Castle Adventure

Wartburg Castle Trip -- If you are adventurous then you might try a trip outside of Weimar to the Wartburg castle. This castle overlooks the town of Eisenach which is about an hour train ride from Weimar. I suggest you look up Wartburg castle on Wikepedia for full historical details.

As it turns out you can purchase a package deal tp visit the castle from the Bahn train system. You can get tickets at the train station in Weimar. The package for two includes the train ride from Weimar to Eisenach and back, a bus ride from the train station in Eisenach to the Castle and back, and a tour of the castle lasting about one hour that is given in English. The price of the package for two people is 54 Euro and is well worth it.

A couple of notes of caution --- the English speaking tour of the castle only takes place at 1:30 in the afternoon. Other tours are in German or perhaps other languages. So timing your trip is important. There is a modest size restaurant at the castle. The entryway is from the castle courtyard.  It is easy to find, but there is not much signage to point the way.





We took apples, trail mix, water and cookies with us to munch on while waiting for the tour of the inside of the castle to begin. The bus trip from the train station (bus station is across the street from the train station) takes about 15 min or so. The bus stops about 3/4 of the way up the tall hill on which the castle sits. From that point you must walk up to the castle. The climb is steep. There is a roadway to walk on or you can take stairs up to the castle. Signage is not very good, but just look for the souvenir/gift shop which is also the ticket office.

QueenchambersPart of the ticket you are given when you buy your pass must be turned into the ticket office at the castle and they will give you a Tour Ticket for the castle. The tour inside the castle starts from the inner court yard by the larger cistern in the middle of the yard. The tour takes about an hour. The woman who led our group of 30 or so people was quite good and really knew her history.

When you have finished seeing the castle, then you must return the way you came by walking down to the bus drop off point.

For those who would rather not take a bus back, you can make arrangements in the ticket office to have a taxi pick you up at a nearby car parking lot and take you back to the train station. The cost of the taxi back was about 8 Euros.

The train station at Eisenach is very nice and has a number of small food shops and other stores on the inside.  You can be back to Weimar by around 5 pm.


Ann Wedekind Mini-Guide to Places

in Bad Berka:
The more than 1,000 years old locality became part of the dukedom Saxe-Weimar in 1608. The dukes first used it as a residence for hunting. From this time the "Zeugheus" descends. About 1800 spas were found in the town area and Berka became a bath for the court society of the nearby residence Weimar. The patron of the 'classical Weimar', Duke Carl-August, as well as his minister Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and his master-builder Clemens Wenzeslaus Coudray left traces of classic german architecture there. (town-hall and market, Coudray-house, Goethefountain).

Also in Bad Berka is a baroque church, St. Marie, which rests near her gothic predecessor building and has a deer as weathervane, instead of a crucifix.

From the middle ages there is a castle ruin left. On an adventure path up to the castle hill you can find out about figures from myths and fairytales that took place in the Thuringian woods, especially around Bad Berka. Get to know the Ilmnixie Erlinde, whose beauty attracted many walkers to follow her into her wet realm.

Next to Bad Berka there is the village München with a manor where products from the farmstead such as meat, sausages, herbal tea and also wool can be bought. The manor includes a children's zoo with donkeys, angora goats, sheep, rabbits, lamas and other animals. From the 13th to 16th September 2012 the first Münchner Oktoberfest in Thuringia will be arranged there.

Further to the west, Tannroda, offers another medieval castle ruin and a castle. The basketmaker museum introduces you to an old craft, that at one time was wide spread in the Ilm valley.


Around Bad Berka:
The Ilm Valley bike lane leads from the rivers spring in Stützerbach for 125 km to its outfall into the Saale River  near Großheringen. You can reach Weimar and Apolda on the bike lane.
You can rent bikes in the Tourist-Information/ Kurverwaltung.

Erfurt (30 km, western)
This is the capital of the German federal state, Thuringia, and its largest city. It was mentioned first in 742, when the bishop and missioner Bonifatius constituted a diocese there. In the middle ages Erfurt was a rich trading town. From this period the Dome, the Krämerbrücke (grocers-bridge) – a bridge with houses and shops within – and the fish market - with its renaissance buildings and the renaissance Town Hall are left. In 1392 the third university in Germany was opened there. Martin Luther was the most famous student.

Hohenfelden (11 km, western)
The village Hohenfelden is famous for its catchment lake/reservoir that is a popular recreation area. A new attraction at the lake is the "Kletterwalt Hohenfelden" (climbing forest), where you can swing from tree to tree like Tarzan or rush through the treetops on a ropeway.

Another attraction in the village is the Thuringian open-air museum of a historical Hohenfelden with about 30 buildings like farms, workshops and barns from four centuries ago.


Weimar (13 km, northern)
This city is the cultural capital of Thuringia, and maybe Germany, as the epoche of the classical german literature, philosophy and arts was founded there in about 1800. Inside the medieval town centre of around 600 x 600 meters, you can find the sites of the "Weimarer classic" ---- the houses of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich von Schiller and their patron Carl-August, etc. The small city emerged in history as a center for music, architecture and politics: Johann Sebastian Bach and Franz List were employed in the court- ensemble. The "Bauhaus"- University and design school was founded there in 1919. In the same year, the parliament of the "Weimarer Republic" decided about the constitution for the first German Republik inside the city theatre.

Apolda ( 27 km, eastern)
This is a former Germanic estate from the 1st century that became an industrial town during the 18th century. Since then the city is famous for its knitwear, its bell foundry and its glass manufacturing. For today's visitors the art gallery "Avantgarde" and the museum "Olle DDR"  (lousy GDR) maybe interesting.


Rudolstadt ( 27 km, southern)
The town is rich in medieval architecture. An impressive castle, the Heidecksburg, is enthroned on a hill, as the town was the capital of the Earldom Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt from 1340 up to 1920. At the end of the 18th century the classical German poet Friedrich von Schiller met his later wife, Charlotte von Lengefeld, there. During World War II. the later president of France, Francois Mitterand, was arrested there as a war prisoner. Today Rudolstadt is also famous for its folk-festival, called "Rudolstädter Vogelschießen." People come from all over Europe to visit and participate in the festival.