Meissen is a small town on the banks of River Elbe, located in Eastern Germany, not far from Dresden. It's famous for its porcelain, Meissen porcelain or Meissen china which was the first European hard-paste porcelain.
We had no idea what to expect from Meissen, but it has been recommended to us as a perfect day trip from Dresden. We went to a wedding in Meissen but never had the chance to explore the actual town. We were so surprised by how pretty Meissen really is, with all its quaint streets, old houses and vineyards.
There's a lot to be discovered in Meissen and we absolutely recommend that you visit it while you are in Saxony.
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Getting to Meissen
Meissen is located 25 km (16 mi) northwest of Dresden. The easiest way to get to Meissen is by car. You can drive from Dresden to Meissen and get there in less than 45 minutes. Parking is affordable all-around Meissen with around 5 EUR for the full day.
You can also take a train from Dresden to Meissen which takes around 35 minutes. Tickets cost between 4-7 EUR per person per journey.
Want to take the cool way to Meissen? I recommend taking the Elbe river cruise from Dresden to Meissen. It cost just 24 EUR return, per person and you get to see some fantastic sights. You can book it in advance here.
Main sights in Meissen
The Albrechtsburg castle is perhaps the most prominent sight as you arrive in Meissen. It has an interesting history too, as it was once the residence of the House of Wettin. Just once glance at it and you'll see a gorgeous late Gothic style that is so very pleasing to the eye. You can enter the castle as it is a museum. Of course, we were not allowed to go in as all museums in Saxony are closed to visitors right now. Once the borders reopen for travel, we're certain the museum will also be open for visitors so you can admire its stunning interior.
Nearby you can enjoy the Meissen Cathedral, yet another Gothic gem. Both the castle and the cathedral are on a hill from which you can admire Meissen from above. I love that from the car park you can follow a visitor trail so you can really take the whole old town in.
From the cathedral, descend towards the old town, where the historical district and market are located. This time you will meander through delightful quaint streets, dotted with many Renaissance buildings. Admire the gorgeous Frauenkirche located right in the heart of the old marketplace.
Meissen is renowned for its porcelain so a visit to the Meissen porcelain factory is a must.
Depending on when you decide to visit, know that from Spring to Autumn you can partake in a variety of festivals that take place in this adorable little town. We especially recommend Meissen during the pottery market or the Weinfest which is a festival dedicated to the wine harvest. The region is well known for its wine.
If you are unsure what wine to go for, let me tell you as I've tried so many varieties during my time here in Germany. Try the Müller-Thurgau! It's a crossing of Riesling with Madeleine Royale, refreshing, slightly acidic (depending on the harvest) with fruity flavours.
Tips for visiting Meissen
Meissen or Meiβen, in German, is the perfect day trip from Dresden. As previously mentioned, we recommend driving, taking the train or getting on the little Elbe cruise boats for the day.
We recommend starting with the castle, then following the tourist trail around the old town. If you are not comfortable with stairs, there is an elevator which costs 1EUR and takes you to the cathedral square, at the top of the hill.
Albrechtsburg charges a fee for its entry and if you want to take photos inside the castle, you will need to pay a little extra. There are free audio guides available (in several languages), included in the price. If you wish to visit the cathedral or the porcelain factory, check out the combined tickets so you can save a little.
Walk around the main square and enter some of the local shops to buy amazing souvenirs from Germany. You'll find a variety of handcrafted items, perfect for family and friends.
When we visited, there were no restaurants open for anything but take away, so sadly we cannot recommend you the best place to eat in Meissen. However, we do recommend a wine tasting or a vineyard tour if you have the time.
Our thoughts on Meissen
Now you know how to get to Meissen, why visit the town and what are the main attractions. We wanted to enjoy a day out of Dresden and walk around the town to see something different to our city. We absolutely recommend Meissen and we think you are going to love it as well.
We went to Meissen for a wedding not long ago but didn't have the chance to explore the nearby sights. We are so excited that we now took the time to walk around Meissen and discover its true beauty. Enjoy your holiday!