Here Are Some Great Things To Do In Erfurt, Germany!
Looking to add more beautiful places in Germany to your list? Then you should definitely check out Erfurt, Germany! From beautiful attractions like the Erfurt Cathedral and the Krämerbrücke to exploring Egapark, there is plenty to do, see, and eat!
We were lucky enough to discover Erfurt recently on the way to the south of Germany. We spent a night in the medieval city – and we are SO glad we did. Because it’s loaded with history, it’s now become one of Eric’s favourite German cities – seriously.
That said, we wanted to check out the things to do as well as things to eat. So, this post is loaded with attractions as well as great Erfurt cafes and Erfurt restaurants to try when you go! Just grab this post and an Erfurt city map – let’s get exploring!
We write a lot about Germany – including detailed itineraries around Germany – so check out these other helpful Germany posts!
Things To Know When Visiting Erfurt, Germany
Before you head off to check out Erfurt, there are a few things that you might want to consider. While the city is visitor-friendly and easy to get around, planning ahead is never a bad idea!
From how to get to Erfurt to how to get around and where to stay in Erfurt, here are some important topics for you to keep in mind as you plan your trip!
Oh, and if you want to see what Erfurt looks like – you can check out our Erfurt YouTube video to have a look!
General Information About Erfurt
Erfurt is a beautiful city physically located in the centre of Germany. It’s also the capital of the German state of Thuringia.
Erfurt has a long history – and its central location in Europe has made it important for centuries. The city was situated on the Via Regia – which was a medieval trade route/network across much of modern Europe. It has the Gera River running through it.
The rich medieval and religious history shows in what is considered one of the best medieval centres in Germany. The preservation of the “Altstadt” – or Old Town – is like a time machine when you walk around.
Erfurt is also known for famous Germans like Martin Luther – who studied at the University of Erfurt in 1501 before joining the Augustine Monastery (noted below) in 1505. Today, the population of Erfurt is over 200,000 – making it a smaller city but a city nonetheless!
How To Get To Erfurt
Erfurt is located in basically the middle of the country so there are a bunch of ways you can get there. Since Germany has great train travel, you can reach Erfurt easily from Leipzig, Frankfurt, or even Munich.
If you are driving and/or have a rental car, you can also get to Erfurt this way. There are plenty of downtown parking lots for easy storage and access to your car.
Getting Around In Erfurt
Once you are in Erfurt, the city centre is pretty flat so it’s easy to get around on foot. The train station is at the south end of the city centre so it is a quick 10/15 minute walk to the heart of the old town. One of the only areas that is hilly is near the Citadel where you’ll climb a small hill and some steps to get up there.
As you walk around the city centre, you’ll notice lots of sets of tram tracks. The trams whiz through many parts of the city creating a network for you to get around if you so choose. There are also buses available to take.
Trams leave right from a platform beside Erfurt Train Station so you can arrive by train and connect to transit if you like. You can find the Erfurt Transit website here (in German).
You might also look into the Altstadt tour – a tram car-shaped vehicle that drives in the road – kind of like a caterpillar – and makes stops at the top attractions with a guide. You can find information on this tour here. There is also a city tour where you ride the tracks on an actual “tram tour”. You can learn more about this here.
*These tours are regularly available in German but English seems possible if you book in advance/for a group. Might want to send a quick email to check if you’re visiting!
Read More: Don’t Forget Your Handy German Phrases
Where To Stay In Erfurt
If you end up staying overnight, Erfurt is a great city to sleep in. We ended up staying at Gästehaus in der Gotthardtstraße and honestly loved it. The place is a very simple guesthouse style accommodation in a quiet neighbourhood just a short walk from the best attractions.
The place was easy to find, safe, cozy, and the host was lovely. We also liked having a free bottle of mineral water waiting in the room. There are a few parking spaces available should you need it – and breakfast locations are very close by!
>> Check here for Gästehaus in der Gotthardtstraße
If you’re looking for a hotel in Erfurt, you might check out Hotel Krämerbrücke Erfurt (located RIGHT beside the Krämerbrücke) or the Protestant Augustinian Monastery – which is actually a “place to visit” listed down below. Turns out, you can stay in this historic building, too!
If you want to stay in a place that is physically in the photo above, you might want to check out Mr. and Mrs. President, a highly-rated apartment in Erfurt located right overlooking Domplatz.
