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6 Glorious Places to Visit in Saxony, Germany

Updated on February 25, 2020
Victoria Hannah profile image

I love to write about and photograph places I have visited, discuss these with like-minded people and find out their perspective also.

View Over Annaberg-Bucholz Before Christmas

My first evening in Annaberg-Bucholz and the amazing view from my friends' top floor apartment.
My first evening in Annaberg-Bucholz and the amazing view from my friends' top floor apartment. | Source

My German friends and Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt

My German Friends

I have a dear German friend whom I have known since my teenage days, we met via an international penpal club, he lived in East Germany and I lived in New Zealand; I found out very fast how difficult it was to correspond with someone who lived in a communist country. If I inadvertently wrote anything remotely political my friend told me that almost all of the letter was blacked out, Dad was always telling me to be careful otherwise I would get him into trouble. We continued to exchange photos and letters after he got married, although there were long gaps between our letters. When I did receive one it would often have many words blacked out with severe, perfectly straight lines.

I found out years later that my friends thought I had forgotten them, but the Stasi had confiscated my letters. This was partly punishment for them wanting to live in West Germany, where they eventually did, legally, near Cologne. They never received my missing letters until well after the Berlin Wall came down.

I finally met them both for the first time underneath the magnificent Eiffel Tower in Paris in 2009, it was magic. The three of us got on so well and laughed so much, now many years later we are even closer friends and email/WhatsApp each other constantly.

I spent a few days with them when they lived near Cologne in 2012; they showed me all around the beautiful city and the idyllic towns along the Rhine. They moved back to their homeland in the Ore Mountains, Saxony a few years ago and were so eager for me to visit them again, but I was apprehensive that it would not be as beautiful as the west...how wrong was I!

Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt

I made sure I visited a few days before Christmas so I could visit as many Weihnachtsmärkte as possible. Freiberg was my first where I had a cup of delicious but lethal glühwein then across the square to Kaffee Hartmann. Oh my! The cakes were even more tempting than the glühwein, they are all presented so beautifully and they taste like heaven. I knew I would not be leaving Germany two weeks later feeling any lighter.



The Cities I Visited In Saxony

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Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt and Kaffee Hartmann

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt at around 4pm before the crowdsFreiberg WeihnachtsmarktKaffee HartmannThe amazing selection of cakes at Kaffee HartmannInside Kaffee Hartmann at late afternoonThe owner of Kaffee Hartmann
Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt at around 4pm before the crowds
Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt at around 4pm before the crowds | Source
Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt
Freiberg Weihnachtsmarkt | Source
Kaffee Hartmann
Kaffee Hartmann | Source
The amazing selection of cakes at Kaffee Hartmann
The amazing selection of cakes at Kaffee Hartmann | Source
Inside Kaffee Hartmann at late afternoon
Inside Kaffee Hartmann at late afternoon | Source
The owner of Kaffee Hartmann
The owner of Kaffee Hartmann | Source

Annaberg-Bucholz

Situated high in the Ore Mountains, Annaberg-Bucholz is the capital of the Erzgebirgskreis region and used to be two separate towns until they merged as one in 1945; lace making then silver mining were the main sources of income before WWI. Now there is a range of industries that are productive in this beautiful mountain town, tourism and skiing being amongst them. The immensely popular Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt is open for 4 weeks before Christmas.

Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Walking down the steep streets towards the market square in AnnabergAnnabergAnnaberg Weihnachtsmarkt Annaberg looking towards the WeihnachtsmarktAnnaberg WeihnachtsmarktAnnaberg WeihnachtsmarktThe streets around the Weihnachtsmarkt in AnnabergThe children absolutely adore the marketsIt is so magical to see the lights in all the windows in every village Everyone's house had the most amazing selection of candle lights and wooden carvingsCandles and schnapps was on constant supplyChristmas Eve over Annaberg-Bucholz from my friends' top floor apartmentAbsolutely delicious homemade preserves my friends made with fruit gathered from the forest surrounding Annaberg-BucholzA constant supply of schnapps was always on handBecause it goes below freezing my friends use their balcony as a fridge
Walking down the steep streets towards the market square in Annaberg
Walking down the steep streets towards the market square in Annaberg | Source
Annaberg
Annaberg | Source
Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt
Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt | Source
Annaberg looking towards the Weihnachtsmarkt
Annaberg looking towards the Weihnachtsmarkt | Source
Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt
Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt | Source
Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt
Annaberg Weihnachtsmarkt | Source
The streets around the Weihnachtsmarkt in Annaberg
The streets around the Weihnachtsmarkt in Annaberg | Source
The children absolutely adore the markets
The children absolutely adore the markets | Source
It is so magical to see the lights in all the windows in every village
It is so magical to see the lights in all the windows in every village | Source
Everyone's house had the most amazing selection of candle lights and wooden carvings
Everyone's house had the most amazing selection of candle lights and wooden carvings | Source
Candles and schnapps was on constant supply
Candles and schnapps was on constant supply | Source
Christmas Eve over Annaberg-Bucholz from my friends' top floor apartment
Christmas Eve over Annaberg-Bucholz from my friends' top floor apartment | Source
Absolutely delicious homemade preserves my friends made with fruit gathered from the forest surrounding Annaberg-Bucholz
Absolutely delicious homemade preserves my friends made with fruit gathered from the forest surrounding Annaberg-Bucholz | Source
A constant supply of schnapps was always on hand
A constant supply of schnapps was always on hand | Source
Because it goes below freezing my friends use their balcony as a fridge
Because it goes below freezing my friends use their balcony as a fridge | Source

Driving Around Annaberg-Bucholz

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Driving around Annaberg-Bucholz areaBucholz is just as undulating as AnnabergSunset over Annaberg-Bucholz from my friends' apartmentOverlooking Annaberg-BucholzThe steep streets of AnnabergAnnaberg in the New YearOverlooking Annaberg in the New YearAnnaberg after a snow fallAnnaberg after the Weihnachtsmarkt finishedEnjoying another hot chocolate in an Annaberg caféAnnaberg square from a relaxing café
Driving around Annaberg-Bucholz area
Driving around Annaberg-Bucholz area | Source
Source
Bucholz is just as undulating as Annaberg
Bucholz is just as undulating as Annaberg | Source
Sunset over Annaberg-Bucholz from my friends' apartment
Sunset over Annaberg-Bucholz from my friends' apartment | Source
Overlooking Annaberg-Bucholz
Overlooking Annaberg-Bucholz | Source
The steep streets of Annaberg
The steep streets of Annaberg | Source
Annaberg in the New Year
Annaberg in the New Year | Source
Overlooking Annaberg in the New Year
Overlooking Annaberg in the New Year | Source
Annaberg after a snow fall
Annaberg after a snow fall | Source
Annaberg after the Weihnachtsmarkt finished
Annaberg after the Weihnachtsmarkt finished | Source
Enjoying another hot chocolate in an Annaberg café
Enjoying another hot chocolate in an Annaberg café | Source
Annaberg square from a relaxing café
Annaberg square from a relaxing café | Source

Seiffen

Seiffen is a 1 hour drive north east of Annaberg-Bucholz and is situated close to the Czech Republic border. It's well-known for wooden carvings of charming curved candles which you will find in all windows at Christmas.

These intricately carved candle holders and colourfully painted wooden toys tell the mining history of Seiffen and Christmas. They started being made after the demise of the silver mining industry in the late 1600s. Along with lace making, it paved the way for families to make money and help the local economy. Seiffen is now the centre of wooden toy industry.


Seiffen Shops

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Entering SeiffenSeiffenOne of the beautiful shops in SeiffenSeiffenThe beautiful curved wooden candle holders are in all the homes and shopsIntricately carved candle carouselSeiffenSeiffen
Entering Seiffen
Entering Seiffen | Source
Seiffen
Seiffen | Source
One of the beautiful shops in Seiffen
One of the beautiful shops in Seiffen | Source
Seiffen
Seiffen | Source
The beautiful curved wooden candle holders are in all the homes and shops
The beautiful curved wooden candle holders are in all the homes and shops | Source
Intricately carved candle carousel
Intricately carved candle carousel | Source
Seiffen
Seiffen | Source
Seiffen
Seiffen | Source

A Little Excursion to Boži Dar, Czechia

Having been born in New Zealand and living in Australia we are not used to the close proximity of neighbouring countries, only the ocean is our neighbour so I found it strange driving from Germany to the Czech Republic without my passport, the drive from Annaberg-Bucholz to Boži Dar only took 15 minutes.

