Meissen, or Meißen as the Germans spell it, is the oldest town in Germany’s Saxony region – just a short hop away from the major city of Dresden. Packed with picturesque architecture and cobblestones, it sports the river Elbe running through it and is surrounded for miles by extensive vineyards on all sides. The town is known far beyond its borders as the producers of Europe’s finest porcelain, decorated with Germany’s trademark crossed blue swords. Once home to the local bishop, Meissen’s huge historical castle features its own adjoining medieval cathedral.
Albrechtsburg Castle and Monastic Magic
Featured in just about every photo of Meissen, Albrechtsburg castle towers over the town. Though the castle itself was built in the 15th century, its fortifications have been traced back to the 10th century, leading many to believe it’s Germany’s oldest castle. It features the Schutzhof, a typical Gothic courtyard enclosed by high rough-stone walls on three sides, as well as an inpressive exterior spiral masonry staircase (called the Wendelstein) which was entirely carved from a single massive stone block. Next, head to Franziskanerkirche, or St. Francis’ Church – a former monastery and a testament to the city’s medieval past. Today, it features a museum that walks visitors through 1,000 years of Meissen history.
Gems To Eat & Drink
Before hitting up all the best spots around town, it’s important to fuel up with the only acceptable breakfast: the local delicacy, Fummel. This delicately puffed pastry is dusted with sugar, and always paired with a fresh coffee. Later on, a long day of exhausting one’s feet calls for a stop by Schloss Proschwitz. It’s the oldest private winery in Saxony, and as a bonus it boasts the best views of the castle, the cathedral and the Elbe River all from one seat!