Wartburg Castle - A UNESCO World Heritage Site
This tour takes visitors through the Thuringian countryside to Wartburg Castle, which is arguably Germany’s most famous castle. For almost a thousand years, Wartburg Castle has sat majestically above the town of Eisenach. An UNESCO world heritage site, it is a highly symbolic location that attracts half a million visitors every year. Wartburg Castle was the site of the great minnesong contest associated with Walther von der Vogelweide, a pinnacle of secular culture during the Middle Ages. Apart from St. Elisabeth, the castle’s most famous resident was Martin Luther, who translated the New Testament into German here, under the alias of "Squire George". Your guided tour of Eisenach includes Luther’s House, the oldest and finest half-timbered building in the town, and Bach’s House, where Johann Sebastian Bach was born. Bach’s House has an impressive collection of historical musical instruments, which you will be able to hear played.
Weimar - City of Poets and Thinkers
This tour takes you toWeimar, the town of poets and philosophers. Weimar is like “a literary biography in the form of a town” shaped by great writers such asWieland, Goethe, Herder and Schiller, who sealed its reputation as a centre of classicism. The whole town centre is like a great living museum where you keep “bumping into” famous individuals – not only Goethe and Schiller but also Luther, Cranach, Herder and Bach. The tour includes a visit to Goethe’s house inWeimar and an excursion to Belvedere Palace and its magnificent park. To the south ofWeimar is Grosskochberg, a delightful village with a moated palace that was the residence of Goethe’s friend Charlotte von Stein. Grosskochberg Palace is one of the most attractive Goethe sites in Thuringia and is sure to be one of the highlights of your visit.
Molsdorf Palace & the Drei Gleichen Castles - Erfurt's Grand Surroundings
Just a short drive out of Erfurt in an idyllic countryside setting is the rococo Molsdorf Palace. In 1734 the moated palace was acquired by the hedonistic Count Gustav Adolph von Gotter, whose philosophy was "Vive la joie" (Long live happiness). He had the palace totally rebuilt on the model of Sanssouci Palace. On this tour you visit the palace and the English-style landscape park. The grand finale of the palace tour is a specially arranged baroque concert performed by musicians in historical costume. The tour then continues to the three castles known as the "Drei Gleichen". They are all steeped in legend and offer fabulous views of the highest peaks in the Thuringian Forest. Along the way you stop off at a traditional country inn to enjoy some genuine Thuringian dumplings.
The Thuringian Forest - The Green Heart of Germany
The Thuringian Forest and the Rennsteig trail are like being on top of the world. All around the highest peak, the Grosser Beerberg (982 metres), there is green countryside as far as the eye can see. The whole region can be crossed north-west to south-east on the legendary 168 km Rennsteig trail along the mountain ridge. The popular wintersports resort of Oberhof offers plenty of thrilling sporting action, as well as beautiful forest scenery. See the biathlon stadium, the ski jumps and the championship bobsleigh run. You can try out world championship training sites on the "visitor bob" or see who comes top in your group in a round of biathlon shooting. Your efforts are then rewarded with a hearty Thuringian meal.
A Royal Evening at Wartburg Castle
For an exceptional evening event, let the thousand-year-old Wartburg Castle open its gates exclusively for you. Begin the evening in style with a glass of wine served in the castle ward and admire the magnificent views of the Thuringian Forest. The castle tour then includes the main fortress, one of the late-Romanesque era’s finest and best-preserved secular buildings, the hall of the troubadours, believed to be the site of the early 13th-century minnesong contest involving Walther von der Vogelweide, and the Luther Room, where Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. Next you enter the banqueting hall for a glittering concert of classical or medieval music, after which a meal fit for royalty is served in the historical armoury hall at the 5-star hotel "Auf der Wartburg", which adjoins the castle.
Gotha - Historical Town and Centre of German Drama
This tour takes you to Gotha, just a few kilometres from Erfurt. Gotha, a former ducal town, is often portrayed in historical travelogues as one of the most beautiful and most prosperous towns in Thuringia. It is dominated by the impressive baroque Friedenstein Palace, which was named after the Peace (Frieden) of Westphalia, and is said to have one room for every day of the year. In the 17th century, the ballroom in the west tower of the palace was converted and became Thuringia’s first theatre. It was made famous by Konrad Ekhof, who was revered as the "father of German drama" even during his lifetime. This tour takes visitors to the fully preserved historical theatre, whose technological equipment was remarkable in its day. It is one of the oldest theatres in Germany still staging plays.
Heidecksburg Palace and Saalfeld
This tour takes you from Erfurt through the scenic Schwarza valley to Rudolstadt where Heidecksburg Palace sits in majestic splendour high above the town. Its most admired attractions are the courtyards and the splendid rococo banqueting hall. The palace interior is a real treasure trove. Today it is one of Thuringia’s most comprehensive art museums with exhibitions and collections of porcelain. Another highlight of the tour is Saalfeld, a small romantic town surrounded by the hills of the Thuringian Forest, where you will visit the “fairy grottoes”, the most colourful show caves in the world. The return journey includes a short stop at the impressive ruins of Paulinzella Abbey, one of the most exquisite remaining examples of Romanesque architecture in Thuringia.
Sondershausen and the Visitor Mine
This tour takes you to the Kyffhäuser region in northern Thuringia, a hilly landscape steeped in myth and dotted with ancient fortifications, castles, palaces and stately homes. Listen to historical tales and imagine yourself back in the reign of Emperor Barbarossa.
The tour calls at the Kyffhäuser monument, imperial Tilleda Palace and the Barbarossa cave. Sondershausen is a town where music and the legacy of the Princes of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen are very much alive. The former ducal palace has an impressive collection of art and craftwork as well as an extensive collection of musical instruments and sheet music. On an altogether different note, you will also explore the Sondershausen visitor mine. You are taken 700 metres below ground into a disused potash mine, one of the oldest in the world. In this subterranean labyrinth, visitors can take a boat ride on the salt lake, past waterfalls and mysteriously lit rock faces.