Traversed by the River Ilm, Bad Berka is a historic spa town in the German state of Thuringia that holds strong ties to the German poet, Goethe. It has been nicknamed “Das Goethebad im Grünen” due to its verdant greenery, with picturesque spruce and beech forests surrounding the town.
Things to do in Bad Berka
One of Bad Berka’s most famous attractions is the Goethe Fountain, which lies at the entrance to Goethe Park on the banks of the River Ilm. It celebrates the role of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the creation of the town’s fountain system in 1813. In addition to the elegant pavilion built in 1909, the Goethe Fountain features a figure sculpted by local artist Bruno Eyermann.
A short walk south is the Church of St. Marien, which was originally built as a small chapel in 1918. As its congregation grew in the wake of World War II, the church was expanded under the supervision of architect Erwin Gramsel. It houses an impressive Madonna statue crafted by Rudolf Brückner-Fuhlrott and a “Stations of the Cross” by Elly-Viola Nahmmacher.
Bad Berka’s history as a spa destination is explored at Coudray House, a historic bathing and social facility that serves as a cultural museum. In the permanent “Bathing Stories” exhibit, you can learn about the experience of visiting Bad Berka in times gone by. Coudray House also features an exhibit titled “Goethe’s Faust in Pictures” in honour of the poet.
Getting around Bad Berka
Bad Berka is around 30 minutes’ drive from Erfurt and 35 minutes from Erfurt-Weimar Airport, which has seasonal flights to destinations across Europe and North Africa. The much larger Leipzig-Halle Airport is 1.5 hours away. Regular trains connect to the Bad Berka railway station and the town centre is compact enough to explore on foot.