Dresden’s treasure trove of history, art, and architecture ideally require and deserve several days to explore. However, if it’s a choice between visiting for a day and not visiting at all, don’t miss this sensational city. If you start early and are ready for a busy day, it’s impossible to tour the highlights of Dresden in a day – Dresden Castle, Opera House, Zwinger, the Baroque Catholic Hofkirche, and a stroll along the Brülsche Terrasse. If time permits, take your pick from the incredible museums and galleries in the city.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 122 km (75.8 miles)
To delve deep into German culture, head to Weimar. This East German city has been home to several legendary figures from German literature, music, art, and philosophy, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It was in Weimar that the Bauhaus movement began, evolving into a full-fledged revolution in art, design, and architecture. Weimar is very walkable, and a mere stroll along its Old Town will reward you with as many as ten historic buildings and UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 129 km (80.15 miles)
Colditz Castle stands testimony to over 1000 years of history, including its tenure as a gruesome prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War. A guided tour of this castle walks visitors through the escape tunnels accessed by the Allied POWs in 1940-1945. It also displays original uniforms and artifacts from that time, and a special exhibition dedicated to Poland during the Second World War.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 59 km (36.6 miles)
Not to be confused with Freiburg in the Black Forest, Saxony’s Freiberg is a historic university and silver-mining town, with an 800-year-old history of mining and smelting. The most popular sights in Freiberg are the Terra Mineralia Science Museum, St. Marien Dom, the Freudenstein Castle, the City and Mining Museum, and the silver mines.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 115 km (71.4 miles)
The skyscape of Meissen is dominated by the Gothic Albrechtsburg Castle, the Frauenkirche (“Church of Our Lady”), and the Albrechtsburg (Castle). The Old Town is a charming spot to explore. This quaint town by the Elbe River is known for its porcelain production, so a visit to the Porcelain Museum is a must during a trip to Meissen.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 112 km (69.5 miles)
Erfurt is an attractive university city with over 1,200 years of history. The most notable landmarks in Erfurt are the 742 AD St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Erfurt Synagogue built in the 1100s, St. Severus Church from 1121, the 13th-century Augustinian Monastery, and the Angermuseum.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 146 km (90.7 miles)
Wörlitzer Park is one of the first and among the largest landscape gardens in Germany. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this park houses the ornate Wörlitz Castle, stables, a kitchen building, a synagogue, a late Romanesque Church, the Temple of Venus, the Pantheon architecture, artificial ruins of a vault and several other interesting structures. The vast expanse of the garden itself is stunning in its botanical diversity.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 82 km (51 miles)
The romantic Moritzburg Castle is perched on an artificial island of geometric symmetry. Originally built as a Renaissance hunting lodge in the 1500s, it was later refurbished as a Baroque pleasure palace in the 1700s. Today, the palace is open to public tours that walk visitors through its stunning interiors and lush parkland. Don’t miss the shell-pink Little Pheasant Castle near the Moritzburg Castle.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 127 km (79 miles)
Burg Stolpen is sure to appeal to the romantic in all visitors, reminding them of childhood fairy tales involving inaccessible towers and imprisoned princesses. Countess Cosel was held prisoner in this awe-inspiring fortress for over 50 years, as a punishment for being privy to royal secrets, and she breathed her last behind its impenetrable walls. Visitors learn more about the history of the castle, its basalt foundation, and the sad story of Countess Cosel as part of the guided tour.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 160 km (99.4 miles)
If you ever wondered who creates the adorable wooden toys and nutcrackers that you see in Christmas markets and souvenir shops, you have your answer right here. Seiffen, a tiny town in Ore Mountains, is the heart of wooden toy production in Germany. On a trip to Seiffen, you get a chance to see gifted wood carvers at work and pick up a few authentic souvenirs to remember your Germany trip. Also, this romantic, snowy town dazzles in lights and transforms into a magical land during Christmas.
Distance from Leipzig: Approximately 141 km (87.6 miles)