**Friendly Disclaimer: We were not told to stay here and we paid for our stay ourselves. This is not a “sponsored stay” but our legitimate review.
Top Things To Do In Erfurt
Now that we have covered the basics about Erfurt, here’s a list of things that you can do. Keep in mind, this list includes most of the major attractions with the exception of the Zoo because we don’t usually promote them.
That said, if you’re travelling with kids, the Thuringian Zoo Park is highly rated and located quite north of the city centre.
Walk the Krämerbrücke
You will not visit Erfurt and miss the Krämerbrücke. You simply cannot! Also known as the “Merchant’s Bridge”, the Krämerbrücke is a gorgeous medieval-era stone arch bridge that was originally built back in 1325. In fact, the stone bridge walkway was built first – the wood timber houses were done in the 1480s!
Fun Fact: The bridge is one of the very few remaining medieval bridges with dwellings on it that still stands to this day! If you walk beside the bridge, you can actually go under it to reach the exterior sides – and you’ll be able to snap some great photos of the side of the bridge next to the river.
If you walk over the bridge which spans the “Breitstrom” (a part of the Gera River), you’ll be greeted by numerous shops, galleries, or cafes that inhabit the colourful houses today. It’s also a good way to get between the public squares at each end – each with their own cafes, restaurants, and shops, too.
Walking the bridge is like being transported in time – honestly. While we were exploring, we actually popped into a small cafe called Mundlandung. We had coffees and a cake which were great.
Eric got a sandwich which was okay, but better stick to sweets because Lisa’s cake was absolutely delicious. The best part was the window view from our table – people seemed a little jealous we were perched up in the bridge!
Another place you can check out on the bridge is the Haus der Stiftungen. This was a small museum (in all German) that is dedicated to telling the story of the bridge. It’s neat to see but don’t spend all day there – there’s more waiting for you!
If you approach the bridge from Fischmarkt, you’ll find lots of great things at the other end of the bridge. Namely – you’ll see a church tower which you can climb (mentioned further down) and you’ll also see ice cream!
Yes, if you’re an ice cream fan you must try some at Goldhelm Eiskrämer. They are located at Krämerbrücke 15, 99084 Erfurt but you’ll likely see a line up if the weather is nice out!
Address of the Bridge: Krämerbrücke, 99084 Erfurt
One of the places that you absolutely have to check out – and likely will by accident anyway – is Fischmarkt. This central square is known to be the main square in all of Erfurt. Always a central meeting place with the town hall right there, the square today is a hustle and bustle of activity – yet still really lovely to hang out in.
The buildings surrounding the square are gorgeous and built in a Renaissance-style. The town hall (Rathaus) was built in the 1880s in Neo-Gothic, but the original town hall was said to have stood in the location around 1275!
Aside from a transport hub for the trams, you’ll also find “Der Römer” standing in the middle of the square. A symbol of independence in the city of Erfurt, this statue – similar to Bremen’s Roland – was put up by the town people in 1591.
These days, there are loads of cafes and restaurants around the edges of the square so you can sit and have a nice coffee, snack, or full meal. We really liked the square because it never got too busy so you got to enjoy a historic centre without loads and loads of people around. Just watch where you are standing when you snap those pretty photos because the tram will come through!
Address: Fischmarktplatz, Erfurt
Visit The Erfurt Dom (Cathedral)
Standing high above the city from the top of Domberg Hill you’ll find one of the top sights in Erfurt: the Erfurt Cathedral. Also known as the St. Mary’s Cathedral, this unique cathedral is the oldest and largest church in all of Erfurt. The current building has roots dating from the 12th century but the site has held religious buildings since before 742!
You can find the cathedral right beside St. Severus’ Church (mentioned right below) and there are usually a grand set of steps to walk up between them as you explore the area. When we visited Erfurt, there was a performance happening so the stage and seating blocked the stairs but it was still great to see.
We walked from the side of the square (also called Domplatz) and entered the cathedral. Admission is free – and the inside is quite grand. The cathedral has both Romanesque and Gothic elements which make it beautiful.
Fun Fact: The Cathedral is home to “Gloriosa” – the largest medieval bell in the world! You can actually book a guided tour up the central tower to see the bell. You can learn more about visiting the Cathedral here.
Besides the cathedral, Domplatz is a very large square where you can get a good view of the citadel (mentioned below). There are also lots of restaurants or cafes lining the square so you can also relax here in the shadow of the grand cathedral!