We visited Klinovec in Jáchymov, Karlovy Vary, I had never been in thick blowing snow and found it hugely exhilarating. Klinovec is the highest peak in the Ore Mountains and also has a TV tower at the top. Afterwards we visited a restaurant for our lunch which was delicious albeit very heavy on the stomach.




A Warning For Tourists Driving in the Czech Republic

If you drive over the border into the Czech Republic make sure you have your car lights on all the time otherwise the police will pull you over the moment you arrive and fine you!

Boži Dar & Jáchymov, Karlovy Vary, Czechia

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On the way to CzechiaCrossing into the Czech RepublicArriving into Boži Dar, Karlovy VaryLunch in Boži Dar, delicious  but very heavy on the stomachThe author in a snow storm on Klinovec, Jáchymov
On the way to Czechia
On the way to Czechia | Source
Crossing into the Czech Republic
Crossing into the Czech Republic | Source
Arriving into Boži Dar, Karlovy Vary
Arriving into Boži Dar, Karlovy Vary | Source
Lunch in Boži Dar, delicious  but very heavy on the stomach
Lunch in Boži Dar, delicious but very heavy on the stomach | Source
The author in a snow storm on Klinovec, Jáchymov
The author in a snow storm on Klinovec, Jáchymov | Source

Erzgebirge/Vogtland Nature Park, Oberweisenthal

What a beautiful region this is! It takes 1/2 hour to drive from Annaberg to Oberweisenthal and it is stunning. We first went up there the day after Christmas but it was too warm for snow so my friends took me back for a second visit in the New Year, it was magic just like my childhood picture books. I did not even recognise it as the same place we had visited only a few days before. All the green ski slopes were now thick with white powder and the population had escalated massively, even the cable car was busy.

Café König is a delightful place to eat some scrumptious cakes and relax with hot chocolate, don't worry about the calories because you will walk them off.

We even saw the magnificent Fichtelbergbahn steam train travelling along, we heard the sound of the steam before we actually saw it and it reminded me of The Railway Children.

Oberweisenthal

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Café König, Oberweisenthal before the snow just after ChristmasOberweisenthalOberweisenthalInside Café KönigMore delicious cakes at Café KönigI have never had such rich hot chocolate as I have in GermanyOverlooking Germany and the Czech RepublicOverlooking Germany and the Czech RepublicFichtelberg Cable CarFichtelberg Cable Car before the snowThe green ski slopes in OberweisenthalThe amount of contrails in the sky always amazed me, this was a quiet dayDriving back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal just after Christmas The Fichtelbergbahn steam trainThe ski slopes of Oberweisenthal in the New YearTobogganing on the new snow at OberweisenthalCafé König after the snow fell in the New YearDriving back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal in the New YearOn the way back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal in the New Year
Café König, Oberweisenthal before the snow just after Christmas
Café König, Oberweisenthal before the snow just after Christmas | Source
Oberweisenthal
Oberweisenthal | Source
Oberweisenthal
Oberweisenthal | Source
Inside Café König
Inside Café König | Source
More delicious cakes at Café König
More delicious cakes at Café König | Source
I have never had such rich hot chocolate as I have in Germany
I have never had such rich hot chocolate as I have in Germany | Source
Overlooking Germany and the Czech Republic
Overlooking Germany and the Czech Republic | Source
Overlooking Germany and the Czech Republic
Overlooking Germany and the Czech Republic | Source
Fichtelberg Cable Car
Fichtelberg Cable Car | Source
Fichtelberg Cable Car before the snow
Fichtelberg Cable Car before the snow | Source
The green ski slopes in Oberweisenthal
The green ski slopes in Oberweisenthal | Source
The amount of contrails in the sky always amazed me, this was a quiet day
The amount of contrails in the sky always amazed me, this was a quiet day | Source
Driving back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal just after Christmas
Driving back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal just after Christmas | Source
The Fichtelbergbahn steam train
The Fichtelbergbahn steam train | Source
The ski slopes of Oberweisenthal in the New Year
The ski slopes of Oberweisenthal in the New Year | Source
Tobogganing on the new snow at Oberweisenthal
Tobogganing on the new snow at Oberweisenthal | Source
Café König after the snow fell in the New Year
Café König after the snow fell in the New Year | Source
Driving back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal in the New Year
Driving back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal in the New Year | Source
On the way back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal in the New Year
On the way back to Annaberg from Oberweisenthal in the New Year | Source

Dresden

Dresden is draped in a very rich history, the city suffered badly during the war after the bombing by the Allies almost flattened the city, a subject that is still a contentious issue today, but it has re-invented itself to be one of the most powerful cities in Germany.

