Kranichfeld – Town of Two Castles

Categories: Family and Kids

The falconry at Niederburg
The falconry at Niederburg

[ source: Flickr]

Kranichfeld (Kranichfeld vacation rentals | Kranichfeld travel guide) is a small town in Thuringia, situated right in the middle of the so—called Mittlere Ilmtal (Ilmtal vacation rentals | Ilmtal travel guide). This protected area is located in between Erfurt (Erfurt vacation rentals | Erfurt travel guide) in the west and Weimar (Weimar vacation rentals | Weimar travel guide) in the east, two of the most historically and culturally significant cities in East Germany. The peaceful town of Kranichfeld has less than 4000 inhabitants, is surrounded by woods, lakes and rivers and a great destination for a tranquil, yet stimulating holiday.

Especially for Americans, Kranichfeld must seem like a tiny village. However, it has surprisingly much to offer. It is home to two magnificent castles, Oberschloss and Niederburg. From Oberschloss on the top of a hill just outside Kranichfeld you have an amazing view over the town and the Mittlere Ilmtal. The caste was built in Romanesque style in the 12th century. New owners extended and renovated the old castle according to latest Renaissance style around 1530. Big parts were destroyed in a fire in 1934 but the damage was swiftly repaired. Today Oberschloss houses a local—history museum, is regularly used as event space and people can even get married there.

On the other end of town you can find Niederburg, which was also built in the Middle Ages and houses a falconry today. From April until end of October every year tourists are welcome to visit the castle and watch these amazing birds in their natural habitat. Another highlight at Niederburg is the Rosenfest (rose fair). Since 1878 this open—air festival has been celebrated nearly every year in June. The whole town and people from all over this area come together to crown the ose queen.

Another place, you certainly shouldn’t fail to see when you come to Kranichfeld, is the Baumbachhaus. It is named after Rudolf Baumbach, a famous Thuringian poet, who was born there in 1840. The house itself was built in the 16th century and is — apart from the castles — the oldest building in town. Today you can find a small museum there as well as a lovely café, where artisan cakes are made from 19th century recipes.

For lunch or dinner Live Like A German suggests the restaurants Bremer Hof or Meiniger Hof. Both are well—established restaurants that serve traditional German food. If you go there, don’t forget to try Thüringer Klöße and Bratwürste. The dumplings and sausages served in this part of Germany look and taste quite different than anywhere else in the country — nevertheless, they are delicious. Of course, you can also find a bakery, a butcher and a supermarket in Kranichfeld, should you prefer to eat in your holiday apartment.

Kranichfeld is also very popular with tourists who like to do sports during their holiday. The Mittlere Ilmtal is a great area to go on extensive hikes or bike tours. There is a special biking trail that runs along the river all through the Ilmtal. The Avenida Therme, a thermal spa in Hohenfelden (Hohenfelden vacation rentals | Hohenfelden travel guide), just a short drive away from Kranichfeld, is place to wind down and get pampered for a day. At this water park you can find several in— and outdoor pools, water slides, and saunas. Additionally, there is a wide range of spa treatments you can choose from.

Kranichfeld is a hidden gem in the midst of Thuringia, a beautiful small town itself as well as a smart alternative location, if you would like to visit the nearby tourist centers Erfurt or Weimar but don’t want to be submitted to big city prices.

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About this Article

Kathrin Wagner

This travel guide has been written by Kathrin Wagner.

She grew up in a small town in Bavaria and then studied Media studies, Literature and History in Erlangen and Munich. As a student she already spent half a year in London and moved back there after graduation in 2006. She is still living in London, where she works in publishing.

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Location: 99448 Kranichfeld, Germany

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