Our highlights with tips for Meiningen

Last year, we visited the Prachtregion in the south-west of the German state of Thuringia and took a close-up look at the tranquil little town of Schmalkalden, this time it's the turn of the region's largest town: Meiningen!

Quick overview: Meiningen in a nutshell

  • How many days is enough to visit Meiningen and see all of the main attractions? You should plan at least 3 to 4 days in Meiningen for the most important things to do. Four days are more relaxed, then you can also visit surrounding towns such as Schmalkalden or Oberhof.
  • A German TV show (Quarks & Co) awarded Meiningen as Germany's optimal location, so to speak. The University of Kaiserslautern considered factors such as climate and leisure facilities, but also accessibility: it takes almost no more than three to four hours by car from anywhere in Germany to visit pretty Meiningen.
  • There is a lot to discover in Meiningen, especially historically, culturally, scenically and of course culinary: castles, state theaters, the Thuringian Forest, the Rhön, Thuringian dumplings and sauce - it's easy to lose track.

Best 10 things to do in Meiningen

Here is our plan for this beautiful little town in Thuringia. You should have done these 10 things in Meiningen. Take a look at our other articles if you have more time because the Schmalkalden-Meiningen region has a lot more to offer.

Take a look at the half-timbered houses

The first thing that immediately catches the eye on arrival are the many old half-timbered houses. Personally, we never get enough of these extremely well-kept beauties, which can be seen in any weather, and Meiningen also invites you to take a long walk through the town and its beautiful half-timbered houses.

The market square with its massive "Unseren lieben Frauen" church, whose roof is adorned with colorful decorative button patterns, is also a real eye-catcher.

Our tip: Incidentally, there is great ice cream directly opposite at "La Voglia".

Go on long hikes

Directly adjacent to Meiningen are wonderful, well-maintained and signposted hiking trails. For example, you can go on morning forays through the woods with Johannes Brahms himself.

Tip: QR codes along the way make original sounds from the diaries of the composer's genius audible.

Do you have a few more hours? Then choose the "Meininger": an approximately 11-kilometre trail through the middle of the Thuringia Forest. You will pass various viewpoints where you can admire the city from above, run across fields and meadows and finally return to Elisabethenburg Castle.

The really sporty ones can set off on the Outer Ring Trail, which circles the city to the east across the Werra Valley and measures 23 kilometers. But the nice thing about all hiking trails: You see almost no people, and the routes can be easily combined with each other.

Visit the castle museum

The Elisabethenburg Castle is bursting with interesting stories. The brilliant story of Adelheid Louise Theresa Caroline Amelia of Saxe-Meiningen, later also known as Queen Adelaide of Great Britain, literally towers over everything!

The engagement to William Henry of Great Britain - known as "Silly Billy" due to his rather poor intellect - and the subsequent return to England paved the crazy path of a simple Meiningen princess to the English and Irish crown. She took the Christmas tree with her to Great Britain, so that the United Kingdom can also decorate fir trees today. And why is the capital of South Australia called "Adelaide" again? Right. What a woman!

You can experience these and countless other stories in Elisabethenburg Castle, or more precisely: in the Castle Museum of the Meiningen Museums. Take a few hours and let yourself be guided through the castle church and the numerous rooms. Mr. Barthel took us by the hand in a professional and entertaining manner - just ask around, maybe he's there, but there are other knowledgeable colleagues.

Anyone who has had their fill of chandeliers and feudal opulence should not miss the temporary and changing exhibitions. We learned that Günter Grass was not only an outstanding author, but also an excellent illustrator and painter with an immense political commitment.

Thereafter, please ensure you walk up one more floor because that's where you should be. Subsequently, please ensure you walk up one more floor because that's where you should be ....

Eat cake in the Schlossturm Café

The Hessensaal of the Turmcafé offers an enormously sublime coffee and cake experience amidst baroque interiors. Artfully stuccoed ceilings and walls, elaborately decorated coats of arms and changing cakes, pastries, ice creams, as well as an wide selection of green teas invite you to linger in the afternoon. Impressive - best to make a reservation!

Watch a production at the Staatstheater

Meiningen is not called the "theatre town" for nothing: the Staatstheater Meiningen is considered one of the most renowned theatres in Germany and the birthplace of modern director's theater, which gave it a special international position at the end of the 19th century. The slogan "Meiningen: A theater with a city" is no coincidence.

During our visit, we were not only able to watch the musical "The Sound of Music" and take a look behind the scenes, but also experience the enormously versatile Meininger Hofkapelle, which is affiliated with the theater, at "Symphonic Pops" in the palace garden - including fireworks.

Take a look at the program schedule - and be sure to take a guided tour through the historic rooms. Good luck, good luck, good luck!

Eat all the dumplings you can find

"Hütes" are Thuringian dumplings, fist-sized balls of luck made from golden potatoes. According to legend, the dumplings were first made in the 16th century in the "Schlundhaus" in Meiningen (where we spent the night, by the way). The legendary figure Holle, who drank such an undrinkable wine in the very same restaurant that she immediately froze all the vines in the region, was the deciding factor. Good-natured as she was, however, she gave the people of Meiningen the potato as compensation - and the recipe for the potato dumpling.

