Nature, culture, buildings, design – Saxony and Thuringia offer an impressively wide range of UNESCO World Heritage sites within a relatively small geographical space. Discover them here.
Hainich National Park
The standout visitor attraction in this vast expanse of deciduous woodland is, no doubt, a canopy-walk at tree-top level. From up there, you get breathtaking views over an untouched parkland that is home to to rare species of animals and birds and one of the last remaining Central European beech forests. The primeval landscape was listed by UNESCO as part of a World Heritage site recognising ancient beech forests in Europe. Exploring the ancient woodland on hiking and cycling routes is highly recommended!
Prince Pückler Park, Bad Muskau
A 19th century brainchild of a bohemian aristocrat who had a love for travelling and landscape gardening, this UNESCO World Heritage site is as delightful as they come and also one of only a few spanning two countries: Divided between Germany and neigbouring Poland, Central Europe’s largest English-style landscaped garden artfully combines nature and architecture on the banks of the river Neisse. Sweeping vistas, winding paths and a romantic palace in the middle of it – simply perfect for a fairytale-like day in the country.
Wartburg Castle, Eisenach
As the quintessential German castle, the Wartburg is as closely linked with pivotal events in German history as no other. A UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999, it reflects 1,000 years of German and European history, including the medieval minstrel contests, Martin Luther and the Reformation or the fight for German unity. The stunning location above Eisenach surrounded by the green of the Thuringian Forest make for a unique experience and art lovers will delight in the castle’s collection that includes works by Lucas Cranach and Tilman Riemenschneider.
Around 1800, Weimar saw a remarkable cultural flowering, with eminent European writers, such as Goethe and Schiller, settling in the small Thuringian town. The ensemble of UNESCO-listed sites, known as “Classical Weimar”, is testament to this period of enlightenement that is reflected in splendid buildings and parks. Visitors can see 16 UNESCO Cultural Heritage locations, including palaces and gardens and the stunning Duchess Anna Amalia Library. Not enough, with the “Bauhaus Weimar” buildings, the town features a second UNESCO listing, showcasing the early phase of Bauhaus design.