The Frauenkirche is truly a wonderful symbol of what collaboration between countries can achieve. My friends had bought tickets months before my arrival for a concert held at the Frauenkirche just before New Year, it was such a privilege to be inside this beautiful church, especially at such a prestigious concert.

The weather was very murky during our short stay but we managed to walk around the city and view the beautiful baroque architecture. The Zwinger Palace is now a museum and art gallery set in beautifully designed gardens and the Fürstenzug is another stunning piece of architecture to visit, it was originally painted in the 1870s and was replaced with Meissen porcelain tiles in the early 1900s. It is the largest porcelain artwork in the world.


Dresden Architecture

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Driving towards DresdenJust after Christmas and it was still manic driving into DresdenDresden CastleDresden ZwingerDresden ZwingerDresden ZwingerNeumarkt SquareThe main shopping centre in DresdenThe main shopping centre in DresdenThe main shopping centre in Dresden at nightThe main shopping centre in Dresden at nightOur fabulous visit to a local pub after the Frauenkirche concertThe FürstenzugThe FürstenzugThe magnificent Frauenkirche The centre dome inside the ceiling of the Frauenkirche Frauenkirche concert which my friends booked months in advance
Driving towards Dresden
Driving towards Dresden | Source
Just after Christmas and it was still manic driving into Dresden
Just after Christmas and it was still manic driving into Dresden | Source
Dresden Castle
Dresden Castle | Source
Dresden Zwinger
Dresden Zwinger | Source
Dresden Zwinger
Dresden Zwinger | Source
Dresden Zwinger
Dresden Zwinger | Source
Neumarkt Square
Neumarkt Square | Source
The main shopping centre in Dresden
The main shopping centre in Dresden | Source
The main shopping centre in Dresden
The main shopping centre in Dresden | Source
The main shopping centre in Dresden at night
The main shopping centre in Dresden at night | Source
The main shopping centre in Dresden at night
The main shopping centre in Dresden at night | Source
Our fabulous visit to a local pub after the Frauenkirche concert
Our fabulous visit to a local pub after the Frauenkirche concert | Source
The Fürstenzug
The Fürstenzug | Source
The Fürstenzug
The Fürstenzug | Source
The magnificent Frauenkirche
The magnificent Frauenkirche | Source
The centre dome inside the ceiling of the Frauenkirche
The centre dome inside the ceiling of the Frauenkirche | Source
Frauenkirche concert which my friends booked months in advance
Frauenkirche concert which my friends booked months in advance | Source

Meissen

We left Dresden and took a 3/4 hour diversion via Meissen to look at the porcelain museum. The craftsmanship is astonishing and the art and design is so innovative. There is so much diversity of styles, I really wanted to buy something but the thought of breaking a cup and saucer that cost €400.00 sent me into an apoplectic fit. This is most definitely worth a visit for a few hours, you can also watch the craftspeople at work in their studio. We had to hurry back to Annaberg before the light failed because the roads are treacherous in the mountains during winter.

Meissen Porcelain

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Driving into MeissenMeissen PorcelainMeissen Porcelain entranceMeissen designsMeissen designsMeissen Porcelain shop
Driving into Meissen
Driving into Meissen | Source
Meissen Porcelain
Meissen Porcelain | Source
Meissen Porcelain entrance
Meissen Porcelain entrance | Source
Meissen designs
Meissen designs | Source
Meissen designs
Meissen designs | Source
Source
Source
Source
Source
Meissen Porcelain shop
Meissen Porcelain shop | Source

Freiberg

Freiberg is my friends' true homeland and it had always been their dream to show me around their birth place since we started writing to each other. This university town, not to be confused with Freiburg in the south of Germany, lies approximately 30 kms south of Dresden, it has a strong mining history with old mines dotted around which you can still visit. We made only a short 2 day visit to this city on New Year's Eve and stayed in the lovely Silberhof Hotel where I had a delightful corner room with lovely views.

