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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Going up?

    by iandsmith Written Apr 10, 2008

    Favorite thing: I had seen pictures of the glass lift and was fairly excited about going up in it. The reality turned out to be a little less exciting.
    The lift was constructed over 100 years ago in 1904 by Rudolf Sendig and boasts a 50 m high free-standing tower.
    A man takes your money inside the lift, it's quite quaint.
    If you venture to Lucerne in Switzerland there a much higher one though.
    With the one at Bad Schandau you can reach the village of Ostrau, but we didn't know that when I forked out the money. Frankly, if I were to go again, I'd walk the trail.

    Fares:
    1,50 € single tour, 1 € reduced (children from 6 to 16 years old, bikes)
    2,50 € round trip, 1,50 € reduced
    There are also family tickets and if you've paid the local visitor's tax you also get a discount.

    Fondest memory: However, there's one amazing thing I knew nothing about. For that, go to my next tip.

    Related to:
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Seniors

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    The missing lynx of Bad Schandau

    by iandsmith Written Apr 10, 2008

    Favorite thing: The lift reach its zenith and we departed. Beyond us lay a cage, apparently an aviary but, what was this? A cat-like animal prowled back and forth constantly in the manner of a bored hunter seeking to run free.
    Nowhere had a I read about this animal. We were at once transfixed. Couldn't take our eyes off it. Had no idea what it was all about.
    How fortunate for us then that a kind German man was alongside and, though he had limited English, managed to explain to us the extraordinary story of what had happened.
    For starters, there was more than one animal, as he was quick to point out. Behind the cage indeed, there were two others. One perched in a tree (pic 3) and one on the ground (pic 2). It turned out these were the mother and father of the animal in the cage. However, at birth they had rejected the kitten and, in an effort to keep it alive, the local veterinarian had taken it home and raised it with his cat!

    Fondest memory: We later saw pictures accompanying an article on this happening.
    What now happens is that he brings the young lynx up every day and puts it in the cage while he works and the parents go into the fenced open ground out the back. At night he returns and the parents take over the cage while the young lynx goes home with him. Extraordinary!.
    (Sorry about the blurred pictures but the light was very poor and I had no tripod)

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Zoo
    • Eco-Tourism

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    Dresden, a city in transit

    by iandsmith Written Feb 18, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Dresden is unashamedly trying to recapture its past. Projects like the fabled Green Room, reconstruction of the bombed churches, rejuvenation of the foreshore and many others are reviving some of the glory days and the tourists are coming in droves.
    Trying to get a ticket to the Green Room at certain times is impossible and, if you do get one, you are assigned a time, such is the demand.

    Fondest memory: It's the one thing I admire about the Germans. If it's fallen, they'll put it up again, unlike certain Mediterranean countries who simply let the grass grow over them.
    Some places were hardly touched at all, like the wonderful Semper art gallery, part of the complex of buildings around the Zwinger, Dresden's most famous architectural structure. I went in an viewed the wonderful works on show, beautifully preserved and presented.
    The Semperoper has guided tours (not all of which are in English) and if you choose to take one you will be inside one of the world's great opera houses, worth going in just to see the building.
    Another must see is the Pfund's Dairy, reputedly the world's finest such store and, having been in and seen the dazzling display of tiles, I find it hard to disagree.
    From the muslim style ex-mosque (pic 2) to the utilitarian blocks shown in pic 5, Dresden has a great range of architecture.

    Related to:
    • Seniors
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    What's in a doorway

    by iandsmith Written Oct 4, 2007

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    Favorite thing: Not much in Australia. In Gorlitz, more than you would normally expect.

    Fondest memory: Picture one for instance, shows the whispering door where, if one person speaks into the groove on one side it's supposed to carry around to the other.
    A lot of these 15th and 16th century doorways were also brewing houses and, as shown in picture 4, they used to have 2 holes in which were inserted fresh straw to indicate that a fresh brew was to be had at that establishment.

