In the winter, the Thüringen Forest is a goal for winter sports fans. Hiking trails and cross country loipes wind through this mid-altitude mountain range.
Picturesque cities and regional culinary specialties like roast bratwurst and potato dumplings also beckon.
The climatic spa Oberhof is the best-known winter sports center in the Thüringen Forest. Here, world cups in biathlon, bobsled, and cross country skiing are held. And that draws vacationers and leisure athletes to the slopes, as well. Biathlon courses for amateurs are especially popular.
In the wildly romantic Schwarza Valley, tourists can sign up for courses turning them into expert gold panners.
The funicular railway in Oberweissbach is an engineering marvel built in 1923. With a 25 percent grade, it is the steepest cable railway in the world.
The royal residence city of Meiningen fascinates with its picturesque half-timbered houses, the splendid castle Schloss Elisabethenburg, and a theater with a proud history. Duke Georg II of Saxony-Meiningen instituted theater reforms in the 19th century that inspired theaters all over Europe.
Meiningen – Three Travel Tips
Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was jailed for a decade on grounds condemned as politically motivated, has applied for residency in Switzerland. He was freed in December, after German intervention.
A makeshift border is now under construction between Ukraine's mainland and its Crimean peninsula. While it might be a sign of Russian confidence in Crimea, for now the ad-hoc "crossing" has the makings of a farce.
Borussia Mönchengladbach have confirmed Marc-Andre ter Stegen will leave Borussia-Park this summer - probably to join FC Barcelona. Yann Sommer from FC Basel will be his successor.