1 Erfurt

The underrated Land capital may be cultured, and it is certainly charming, but it’s the presence of a university that brings energy – and bars – to the historic streetscape.

2 Weimar

An erudite town steeped in three centuries of cultural prowess whose former residents read like a who’s who of German arts. Don’t worry – it’s pretty, too.

3 Gotha

Spend the morning in a multifaceted museum, and the afternoon in the Thuringian Forest, reached on a historic tram.

4 Eisenach

A provincial backwater that just happens to be home to the Wartburg, as potent an icon of German identity as you could wish for, where Luther hid and whose gloriously over-the-top halls inspired Wagner.

5 Touring small-town Thuringia

With your own transport there are cosy villages to find, castles to explore and pocket-sized ducal capitals to stroll in, in a region that offers slow travel at its best.

6 Rennsteig

On two legs or two wheels, “Der Runst” remains the track that any self-respecting trail-junkie must tick off.

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