A gently rising plateau with a northern region of several deep river valleys, Germany’s Vogtland has broad meadows, forested hills, and medium-high mountains (known as the Upper Vogtland) to the southeast. It includes the Ore Mountains foothills, where you could spend your entire vacation exploring the wonders of the Naturpark Erzgebirge/Vogtland.
You may or may not, however, because as marvelous as that region is, this region has far more to offer!
Vogtland’s Musician’s Cycle Path (German: Musikantenradweg), for example, leads through the Schwarzbachtal Valley deep in the Elster Mountains. Here in the town of Markneukirchen, the best string, brass, and woodwind instruments in the world have been produced for more than three centuries. The Musical Instrument Museum, in the delightfully Baroque Paulus Palace, has an outstanding display of more than 3,000 (!) locally-built instruments — including the largest accordion in the world.
5 km or 3 mi west of Markneukirchen is the town of Adorf, with one of the most charming Marktplatz in an area known for charming market squares! Adorf also once had a history of instrument building — especially organs.
Today the town provides individual components used in instruments made elsewhere. You’ll love both Adorf’s quaint open-air “Little Vogtland” with miniature replicas of area landmarks, and its museum documenting the local history of mother-of-pearl production.
As delicately-crafted as the musical instruments of the Vogtland may be, even more delicate is the magnificent lace produced for more than a century in its capital city of Plauen. View some magnificent specimens of that lace in the New Town Hall. Indulge in a long stroll along the beautiful banks of the Weiße Elster. No bikes are allowed on the Alte Elstertalbrücke (Old Elster Valley Bridge), one of Germany’s oldest stone bridges dating to 1244.
The Pöhl reservoir near Plauen (also known as the Vogtland Sea) is the largest recreational area in southwestern Saxony! Cycle through the 5600 acre (2300 hectare) reserve and take advantage of its huge camping area. Not far away is Jocketa and the Elster Valley railway bridge, the 2nd largest brick bridge in the world!
12 km or seven miles from Jocketa is Syrau, and the Drachenhöhle (English: Dragon’s Cave), the only dripstone cave in Vogtland. The limestone-rich green waters of its many lakes dazzle with the clarity of their reflections.
Saxony’s state spas, Bad Elster and Bad Brambach, are in southern Vogtland. Saxony’s royal family first vacationed at Bad Elster in 1848, and people in search of medical and emotional relief still flock to its eleven medicinal springs and healing mud baths. The Royal Spa at Bad Elster could easily be mistaken for a Renaissance palace!
Bad Brambach, on the other hand, is the source of the world’s most concentrated radon spring water, prized as a drinking cure.
The Vogtland is a great place for cold as well as warm-weather vacations. For example, the Vogtland Arena in Klingenthal, which has produced several Olympians, is the site of the world’s most technologically-advanced ski jump.
Take full advantage of another regional attraction; Vogtland cuisine! Vogtlanders originated the Nunerlei, or nine-course Christmas meal, to represent the nine months between human conception and birth! This meal begins with salted bread and concludes with the legendary Vogtland stollen, made from recipes dating back five centuries. Two other “mustn’t-miss” Vogtland foods are Thuringian-Vogtland sausage, and Grüne Klöße (called green dumplings because they contain both raw and cooked potatoes).
Feed your imagination with its scenic and historical wonders, and feed your soul with the food on your plate. I’m sure you’ll return from your Vogtland vacation completely satisfied!