A journey through time – and creativity
There are only two places in the world where Porsche makes cars – at Zuffenhausen, in its hometown of Stuttgart, and 460km (285 miles) away in the historic eastern German city of Leipzig. On our drive between the two cities on the Porsche Travel Experience Stuttgart/Leipzig, we not only journey between one ‘factory of dreams’ to another, but also head to one of the most creative cities in Germany – a place with a great cultural history that is now, according to many, is overtaking Berlin in the cool stakes.
Before setting out on our trip north eastwards, we get a chance to walk around the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen, where 80 years of sports car history is on display. Then it’s a matter of putting all this learning into practice by taking the wheel of one of the current Porsche models.
Our Porsche Travel Experience Stuttgart/Leipzig journey begins on high-speed motorways, along sweeping stretches of highway and past picturesque vineyards. A pit stop high up on the Main valley near Würzburg gives us an incredible view over the winding river below, before we continue onwards through the ever-changing German landscape. Along the snaking roads of the Thuringian Forest, we climb up towards Wartburg. This castle, overlooking the town of Eisenach, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and is steeped in Germany’s history. As you might expect, our list of must-sees is jam-packed – way more than you could manage on a single visit. But Leipzig is now a short(ish) hop away.
Where Goethe’s dream enlightened the world
Even if it’s your first visit to Leipzig, you soon sense the sizeable influence that generations of students have had on shaping the culture of this university city. Numerous famous composers, writers and intellectuals have studied here over the past 600 years. The best known of these is one of the greats of not just German, but world literature – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Goethe awoke a yearning in the German people for experiences beyond their own frontiers. His own first journey was as a 16-year-old in a stagecoach, taking him from his hometown of Frankfurt am Main, with its medieval maze of streets, to the outward-looking Leipzig – or ‘Little Paris’ as it was once called – to study. Auerbach’s Cellar in Leipzig’s Mädler Passage featured in Goethe’s masterpiece, Faust, and thus has him to thanks for its worldwide fame. It makes this historic restaurant a definite entry on your bucket list while in this city.
But well as the classic venues, there is a completely new side of a vibrant city to discover on the Porsche Travel Experience Stuttgart/Leipzig. The former industrial plants of the 19th century have been transformed into the ‘dream factories’ of Leipzig’s new creative scene. Many of them – like the famous Westwerk in the trendy neighbourhood of Plagwitz – are now hotspots for artists and street art hunters who are bringing their own dreams to life in this inspiring location. The pulse of creativity can be felt on every corner. One of the highlights is the immersive, digital art centre, Kunstkraftwerk Leipzig, in the Lindenau district. Here, outstanding video installations create new 3D realities that take your customary perception thresholds and blast right through them.
A dream factory and the Porsche Travel Experience Stuttgart/Leipzig
At Porsche’s Leipzig factory the focus once more switches back to pure driving pleasure at the Porsche Experience Centre. We head for the factory's own on-road and off-road circuit – certified by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) – that pays homage to some of the most famous racetrack elements in the motorsport world. It’s an adrenaline-charged track for race fans, one where you can experience sections that recreate Japan’s Suzuka S, the Bus Stop chicane at Spa-Francorchamps or Monza’s legendary Parabolica. It doesn’t take long to get our pulses racing. On guided drives, we’re taught the ideal lines and push ourselves to the limits of our driving skills. After all this excitement, a chance to stabilise our heartbeats arrives in the shape of a fascinating, exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Porsche factory, which is right next door.
Next stop: Wagner 22 Opera Festival
Leipzig and Porsche is a pairing that also stands for an extraordinary coming together in classical culture. After all, Leipzig is also the birthplace of one of Germany’s greatest composers, Richard Wagner. The Leipzig Opera is already hard at work preparing for what will be a memorable cultural event in 2022, with Porsche as its main sponsor. The Wagner 22 Opera Festival promises to be a unique cultural highlight. Beginning on 20 June 2022, the company will perform all 13 of the Wagner’s masterpieces – including the ground-breaking four-opera cycle, Der Ring des Nibelungen – over three weeks. Selected performances will even be staged in an open-air concert hall on the city’s enormous central square, Augustusplatz – a real one-off. It’s just another of many reasons to return to this incredible city of culture on the Porsche Travel Experience Stuttgart/Leipzig.
This story is part of the 25 Years of Porsche Travel Experience anniversary series. We take you on a virtual world tour around the globe – with a new, fascinating episode each week. Click here to read all stories.