Address: Domstufen 1, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Check Out The Churches
If you didn’t already know, Erfurt is home to A LOT of churches, monasteries, places of worship, etc. In fact, the city centre alone has over 20 churches! These churches dot the skyline with their towers and make for great photos from the high vantage points.
We were lucky enough to check out a handful of the churches for the architecture. There are mostly in Gothic style but you’ll also find Romanesque and more! You might pass the ruins of the Barfüßerkirche – we did and it was fascinating to see! Below are a few we explored deeper:
Known as St. Severus’ Church in English, the Severikirche stands right beside the Erfurt Cathedral atop Domberg Hill. Its three spires are gorgeous – and the second-largest church in Erfurt also makes a statement having been built around 1300.
Address: Severihof 2, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Constructed back in the 13th century, the Predigerkirche is a stone Gothic monastery church. Located in the city centre, we walked by accidentally and actually stopped to check it out its interior. Turns out it’s the main Protestant church of Erfurt!
We wandered inside and honestly it was pretty impressive considering it’s one of the “regular” churches in the city. The interior was quiet and very simple compared to other wildly-decorated church interiors we had recently seen!
Address: Predigerstraße 4, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Protestant Augustinian Monastery Erfurt
Dating back to 1277, St. Augustine’s Monastery is full of significant history. Martin Luther actually lived there from 1505 to 1511 when he was studying to be a monk.
These days, the large complex is still an active church as well as a conference centre and a lovely hotel you can stay at. We walked by and stayed very, very close to it at our accommodation just north of the heart of the city centre.
Address: Augustinerstraße 10, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Climb the Ägidienkirche Tower
One of the best things to do in Erfurt – and one of our personal favourites – was to climb the Ägidienkirche Tower and enjoy the amazing views! The tower itself is easy to find – just head for the end of the Krämerbrücke and you’ll see it towering up.
The tricky part for us was the opening times. You enter below through the large wooden door which is in the covered part of the bridge (and under the actual Ägidienkirche – a functional church in the building above the road).
When we arrived for opening at 11:00 am, the door was closed. We waited for over 30 minutes before finally giving up and agreeing to come back later. This is a shame because we even saw a tour group basically change their plans in real-time because it wasn’t open (when it clearly said it would be – Lisa is German so we didn’t misread).
Luckily, we came back in the afternoon and the door was open. We were asked to give a small donation to enter, and up we went climbing the old wooden stairs. It’s pretty steep so if you have mobility issues it might not be for you.
That said, views around the whole tower of the city below are incredible. The photos we got speak for themselves – and it really gives you a unique perspective of the city. The best part was that there was only one small group up there – then we had the whole lookout to ourselves!
So, we’d say definitely do it – but watch out because it might not be open when it says is should be. We aren’t sure if this is a staffing issue – we’d read other Google reviews that said (another time) the opening time wasn’t observed – so plan ahead if you can.
Address: Wenigemarkt 4, 99084 Erfurt, Germany (at the end of the Krämerbrücke)
Explore the Petersberg Citadel
If you haven’t had enough of the great views all over Erfurt, then head to the top of Petersberg Hill for another! At the top, you’ll be greeted by an imposing fortress – Petersberg Citadel! Built starting around 1665 and for the next few decades, this Baroque fortress is actually one of the best-preserved town fortresses in all of Europe!
These days, you can wander the grounds (more than 85 acres) that are surrounded by thick stone walls running for over two kilometres. There are guided tours of the confusing lower passageways through the system of tunnels.
When we visited, it was under extensive renovation for the Flower Show in 2021 so there was not that much to see. That said, we could still wander about, check out a few places, and get great views of the city below. There’s also an elevated glass cafe – Glashütte Petersberg – where you can grab a drink or bite to eat overlooking the city!
If you want to visit the Citadel, learn more, and/or book a tour, you can check out this website. (Public tours are only in German – English would have to be booked in advance!)
Address: Petersberg 3, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Check Out The Alte Synagoge
Known as the “Old Synagogue”, this is quite the historic site in Erfurt. In fact, as one of the few remaining medieval synagogues in Europe, it’s a pretty significant place to check out!
Having been originally built in the Middle Ages (as old as the 11th century) in the heart of Erfurt’s old town, much of it was later built around the end if the 1200s. The Synagogue today includes many of the original features like the thick outer walls and the Gothic Rose window.
