring and browsing around cities.

Tourists and locals dawdle through the lanes of the Old Quarter, where history and old stories whisper to you at every turn. Proud historic town houses create one of Europe's most beautiful old quarters, with at its centre the neo-Gothic town hall dating from the 1870s on Fish Market, St Severi's Church with its pointed towers and the mighty cathedral, first mentioned in records in 1117. On the latter's almost endless outside steps, young and old like to chill out in the evening sun, before ending the day in one of the cool pubs and bars (tip: Oma Lilo or Café Hilgenfeld), in the Wein-Destille on neighbouring Petersberg Hill or in one of the relaxed restaurants (tip: Mathilda or Ballenberger), where a fresh and modern cuisine is served in a friendly atmosphere.

Erfurt pulsates with life - come and join in. Driven by your curiosity...

With its 32 narrow houses, the Merchants' Bridge is the ideal place to linger awhile. Unusual boutiques, craft shops and a delicatessen are just waiting to be discovered.

Foto: Marco Fischer, TTG

On Fish Market – formerly the centre of the city –, the most striking building is the neo-Gothic City Hall. In its direct vicinity, there are more historic buildings with impressive facades.

Foto: Martin Kirchner

The ensemble of cathedral and St Severi Church forms an impressive setting for the Cathedral Steps Theatre Festival held every summer. In the square in front of them, events, such as markets, fairs or concerts, are staged all the year round.

Foto: Gregor Lengler, TTG

Sauntering around Erfurt

Thuringia's capital is, of course, famous for the Merchants' Bridge, its cathedral and other historic highlights. But if you saunter around the city, you will find plenty more to see - quiet corners, lots of greenery and quaint shops run by friendly people.

When you walk through the archway of the Ägidien Church on Wenigemarkt, the sound level drops abruptly and the noise of everyday life is suddenly forgotten. Climb to the top of the tower and admire Erfurt in all its glory. A fine network of lanes and alleyways runs through the city's sea of houses, which sometimes looks like nothing more than just a small village.

Directly beneath you is the Merchant's Bridge where small shops beckon. You can sit with a coffee and your feet on the cobbles and watch the world go by.

Merchants' Bridge Stories

The Merchants' Bridge owes its name to the merchants who sold their wares to travellers along the Via Regia, the trade route running from east to west. At that time, their wares were small items of value, such as spices, precious metals and dyes. Today, the Bridge is a jewel without any fashion chain stores or dull souvenir shops and is proud of its exceptional business schemes, arts and crafts and creative ideas.

Street melody of the Long Bridge

Walking on a few hundred metres further, you will find yourself on another bridge, called the Long Bridge because it runs over two arms of the River Gera, namely the Bergstrom and the Walkstrom.

Here there is a fascinating mix of a variety of worlds. On the Long Bridge, you will find special independent shops too, which are not part of a chain - what a blessing! It is one of those typical Erfurt streets where you plan to just take a quick look and end up spending hours or all day there and sometimes the next one too.

During the day, you may like to stroll around with a plan, using the Thuringia.MyCulture app. You can saunter around the city playfully and interactively, scan tour highlights and gain fascinating insights with the help of Augmented Reality. The app provides a total of four discovery tours, of which two run through Erfurt. And with the two other tours, you can follow in the footsteps of the Bauhaus artists in Weimar and the whole of Thuringia.

You can also enjoy music and culture here throughout the year. The numerous festivals, concerts, performances and exhibitions will delight every heart and soul. The choice is huge - including venues outside Erfurt.

Foto: Toma Babovic, TTG

Cathedral Steps Theatre Festival | 10 July - 2 August 2020

The Cathedral Steps Theatre Festival is the highlight of the summer in Erfurt. Against the background of the ensemble of St Mary's Cathedral and St Severi Church, you can enjoy open-air theatre which goes to your heart. Since 1994, the Erfurt Theatre has brought the 70 cathedral steps to life and every year audiences are enchanted by a spectacular performance.

This year, Guiseppe Verdi's Nabucco promises an unforgettable evening in the cathedral square.

Foto: Lutz Edelhoff, TTG

Merchants' Bridge Festival | 19 - 21 June 2020

Every June, the Merchants' Bridge in Erfurt stages the largest old town festival in Thuringia. It is the longest bridge north of the Alps which has buildings on both sides. All around the Bridge and throughout the medieval centre of the city, street performers, dealers and artists provide diversion and entertainment. The Medieval Market, above all, delights with its own very special flair.

Come to the Merchants' Bridge Festival and enjoy culinary treats and music!

Foto: Martin Kirchner, TTG

Fête de la Musique | 21.06.2020

Music is celebrated in Erfurt to mark the beginning of summer - all over the city. You will find musicians everywhere, in the wide shopping streets and in the narrow lanes. And it is these many accidental encounters which make the Fête de la Musique so very attractive.

Fine music will be played in Weimar, Jena, Mühlhausen and Gera too – and Apolda joined in for the first time in 2019. Come and dance through Thuringia's city centres!

Foto: Udo Bernhart, cmr

KulturArena in Jena | July - August 2020

The next on the list is a musical event - this time in Jena, the City of Science. The festival – the KulturArena – includes theatre and cinema as well as concerts. Stars and newcomers, performers and actors provide special cultural encounters. And the open-air summer mood can be enjoyed on the theatre forecourt with its stage.

Foto: Christoph Worsch, JenaKultur

GRASGRÜN in Meiningen | July - August 2020

The royal town of Meiningen also stages a large-scale open air festival in the summer months. Artists from very different countries of the world perform at GRASGRÜN. Lush summer meadows, Elisabethenburg Palace as the venue for inspiring concerts and cocktails outside - this is summer culture at its finest.

Foto: Erhard Driesel, Stadt Meiningen

Weimar Summer | June to September 2020

Long evenings and an endless summer of culture - in the city of Classicism, you can enjoy one highlight after another at the Weimar Summer. Festivals, exhibitions, summer theatre and regular events, such as the Open Air Concert Night in Weimarhallenpark, are just waiting to delight you.

Foto: Andreas Mey, weimar GmbH

Recharging your batteries

If you want a break after exploring the city and enjoying the events on offer, take a trip into a green paradise! Come and visit the egapark – a principal location of the Federal Garden Show in 2021. Here you can stroll along a flower bed which is 6,000 m² in length, savour the peace and quiet in the Japanese Rock and Water Garden or relax on one of the many lawns. You would like to see more flowers and greenery? You will find all the parks and gardens in Erfurt here.

And the Thuringians will not, of course, let you go home on an empty stomach. You will encounter the Thuringian classic, the bratwurst, at every turn. Thuringians eat it with mustard only, an unwritten law. You will soon learn the basics of bratwurst enjoyment.
In Thuringia, you can savour every type of dish, from traditional Thuringian cuisine to modern variations. Enjoy a meal at one of our TOP venues, where hospitality and regionality are of the greatest importance.