Saxony-Anhalt is widely known for its great nature, exciting metropolises and a rich UNESCO world heritage. If you have enjoyed all of this extensively and are now looking for something special, no problem. Why not whiz down a spectacular pendulum jump, climb to the roof of a quiet city beauty or camp in the shadow of iron dinosaurs? Here are five truly special vacation experiences.

Halle (Saale)

With its 238,000 inhabitants, the largest city in Saxony-Anhalt is located on the northwestern edge of the Leipzig Lowland Bay. The city is home to Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, one of the oldest universities in Germany.

Salzwedel

The district town, which has a good 23,000 inhabitants, is located in the northwestern part of the Altmark region at the confluence of the Salzwedeler Dumme and Jeetze rivers. The old town with its numerous half-timbered houses is worth seeing.

Oberharz on the Brocken

The town of 10,000 inhabitants in the Harz Mountains has been a state-recognized resort since 2015. The "Titan-RT" suspension rope bridge is also located in its vicinity.

Ferropolis

Ferropolis is an industrial museum and event venue near Gräfenhainichen on a peninsula in a lake that was a former open pit mine for the extraction of lignite.

1

Take a castle tour in Halle (Saale)

At night, Burg Giebichenstein and the bridge in front of it in Halle (Saale) are mysteriously illuminated © David Köster
At night, Burg Giebichenstein and the bridge in front of it in Halle (Saale) are mysteriously illuminated © David Köster

It is already clearly visible from afar: Roughly 80 meters above the right bank of the Saale river towers Giebichenstein Castle in the north of the city of Halle, which has 240,000 inhabitants. At night, the fortress is mysteriously illuminated, just the right atmosphere for a guided tour through its history. The fortress was first mentioned in a document in 961 and is thus considered the oldest of all Saale castles. For a long time it served as the main residence of the archbishops of Magdeburg, and was later partially destroyed during the Thirty Years' War. Since 1906, Giebichenstein Castle has been owned by the city of Halle and is open to the public as a magnificent open-air architectural museum. The Halle Art Academy resides in the lower castle. The old ring walls, the courtyard with original medieval paving and the barrel vault can be visited, and from the gate tower you have a great view over the Saale valley.

For that special creepy factor during one of the evening castle tours (in winter from 6 p.m., in summer from 8:30 p.m.), the legend of Ludwig the Knight, Landgrave of Thuringia, provides a thrill. Because he is said to have killed Count Palatine Frederick of Saxony while wrestling for his wife Adelheid, he was imprisoned in the castle - and escaped execution at the last second by bravely jumping into the Saale. Of course, the tour guests may leave the castle hill comfortably on solid paths.

2

Climbing on the roof of the Hanseatic City of Salzwedel

Beautiful half-timbered houses and brick buildings - the medieval center of Salzwedel in the Altmark region
Beautiful half-timbered houses and brick buildings - the medieval center of Salzwedel in the Altmark © Marco Körner - stock.adobe.com

It doesn't get any better than this: Anyone who wants to contact the friendly crew of the Tourist Information in the Neuperverstraße 29 of the Hanseatic City of Salzwedel with tips and information brochures, doesn't even have to leave the building for the time being. Directly from the office with the white "i" on a red background, steps lead up to the viewing platform on the town hall tower with its striking green dome. From a height of 25 meters, you can now look right into the soul of this small urban beauty in the Altmark region of northwestern Saxony-Anhalt with its 23,500 inhabitants. Finely restored half-timbered houses and brick buildings line winding cobblestone streets. The town's more than 900-year history, which in the 14th century became part of the powerful Hanseatic League of merchants, has seen the construction of imposing buildings, including St. Mary's and St. Catherine's churches and the opulent keep complete with castle garden.

Not far from it is the birthplace of Salzwedel's famous daughter Jenny Marx (née von Westphalen, 1814-1881), who toured Europe with her childhood friend Karl Marx after marrying him - thematic guided tours show that the courageous Salzwedeler was much more than "just" the wife of the world-famous philosopher. A Salzwedel specialty, Baumkuchen, is also world-famous. Its dough is baked layer by layer on a roller in front of an open fire, which is why its structure resembles the annual rings of a tree trunk - in various bakeries you can see the elaborate handiwork for yourself.