You can pop inside for a fee to explore the extensive museum exhibit highlighting elements of the synagogue’s past as well as local Jewish history. You’ll also find the Erfurt Treasure – a hidden stash of coins and other items found in 1998!
We didn’t end up going inside because we ran out of time but we will be returning and will visit next time! If you plan on visiting the Old Synagogue in Erfurt, you can learn more here.
Address: Waagegasse 8, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Walk Through Egapark
If you want to take a moment to relax while in Erfurt, you should definitely head to Egapark. This massive park – covering almost 90 acres – is one of the largest parks in Germany. It also remains one of the few remaining gardens set up during the time of East German rule.
The site is of historical significance because an old fortress – Cyriaksburg Castle – rested atop the hill. The park itself was originally opened in 1961 for the First International Horticultural Exhibition (in Soviet Countries) but has since grown and changed over the years.
One feature that remains unchanged is the 6,000 square metre flower bed that centres the park and draws the visitors each year. The grounds are beautiful and have many old buildings like pavilions, glasshouses (for cacti and butterflies) as well as curated rose and Japanese gardens.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are activities for kids and you’ll also find the German Horticultural Museum, which highlights the complex and interesting history of the park! If you plan to visit Egapark, you can check out the official website here (in German) for fees and opening hours.
Address: Gothaer Str. 38, 99094 Erfurt, Germany
Eat A Thuringia Bratwurst
If you want to sink your teeth into some local cuisine, then you have to try out the Thuringia Bratwurst. There are many bratwursts (sausages) connected to different cities or parts of Germany – and Erfurt is no different.
The Thuringia Bratwurst is quite long, grilled, and generally eaten in a small roll with mustard. It’s basically the traditional German equivalent of “fast food” – like how you’d grab a burger or burrito on the go in North America.
We grabbed ours from a small stand near the river where the shopping area in the newer town meets the Old Town. That said, you can find it sold around the city in small stalls or in restaurants. Note: Lisa thinks the restaurant version is weird because it’s supposed to be a “street food”! In any case, it was really, really good!
Take Photos Of The KiKa TV Characters
If you are wandering around Erfurt, you might notice a few “statues” that seem a little odd. If you’re a visitor from elsewhere, you’ll be confused and amused – but if you’re German, there’s a good chance you’ll recognize a bunch of them!
Erfurt is home to KiKa – a public television channel for kids. So, it’s only fitting that scattered around the city are recognizable characters from various kid’s shows!
In total, there are 7 characters around the city from Die Maus und Der Elefant to the hilarious looking “Bernd das Brot” (literally, Bernard the Bread). You can find them scattered around the city – usually in public squares or open spaces so see if you can find all of them!
Explore The Naturkundemuseum
Called the “Natural History Museum of Erfurt”, this museum about the natural world packs a punch! Located down a small street very close to Domplatz, you might miss it if you aren’t looking for it!
Inside, there are exhibits about the natural history of the local area – looking at the history of plant life and geology of the region. They also hold special exhibits – and have other permanent ones that showcase paleontology, mineralogy, and more!
When we visited, there was a MASSIVE group of what looked like school kids having their lunch in the courtyard. We think they were having a good time visiting the museum! If you want to check it out, you can learn more about the Museum here.
Address: Große Arche 14, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Visit The Kunsthalle Erfurt
The “Art Gallery of Erfurt” is located right on the edge of Fischmarktplatz facing the Rathaus. This gorgeous Renaissance building called “Haus zum Roten Ochsen” or “House of the Red Ox” is the entrance to the gallery.
Inside, you’ll find permanent and rotating exhibits surrounding the topic of modern and contemporary visual art. For example, they have a recurring exhibit in black and white photos from 1945-2000 in West Germany!
If you want to plan a visit, you can find more information about the Erfurt Kunsthalle here.
Address: Fischmarkt 7, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Visit the Andreasstraße Memorial and Educational Site
Should you be venturing to Germany (and Erfurt) to learn about the past, this museum is a good place to do that. The “Stasi Museum” as it’s called, is housed in a former prison used to hold political prisoners in East Germany.
Today, the site is both a memorial and museum with a purpose of educating about and acknowledging the oppressive atrocities that occurred there. You’ll find exhibits on the lived experiences of prisoners, what the Stasi was really up to, the Peaceful Revolution, and more.
