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Plan Your Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia Vacation

Germany's traditional charm is most evident in the eastern states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. Although the area formed the cultural core of the former East Germany, rolling hills, terraced vinyards, and wonderfully restored cities speak to an area reborn and reestablished as the German heartland. The region can be a little gritty at times, but a uniquely unspoiled German state of mind predominates.

Eastern Germans resolutely cling to their German heritage. They proudly preserve their connections with such national heroes as Luther, Goethe, Schiller, Bach, Handel, Wagner, and the Hungarian-born Liszt. Towns in the regions of the Thüringer Wald (Thuringian Forest) or the Harz Mountains—long considered the haunt of witches—are drenched in history and medieval legend. The area hides a fantastic collection of rural villages and castles unparalleled in other parts of the country.

Many cities, such as Erfurt, escaped World War II relatively unscathed, and the East Germans extensively rebuilt towns damaged by bombing. Although historical city centers were faithfully restored to their past glory, there are also plenty of eyesores of industrialization and stupendously bland housing projects, which the Germans refer to as Bausünden (architectural sins). Famous palaces and cultural wonders—the rebuilt historical center of Dresden, the Wartburg at Eisenach, the Schiller and Goethe houses in Weimar, Luther's Wittenberg, as well as the wonderfully preserved city of Görlitz—are waiting to have their subtle and extravagant charms discovered.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Following Martin Luther Trace the path of the ultimate medieval rebel in Wittenberg, Erfurt, Eisenach, and the Wartburg, and gain valuable insight into the mind and culture of a person whose ideas helped change the world. Germany will celebrate 500 years of the Reformation in 2017; look out for special events.
  2. Frauenkirche in Dresden Rising like a majestic baroque phoenix, the church is a worthy symbol of a city destroyed and rebuilt from its ashes.
  3. Görlitz This architectural gem is relatively undiscovered; you'll feel as if you have the whole town to yourself.
  4. Weimar The history of Germany seems to revolve around this small town, whose past residents include Goethe, Schiller, Bach, Liszt, and Gropius.
  5. Wine tasting in the Salle-Unstrut The castle-topped, rolling hills covered in terraced vineyards are perfect for biking, hiking, and horseback riding.

When To Go

When to Go

Winters in this part of Germany can be cold, wet, and dismal, so unless you plan to ski in the Harz Mountains or the Thüringer Wald, visit in...

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