Jena is a city in the German state of Thuringia (Thüringen).


Jena was founded quite late, compared to its near neighbour villages, in the early 2nd millennium. Part of the State of Thuringia from its foundation in 1920 on, it was incorporated into the German Democratic Republic in 1949 and its district of Gera in 1952. Since 1990, the city of Jena has been a part of the Free State of Thuringia which is itself part of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Jena has one of the biggest universities in Germany and its ratio of students to the total of inhabitants may belong to the greatest in Germany, as there are 20,000 students at the university which was founded in 1558 and named after Friedrich Schiller in 1934. Additionally, there are some 4,500 students at the university of applied sciences (Fachhochschule), making one out of four citizens of Jena a student.

Goethe and Schiller, probably the two greatest German writers, lived in Jena as well as for example the biologist Ernst Haeckel, the physicists Ernst Abbe and Erwin Schrödinger and the philosopher Karl Marx.

Jena is also famous of its Carl Zeiss optics and the Schott glass factories. Still important to Jena, the number of workers drastically declined after Jena became part of capitalistic Germany.

Get in

By plane

There are two small airports in Altenburg (east of Jena) and Erfurt (west of Jena), but the former has no scheduled passenger traffic while the latter is only used by charter flights to sunny holiday destinations.

Coming from far away you will most probably arrive in Frankfurt. Coming from there you can either take the train to Erfurt (InterCityExpress) or Weimar (InterCity) and then change to a regional train going to Jena or you can go by car via Autobahn A4 straight towards Jena. This is approx. 300 km.

By train

Jena is located directly at the north-south connection between Munich and Berlin with a stop in the Paradies-Bahnhof (literally paradise station, as the park it is in is called Paradies). On the other hand you can jump on the west-east connection between Frankfurt and Leipzig in Weimar which is some kilometres away.

By car

Jena is not far from the Hermsdorfer Kreuz where the A9 (E49/E51) from Berlin to Munich and the A4 (E40) from Frankfurt to Dresden cross. Just take the way towards Erfurt/Frankfurt and you'll reach Jena within minutes.

Get around

You can reach all important destinations by walking. You can also use public transportation, (buses and street cars) but public transportation is not cheap in Jena. Details at Jenaer Nahverkehr GmbH.


Jena market


Jena is surrounded by hills. Hence there are a lot of very nice opportunities to get a beautiful panorama view of the town. From the towers or the restaurants Wilhelmshöhe and Landgrafen.



Take a look at GoetheGalerie or Neue Mitte. Here you can find almost anything you need. Another places for shopping are the shopping centres Burgaupark and Schillerpassage.


View over Jena

Thuringian specialties are: Thüringer Rostbratwurst (Thuringian roaster sausage), Rostbrätel (roasted meat). These can be found e.g. at the Grillteufel food stalls.

As Jena is a student town and a town in the east of Germany, prices are slightly lower than in Western Germany.


Enjoy nightlife at


Accommodation can be booked through the tourist information:

A list of accommodation options can be found at on the towns tourist website


Mid-range and splurge

There are lots of good hotels with reasonable prices. Places located in Old Town include:

Stay safe

Although Germany's east is considered to be a bit more dangerous for people "looking foreign" this is not problem in Jena due to the high number of foreigners, especially foreign students. Jena is among the towns with the highest ratio of foreigners in eastern Germany. So just take those measures you would normally take in the town you come from. Though, when using the tram in the night, the risk of encountering people you didn't want to encounter rises.

Go next

Buses leaving from the bus terminal adjacent to the main train station are only serving regional destinations of minor touristic interest, such as Eisenberg or Schleiz.

The best option is going by train from Westbahnhof to towns like Weimar (20 min.) or Erfurt (40 min.). Trains are leaving approx. once an hour. From the main train station Jena-Paradis, it is possible to go to Dornburg, Naumburg and Rudolstadt by regional train, and to Leipzig, Berlin, Nuremberg and Munich by ICE (high speed train). Trains leaving every two hours.

People who like hiking might try the Thüringenweg, a 400 km hiking trail:

Cyclists will enjoy the Saale-Radweg or the so-called Thüringer Städtekette.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 05, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.