    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel
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    No stress, just Strasse

    by iandsmith Updated Oct 4, 2007

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    Favorite thing: I alighted from the train and sought directions. Someone pointed me in the opposite way to that which most other passengers were headed. I was a little disappointed until I walked out from the subway at the station. I need not have been.
    Straight away the place impressed. Immediately before me I could tell that this place had at least been prosperous once.
    All the way to my accommodation were rows of baroque splendour, probably dating from the 19th century and clear testimony to the wealth that this town had attained.

    Fondest memory: It always filled me with glee. Coming around a corner and seeing wonderful streets like this and not a tourist in sight.
    They are working hard to promote their city and I, for one, give it my endorsement.
    Not for Gorlitz the hordes of Dresden or Prague; no, just a pleasant city with layers of architecture and most of it untouched by conflict or designs of modernity.
    My personal favourite was Strubestrasse.

    Related to:
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    • Women's Travel
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  • iandsmith's Profile Photo

    Nice by night

    by iandsmith Written Oct 3, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The night closed in, the lights came on, I knew there was a river nearby. Perhaps I could get some reflection shots.
    I came to a pedestrian bridge below the old market and saw the lights down the line of the river's edge. For me, it was romantic. I come from a land where you can travel for days and still be in the same country, a land where you have to cross oceans just to get somewhere else. For me, being able to walk to another country in a couple of minutes is a novelty, one I never quite get used to. Thus I tarried on the bridge for some time, thinking wonderful thoughts, imagining the history that flowed down the Neisse.
    At the end of World War 2, the town was divided and, while the major part of Gorlitz remained in Germany, Poland annexed a large chunk. The dividing line was the Neisse River. Those from outside the European Union cannot cross the walking bridge.
    Personally, I find the whole thing ludicrous. Come October 2007, anyone will be able to walk freely from side to side. Imagine, one day it's all passports, customs checks etc., the next, nothing. Only man could conjure up such a situation.
    Thank goodness that day has arrived.

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    Gorlitz - more than an outpost

    by iandsmith Updated Oct 3, 2007

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    Favorite thing: The Rathaus
    Yes, of course, that name when pronounced in English has connoitations that we will not elaborate on here.
    Especially when it has one of my all time favourite staircases. I came upon it the first night I was there, had no idea what it was all about but decided I liked it and got the tripod and camera out.
    It turns out that this ascent, between the south wing of the town hall (Rathaus) and its tower, dates back nearly 500 years and leads to the oriel-like proclamation pulpit (hear ye, hear ye). 52 years later, in 1591, the statue of Justitia was added, though mysteriously without the usual blindfold.
    Was justice dispensed without beholding the person in question? We shall never know.
    Above the staircase you may gaze upon the coat of arms of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary and Bohemia 1443-1490.
    It is also recommended that you venture inside and see some of the beautiful rooms, such as the small hall with attractive wooden panels and ceiling, sculpture portals etc., also, if you're German especially, ask for a visit to the archives (16th century architecture) with interesting old documents on show.
    Picture 3 shows the arcade which is part of the new building. It has only been there since 1902, a relative youngster in this town but nonetheless attractive for it.

    Fondest memory: Of course, that's not all the Rathaus has to offer. Noticeable by day, a stand out at night, the clock tower is one of the jewels in the crown of Gorlitz (pic 2).
    The tower's construction dates from the 14th century with the middle addition in the first half of the 16th and the top from the 18th century.
    The lower clock in pic 4 was made in 1584 and features a helmeted head that lowers its jaw at the passing of each minute.
    1584 was an important year as Gorlitz humanist, tutor and mayor (how many jobs can you do in just one day!) Bartholomaus Scultetus introduced the divison of the clock into twelve parts.
    Scultetus was also involved in the introduction of the Gregorian calendar and created the first map of Upper Lusatia. Sorry, I forgot to mention he was also a mathematician, scholar and filled several other important positions as well.....but, of course, that was in his spare time!
    The hand of the upper clock takes one month to go around and displays the day, hour and phase of the moon.
    In the upper third of the tower a lion gazes down and, at midday or upon invitation, is heard to growl and roar.

    Related to:
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    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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  • Leipzig's Profile Photo

    History

    by Leipzig Updated Jul 30, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Saxony was first mentioned in the second century AD as an area between the Elbe and Ems rivers including south Jutland (that is today the very northwestern corner of Germany). In the 9th century Saxony occupied nearly all the territory between the Elbe and Saale rivers on the east and the Rhine on the west; it bordered on Franconia and Thuringia in the south. That's why you hear the Word "Sachsen" in two other states as well.

