"Where else does one find so much beauty in such a small place?" - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
The World Championship are held in the heart of the Thuringian Forest. We would like to take this opportunity and give you a small glimpse at the rolling hills, charming villages and arresting sights of Thuringia's most popular tourist region. Besides its cultural, historical and natural spectacles, the Thuringian Forest is famous for its sports opportunities, from skiing and sledding in winter to cycling and hiking in summer: You may for example already have heard of the Rennsteig, the beloved hiking route that spans some of Thuringia's most beautiful peaks and marks the transition from northern Germany's rolling hillsides to southern Germany's rugged mountains.
In this section, we are going to present four examples of the qualities that make the Thuringian Forest a beloved holiday destination. For more information on the subject, we recommend the online portal Thueringen.info (in German).
Geratal - Traditionally Beautiful
A drive through Germany's longest tunnel is all it takes to get from Oberhof to this beautiful region overlooked by one of Thuringias oldest castles, the Elgersburg.
The valley is lined by picturesque villages such as Frankenhain or Gehlberg whom's colourful past can be experienced by taking a stroll through the well preserved village centers. Dense forests and breathtaking vistas invite hikers, and a more than 125 years old railway line still occasionally used by steam-driven trains crosses the valley.
Haseltal - Naturally Fit
More than 150 kilometers of hiking and a hundred kilometers of cross-country ski tracks criss-cross this charming holiday region that boasts meadowed mountainsides, high peaks and cozy villages.
Mountain-bikers, climbers and riders will find the region as much to their liking as swimmers, downhill skiers, gourmets and lovers of traditional customs, who will find that the Hasel Valley frequently sees festivals based on old tradition.
Schmalkalden - Living History
The hometown of world-class biathletes Sven Fischer and Frank Luck is marked by its almost fully preserved city core dating back to the 16th century. Once a thriving mining town, the wealth and the traditions that came with the ore are still clearly visible in Schmalkalden.
Of particular interest is the late-gothic church of St Georg, where Martin Luther first announced the articles that would become the bedrock of Protestant faith. Slightly younger, the renaissance-style Chéteau Wilhelmsburg has remained fully preserved - today, it is famous for its historical exhibitions.
Meiningen - The Theater City
Meiningen is a must-see for culturally interested visitors. The thousand years old city boasts a playhouse that can look on a tradition ranging back into the 19th century. As can the English Garden, where one meets numerous monuments to artists that have called the city their home. World-famous classical composer Johannes Brahms, for example, worked closely with the royal orchestra of Meiningen.
Meiningen used to be home to royalty, which can be easily seen from the splendid architecture that dominates the city's face. The former ducal residency, the marvelously preserved castle, has seen more than 800 years of history and is closely based on the English Tudor-style in its current form. Today, it is a luxurious hotel - how about a splendid meal in a true fairy tale castle?