3

Jumping from the suspension rope bridge Titan-RT

The Titan-RT suspension rope bridge including GigaSwing and Zipline floats high above the Rappbode reservoir
The Titan-RT suspension rope bridge including GigaSwing and Zipline floats high above the Rappbode reservoir © Harzdrenalin GmbH

When in fog pauses in the middle of the "Titan-RT" suspension rope bridge in the Harz Mountains, both its beginning and end may disappear in the haze. At a total of 483 meters, it is in fact one of the longest pedestrian suspension bridges in the world, 458.5 meters of which float freely in the air between two supporting pillars. Completed in 2017, the Titanium RT spans some 80 kilometers southwest of Magdeburg across the valley of the Rappbode River, which is transformed into a large lake here by Germany's highest dam (maximum 106 meters). Since the catwalk of the suspension bridge is lined by a 1.30-meter-high railing and stabilized by an elaborate rope construction even in windy conditions, the whole family can walk across safely, even at dusk thanks to lighting - so you can enjoy the view down into the valley, which is nevertheless a proud 100 meters lower, surrounded only by steel cables and air.

Much more courage must be mustered, who, with a good physical and mental constitution, plunges from here over 75 meters into the depths by "GigaSwing" (also in tandem flight). The free fall during what is probably Europe's most spectacular pendulum jump is braked by the elastic rope just above the water surface of the Rappbode reservoir, the proband swings back and forth for a while and is then winched back up to the drop platform. A mega-zipline, boat rental, kiosk, food trucks and children's playground are also available on site - so that everyone can find their own special vacation experience.

4

Going on a "Salty Tour" through a region of discovery

Salt production has a great history in the Magdeburg Börde region
Salt production has a great history in the Magdeburger Börde © LianeM - stock.adobe.com

Ever climbed Mount Kalimanjaro? As the highest elevation between Magdeburg and the Baltic Sea, it rises glittering white from the greenery of the Colbitz-Letzlinger Heide. The approximately 200-meter-high salt mountain belongs to the Zielitz plant of K+S Minerals and Agriculture GmbH, one of the largest potash plants in the world. On approximately five kilometer long mountain tours lasting two to three hours up the tailings pile under expert guidance, gradients of up to 16 percent have to be mastered. If you're lucky, you can even catch a glimpse of the highest peak in the Harz Mountains, the Brocken.

The Kalimanjaro is a station on the "Salty Tour"which winds a good 350 kilometers through the discovery region of Magdeburg-Elbe-Börde-Heide - plus plenty of others. Salt from brine had brought wealth to the Magdeburg Börde for centuries, and the cradle of the German brine spas also stood here. It was only when salt crystals were extracted from deep in the earth that the "white gold" was transformed from a luxury item into a product that everyone could afford. The "Salty Tour" follows the traces of the extraction of the coveted article both above and below ground, leading along partly ancient trade and salt roads, to saline springs, to Germany's first brine spa and to the cradle of potash mining. In total, around three dozen stations are partners of this theme trail - so plan enough time!

5

Camping under excavators in Ferropolis, the "City of Iron

Old industrial giants are watching - camping in Ferropolis, the "City of Iron
Old industrial giants are watching - camping in Ferropolis, the "city of iron" © Ferropolis GmbH

It is mostly quiet here on the peninsula located on the 5.4 km² Gremminer Lake, not far from Lutherstadt Wittenberg. You can enjoy a great view of the sparkling water, the green nature all around. Yet the permanent "inhabitants" of this natural idyll once made quite a racket here: five huge iron colossi, in whose shadows mobile homes, caravans and tents now stand. They seem tiny compared to the gigantic excavators built between 1941 and 1984, highlights of the Ferropolis open-air museum, the "City of iron". Under names such as "Medusa," "Big Wheel" or "Mosquito," they mined lignite in the open pit area near Gräfenhainichen until the year 2000. After closure, the site was flooded, and the enchanting lake landscape was created as a local recreation area, along with the open-air museum as a reminder of a vanished industrial era - and a campsite of a special kind.

Not much comfort is offered to the campers, the sanitary facilities are simple, are also used by the audience of events such as the metal festival "With Full Force" on the open-air site. Those who want can take a closer look at the industrial relics on guided tours. Small excavators wait for kids in the shadow of the big ones, there is a crossgolf course and a school lab where the environmental sins of the past are dealt with on site. The special thing for campers, however, is the unique, almost mystical atmosphere; on some, the silent colossi radiate a fabulous calm. And when the sun sinks over the iron skyline in the evening, you experience the most special moment of your entire vacation.

Cover photo: In the open-air museum Ferropolis you can camp in the shadow of huge old industrial excavators © Ferropolis GmbH

In collaboration with IMG - Investment and Marketing Company Saxony-Anhalt

UNESCO World Heritage, the Brocken in the Harz Mountains and the Garden dreams and historical parks are good reasons for your vacation in Saxony-Anhalt. Even more? Sure! This way:

Vacation in Saxony-Anhalt

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