    The “Golden Bull” of 1356 raised the duke of Saxe-Wittenberg (one part of the Saxon Empire) to the permanent rank of elector, with the right to participate in the election of the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1423 Margrave Frederick the Warlike of Meissen (ruled by the house of Wettin) took over Saxe-Wittenberg, Thuringia and Lusatia and became an Elector. Thus, Saxony shifted from northwest Germany to east-central Germany. With Augustus II of Saxony’s election as king of Poland in 1697 Saxony became one of the most powerful kingdoms in Europe. The death of Augustus III in 1763 ended the union with Poland. In the 19th and early 20th century Saxony became one of the most industrialized German states, with a noted textile industry. After World War Two lost the district of Lusatian Neisse to Poland. The USA sold the western part of Saxony to the Soviets to get a small patch of Berlin.
    Today it is one of the 16 federal states with Dresden as capital.

    parts of the text are copied from wikipedia.com and sachsen.de

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    The Zwinger

    by globetrott Updated Apr 30, 2005

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    Favorite thing: The Zwinger in Dresden was built by Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann and finished by Gottfried Semper .In December 2004 they were still restoring the innercourt of the palace, but you may see some great collections there, like medieval armouries, paintings, a collection of precious porcelain and the astonomical Cabinet. In case that you would like to see all of them you may get a combination-ticket and save some money that way. In order to take photography inside you have to pay a seperate fee !

    Fondest memory: The ZWINGER is certainly one of the best known buildings of Dresden and you may enter its courts even at night.

    Related to:
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    • Museum Visits
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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    a dream come true

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 16, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Such is my love of beer that my girlfriend's parents cut out beer articles in Germany even before I arrive. It seemed that there was a small brewpub in a neighboring mountain village called Geising and we made some plans to go there on the next nice day. Nice days got used for other things and with time running out on my German stay, we headed over that way one bitterly cold snowing morning. I still hoped to do a hike of some sort but the tourist information said if the snow kept falling the way it was, it would be out of the question to hike at higher elevations. We walked around the quaint village for ten minutes or so, but our faces were soon frozen and we ducked into the brewpub that was the true reason for our visit in the first place. It was a nice cozy rathaus so we decided on some soup to wash down the beer and warm us up. The beers sounded better in their descriptions than they actually were and the one I wanted the most, a smoky dunkles beer was not available. We went home hoping to come back for the hike another day. Finally, a nice day arrived so we went back for the hike and stopped in the brewpub to see if the dunkles was indeed on. It was but it was just as disappointing as the other two brews. We finished up quickly and got on the trail for a brisk walk in the refreshing cold air. It was icy but it was a short climb and we were on top in no time. There was a small restaurant there as is typical in Germany but I was happy to see a Rechenberger sign out front. I loved their dunkles and had secretly wished we had gone there instead of the disappointing brewpub. I even joked on the way up that they would have this beer at the top. Doreen said I was a dreamer. They probably just had the Pils but sent her in saying to just get me one if it was in fact the darker beer. She returned moments later with my delicious dunkles beer and a big smile. It seemed my dream had come true.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    D admits I have a nose for finding beer joints

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 16, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Saxony never elicited any great desire for beer hunting in me but when faced with seven weeks in the land just outside of beer-renowned Bohemia, I decided to give it my best shot just the same. There were some notable disappointments especially regarding the dark lager style known as dunkles. Though once a harbor of great dark bitter lagers, it seemed Saxony was now doomed to overly sweet concoctions for those not enjoying robust flavors. I had found one bottled beer from the Freiberger brewery that could compete with the best of the Munich dunkles beers, with a big chocolate malt background offsetting a nice roasty bitterness. But nary could I find it on tap anywhere. Doreen wanted to show me more of Saxony anyway and Freiberg was considered one of the more quaint cities nearby so off we ventured there one very cold Sunday morning. It was good weather for photos but unreasonably cold to walk around too much. I was not super impressed with the small town though it was pretty enough for a day outing. The biggest disappointment was everywhere I looked to stop in to get out of the cold (and have a beer!) only had the Freiberger Pilsner on tap. It was a good enough beer but just not what I was looking for. The day seemed a loss between the cold and dunkles beer so we decided to head back home after a post lunch walk about. As we drove out of town, I noticed the name Brauhaus on a big stone building, next to what looked like a decrepit old brewery. I just had a hunch that this was it and begged Doreen to turn around to let me check. She sweetly humored me and soon I ran back to the car to tell her indeed this was "the" brewery tap. They had all the Freiberger beers on tap, including my beloved dunkles. After sampling most of the lot, we left town a second time, but this time I was all smiles and Freiberg looked just a tad better too.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    a glow at Christmas

