A Walking Tour of Erfurt's Most Beautiful Architectural Landmarks

Erfurt Cathedral (left) and St. Severus Church
Erfurt Cathedral (left) and St. Severus Church | © lapping / Pixabay
The 1,270-year-old city of Erfurt has a skyline that’s difficult to beat for historic charm. This is a city where ancient architecture has been lovingly preserved and harmoniously blended with modern developments. Many of the architectural landmarks of Erfurt are clustered together, making it a perfect city to explore on foot. Here is our self-guided walking tour of Erfurt.

Evangelisches Augustinerkloster

The historical importance of the 13th century Evangelisches Augustinerkloster (Augustinian Monastery) cannot be underestimated. It was here that the Great Reformer Martin Luther became a monk in 1505. This monastery was also his home for several years. Evangelisches Augustinerkloster offers public guided tours, giving visitors a chance to see Martin Luther’s room and various other monuments dedicated to him.

Augustinian Monastery © erge / Pixabay

Church of St. Aegidius and Krämerbrücke

Around 0.6 mi/1 km away from the monastery stands the Church of St. Aegidius. The existence of this church can be traced back to the Middle Ages. The church welcomes visitors to climb to the top of its Rote Turm (Red Tower) to enjoy panoramic views of the city, from 11 am to 5 pm, everyday except Mondays.

The church marks the eastern starting point of the 259 ft/79 meter long Krämerbrücke (Merchant’s Bridge). Krämerbrücke is the most famous and unique attraction of Erfurt, which has remained pretty much unchanged for over five centuries. Once part of an important pilgrimage and trade network, this medieval limestone-and-sandstone bridge is built over on both sides by houses, galleries, shops and restaurants, with a footbridge running through the center.

Krämerbrücke and the Church © Elcholito / Pixabay


Walk across the Krämerbrücke from the Church of St. Aegidius, and turn left onto Benediktspl. After less than 300 ft/100 meters, you will find yourself in the historic Fischmarkt (fish market) of Erfurt. The stunning neo-Gothic Rathaus (town hall) proudly towers over the bustling fish market. On a guided tour of the town hall, you get the chance to admire intricate murals depicting historic events, many of which are related to Martin Luther.

Rathaus © jensjunge / Pixabay

Old Synagogue

A mere 557 ft/170 meter walk from Rathaus will bring you to another important historic landmark of the city – the Old Synagogue. Constructed in 1100, it is among the most ancient structures of its kind in all of Europe. Today, this mighty Gothic building houses a museum that preserves the famous Erfurt Treasure – 3,000 silver coins, over 700 gold pieces, Gothic jewelry, and 14 ingots from the 13th and 14th centuries, believed to have been hidden during the devastating Black Death in 1347-51.

Old Synagogue © Dguendel / Wikimedia Commons

Erfurt Cathedral

Erfurt Cathedral (St. Mary’s Cathedral) stands a 0.44 mi/700 meter walk away from the Old Synagogue. The earliest existence of this ancient church can be traced back to 742 AD, and is still today considered to be among the finest specimens of German Gothic architecture. The middle of the three ornate towers of the Cathedral is home to Maria Gloriosa, the largest free-swinging bell in the world, known for its fantastic resonance; as well as massive stained-glass windows and many priceless treasures.

St. Severus Church

St. Severus Church is joined with Erfurt Cathedral with a 70-step staircase, and together, these two structures form a stunning ensemble that defines the skyline of Erfurt. The construction of St. Severus Church is pegged around 1148. This church is distinguished by a triple-towered facade and a magnificent five-aisled hall church. It offers self-guided (free) as well as guided (paid) tours.

Erfurt Cathedral (left) and St. Severus Church © lapping / Pixabay

Zitadelle Petersberg

A leisurely stroll (0.4 mi/650 meters) from St. Severus Church via Petrinistraße brings you to Zitadelle Petersberg. This 17th century giant sitting atop St. Petersburg Hill is unanimously agreed to be one of the best-maintained and biggest Baroque fortresses in Europe. It welcomes visitors to explore its defense barracks, casemates, stone walls, passages and walkways as part of a guided tour.

Zitadelle Petersberg © lapping / Pixabay


St Peter’s Church (Peterskirche) and Zitadelle Petersburg form a fascinating historic ensemble. This monastery church built in 1103-1147 has been through destruction, plunder and alterations, but still preserves distinct traces of its original structure. Take a while to admire the baroque details and sculptures of this massive church. Your waking tour ends here. A 0.8 mi/1.3 km walk from here takes you back to the Fischmarkt.