Many traditional handicrafts have survived in the Cultural Heart of Germany and this route celebrates all the artisans and companies who uphold century-old skills, creating beautiful products.
Lauscha – Kahla – Markneukirchen – Seiffen – Meissen
The small town of Lauscha in the Thuringian Forest is the birthplace of Christmas baubles and the Lauscha glass famous throughout the world. Learn how glass is made at ELIAS Farbglashütte, one of the town’s oldest factories, and give it a go yourself – you can even make your own bauble! There is also an all-year open Christmas shop if you want to stock up on decorations. Stay in the area for the night or drive on for your next destination Kahla to spend the night in nearby Jena (Lauscha – Jena: approx. 1 hr 40 min; Jena – Kahla: approx. 25 min)
In Kahla (approx. 75 min drive from Lauscha), you can tour Thuringia’s largest porcelain producer KAHLA to learn all about porcelain production. Or just pop in the factory outlet store for some shopping. Then, combine a castle visit with some more insights into the world of porcelain: Only 15 minutes along the road, Leuchtenburg Castle in Seitenroda is home to the “Porcelain Experience” exhibition. Tip: Lunch or coffee in the rustic onsite restaurant.
In Germany, Kahla is a synonym for top-class, modern porcelain design. The history of Thuringian porcelain production as well as myths and stories around the ‘white gold’ are the focus of a museum at nearby Leuchtenburg Castle.
Moving on to Saxony and turning to the tradition of instrument making in Markneukirchen (approx. 1 hr 35 min drive) in the Vogtland region: In Germany’s so-called “musical corner”, the finest wooden and brass instruments used by artists and musicians around the world have been produced for more than 350 years. Don’t miss the museum of musical instruments in Markneukirchen and visit a workshop to see expert craftspeople at work. Fascinating!
Next, you’re moving north-east to Seiffen in the Ore Mountains (approx. 2 hrs 10 min drive) where a unique tradition of producing handmade wooden art and toys is upheld to this day. Christmas decorations such as intricately crafted wooden pyramids or nutcrackers are beloved throughout the world and to get the insight story, visit Seiffen’s toy museum or show workshops of local producers. Plenty opportunities for shopping, of course …
Your last stop Meissen is another approx. 90 min further north near Dresden: The picturesque historic town is the cradle of European porcelain making which started here in 1710. Meissen porcelain is today an internationally renowned trademark and we highly recommend touring Meissen Porcelain Manufactory’s “House of Meissen” exhibition and workshop to see the masterful artisans at work.