When people think of all the wonderful things that come out of Germany (cars, beer, Heidi Klum) wine often isn’t one of the first things to pop out of their head. That is until you got to follow along the Saxon Wine Route (Sächsische Weinstraße in German).
The Saxon Wine Route is a pretty small route, only 55km, through the one and only vineyard in Saxony; but, really packs a punch. The route starts in Pirna, a town of about 40,000 residents. This is where you’ll start to get the first glimpses of sloping vineyards, as well as botanical gardens.
If you’re in the museum mood, there’s the Pirna Museum (located at Klosterhof 2) and the DDR Museum, from the days when Pirna was spent behind the Iron Curtain. Just do me a favor, don’t leave before you see Schloss Sonnenstein and Klosterkirche St. Heinrich.
Right before you arrive in Dresden, there’s the suburb of Pillnitz first. Pillnitz is famous for its chateau (funny-french name, Japanese style) and classical music concerts. There’s even a museum of Decorative Arts (a fancy name for an art museum) to see.
Onward to Dresden! Now I know this route is small but, you might want to stay a few nights here — that’s how much there is to see.
Prior to World War II, Dresden was a city of music, architecture, art, and royalty. Sadly it was totally decimated during the last days of the Second World War; but has been lovingly rebuilt over the decades, including the Dresden Synagogue.
The most famous of Dresden’s sights are the Hofkirche and the Frauenkirche. But, there’s also Botanical Gardens, a Hygiene Museum, a Prehistoric Museum, a City Museum, an Opera House, Dresden Castle and Zwinger Palace. There’s no way you could do all this in one day, so don’t even try. ;-)
I don’t know how it’s possible to leave Dresden, but you must press on if you want to continue along the Saxon Wine Route.
Radebeul is the next town with wineries, gardens, and villas. That’s not all there is, there’s also a historic wine press over at Schloss Hoflößnitz.
Traveling through Saxony’s countryside, your next town is Coswig (Saxony). Coswig not only has a few local wineries, but also a three churches and a moated castle. All right, it’s not a castle anymore — just a manor house but, I’m not splitting hairs. ;-)
Weinböhla, though not on the scale of Dresden, is one of the best towns on the Saxon Wine Route. The grapes of the vineyards love the 1700 hours of sunshine a year — so no vampires to be found at the annual Wine Festival in September. ;-)
Classy Meißen is another grand town on the Saxon Wine Route. Again, you might want to spend a night because it wouldn’t be a good idea to rush through. Besides wine, Meißen is also famous for its porcelain — which you can see at the Porcelain Factory.
Meißen also holds a wine festival in September, has monastery ruins, and a Soviet soldiers cemetery. Then add in a visit to the Meißen Cathedral and Frauenkirche. Do you see why you can’t just come blowing through here? You gotta take your time.
After leaving Meißen you’ll find yourself in the village of Zadel (part of Diera-Zehren). What could possibly be here to see after everything you just saw in Meißen? Oh, how about one of the oldest privately owned wine estates in Saxony? Yeah, wine… the reason you’re on this route. The vineyards of Chateau Proschwitz are just picture perfect, and the dry wines produced here are fantastic.
In Diera-Zehren proper is a chance to stretch your legs and walk about the Golkwald before visiting the Baroque Church of St. Michael, the Home & School Museum, and the 16th century Castle Schieritz. The only word I can think of is lovely. Just lovely.
By the time you reach Diesbar-Seußlitz (part of Nünchritz), you’re at the end of the Saxon Wine Route. The wineries found in this little piece of heaven are just grand, as is the Baroque Castle Seußlitz. One of the most popular festivals is the annual Marriage Market, which has been celebrated for the last 500 years.
Before you ask, NO, you can’t buy a brideo or groom. Then again, after all the wine available on the Saxon Wine Route — just about anything is possible.