Saxony and Thuringia are a haven for lovers of classical music. Walk in the footsteps of some of the world’s greatest composers and discover why music in all its forms is part of this region’s DNA.
Eisenach – Weimar – Markneukirchen – Zwickau – Leipzig – Dresden
Start with the great Johann Sebastian Bach in his birthplace Eisenach and visit the Bach House and St. George’s Church where he was christened. Then it’s up to Wartburg Castle above town where Richard Wagner set his Tannhäuser opera and Franz Liszt performed. You might be lucky to fit a concert or even Tannhäuser performance in the castle’s grand hall in!
Optional stop is in Arnstadt (approx. 1 hr drive). Members of the musical Bach family lived in Arnstadt for several generations. In Weimar (approx. 75 min driving from Eisenach or 20 min driving from Arnstadt), take a guided tour focusing on the town’s musical history and follow in the footsteps of Bach and Franz Liszt. Visit the Liszt House where the composer spent his summers. Time permitting, stay the night and enjoy a concert or opera performance at Deutsches National Theater with its Staatskapelle Weimar orchestra.
The young J.S. Bach was the organist in today’s Bach Church from 1703 – 1707. He married his cousin Maria Barbara at the age of 22 on a beautiful autumn day in the church St. Bartholomew in nearby Dornheim.
Your next stop offers fascinating insights into musical instrument making: In Saxony’s Vogtland region, or “Musicon Valley®”, you can visit one of over 100 workshops and see how woodwind, brass and string instruments are hand made by experts or pop in the museum of musical instruments in Markneukirchen. Driving time from Weimar: just under 2 hrs.
Zwickau, about an hour north of Markneukirchen, is the birthplace of the great romantic composer Robert Schumann and here, you can marvel at the world’s largest Schumann collection with more than 4,000 original handwritings by Schumann and his wife Clara in the Robert Schumann House. Take some time to explore the historic town centre!
Moving further north (1,5 hrs), your next destination Leipzig would justify a whole music break on its own: Start with the “Notenspur” discovery tour that takes you on a musical route through town, including Gewandhaus, the Opera, Bach Museum, St. Thomas Church, Schumann House or Mendelssohn House. Visit the Grassi Museum of Musical Instruments with one of the largest collections of instruments in the world and don’t miss to enjoy music live, e.g., the famous St. Thomas Boys Choir or the wonderful Gewandhaus orchestra. Relax in the Barthels Hof restaurant where you can order a special Bach menu.
In neighbouring Dresden, you can listen to the famous Kreuzkirche church boys choir, join a concert in the city’s landmark Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady) or enjoy an evening in the splendid Semper Opera. There are also guided city tours focusing on music.