It was an early summer evening, just as the sun was starting to set, did I get my first glance at Olbersdorf. Didn’t seem like much at first, just over 15 square kilometers, but what unfolded as I meandered around was enough to keep me hooked for a lifetime.
You see, Olbersdorf lies in the Zittau Mountains — where Germany meets both Poland and Czech Republic in Saxony. The network of hiking and bike trails are extraordinary, stretching far out into the Bohemian countryside.
Another great way to see it is from the top of Berg Töpfer, a whopping 582 meters above sea level.
If this kind of scenery doesn’t do it for you, maybe a sunset over Lake Olbersdorf might. There’s something magical when you see the lake just as the sun’s going down on a summer’s night. The gold hues, the green of the trees, and the light reflecting off the water — I could have stayed here forever.
It wasn’t to be, too much else to do… Olbersdorf is close enough to Oybin, a small village with its own Burg- und Klosterruine. The monastery and castle might have been bustling in the Middle Ages, but today the old stones make a great concert hall; not to mention, it’s a stop on the Via Sacra.
Don’t let Olbersdorf’s diminutive size fool you — great things come in small pages. Come April when all sorts of folks make their way over for the Zittau Mountain Run, and the O-See Challenge takes place every May. People also come to see the Uhrenhof, an exhibition on clocks and watches. If you’re interested, call ahead because there are no set times for when it’s open.
You’re going to have to call ahead if you want reservations at Schloss Althörnitz, a 17th century castle (over in Bertsdorf-Hörnitz) that’s now a hotel. Even if you don’t spend the night, Schloss Althörnitz is still wonderful to see from the outside — and has been since it was built in the 1650s.
As you can see, Olbersdorf has quite a bit going on for anyone willing to take the time to get to know it. Hmm, if only I had more time — I wonder what else I’d find.