Nature, Activity, Recreation: Romanticism in Germany – Saxony’s beautiful towns and cities


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Saxony has two international airports: Dresden and Leipzig/Halle. The region is also easily accessible on the Deutsche Bahn rail network. The region’s excellent road infrastructure puts it within a few hours by car from any part of Germany.

Beautiful towns in Saxony – favourite historical sites

The Free State of Saxony is situated in the most easterly corner of Germany. The towns in Saxony have something for everyone: 1,000-year-old market squares, historical architectural monuments, unique cultural and historical attractions, and modern elegance. Saxony’s towns are places of great inventiveness. This is where porcelain was first manufactured, Karl May’s famous Winnetou was written and the historical Auto Union AG was founded. The splendours of these charming towns, in which many famous cultural and historical figures have lived and worked, are set in a diverse landscape of mountains and valleys.

Zwickau – music and horse power
This former cloth-making and mining town with its magnificent St. Mary’s Cathedral and contrasting tiny priests’ houses dating from the 13th century has two famous citizens – the composer Robert Schumann and the car manufacturer August Horch. As you stroll through Germany’s largest ensemble of art nouveau and late-19th century architecture, you’ll pass the 500-year-old Gewandhaus concert hall, town hall, Johannisbad spa and “Neue Welt” concert hall and ballroom featuring Saxony’s most beautiful art nouveau hall. Visit the house where Robert Schumann was born to learn about the composer’s love for music and his wife Clara, or explore the August Horch Museum, dedicated to the man who translated his name into Latin and invented the AUDI marque, to experience the company’s global rise to success close up.

The fairytale of the “white gold” – Meissen
This beautiful medieval town is famous around the world as the place where the first porcelain in Europe was produced almost 300 years ago. A glimpse behind the scenes at the state porcelain factory takes you on a journey into the enchanting world of the traditional craft of producing “white gold”. The historical old quarter is filled with pretty restored town houses, romantic courtyards and quaint wine taverns. And sitting in splendour above it all are Albrechtsburg Castle and Meissen Cathedral, one of the most exquisite ecclesiastical architectural monuments of the Middle Ages. These are the places where famous people such as Walther von der Vogelweide, Heinrich Frauenlob and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing came for their art.

Görlitz – a bridge between two countries
Strolling through the old quarter of Germany’s most easterly town, you’ll see a remarkable example of the town’s architectural development. The oldest Renaissance building in Görlitz, the Schönhof was built in 1526 and characterises the historic centre along with magnificent 19th and 20th century buildings, picturesque lanes, and well-maintained parks and gardens. One of the main attractions is the Altstadtbrücke (Old Town Bridge), which was first documented in 1298 and links the twin towns of Görlitz in Germany and Zgorzelec in Poland.

Radebeul – home of author Karl May
Radebeul, a picture-book town between Meissen and Dresden renowned for its villas and gardens, is the home of the famous adventure writer, Karl May. This is where the characters of Winnetou, the noble and good Indian chief from the novel of the same name, and Old Shatterhand, the infallible cowboy and Winnetou’s blood brother, were thought up. A sparkling experience awaits you at the baroque winery at Wackerbarth stately home where you can learn about the origins of Cuveé. The restored village centre of Altkötzschenbroda is also a true architectural gem.

Freiberg – the silver town
Famous for its rich silver ore deposits, Freiberg is the oldest mining centre in Saxony. The elegant patrician town houses around the beautiful market square, Obermarkt, still attest to the town’s wealth in centuries gone by. Owned by the Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, the “Reiche Zeche” mine is used as a scientific education centre. The famous Saxon organ builder, Gottfried Silbermann, turned Freiberg into the organ capital.

The Elbe Valley in Saxony – a UNESCO World Heritage site
Saxony’s beautiful towns are surrounded by an exhilarating hilly landscape offering plenty of scope for relaxation and active fitness. The Elbe Sandstone Massif, Saxon Switzerland national park and Erzgebirge mountains also provide the ideal setting for adventurous limbing tours and walks offering magnificent panoramic views.

Nostalgia on the move
The Sächsische Dampfschifffahrt shipping company owns the oldest and biggest fleet of paddle steamers in the world. Nine historical paddle steamers and two cruise boats offer trips along the River Elbe from Dresden. Other historical modes of transport include the famous narrow-gauge railways that link the Erzgebirge mountains to the Saxon Elbland region.

Sweet and spicy – Saxony’s treats
Saxony’s cosy inns serve a variety of culinary delights including marinated braised beef, potato soup and Quarkkeulchen (sweetened potato pancakes). At Christmas time, Dresden Christstollen is exported around the world. Produced in Pulsnitz for centuries, the aromatic gingerbread known as Pfefferkuchen can be sampled at Europe’s only gingerbread museum. Saxon beer is another regional delicacy. The first premium pils beer produced according to the German Beer Purity Law came from the Radeberg export brewery.


Tradition and history

  • Torgau, one of Germany’s loveliest Renaissance towns
  • Lace museum, Plauen
  • St. Anne’s Church and mountain altar, Annaberg-Buchholz
  • Reichenturm observation tower, also known as the “crooked tower”, Bautzen
  • ‘Sun organ’ by Eugenio Casparini in the cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul, Görlitz
  • St. John’s Church, Zittau
  • Canaletto House, Pirna
  • Town hall and Lessing Museum, Kamenz
  • Cathedral chapter, Bautzen

Hospitality and gastronomy

  • 18th century feast at the Hotel Goldner Hirsch, the place where Gotthold Ephraim Lessing was christened
  • Erzgebirge speciality festival
  • Radeberg’s “Biertheater” themed restaurant
  • Pasta factory, Riesa
  • Weinbergkirche (vineyard church), Dresden-Pillnitz
  • Winery museum, Hoflösnitz

Romanticism and charm

  • Pirna Court Night
  • Freiberg Theatre
  • Lessing International Folklore Festival, Moritzburg Palace
  • Musical instrument making in the Vogtlandregion
  • Belvedere Palace, Radebeul

Countryside and scenery

  • Upper Lusatian moorland biosphere reserve
  • Saxony’s castle and heathland region
  • Vogtland, one of the most volcanically active regions in central Europe