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THURINGIA GERMANY CASTLE TOURS

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Thuringia, a small state in central Germany, also called Thueringen, has more than 400 castles, fortresses and palaces. Some are castle hotels. Others house restaurants and museums.

You can take castle tours, stroll through beautiful castle gardens and attend medieval feasts, historic festivals and jousting contests in German castles that were once occupied by emperors, kings, counts and dukes.

Where is Thuringia Germany?

By air, Thuringia is 265 km from Frankfurt, 419 km from Stuttgart and 320 km from Berlin. Flights to and from Erfurt Airport connect with international flights in Munich.

Wartburg Castle in Eisenach
Wartburg Castle in Eisenach
Photo: Thüringer Tourismus

You can get to Thuringia by ICE train from Dresden, Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt am Main. Five autobahns (A4, A9, A38, A71 and A73) make it easy to drive to Thuringia.

German castle hotels

The five-star Wartburg Hotel, in Wartburg Castle, is famous for its good restaurant. Located in a castle park, with a gorge and ancient trees, Eyba Castle Hotel (Schlosshotel Eyba) is also known for its dining.

Hotel Schloss Landsberg near Meiningen, Germany, features rooms and a tower bedroom with four-poster beds, stained glass and murals. The castle restaurant at Landsberg Castle is decorated with chandeliers and oak paneled walls.

Eisenach Germany

Dating back to 1067, Wartburg Castle is located near Eisenach, Germany, the town where Johann Sebastian Bach was born. In 1999, Wartburg became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

On guided castle tours of Wartburg, visitors see Feudalistic architecture, Middle Age art and Martin Luther's study. In 1521, Martin Luther translated the New Testament from Greek into German here.

Wartburg Castle concert
Wartburg Castle concert
Photo: Wartburg-Stiftung Eisenach

Between April and December, you can enjoy concerts and performances of the Wagner opera, Tannhauser. A Christmas market is held in Wartburg Fortress every year.

Belvedere Castle

Weimar, Germany, is known for its cultural mile, 27 museums, 16 UNESCO World Heritage sites and three palaces, Belvedere, Ettersburg and Tiefurt Castle and Gardens.

Open from April to October, the Baroque Belvedere Castle is an elegant summer residence that dates back to the 18th century. Surrounding Belvedere Castle is a park with an orangery and a maze.

Erfurt Germany

Molsdorf Palace, located in Erfurt, the capital of Thuringia, is a Rococo former pleasure palace, surrounded by an English garden. Also in Erfurt, is Cyriaksburg Castle, a historic fortress, with the only gardening museum in Germany. Located in the Erfurt Garden Exhibition (egapark), it features flowerbeds and ornamental plants.

Dornburg Castle
Dornburg Castle
Photo: Thüringer Tourismus

Near Erfurt, the medieval spa town of Bad Langensalza has seven parks and gardens. Besides enjoying the castle gardens, you can have tea in the Japanese Garden Tea House and see some of the 11,000 roses in the largest rose garden in Thuringia.

Jena Germany

Three German castles near Jena, Germany, are open between April and October. Each of the Dornburg Palaces (Dornburger Schlosser) has a different architectural style. Between 1959 and 1962, they were restored and opened as museums.

Goethe stayed at the 16th-century Renaissance Dornburg Palace in 1828 and at the Rococo Dornburg Palace, from 1776 onwards. The Old Castle is Gothic-style.

The Renaissance Dornburg Palace has an English garden. The Rococo palace has a French garden. Located on the steep slope above the River Saale, Dornburg is known for its rose garden and annual June rose festival.

Gotha Germany

The largest early Baroque castle complex in Germany is Friedenstein Castle (Schloss Friedenstein). Built between 1643 and 1654 in Gotha, Germany, Friedenstein Castle is surrounded by an English-style park with an orangery.

Ekhof Festival in Schloss Friedenstein
Ekhof Festival in Schloss Friedenstein
Photo: Gotha-Information

During a walk on the fortifications, you see rifle galleries, connecting stairs, walkways, underground rooms and countermine shafts. Friedenstein Castle Museum houses paintings by Dutch and Flemish masters, astronomy equipment, copperplate engravings, statues, books, coins, arts and crafts.

Built between 1681 and 1683, the Ekhof Theater is the oldest castle theater in the world. During the summer Ekhof Festival, opera performances use original 17th-century wooden stage machinery.

Castle tours

You can take guided castle tours, by appointment, of Elisabethenburg Palace, in Meiningen, Germany, and Residence Castle Heidecksburg, in Rudolstadt. The Baroque Schloss Heidecksburg features decorative porcelain, a munitions store from the counts of Schwarzburg and a German Rococo festive hall.

Altenburg Schloss in Altenburg
Altenburg Schloss in Altenburg
Photo: Thüringer Tourismus

Appointments are not needed for guided tours of Altenburg Castle, dominating the town of Altenburg, Germany. An imperial palace of Emperor Barbarossa, in the 12th century, the complex features a Baroque building and a castle church with a late Gothic choir.

Wilhelmsburg Castle is located in the medieval half-timbered town of Schmalkalden, Germany. The Thuringian castle features Renaissance architecture, rich wall paintings, lavishly decorated ballrooms and collection of cast iron stoves.

One of Europe's oldest organs with wood pipes is in Wilhelmsburg Castle chapel. Built in 1589, the organ can still be played today.

ThuringiaCard

The ThueringenCard or ThuringiaCard offers free or discounted admission to more than 230 attractions in Thuringia, including castles and palaces. You can buy three versions of the ThueringenCard (24 hours, three or six days) from the Thuringia Tourist Information website and from several tourist information centers in Thuringia.

Besides brochures on Thuringia attractions, Tourist Information Thuringia can book hotel accommodations in Thuringia, including castle hotels and tickets for special events.


TRAVEL INFORMATION

Thuringia Tourist Information: www.thuringia-tourism.com

German National Tourist Office: www.germany.travel

More things to see & do in Germany:

Cruising the Rhine River

Berlin Currywurst Museum

German Christmas Markets

Berlin International Airport Transportation