Schmalkalden Diaries

Schmalkalden! Most of the expats living in Germany have never heard this name. Well, to be very honest even many Germans have never heard this name. Once I mentioned Schmalkalden to my German friend as an answer to his question “Where did you study”, and his reaction was: “No, I mean where did you study in Germany, not in Ukraine”. But well, Schmalkalden is actually in Germany.

This place is very special to me for many reasons, it is where it all began. Didn’t mean to sound like in one episodes of “Dark”. But well, that is true. That is exactly where my expat journey in Germany began. These place has so many memories of my student life – first time I’ve lived apart from my parents, first time I’ve lived in a student dorm, my first dorm party, my first part-time job, and the list can go on. It was a place where I met so many beautiful people and made friends for the rest of my life. I had so many sleepless nights of studying and, of course, partying. That is exactly why I decide to create a separate blog post to tell you more about this town. So, let’s start!

Schmalkalden is a small university town situated in Schmalkalden-Meiningen district in the state of Thuringia with population slightly over 19.000 people. Although, it is pretty small in size, it is very beautiful with half-timbered houses from Middle Ages and surrounded by exquisite nature. 

Apart from university and its campus, there are so many other places to see in Schmalkalden. You can start with simply wondering around the city center glaring at the houses from Middle Ages, visit the Wilhelmsburg Museum and Castle, enjoy the coffee with a view on St. George City Church. The Wilhemsburg Castle is a very remarkable sightseeing, it played an important historical role and also it is fascinating that the castle saved the original structure and didn’t undergo any major structural changes over years. Also the view on Schmalkalden opening from this very castle is just beautiful! It is so relaxing just to sit on the bench enjoying the sunset there. And guess what? The annual graduation ceremony also takes place there in summer! (Well, since I was lucky enough to graduate during Corona pandemic, I didn’t get a chance to have a graduation ceremony, but I attended one with my friend before and it was so great). Moreover, if you happen to visit Schmalkalden in Advent time, you will be lucky to attend a Christmas Market in Wilhemsburg Castle too! 

Another wonderful in my opinion thing –  Schmalkalden has its own Chocolate Factory – Viba Nougat-Welt. The factory is located a bit further away from the city center, around 20 minutes by foot. But if you are feeling lazy and happen to be near the train stop of Schmalkalden Hochschule, you can take a train to next stop of Schmalkalden Hbf and then you will only have to walk for couple of minutes. It has a chocolate shop, restaurant and in addition it offers excursions where you can find out more about the history of factory, production of chocolate and you can even taste the chocolate from the chocolate fountain! Ohhh, how  I wish I could live right next to that fountain! 

The infrastructure of the city is pretty good. It is pretty small in size and easy to navigate. Although with my poor location skills, I needed 1 month to finally adjust! The city center is 10-15 minutes by walking from the university where I studied. You can find many local shops selling clothing as well as few bakeries, which sell fresh-brewed coffee and really tasty homemade cakes. In summer, you can enjoy delicious Ice Coffee with ice cream and whipped cream (first time I heard of Ice Coffee was actually in Germany)! Also there are few shops offering you many touristic souvenirs, such as postcards, cups, magnets for your fridge – whatever you wish to memorize this trip.  There are more than four pubs in the town, which also offer great selection of food and drinks. Although they are usually not working in the beginning of the week. 

The separate thing to mention, is that region has very beautiful nature (Thuringen Forest), it is rather popular touristy place for hiking and winter sports, there are green fields, mountains, forests, lakes, you name it. It is a home for a well-known ski resort in Oberhof – I loved going there once in a while. Well, mostly for photography, to be very honest my ski and snowboard skills were and still are very poor. All I can do is rolling down the hill, and believe me, I am not exaggerating it.  

That is shortly about the beautiful town of Schmalkalden and my experience of living there! Thank you all for reading, scroll through the gallery below for more images. Don’t forget to comment and like my blog on social media. 

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