'Visionaries and pioneering thinkers' route

Innovative Germany: visionary town planning in Berlin, the revolutionary design of the Bauhaus School and the revolutionary thinking of Martin Luther, who in the 16th century not only reformed the Church, but changed society forever. Follow Germans who were ahead of their time in different centuries on the 'Visionaries and pioneering thinkers' UNESCO route.

Route information

Other towns and cities worth seeing:

Length: approx. 750km • Starts: Berlin • Ends: Frankfurt • Duration: 5 days

Recommended overnight stays: Dessau, Leipzig, Erfurt

The route

Appearing between 1913 and 1934, Berlin's six Modernist housing estates, with their promise of 'light, air and sunshine' for residents, provided a welcome antidote to the gloomy tenement buildings of Wilhelmine Germany. Their clean lines made them hugely influential in 20th century architecture and town planning.

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Even today, some 500 years after the Reformation and the beginning of the modern era, the atmosphere of those times can still be felt in Eisleben and Lutherstadt Wittenberg. This is where you'll find unique Luther memorial sites such as the house where the Church reformer was born, the house where he died, the monastery where he lived and the church to which he nailed his 95 theses.

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As a university of design, the Bauhaus School revolutionised 20th century art and architecture around the world. Today the original buildings in Weimar and Dessau, along with a range of museums and exhibitions, provide an insight into a movement that still seems innovative today.

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Leipzig's key role in setting the rhythm for the peaceful revolution of 1989 is testament to the city's musical endowment. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Leipzig was labelled 'City of Heroes' – a title which could also be in reference to the many great musicians, kapellmeister and composers who are arguably more popular and more prominent here than anywhere else in the world.

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Goethe and Schiller, Herder and Wieland, Nietzsche, Fürnberg, Liszt, Bach, Cornelius, Gropius, Feininger, Klee, Itten. Weimar is intrinsically linked with the great names of Germany's and Europe's intellectual past. Both Weimar Classicism and the Bauhaus remain beacons of the extraordinarily rich cultural life that is abundantly and harmoniously manifest in the town.

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Churches, towers and bridges, great culture and glittering festivals: Erfurt offers medieval charm in abundance and a rich history combined with a lust for life and a warm welcome. Situated at the crossroads of ancient German and European trade routes, the regional capital of Thuringia has always been popular with important intellectuals and is a self-assured, proud centre of innovation, as well as a magnet for visitors from around the world.

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Large, imposing and steeped in history: high above the town of Eisenach sits Wartburg Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999. One of the best-preserved medieval German fortresses and almost 1,000 years old, it is possibly Germany's most famous castle, and certainly one of its most important.

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Frankfurt is first and foremost a city of modernity. Business, architecture and Europe's third-largest airport – they're all here and they're all at the cutting edge. Perhaps that's why Frankfurt has grown a particular fondness for museums that vary greatly in terms of size, style and subject matter. The city prides itself on always staying ahead of the times, whilst preserving traditions at the same time.

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