Thuringia says “Ciao”
Otherwise known as the Tuscany of the East: this is the moniker given to the region in the north-east of Thuringia, i.e. the area around the towns of Bad Sulza, Camburg, Jena and Weimar. The region owes its illustrious name to its southern countenance. The landscape here is characterised by pale shell limestone slopes, gently rolling hills and vineyards. The grapes thrive in the mild, sunny and dry climate.
Tip: We recommend hiking along the SaaleHorizontale to be rewarded with vast open views over the Saale valley and our Tuscany. If you’d prefer to take it easy, just visit one of our wineries. How about Weingut Zahn near Großheringen or Thüringer Weingut Bad Sulza?
Altenburg is over 1000 years old and has a lovingly restored old town with Mediterranean vibes. Narrow, colourful town-houses crowd together on the cobbled Altenburger market – just like an Italian piazza. Romantic alleyways lead from the market to other quiet little market squares.
Strolling through the city, you will come across other Italian beauties such as the town hall on the market square. All the sculptures in and around the town hall are partly based on Italian models. The Red Spires stand out in the townscape. These are the Romanesque towers of a former monastery. Italian master builders were at work here and placed Italian brick on brick. The Art Tower, probably the most striking of the city's many towers, is built in the style of an Italian campanile (= bell tower). The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous campanile - apropos...
More crooked than Pisa
The leaning tower of Bad Frankenhausen
Tip for Altenburg: for a cultural diversion, we recommend the Altenburg Lindenau Museum. The museum is home to the world’s largest collection outside Italy itself of Italian panel painting of the 13th to 15th centuries. The museum is currently being renovated and is expected to open again in 2026. In the meantime, visitors are welcomed to a small exhibition in Kunstgasse 1.
Krämerbrücke in Erfurt
In addition to an excellently preserved mediaeval town centre, something very special awaits you in our state capital Erfurt: the Krämerbrücke. While it can hardly claim to be an insider tip any more, it’s still a must-see on any trip to Thuringia. The Krämerbrücke comprises 32 colourful half-timbered houses that nestle tightly together. In them, you’ll find unique handicrafts, culinary delicacies and the charming inhabitants of the bridge, who for the most part live directly above their shops.
You’ll only notice you’re walking over a bridge when you look to the side of our landmark. Grab yourself an ice-cream on the bridge – preferably at Eiskrämer Goldhelm – take a seat at the Gera and enjoy the view.
More on the Krämerbrücke: Strolling through Erfurt
Camposanto historical cemetery in Büttstadt
The Camposanto is the oldest preserved cemetery of its kind in Thuringia. The name comes from the Italian and means just that: cemetery. It represents in a most impressive way the burial culture of the Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and Classicism. A reverent walk through the grounds will take you past Italian-style colonnades, funerary columns and obelisks, the odd mossy gravestone, epitaphs with fine cracks – and every individual piece contributes to the special aura of this place.
Kanonenbahn cycling path in the Eichsfeld district
Now we’re getting sporty. The around 33km-long Kanonenbahn cycling trail leads through the idyllic hill and forest landscape of the Eichsfeld district. You’ll see many tunnels along the disused railway that will remind you architecturally of those in northern Italy, and viaducts built according to the Italian model.
Tip: If you’d like to glide down the old railway tracks themselves, you can also pedal along the Kanonenbahn on a draisine.
Hotel Resort Schloss Auerstedt
With pale natural stone, grapevines and tall cypresses, the extensive grounds of the resort remind at first glance of a holiday in Italy. The main building has been carefully and lovingly restored. Today, the old castle courtyard in Auerstedt is home to an expansive hotel complex with cosy rooms and holiday apartments managed by married hosts Kati and Frank Reinhardt.
Tip: Instead of the Mediterranean, you can swim a few laps in the salt water of the Toskana Therme baths in nearby Bad Sulza. The pools are filled with water from the town’s own salt spring. You’ll hear soothing sounds beneath the surface of the water – “liquid sound” is what it’s called. Various saunas, multi-sensory showers and relaxation areas complete the experience.
Title image: ©Florian Trykowski, Thüringer Tourismus GmbH