13 highlights and sights in Erfurt, Thuringia (Germany)

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Erfurt is the capital of the German state of Thuringia and is located 550 kilometers from Utrecht. About 6 hours drive and more than worth it. Do you feel like diving into the past and wandering through narrow, cobbled streets past typical medieval houses? Then Erfurt is the place to be!

Back in time

If we go back in time, we first encounter Erfurt in the books in 742, when Boniface was there to found a diocese. In the following centuries there have always been various trade routes that ran through Erfurt. Especially when blue textile paint was made from woad in Erfurt, the region was among the richest in Central Europe. Not much damage was done in Erfurt during the Second World War, which has ensured that the medieval city center remained almost intact.

13 sights in Erfurt, Thuringia (Germany)

If you visit this beautiful city, you naturally want to make sure you don’t overlook anything. Below is a list of sights in Erfurt that you absolutely must see and/or do.

Also read: Beautiful places and sights in Thuringia


The Krämerbrücke is the longest house-built bridge in Europe. Not surprising that this bridge is one of the most important sights in Erfurt! The bridge is 19 meters wide and 125 meters long. There used to be 62 very narrow houses on the bridge. Over time, two houses were merged again and again, so that the total number of houses is now 32. Because of the colors of the houses you can still clearly see how the distribution used to be. A narrow branch of the Gera river flows under the bridge in two places. Many people cool off in the summer in the approximately 20 centimeter high water, so it is pleasantly busy in this place on summer evenings.

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Paddle in a branch of the Gera river
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Bell tower of Ägidienkirche

If you want to view the Krämerbrücke from above, you can climb the bell tower of the Ägidienkirche. From above you have a beautiful view of the 32 houses on the bridge. In the distance you can see the Mariendom and St. Severi. The perfect place for a good view of the old part of Erfurt.

Also read: Highlights and sights in Weimar

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The Ägidienkirche at the end (or beginning) of the Krämerbrücke
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The Krämerbrücke seen from above

Ancient Jewish Synagogue

Perhaps the biggest draw in Erfurt is the Old Jewish Synagogue. The synagogue dates from the 11th century but was only rediscovered in the 1990s. In the time when it was “forgotten” that this was a Jewish synagogue, the building was used for centuries as a warehouse and later as a restaurant, with a dance hall on the first floor. The fact that the synagogue was well “hidden” by adjacent buildings has also been his salvation. Nazis enjoyed using the dance hall for years, not knowing they were in a synagogue. If they had known, the building would no longer be there. The original exterior walls with windows, the cellar and the roof make the synagogue the oldest in Central Europe.

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Ancient Jewish Synagogue, by Anton_Ivanov | Shutterstock

Treasure of Erfurt

The Treasure of Erfurt is exhibited in the basement of the Jewish Synagogue. In 1998, a gold and silver hoard containing thousands of silver coins, jewels and silver bars was found during construction work. The most notable part of the treasure is the gold Jewish wedding ring, of which only two copies are known to exist in the world.

Old alleys and half-timbered houses

You can stroll for hours in Erfurt through narrow, old alleys past the most beautiful half-timbered houses and warehouses. Take a few black and white photos and you’ll imagine yourself back in the Middle Ages!

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Plenty of half-timbered houses in Erfurt
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Wander for hours through the medieval alleys

Barfüsserkirche ruin

The Barfüsserkirche dates from the early 13th century and is one of the few buildings that was partially destroyed in World War II. The name comes from barefoot monks who lived without footwear on their feet. The choir is still intact, 1 side of the nave is still present. Valuable windows and art objects that were removed as a precaution before the bombings have fortunately been preserved.

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The Barfüsserkirche ruin

Evangelical Augustinerkloster

The Augustinerkloster is known as one of the most famous monuments from the time of the Reformation. Martin Luther lived here as a monk between 1505 and 1511 and a permanent exhibition is dedicated to him in the monastery. A new part of the monastery replaces the part that was destroyed in 1945. If you like architecture, it is nice to see how classic and modern architecture come together here.

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The court next to the Augustinerkloster
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The back entrance of the Augustinerkloster
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Old and new architecture come together at the Augustinerkloster

Domplatz of Erfurt

One of the most famous places in Erfurt is the 2-hectare Domplatz. Part of the square was once built on with houses, but these were destroyed in the early 19th century during fighting between the Allies and the French. There are 2 churches next to each other on the Dom Hill: Mariendom and St. Severi . The history here goes back to the time of Boniface. Cultural festivities are organized every year on the 70 steps between the two churches and on the square itself, including the famous Krämerbrückenfest and the open-air DomStufen festival.

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The Domplatz of Erfurt
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Terraces overlooking the Domplatz

Citadel Petersberg

A Benedictine monastery once stood near the Domplatz. Now you will find a city fortress in baroque style on this spot: Citadel Petersberg. Petersberg is one of the best preserved citadels in Central Europe. View the citadel from the outside or book a guided tour and discover the mysterious listening corridors of the fortress.

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Citadel Petersberg, by Plam Petrov | Shutterstock

Woad blue textile paint

For centuries, Erfurt was the center of blue textile paint made from woad leaves. Dried woad leaves fermented when sprinkled with urine, creating woad dye. It made the region one of the richest in Central Europe. At least until the beginning of the 17th century, when indigo paint was discovered. In Erfurt you can still see various woad barns, where the ripening process took place on different floors.

Eating and drinking in Erfurt

You can eat and drink in many places in Erfurt, just like in other cities. Do you like crowds and do you like to watch people walking by? Then grab a terrace on the Fischmarkt or on the Wenigemarkt. Are you looking for a hidden gem or hidden restaurant? Then you are definitely at the right place in the inner garden of Goldener Schwan. Pier 37 is also a nice and somewhat more remote restaurant.

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The Wenigemarkt near the Ägidienkirche
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The large terraces on the Fischmarkt
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Terrace on the Fischmarkt with a view of the town hall
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Restaurant Pier 37

Thüringer Bratwurst

In Erfurt you can eat Thüringer Bratwurst in several places, but you will find the tastiest at Faust Food. Faust Food is located in the Waagegasse, an alley with stately 16th and 17th century half-timbered warehouses. All meat goes on the grill at Faust Food and it tastes delicious. Real Thuringian Bratwurst is still made according to the original recipe from the 15th century. Do you really want to eat your Bratwurst the Thuringian way? Then eat it just like the locals on a cut-open pistolet with original Thüringer mustard. And not unimportant: don’t forget the ketchup. According to the inhabitants of Erfurt, Faust Food is the place to eat real Thuringian bratwurst!

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Real Thüringer Bratwurst

Egapark Erfurt

Would you like to find some peace and enjoy nature? That is possible in Egapark Erfurt. These gardens date back to the 1960s and the park is considered one of Germany’s most important garden moments from that time. You can easily spend a few hours here, especially when you visit Erfurt with the family. In Egapark Erfurt you will find the largest playground in Thuringia, a petting zoo, a sculpture garden, beautiful flower beds, tropical botanical gardens and the Cyriaksburg.

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Egapark Erfurt, by Lucertolone | Shutterstock

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