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 16, 2003

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    Fondest memory: A Christmas away from home is not high on most people's travel wish lists. Being away from family at this time of year is bound to bring mixed emotions. But when the one you love is from another country, you have to get used to the idea that you will spend many family holidays away from home. My most recent Christmas was in Dippoldiswalde, Germany. It's in the Erzgebirge, which is actually a great place for Christmas; the area is famous for carved wooden Christmas decorations. There were many new Christmas traditions for me to learn like real candles on the tree instead of lights, goose instead of turkey, and opening the presents on the Eve rather than Christmas morning. The hardest change though was the simple Christmas Eve meal of cured ham with black bread instead of the seafood my Italian heritage showed me. Even with all the changes, I relished it. I love trying new things, especially food. But what struck me so deeply was how Doreen's family treated me as one of their own, even though they had only met me for a few days prior to this visit. They understood that their daughter loved me and that we had already shared many magical moments in the short duration of our relationship. They got me presents that were beer-related, it was the one thing they knew about me, that I loved different beers. It wasn't so much what they got me though, but how they gave it. It was full of warmth and acceptance. With the warm spiced wine known as gluwein helping to not only fight off the bitter cold outside but to create a relaxed and family feeling, you could even say it glowed, just like the real candles on the Christmas tree.

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    The Sachsische Schweiz

    by richiecdisc Updated Nov 16, 2003

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    Favorite thing: The Sachsische Schweiz or Saxony's Switzerland, Saxony's renowned National Park, is also its most beautiful asset. Formed during the Cretaceous period, between 1444 and 66 million years ago, by sediment deposits that grew over the course of time to up to 600 meters, the Elbsandsteinbegirge (sandstone mountains) has been the playground of nature lovers for some two hundred years. With over 1200 hiking paths and some 1100 peaks, the park offers something for everyone. The romantic intermingling of man-made structures and those of nature is perhaps its most intriguing feature.

    Related to:
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    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

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  • Leipzig's Profile Photo

    Some general facts about Saxony

    by Leipzig Updated May 22, 2003

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    Favorite thing: Pop.: 4.6 million

    Area: 18 407 km² [ 7 107 sq miles]

    Density: ~250 inhabitants/sq km²

    Geography: the north it is very flat (~ 100 m = 300 ft), formed by the Ice Age; south is mountainous (highest peak: Fichtelberg (1214
    m = 3983 ft)

    Capital: Dresden

    Biggest towns Leipzig [pop.: ~500,000], Dresden [480,000], Chemnitz [280,000], Zwickau [~110,000], Plauen [70,000], Görlitz [70,000]

    Main Industry: farming goods (wheat, fruits, chicken, cattle, pigs), mining goods (lignite, uranium, zinc, Stone, Gravel, Sand), toy production, microelectronics, car production (VW, Porsche, BMW(2005)), mechanical engineering, electric industry, textile industry, chemical industry, ceramics production, metal production and processing, and manufacturing of data processing equipment and installations.

    Things that were developed in Saxony: toothpaste tube, European porcelain, filter cigarettes, mouthwash, beer bottle caps and coffee filters

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  • Maria16's Profile Photo

    Leipzig

    by Maria16 Updated Apr 11, 2003

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    Favorite thing: leipzig is the town were I was born and where I still live. The town centre is not the biggest but really nice. The Drallewatsch is a popular pub mile. The Völkerschlachtdenkmal is a huge monument and from its top you have a cool view on Leipzig.

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