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Thueringen

The Thuringian Forest, the green heart of Germany much lauded by poets and philosophers, lies between the river Werra and the Thuringian Basin.

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Around two thirds of this upland region which is approx. 135 km long, up to 35 km wide and whose highest peak, the Grosse Beerenberg, reaches up to 982 metres in altitude is covered with emerald green forest. More accurately speaking, there are two mountain ranges that run into each other almost imperceptibly, the Thuringian Forest in the west and the Thuringian Slate Mountains in the east. This approx. 20 km-wide plateau slopes down to the south-east and stretches as far as the White Elster Valley near Greiz. As the name suggests, this mountain range consists largely of slate. In the upper woodlands of the Thuringian Forest there are a number of tranquil, romantic villages surrounded by unspoilt countryside. Absolute must see attractions in the Truse valley include gnome land and Trusetal waterfall, which was created in 1865 and has two smaller falls followed by a 50-metre drop. This is a superb destination all year round. A large number of marked footpaths and cycle trails, and the most beautiful ridge walks in winter are ideal for fascinating tours and excursions to attractions with or without skis. The scenery in the Thuringian Forest is a remarkable mix of flowering mountain pastures and charming woodland. The ruins of Greifenstein Castle, once one of the largest feudal castles in existence, stand at the entrance to the romantic Schwarza Valley high above Bad Blankenburg. Germany's largest walk-through fissure cave in Meiningen, where you'll find ravines and fissures of up to 50 metres high, is another real must. Did you know that the first artificial eye made of glass was produced in Lauscha in 1835? Few regions can boast such a huge variety of firsts as the Southern Thuringian Forest. As well as being the birthplace of glass Christmas tree decorations, it is also home to a large number of porcelain factories, traditional travelling chemists, slate mines and slate pencil manufacturers. In addition to regional crafts and the fruits of the forest, the Southern Thuringian Forest has a whole host of other things to collect. How about some gold that you can find yourself at one of the region's gold-panning sites? Vesser Valley biosphere reserve has some of the region's most beautiful and unique scenery. Whether you are looking to discover the secrets of glassblowing, follow in the footsteps of Goethe or join the gold rush, whether you are walking, cycling or on an excursion to one of the many castles, palaces, churches, bowers or historical sites – you'll find there's plenty to stop off and see along the way.



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