Thuringian Forest & the Saale Valley
If most of the larger towns of Thuringia are about culture, the Thuringian Forest (Thüringer Wald in German) and the Saale Valley are about tradition, scenic landscapes, and winegrowing. These regions take in Eisenach, known for the Wartburg, the spectacular castle that has played such a central role in German history, and where Luther sought protection after being excommunicated, the Saale-Unstrut wineland, as well as a cluster of small, historic towns dotting the countryside. Hiking, especially along the Rennsteig, is excellent here. Follow it far enough south and you will end up on the border of Bavaria.