Best of open-air in the Cultural Heart of Germany

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From open-air opera against the backdrop of two stunning churches to a weekend of vineyard-hopping – the coming months are all about open-air delights in the Cultural Heart of Germany regions of Saxony and Thuringia. Read on for six top outdoor happenings this summer and beyond.

A world of music: “Rudolstadt-Festival”, 7 to 10 July

About 50 minutes south of Erfurt, the town of Rudolstadt each summer hosts a veritable folk, roots and world music bonanza. The line-up includes concerts, ceilidh, buskers, workshops and talks. Join in and see international artists coming from as far as South Korea and Colombia on multiple stages across Rudolstadt, including at the local Heidecksburg Castle, the market square and in the town’s “Heinepark”.

Best of Yiddish culture: “Yiddish Summer Weimar”, 14 July to 20 Aug

During the yearly “Weimar Summer” season with a wide range of cultural events, the much loved “Yiddish Summer Weimar” is, no doubt, a highlight. A wonderful celebration of Yiddish culture, featuring various workshops on culture and language and, most of all, lots of music: Join in for the special “Festival Week” from 9 to 13 August for concerts featuring world-class bands in the evenings and hands-on, no-experience-necessary workshops on klezmer, Yiddish song, dance and more during the day.

Dresden summer party: “Dresden Castle Night”, 16 July

Dresden’s beautiful palaces along the Elbe River form the perfect backdrop for a long summer night full of fun and celebrations. Each July, the trio of Albrechtsberg Castle, Lingnerschloss and Eckberg Castle becomes the centre for an open-air festival featuring a multitude of stages in the spacious parks by the river, lots of music, food stands and a grand firework display to mark the special occasion. Time your city break to see how Dresden parties!

Erfurt’s grand open-air stage: “DomStufen-Festspiele”, 16 July to 7 Aug

Every summer, the 70 steps between the glorious ensemble of the Cathedral of St Mary and the Church of St Severus turn into a stage for opera or musical performances. In 2022, visitors can enjoy Verdi’s “Nabucco” against the historical backdrop of Erfurt’s landmark – perfect add-on to a city break in Thuringia’s capital!

Raise a glass to the Saxon Wine Route: “Open Winery Days”, 27 & 28 Aug

Ready to get to know almost 50 wine-growing estates (ok, some of them)? Then head to the Saxon Wine Route in late August for the yearly “Open Winery Days” when the region’s vintners invite guests to wine tastings and tours of their wine cellars and production facilities. This year’s event is all the more special as the Saxon Wine Route, officially inaugurated in 1992 and winding its way through enchanting landscape just outside Dresden, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Raise a glass and join in with the locals having a good time in one of the many quaint wine taverns.

Go green in Torgau: “Regional Garden Show”, until 9 Oct

Germany has this great tradition of so-called “regional garden shows” taking place in several federal states each year. In 2022, the beautiful historic town of Torgau, about 1,5 hrs northwest of Dresden, is hosting the Saxon edition on an almost 60-acre site between the town’s “Glacis” park and the Elbe River, inviting visitors to discover a beautiful green oasis. Tip: don’t miss the town’s splendid Renaissance Hartenfels Castle!

Vineyards around Radebeul