Meiningen still celebrates this story today with the summer "Hütesfest", at which the aforementioned legendary hero Holle hands over a dumpling recipe to the mayor and speaks the admonishing words: "Hüt es!" - hence the popular name.

The perfect Hütes has a certain viscosity, you could almost say it is semi-liquid. A consistency between firm and soft, which is perfect for mashing in the hearty brown gravy.

Our Hütes studies took us to several destinations, but we found the dumplings at the Schloß- and Ratsstube to be particularly good. The former even offers modern, baked Hütes and a Hütes burger, and you can sit in the noble castle courtyard with a view of the magnificent feudal building. Whether with roulade, pork cheeks or goulash - these things not only make you happy, they are also highly addictive.

Relax in the English Garden

Meiningen is a green town! In addition to the castle park, there is also the spruced-up English Garden. Here you can take a leisurely stroll, jog and relax. Either with a view of the park pond with its illuminated fountain or on the meadows by the crypt chapel, in front of which the head of Johannes Brahms watches you doze off.

Incidentally, this is the very first German monument to the pioneering musician, as a knowledgeable Meiningen resident told us out of the blue. In general, we found the locals to be more talkative and knowledgeable than anywhere else; whether photographing a half-timbered house or buying sausages on the market square. Time and again we were approached and told an interesting new story. The people of Meiningen are proud of their beautiful little town. And rightly so.

Enjoy the view of Meiningen from above

Meiningen is surrounded by green hills, so it's a good idea to hike up for a few minutes at any time of day to enjoy the gorgeous view and take a deep breath.

You can experience this perfectly at the Diezhäuschen or the Schaubach-Hütte. If you walk a few more meters, you will be completely undisturbed at the ruin on the Donopskuppe. A fantastic picture, especially at sunset!

Explore attractions near Meiningen

The valley winds its way along country roads across the river Rhön and the Thuringia Forest, beautiful past towns and small villages.

Head to "Noah's sails", a lookout tower with an incomparable view over the Rhone valley, the fields, and forests of Thuringia. Only about half an hour's drive from Meiningen. You can go up for just 2 euros and then descend via a slide.

You can then continue to the extinct Volcano Dolmar, a real natural monument. The cold crater rises 730 meters above the ground, the ascent takes about an hour. We recommend the fairy-tale Johanniterburg in Kühndorf as a starting point.

Danach bahnt sich der Weg vorbei an der „Gerichtslinde“, die im Volksmund auch „Hexenlinde“ genannt wird. Eben deshalb, weil an ihr – einer grausamen Faszination gleich – noch bis 1660 vermeintliche Hexen ihre vermeintlich gerechte Strafe erfuhren.

Continue through the forest and across fields, and at the top the mountain in "Charlottenhaus" awaits you with a cool drink and many trusting cats (!). We recommend calling ahead to make sure the pub is open.

On the way to and from the sights, you will pass many small, pretty villages with an enormous number of timbered houses!

Eat as many sausages as possible

… a bonus activity for all meat eaters.

We never tire of mentioning that this region has the best sausages in the world. So you should prepare yourself accordingly. There is always a stall somewhere with fragrant Thuringia sausages sizzling away. They were delicious at "Götz Höhle", including the view over the city.

Here's some nerd sausage knowledge: The Thuringia Rennsteig is known in local circles as the "caraway equator". This means that caraway is added to Thuringia bratwurst to the north of it, but not to the south - including here in Meiningen.

In general, the topic of "caraway" was a hotly debated one, especially in conversation with the locals at the Sunday butcher's shop at the market. Garlic or caraway - apparently a question of faith.

Useful travel tips


Traveling by train is possible, but rather difficult. On site, you are more flexible by car (or rental car). We recommend arriving by car.

By car

To travel to Meiningen in Thuringia, there are several options, check your navigation (I use Google Maps) for the quickest route.

By train

From Erfurt main station you can reach Meiningen in 1 hour 39 minutes. There are regular connections during the day. From Frankfurt am Main, the journey takes around 3 hours. However, we recommend traveling by car, as you are more flexible on site.

You can get tickets for the train here.

Getting around on site

The car is also recommended here, but we saw many cyclists because: The Meiningen-Haßfurt bike trail is extremely popular.

Where to stay in Meiningen

We stayed at the historic Schlundhaus. A pretty little hotel in a pretty half-timbered house with a view of the market square and right next to the castle.

Our Schlundhaus room is pretty classy!

Best time to visit Meiningen

Every season has its advantages: summer and early fall are ideal for hiking, cycling and canoeing. In winter you can go cross-country skiing and downhill skiing (see ski resorts here).

I hope you enjoyed this article and that it helped answer your questions. If you have any ideas or questions, we look forward to your comments here on the travel blog.

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Hi ich bin Chris!

I am a musician, manage artists and love learning languages. As a restaurant critic, I'm also interested in excellent food - and since you can find it all over the world, I also enjoy traveling.