Basically, if you want to learn about “The Stasi” – or the secret police in East Germany during the Cold War period – this is a great place to check out. It’s located very close to Domplatz so you can take Tram 3, 4, or 6 to get close enough to walk. You can learn more about the museum here.
Address: Andreasstraße 37a, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Check Out The Angermuseum
As you pass through the Old Town, you’ll notice a beautiful building at a street corner. Officially opened in 1886, this is the Angermuseum – a place that documents Erfurt’s past! The building faces Anger Square – hence the name.
The building once held the public weighing scales but has since been converted into a museum showcasing shields, medieval paintings, and special exhibits from time to time. Some people think it’s worth visiting while others see it as a little bit underwhelming.
In any case, the Baroque building is lovely to photograph – and you MIGHT find a KiKa character nearby! You can learn more about the Angermuseum here.
Address: Anger 18, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Check Out The Museum für Thüringer Volkskunde
Called the “Museum of Thuringian Folklore” in English, this small museum is dedicated to preserving and retelling various parts of Thuringia history told through objects.
As one of the largest Folklore Museums in the country, inside you’ll find costumes, dolls, furniture, and a glimpse of what life was like in Thuringia over the past 200 years! If this kind of thing sparks your interest, you can learn more about visiting here.
Address: Juri-Gagarin-Ring 140A, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Where To Eat In Erfurt: Our Tips
While we were in Erfurt, there were a few places that we went for coffee breaks, breakfast, and scouted out for a hearty German meal. Having covered ice cream, a café and Thuringia sausage above already, you’ll find a list of other great cafes and food spots below.
We went to Café Füchsen for breakfast our only morning and it met and exceeded expectations. The place is this small, cozy spot beside a green park just north of the Krämerbrücke (and it was SO close to our accommodation).
We actually sat outside under a large covered area. Even with the rain, it was a lovely morning. We got coffees and then Lisa had the cheese plate breakfast while Eric had the eggs with prosciutto. Everything comes with German bread rolls. Let’s just say we were absolutely stuffed before we headed out to explore.
We’d highly recommend – but make a reservation if it’s the weekend or you’re more than two people because we got lucky to find a spot! You can check out their Facebook Page here.
Address Café Füchsen: Hütergasse 13, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
One of the last stops before we got on the train was to find a coffee or iced coffee (it was very hot that day). Luckily, at the far end of the Krämerbrücke on Wenigemarkt (an open square) we found Kurhaus Simone.
Sitting outside at a little table for two, we had the BEST spot to people watch and take in the city views of the tower. Lisa had this weird cold drink called Caffè Warschau with espresso and lemon bitters (she loved it) while Eric had a tall iced coffee. Both were just perfect. The place is very stylish, too!
Address Kurhaus Simone: Wenigemarkt 21, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
Wirtshaus Christoffel and Gasthaus Feuerkugel
If you are looking for a hearty German dinner (serving a variety of foods from different regions), there are two classic “Wirtshaus” to check out in Erfurt: Wirtshaus Christoffel and Gasthaus Feuerkugel. These places are very popular – but for good reason.
They both offer outdoor seating but also have loads of room inside. Having done the research (and even checking out the menus), we didn’t end up going to either one because we wanted to save one of our big German meals for when we were in Bayreuth (located in Bavaria close to where Lisa grew up!).
Both of these places are located in the old town on the same street, so have a look at both and let us know how it is! The address for Gasthaus Feuerkugel: Michaelisstraße 3-4, 99084 Erfurt, Germany and the address for Wirtshaus Christoffel: Michaelisstraße 41, 99084 Erfurt, Germany.
Augustiner an der Krämerbrücke Erfurt
Finally, if you are looking for have a beer at a quintessential German beer market, check out Augustiner an der Krämerbrücke Erfurt. We walked by a number of times just north of the Krämerbrücke.
There is a large outdoor patio area for enjoying beverages – but the old wood timbered house has these gorgeous balcony tables that overlook the river. It looked like they had to be reserved so we didn’t go – but we will next time!
Address Augustiner Erfurt: Horngasse 3/4, 99084 Erfurt, Germany
And there you have it – some of the best things to do in Erfurt, Germany! We had a great time exploring this colourful, historic city. We’d honestly recommend a stop if you are travelling through the middle of Germany. Let us know if you end up there and how you like it!
As always, Happy Erfurt Waddlin’,
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