· · · · ·

6 of the best ways to experience the Cultural Heart of Germany

As normality slowly returns to our lives, and more and more people are vaccinated, our ability to travel also gradually improves. Should you happen to find yourself in the regions of Saxony and Thuringia, known as the Cultural Heart of Germany, here’s  a selection of top experiences, including magical bridges and trails in gloriously unspoilt woodlands, for you to enjoy. Take a deep breath in ancient woodlands A tourism initiative to our liking: Thuringia’s “Urwaldpfade” (jungle trails) take hikers to a selection of the region’s most primeval and ancient forests. You can choose from more than a dozen routes, including in the wonderful UNESCO-listed Hainich National Park, to dive deep into unspoilt nature. It’s clean, green, and just what we all need now. Handy: Outdoor platform Outdooractive lists all of them with an English translation option. Paddle out to Leipzig’s lakes Combine urban cool with outdoor activities in Leipzig, where a system of canals takes you out to “Leipzig Lakeland”, a recreational area and tourism regenerative project featuring a collection of idyllic lakes, which used to be – opencast mines. Canoes can be hired in the city centre for the approximately 5.5 miles paddle out to the lakes. Or take the bike and enjoy the trails around the waters, beaching and water sports included. Unique places to stay in Saxony From romantic vineyards to spending the night in a factory loft, Saxony offers travellers a diverse range of accommodation options beyond the usual. Highlights include lakeside holiday apartments in the former guards houses of Moritzburg Castle just outside Dresden, charming guest houses on the historic Hoflößnitz wine estate or a super cool “Meisterzimmer” loft on the grounds of Leipzig’s art hub Spinnerei, a former cotton mill. Pick and choose! Cameras at the ready Stunning 19th century Rakotz Bridge in the Kromlau rhododendron park close to Saxony’s border with Poland is, unsurprisingly, a favourite with photographers. The bridge was specifically built to create a circle when it is reflected in the waters beneath and after extensive restoration work to save its delicate structure has come to an end, happy snappers can now again find their perfect angle. Tip: combine your visit with an exploration of the nearby UNESCO World Heritage site Prince Pueckler Park Bad Muskau. Discover Thuringia’s hidden wine-growing region It is not widely known but winegrowing is a thing in Thuringia and quality wines have been produced for many centuries in the region’s share of the Saale-Unstrut wine growing region which is one of Europe’s northernmost wine regions. Tip: Explore the vineyards on the hiking trails around the city of Jena east of Thuringia’s capital Erfurt and don’t miss Dornburg Palaces! This dreamy collection of three palaces and beautiful gardens above the Saale river offers great views and is part of this year’s BUGA garden festival with its hub in Erfurt and a range of sites across the whole region. Hello, hobbit houses Here’s a good one for families: Thuringia’s “Auenland” holiday village features eight hobbit houses for rent and these 3-star earth homes for up to 4 people certainly offer more comfort than what Frodo Baggins is used to. The location right in the Thuringian Forest Nature Park is ideal for outdoor adventures and exploring Germany’s most popular long-distance hiking trail Rennsteig. And the on-site adventure playground and summer toboggan run keep children busy and parents more relaxed.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Telegraph.

Did you enjoy this article?

Receive similar content direct to your inbox.


  1. I’ve always had the impression that Germany doesn’t really get the respect it deserves as a travel destination. Whenever I’ve visited I’ve returned from my trips impressed by beautiful landscapes and thousands of years of culture. I don’t know Saxony and Thuringia particularly well but I’d definitely like to add them to my collection over the next couple of years.

  2. That picture of the bridge is stunning. Shows what you can create when you slow down and visit somewhere different.

    1. A little poem about my hometown Altenburg / Thuringia.


      Altenburg, old and beautiful City,
      Where life is easy, women are pretty.
      The market is a place to take a rest,
      The town hall a building of the best.

      Churches and museums are inviting,
      You go for a walk and keep surprising.
      The old castle at a rock on a hill
      You absolutely have to view still.

      The lake Großer Teich with its island
      Offers Zoo, boat hire besides silence.
      On your way you see wonderful trees,
      The air is clean, within birds and bees.

      Altenburg County, land of woods and lakes,
      This fine region has quite got what it takes.
      Where the rivers Pleiße and Sprotte flow,
      By the Gerstenbach coloured flowers grow.

      Animals and plants you can admire,
      The nature lifts you higher and higher.
      You’ll find friendly people day and night,
      I hope, your visit will be alright.

      Rainer Kirmse , Altenburg

      Thuringia / Germany ??

      With kind regards

  3. A little poem about my homeland:


    Thuringia, beautiful land of green,
    Wonderful places you must have seen.
    A Land of high culture and fine art,
    Buildings so pretty, people so smart.

    Old castles and churches on your way,
    Cities and small towns invite to stay.
    Nice villages right and left the road,
    On rivers you take a ride with boat.

    Woods and lakes you can admire,
    Nature lifts you higher and higher.
    Goethe and Schiller loved this region,
    Thuringia hope you to welcome soon.

    Rainer Kirmse , Altenburg

    With kind regards from Thuringia

  4. Thanks for sharing this Paul. Nice article and interesting places to visit. I think I have to experience the paddle out to leipzig’s lake. It really adventurous and will love to be there some day soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *