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On 11 and 12 April 2015 a festival of porcelain will be taking place across Thuringia. At 15 different stations in and around the towns of Weimar, Jena and Gera, you can learn all about this elegant craft. A number of porcelain manufacturers are opening their doors to the public and showcasing their lovingly crafted works.

Thuringia also holds great appeal for nature lovers. The Thuringian Forest is best explored on foot, including on the eight scenic stages of the Schwarza Valley Panoramic Trail. Winter sports fans will love the region's many cross-country ski trails. New for the 2014/15 winter season are the disabled-friendly ski trails in the Thuringian Forest, which are designed for sit-skis.

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From 20 March to 3 May 2015 you can see magnificent orchids in bloom inside the Palm House on the Flower Island of Mainau in Lake Constance. The exhibition, entitled 'Children of the green underworld', presents a wide range of orchid species, new varieties and wild orchids too. A paradise for budding gardeners!

Lake Constance also has other islands that are well worth a visit. The Monastic Island of Reichenau, for example, has been granted UNESCO World Heritage status and is home to a Benedictine abbey that dates back to the Middle Ages. And the island of Lindau with its historical centre has an especially magical charm thanks to its magnificent views of the Alps.

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Easter time in Rhineland-Palatinate brings with it some extra special Easter customs for you to discover and join in with. On 5 April 2015 you can take part in the Easter egg throwing contest in Horhausen. Will you break the current record of 78 metres? In Schönecken there's the traditional eierlage egg race that pits a runner against a 'gatherer', who has to pick up 104 eggs and place them in a basket without damaging them. Fun for all the family – guaranteed.

Rhineland-Palatinate also has an abundance of castles and palaces. Standing sentinel above the Rhine, both Stolzenfels Castle and Marksburg Castle provide visual reminders of times past.

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On 12 April 2015 the Palmengarten Botanical Gardens in Frankfurt play host to the seventh International Cider Festival. Apfelwein cider is the signature drink of Hessen and no trip to the area is complete without trying a glass or two. The fair offers a culinary journey of discovery with tastings of ciders, fruit wines and fine foods originating from various regions. You'll also learn fascinating facts about the different varieties of German apples and even see some all but forgotten varieties. Which one is your favourite?

Besides being the German cider capital, Frankfurt is one of the Magic Cities – a collection of Germany's most famous major cities, which have everything a culture-buff, shopaholic or party animal could wish for.

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The Sorbs, a Slavic minority living in Brandenburg and Saxony, practise a great many traditions and customs at Easter. On 2 April 2015, Easter bonfires will be lit across large areas of both these regions of eastern Germany. Entire villages gather together for festivities around the fire. One of the most famous Sorbian customs is the Easter cavalcade, which in 2015 takes place on 5 April. The ceremonial procession of horses, resplendent in all their finery, passes from one village to the next every Easter Sunday. Why not come and see this spectacle for yourself?

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Head to Bayreuth between 3 and 12 April 2015 for the town's sensational and sophisticated Easter festival. The symphony orchestra, comprising over 80 musicians from 30 countries, will be presenting an enticing programme of concerts ranging from classical to jazz.

This town in Bavaria plays host to events of the highest calibre all year round, most notably the Bayreuth Festival. Besides musical highlights, Bayreuth also boasts a UNESCO World Heritage site in the shape of the Margravial Opera House.

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The spring edition of Active Week, a coming together of nature and fitness in the Trier region, runs from 7 to 11 April. On five expert-led walking tours, you'll be able to soak up views of the Moselle valley and the Eifel hills. Some of these walks will be on the quality-certified Eifelsteig Trail or on Germany's most beautiful long-distance trail, the Saar-Hunsrück-Steig. If you're left wanting more, don't forget that Active Week returns in July and September.

Trier, a city that has greatly shaped Germany's culture and history, is one of the Historic Highlights of Germany. Discover all its Roman buildings that have UNESCO World Heritage status and see the day out with a glass of the region's wine.

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11 April 2015 marks 40 years of the German Fairytale Route. This scenic route was established in honour of the Brothers Grimm and stretches from their birthplace of Hanau to Bremen. Follow the trail of the literary brothers along 600 kilometres of pure imagination: let the fairytale characters Mother Hulda, Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty take you on a journey to enchanting medieval towns, castles and palaces, caves and museums.

The northernmost point on the route is Bremen, where you'll come across the Bremen Town Musicians. If you're in town on a Sunday between May and September, look out for the donkey, dog, cat and rooster telling their story on the cathedral square. Other must-sees in Bremen include the UNESCO World Heritage town hall and Roland statue.

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Now in its third year, the Easter festival at Baden-Baden Festival Theatre runs from 27 March to 6 April 2015. The Berlin Philharmonic will be performing a new production of The Rose Cavalier, the opera by Richard Strauss, and chamber ensembles will be playing master concerts in the theatre, the Stiftskirche church, the Frieder Burda Museum and many other cultural venues in the town. Book your tickets now!

Baden-Baden is known for more than just its abundance of cultural sites. The town's history of spa culture, which stretches back over 2,000 years, entices visitors from all over the world. This Black Forest spa resort is home to twelve hot springs famed for their healing powers. A wide array of health and wellness facilities makes Baden-Baden the perfect place to re-energise this spring!

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From 29 March to 19 July 2015 the Herzogliches Museum in Gotha is presenting an exhibition entitled Image and Message – Cranach in the Service of the Court and Reformation. As well as notable paintings and prints by the Cranach family of painters, this special exhibition features prestigious loaned works. Exhibits range from ceremonial works from Cranach's time as court painter through to his Reformation pieces – representing all facets of his life and legacy.

You can also retrace Cranach's steps in other parts of Thuringia. See the art collections in Wartburg Castle, the Cranach altar inside the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Weimar or the exquisite panel painting in Erfurt Cathedral.

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