It’s best to start the day at the charming, cobble-stoned Meissen Altstadt (old town). Treat yourself to a hearty breakfast in any of the cafes in this part of town. If you wish to pick up a map of the city or have any questions about your stay in Meissen, drop in at the tourist office here, anytime between 10 am and 5 pm.
Meissen Tourist office: Markt 3, 01662 Meißen, Germany +49 3521 41940
Once you are adequately fueled, it’s time to kickstart the day. Take a while to admire the intricate dormers and saddle roof of the Meissen Rathaus (the town hall), proudly gracing the market square. It’s one of the prettiest town halls you will see anywhere in Germany. The 15th century restaurant at the Rathaus, Ratskeller Meissen, is among the most popular restaurants in the city. They serve delicious breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and wines. However, be prepared to have to wait, especially in high season, as it can get very busy.
Rathaus Meissen: Markt 1, 01662 Meißen, Germany +49 3521 4670
The next stop is the hilltop Albrechtsburg Castle, the oldest castle in Germany and a revered specimen of architectural genius. There are several ways of getting there. From April to October, a 13-seater bus runs from the market square to the castle every 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can reach the castle in less than a minute aboard the Panoramaaufzug Burgberg. If you are feeling particularly energetic, you can hike up to the castle via the Obere Promenadenweg (Upper Promenade Path), and be rewarded with beautiful views over the Elbe Valley as you ascend. Of course, biking or driving to the castle is also possible.
Albrechtsburg Castle: Domplatz 1, 01662 Meißen, Germany +49 3521 47070
After a guided tour of its lavish interiors, stop by at Meissen Cathedral (Dom Zu Meissen) next to the castle. Though its towers soar high, it is among the smallest and quaintest cathedrals in the country. Once you have feasted your eyes on the stunning Gothic facade, step inside to take a look at the 13th-century polychrome statues of Holy Roman Emperor Otto I and his wife, Adelaide of Burgundy, the Protestant pulpit, the beautiful columns and the high ceilings.
Meissen Cathedral: Domplatz 7, 01662 Meißen, Germany +49 3521 452490
It might be a good idea to stop at the very popular Cafe Am Dom at the cathedral. Here, you can indulge in snacks, cakes, salads, ice cream, coffee and delicious local wines, while enjoying sweeping views over the city from the terrace. However, if you are starving, it’s best to make your way down to the market square, where you will have many options for a proper lunch.
Cafe Am Dom: Domplatz 5, 01662 Meißen, Germany +49 3521 404486
After lunch, head towards the Stadtmuseum Meissen, housed in a former Franciscan monastery, only around 660 feet (200 meters) from the Rathaus. This visit will open your eyes to 1,000 years of the socio-economic, political, and cultural evolution of the city of Meissen. The most popular displays in this museum include the last fishing boat to sail on the Elbe, the oldest wine press in Saxony, and beautiful locally-made porcelain items.
Stadtmuseum Meissen: Heinrichsplatz 3, 01662 Meißen, Germany +49 3521 458857
Meissen was the first manufacturer of porcelain in Europe in 1710, and the city artists’ expertise in porcelain art has earned Meissen global repute. So, a visit to Meissen is incomplete without a stop at Meissen State Porcelain Manufactory, an easy stroll (around 0.75 mi, or 1.2 km) from Stadtmuseum. Since 1916, this vintage museum has been dropping jaws with its stunning porcelain exhibits from over 300 years. They offer guided tours of the exhibition and workshop. At the museum shop, you can treat yourself to exquisite porcelain hand-crafted jewelry, home decor, fabrics, accessories, furniture and more, or pick up authentic souvenirs for loved ones back home. Stopping for snacks and a refreshing cup of tea at the museum cafe is a perfect way to top off a great visit. Make sure you try the dreamy trademarked Meissen® tart, which is not available anywhere else but here.
Meissen State Porcelain Manufactory: Talstraße 9, 01662 Meißen, Germany, +49 3521 468208
As evening rolls on, head to the riverside for a pleasant stroll and great views over the river. You might even take a short ferry ride on the Elbe to appreciate the beauty of the town from a different perspective. Later in the evening, head back to the Altstadt for a delicious dinner. Meissen doesn’t really have a pulsating nightlife, but there are several nice bars and pubs in the Altstadt to head to if you are not ready for the day to be over yet.