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Hopping Off Train for a Couple of Hours: Leipzig, Erfurt or Nürnberg

My Germany summertime itinerary involves taking a train trip between Dresden and Munich. To break up the journey, I am strongly considering spending 1-3 hours exploring and perhaps lunching en route. The transfer points, Leipzig, Erfurt and Nürnberg seem like natural candidates. What are the thoughts on the best stop over? We love love sampling local cuisine, learning history and appreciating art. Thanks!

Posted by
16984 posts

Erfurt is pretty much half way, a transfer point for many of the itineraries with only one transfer. Plenty of art and culture. Go with that one.

Posted by
13540 posts

I have yet to see Erfurt but Leipzig I have been to a few times on day trips from Berlin and Dresden.

I suggest Leipzig especially if you're interested in music and the defeat of Napoleon in Germany where he faced the armies of four nations at the Battle of Leipzig as depicted at the Voelkerschlachtdenkmal.

Take the S-Bahn outside of Leipzig Hbf to reach the monument and the museum. Not far from the monument is a Russian church with memorial plaques dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of Russian troops lost at this event.

Posted by
16984 posts

One city that is on your route, but not a ton with a normal train change, is Bamberg. A smaller city that is a Unesco World Heritage City. You could leave Dresden at 8 am, be in Bamberg by 11:15 am and have 4 hours there and be in Munich by 5 pm.

Posted by
1660 posts

I don't know what to make of 1-3 hours - first you've got to ditch the luggage, then you have to clear the station and get yourself oriented specifically to your target, time at your target, back to the station, retrieve your luggage, and find the correct track to continue your journey ... practically ... 1-3 hours ... hmmm!

Now, if the only intent is just to say you've been somewhere, then I'd pick Leipzig - stretch your legs, grab some lunch, explore the station, and get back on your way;

"Leipzig Hauptbahnhof is the central railway terminus in Leipzig, Germany. At 83,460 square metres (898,400 sq ft), it is Europe's largest railway station measured by floor area. It has 19 overground platforms housed in six iron train sheds, a multi-level concourse with towering stone arches, and a 298 metres (978 ft) long facade."

"In 2021, Leipzig Hauptbahnhof was ranked the best railway station in Europe."

Posted by
22593 posts

With only 1 -3 hours I'd look for a smallish place, but of course if you want to take express trains, they don't stop in small places. You might go to Google Maps and see how far the train station is from the historic part of each town you're considering.

Posted by
13540 posts

Leipzig Hbf , as pointed out, is a huge station both levels, you could spend the time just exploring that and its shops, which I've done when I had time flexibility taking the ICE (it's the second stop southwards from Berlin). If you plan on using the lockers, they're different from the usual coin lockers in Germany.

With a limited time span , I would suggest seeing the Zentrum (much closer to the train station) and the music houses/museums of Bach, Mendelsohn, Schumann, unless you're desperate to see the site commemorating the Napoleonic defeat....my first site to see in Leipzig. With 3 hrs. max to and fro, it still can be done with disciplined timing.

Posted by
1932 posts

We broke up a driving trip in Erfurt only because of its location and were happily surprised. We walked around for hours. We thought it was lovely. There are some Luther connections, beautiful cathedrals, churches and a German Ponte Vecchio ( well, that could be a stretch). We have also stayed in Nuremberg but never Leipzig. I have no idea logistically which might be the best fit for your time frame and needs. Safe travels.

Posted by
6055 posts

Oldest surviving physical Synagogue in Germany is a, deconsecrated, local history museum in Erfurt. Don't miss.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks so much for the helpful suggestions. I am now rethinking the 1-3 hours as being too short a stopover time. I should probably commit to an earlier start and spend a few hours extra for the stopover en route. Also need to plan a second trip to Germany to savour all three destinations (and Bamberg).

Posted by
16984 posts

You should book this as one advance purchase ticket. Example: from Dresden to Munich with a 5 hour stopover in Erfurt a month from now would cost 65.90 EUR if bought today. If you bought as 2 separate tickets, it would cost 83.80 EUR for the exact same trains.
https://www.bahn.com/en

Posted by
8 posts

Bamberg, definitely. Then Erfurt -- Egapark is great, the dueling cathedrals, the Martin Luther history.