Weimar enjoys a scenic location on the Ilm River, set against the backdrop of the Ettersberg and Vogtland hills. The city has many popular sights, but perhaps the best thing to do here is simply wander about on foot. A walk at night through the old streets that once felt the footsteps of Goethe, Bach, Wagner, and Schiller is particularly rewarding.

The town's main square, the Marktplatz, or market square, retains the old flavor of the city. Instead of breakfast at your hotel, visit one of the bakeries near the square and create your own breakfast, as many locals do. The daily produce market still takes place on the Marktplatz (7am-4pm). The painter Lucas Cranach the Elder lived here during his last year, from 1552 to 1553. Today, you can view the Lucas Cranach the Elder House from the outside, richly decorated and bearing a coat of arms of the Cranach family. A modern gallery is inside the house but is open only Thursday and Friday from noon to 8pm, Saturday 11am to 3pm.

For a midday break from sightseeing, we suggest a visit to Park an der Ilm (also known as Goethe Park) flanking the river. Goethe himself landscaped this park. It sports numerous 18th-century pavilions and is the best place in Weimar for a picnic.

advertisement

If you've had a little too much Schiller and Goethe, flee the inner city and escape to Bauhaus Universität on Marienstrasse, just across the footpath in front of the Bauhaus building. Here you can meet Weimar students, nearly all of whom speak English.

In the evening, head for one of the smoky beer halls near Herderplatz, keeping in mind that Nietzsche, who spent the last 3 years of his life here, discovered them long before you.

In the cemetery south of the town center lies the controversial Denkmal der März Gefallenen, a monument to the revolutionaries whose merciless and needless slaughter in 1919 (by government forces) so affected the ultraliberal Gropius and his Bauhaus followers. But most interesting today is the Goethe-Schiller Mausoleum, once the family vault of the Weimar dynasty, where Goethe and Schiller, friends in life, lie side by side in death. It was built in 1825 through 1826 in accordance with plans drawn up by Coudray, who consulted Goethe on the design and construction. Schiller was entombed here in 1827 and Goethe in 1832, both in oak coffins. Admission is free. Visiting hours are March to October Wednesday to Monday 9am to 1pm and 2 to 5pm, and November to February Wednesday to Monday 10am to 1pm and 2 to 4pm. A Russian-style chapel is on the south side of the mausoleum. It was built in 1859 for Maria Pavlovna, daughter-in-law of Duke Carl August.

advertisement

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.