Keen on history? The Castle Wartburg in Wittenberg in Eastern Germany offers an opportunity to learn about the 500th Anniversary of Martin Luther’s Reformation. The castle is the place where Luther translated the bible and lived with his family.
The castle’s origins date back to 1067. The castle is hosting an exhibition until November called The Germans and Martin Luther, about the relationship between the German people and the prominent figure in the Protestant Reformation. There are also classical concerts during July and August.
If you go, I recommend you add a visit to Leipzig, which is a city that is also in Eastern Germany. The city has a lot to offer when it comes to culture, architecture and museums, opera houses and restaurants.
Coffee-lovers should make a stop in Leipzig to visit one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe, called Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum. It is as almost as old as Luther’s Reformation (the Reformation was prompted by the publication of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, in 1517) – it has been a café since 1556. It also includes a museum where visitors can learn about coffee and bone china.
Moving closer to the south you should take a break in the heart of Germany.
The Harz Mountains are famous for its witches. Even Goethe was here and got inspiration for his play Faust.
Every year in the night from April 30th to May first there is Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night) dance party. It is said that witches gathered and danced at Broken Mountain in the Middle Ages. In reference to this people dress up as witches and dance there every April 30th. At 114 meters Broken Mountain is the highest peak in the Harz Mountains. This is the main gathering place for witches since the 17th century and a lot of myths are told about this place. Walk the witches trail that leads you to the top of Broken Mountain and get some information about this place. You will recognise the trail by witch signs along the way.
Next stop Baden-Württemberg: finally you are in the beautiful South. Let’s take a trip through Tübingen, one of the most beautiful cities in Baden Württemberg.
If boating is your thing, in Tübingen you can just lean back and let others do all the paddling at the River Neckar. Take a Stocherkahn; Stocherkahn is a huge canoe which is driven by a pole. The guides row the boat along the Neckar and tell you interesting stories about Tübingen.
This town is famous for its university, the old town with its castle and a lot of cultural events such as Tübinger Sommerinsel, which is a culinary event at an island on the Neckar River where you can eat food from the best restaurants in town.
Since you are in Tübingen – which lies on the edge of a biosphere reserve called the Swabian Alb – take a trip there. Recently Swabian Alb was named a Unesco World Heritage Site. Biosphere reserve is a title that is given by Unesco to ecosystems that need to be protected.
You can drive through small towns, enjoy local food and bakeries and learn about traditions.
Some regional products include juniper, noodles, lentils, juice and cider.
Are you interested in high-tech and want to learn about elevators? Thyssenkrupp Company started to build a tower on the outskirts of Rottweil to test its newest elevators. The tower is 232 metres high – and from the top of the tower you can see all the way to the Swabian Alb. Rottweil made 2017 the year to celebrate its towers – from the newest high tech to the small oldest tower in town (Schwarze Tor), which is 800 years old.
In the southern part of Germany, you can travel on to the Lake of Constance. An annual cultural highlight for classical music lovers is the Opera Festival in Bregenz with a huge open air stage at the lake. This year they are showing “Carmen” all through August. There’s still plenty of time for Yukoners to cross Germany off their bucket list this summer!