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German Towns

Hello all! Has anyone here done the Luther towns? Specifically, Wittenberg, Erfurt, and Wartburg? I'm wondering how easily these towns can be done in terms of getting to and from the towns if one is not with an organized tour. They are smaller towns, so how accessible are they by train? Additionally, I am thinking of adding Rothenburg and Nuremberg to this limited exploration of Germany. Thank you!

Posted by
14580 posts

Of the three I've been to only Wittenberg. It was in 2014 I went to see Lutherstadt-Wittenberg as a day trip from Berlin Hbf. The town is on the ICE route going to Leipzig. Lutherstadt-Wittenberg was its first stop.

Posted by
3995 posts

All 3 are very easy to get to by train, we have been to all. Leipzig is along the route and a very worthwhile city to explore too. Use the German train site to check time and distances. https://www.bahn.com/en

Posted by
33339 posts

it seems that you left off a couple - Worms and Augsburg, both with critical Luther connections, and both really neat places on their own.

Posted by
2410 posts

Augsburg, where the political part of the history of the Reformation began with the Imperial Diet of 1518, is very easy to reach by train. The Fugger Palace, where Luther was examined by cardinal Cajetan and where he refused to retract his theses, is still standing and also the Carmelite monastery, where Luther lived during the diet, can be visited and has a small Luther memorial site. The town has some interesting other sights (especially the magnificent renaissance town hall by by Elias Holl) and would be the ideal southern start or end point of your journey.

Posted by
86 posts

Eisleben is another Luther town. Erfurt not so much - only the Augustine monastery is Luther related as far as I remember. And Wartburg is a castle, the town is Eisenach.

Erfurt is not a smaller town - it is a city with a population of more than 200,000. All these are easy to reach by train, though, and easy to naviagate by yourself.

All three have lots of things to do and see. In Wittenberg don't miss the Lucas Cranach related places, in Eisenach not those related to Johann Sebastian Bach.

Posted by
6814 posts

Wartburg is listed with other towns in your post, but it is actually the name of a CASTLE in the town of EISENACH.

Eisenach and Erfurt are with easy reach of one another, with direct regional trains running every hour between them. The journey takes 45 minutes; Erfurt can be found near the center of the map below.

Local railway map

It might be a mistake to plan a visit to Luther towns only, as there are some other very interesting destinations in the area as well which offer direct train service from Erfurt. Bad Langensalza and Mühlhausen lie on the train route heading northwest from Erfurt to Goettingen (university town) and are almost neighbor-towns. Figure about 40-50 minutes on the regional train to the first two; add an hour's ride to Gottingen.

Using that same train route out of Erfurt, a longer trip to pretty the pretty half-timbered town of Hannoversch Münden would also be possible.

As the map indicates, Erfurt is served by numerous railways heading in different directions. It's a stop on the main ICE long-distance train route that heads south from Berlin to Lutherstadt-Wittenberg to Nuremberg and Munich. So with a stay in Erfurt, your longer train rides for arrival and departure would also be direct.

I'd encourage you to look into the towns mentioned and to consider an Erfurt-based stay of several days for a rewarding visit to this area.

Posted by
7579 posts

Echoing Russ' observation about "only Luther towns", I'd point out that we enjoyed Erfurt a lot, and I don't mean just the medieval retail bridge. The deconsecrated Synagogue there is a superb, unusual museum (the oldest synagogue building in western Europe, maybe), and the EGAPark (dedicated tram stop) is simultaneously a great botanical garden and a "day out with the locals", especially on weekends. The nearby Schloss in Gotha is still on my list. I'm not that interested in the Luther-trail, but very destination-rich Weimar is also involved, if less so.

If I had a car in this area, I would not miss Quedlinburg. Eisenach is also much easier by car. I mean, there are city busses, but that's very tedious when you're trying to do multiple towns in one day without a car.

You might use the Search box top center to find some mentions during the recent Luther-year. You may be able to edit your Subject Line to include the word Luther.

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks everyone. This is helpful! If I may ask one other question: How much time/nights do you thing I would need in Eisenach, Erfurt, and Wittenberg (don't think I'll make it to Worms or Augsburg on this trip). The three are fairly close to each other. Are these towns day trips from each other? 1 night? 2 nights? Thanks again!!

Posted by
20488 posts

Eisenach is 43 minutes from Erfurt on regional trains that go every hour. You can buy a Theuringen Ticket for 27.90 EUR and travel all day on regional trains in the region, after 9 am weekdays and anytime weekends. Includes local buses.

Wartburg Castle is reached by bus from Eisenach train station in a few minutes. Its still quite a few steps up to the castle from the bus stop. They have English language tours, including Luther's apartment and study. There is also a visit to the upper hall where they have chamber music concerts in the evening.

Lutherstadt Wittenberg is 1 hour and 18 minutes away by hourly ICE trains which stop in Leipzig on the way.

I'd say you can do Eisenach as a day trip. Eisenach is also the birthplace of J.S. Bach and there is a museum there as well.

If you wanted a single place to do these, Erfurt would suit, although maybe you want to do an overnight in Wittenberg. Direct ICE trains to Nuremberg from Erfurt.