It is the beauty of porcelain figurines and elaborately painted dinner sets that come to your mind when Meissen is mentioned.

It was a great success story when Germany unravelled the mysteries of porcelain production in the 18th century. Before it has been zealously guarded by the Chinese who had a total monopoly and could charge a top dollar for it.

No wonder  that the Elector of Saxony, a great porcelain collector and a main supporter of its industry in Europe, established the Meissen Porcelain Factory in the Albrechtsburg Castle in the centre of Meissen and made a success of it in the following years. There is not one royal castle in Europe without its Meissen porcelain collection from Britain to Russia.

Today when you arrive in this pretty and elegant town you won’t immediately notice porcelain souvenir shops but you can’t avoid the Old Town perched high above the Elbe River with its Gothic castle of Albrechtsburg and soaring church towers.

It was in the castle where first experiments to make porcelain took place. Today it houses museums and- you guessed it- an impressive porcelain collection. And in the Church of St. Nicholas you will find the largest figures ever made from Meissen porcelain.

We skipped the Porcelain Museum as I found its entrance fee a touch too high and instead  concentrated on  exploring a lovely beer garden nearby. But I heard it’s a fascinating place for all porcelain enthusiasts as you can learn everything about porcelain invention and its production methods.

The whole Old Town is compact with plenty of pretty buildings and charming restaurants. The best way is to wander around and explore little lanes, climb the stairway up on the hillside stopping at beer terraces and enjoying great views of the town below, the Elbe river and distant hills stretching to the horizon. Pretty soon you will pass the Gate Tower (Schlosstreppe), old city walls and ,hey, you are in front of the castle.

At the bottom of the hill there is a picturesque Market Square with the 15th century Town Hall on one side and a lovely parish church opposite. The square is surrounded by old buildings – all lovingly renovated and you can follow various steeply stepped lanes leading up to the castle on the hill.

Meissen is not only a perfectly preserved old town in Saxony but is also very accessible from Dresden.

This winning combination together with distinctive Saxon wines attract plenty of tourists throughout the year.

In Meissen there is no shortage of pretty little wine taverns where you can stop for a glass of wine. And in summer, if you see a broom outside a house, it means that wine is served inside.

And this is definitely the best reason to stop there.


By rail – from Dresden take S-Bahn (27 km – 30 minute  trip)

by Boat – From Dresden Elbe River Excursions ( 2 hour trip)

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