We went to church at 11pm then had to rush out to find a space to watch the fireworks. It was mind-blowing, I have never seen a city fill up with smoke so fast, it was like a thick smelly fog and my friends held onto me because I would have got lost or fallen over the edge where we were standing. We reeked of smoke so I dived into the shower as soon as I got back to the hotel at 1am. The next morning there was debris everywhere we drove.

Coming from a country where it is illegal to buy fireworks I was utterly shocked to see them freely available in the supermarkets, children were carrying large fire crackers in their hands.

There are so many fantastic restaurants in Freiberg and the Schwanenschlökchen is most definitely one of them. The setting on the lake, the architecture and the delicious food and beer make it a dream place to have lunch.

I actually put on 4 kilos after 2 weeks but the food and beer is so delicious, plus I had another dream stay with my dear friends in their very beautiful country..

Freiberg On New Year's Eve

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The entrance to one of the old minesAn old mineAn old mining villageAn old mining villageWe stayed in the Silberhof Hotel over New Year My lovely corner room on the top floor of the Silberhof which had a view over Freiberg cityDriving through the streets of FreibergOverlooking Freiberg on New Year's Eve, later that night you could not even see the city lights because of the thick fireworks smoke. The ground was totally covered in debrisThe fantastic Schwanenschlökchen RestaurantThe entrance to the Schwanenschlökchen, my friends were in a constant fit with me trying to pronounce its nameThe food and beer was so delicious and I was starting to put on serious weight by now
The entrance to one of the old mines
The entrance to one of the old mines | Source
An old mine
An old mine | Source
An old mining village
An old mining village | Source
An old mining village
An old mining village | Source
We stayed in the Silberhof Hotel over New Year
We stayed in the Silberhof Hotel over New Year | Source
My lovely corner room on the top floor of the Silberhof which had a view over Freiberg city
My lovely corner room on the top floor of the Silberhof which had a view over Freiberg city | Source
Driving through the streets of Freiberg
Driving through the streets of Freiberg | Source
Overlooking Freiberg on New Year's Eve, later that night you could not even see the city lights because of the thick fireworks smoke. The ground was totally covered in debris
Overlooking Freiberg on New Year's Eve, later that night you could not even see the city lights because of the thick fireworks smoke. The ground was totally covered in debris | Source
The fantastic Schwanenschlökchen Restaurant
The fantastic Schwanenschlökchen Restaurant | Source
The entrance to the Schwanenschlökchen, my friends were in a constant fit with me trying to pronounce its name
The entrance to the Schwanenschlökchen, my friends were in a constant fit with me trying to pronounce its name | Source
The food and beer was so delicious and I was starting to put on serious weight by now
The food and beer was so delicious and I was starting to put on serious weight by now | Source

Free State of Saxony, Germany

A
Freiberg:
Freiberg, Germany

get directions

B
Annaberg-Bucholz:
Annaberg-Buchholz, Germany

get directions

C
Seiffen:
Seiffen, Germany

get directions

D
Fichtelberg, Oberweisenthal:
Fichtelberg, 09484 Oberwiesenthal, Germany

get directions

E
Erzgebirgskreis/Vogtland Nature Park Kurort:
parc naturel des monts Métallifères/Vogtland, 09456 Annaberg-Buchholz, Germany

get directions

F
Dresden:
Dresden, Germany

get directions

G
Meissen:
Meissen, Germany

get directions

H
Boži Dar, Karlovy Vary, Czechia:
Boží Dar, Czechia

get directions

I
Jáchymov, Karlovy Vary:
Jáchymov, Czechia

get directions

© 2020 Victoria Hannah

Comments

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    • Victoria Hannah profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Hannah 

      3 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thank you Raymond, it really is such a beautiful part of Germany and the Germans are so helpful and have a great sense of humour.

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      3 months ago from The Netherlands

      I loved reading your experience with this part of Germany. Dresden is still on my to visit list.

    • Victoria Hannah profile imageAUTHOR

      Victoria Hannah 

      3 months ago from Sydney, Australia

      Yes I agree Liz, it was horrendous what my friends went through and I have heard stories from people who used to live in West Germany as well.

      War is just horrid...power and greed by the political powerhouse and the ordinary citizen suffers.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 months ago from UK

      This sounds like a great trip. I'm glad you explained about Freiburg or I would have confused it. Dresden was on the news in the UK recently on the anniversary of the bombing. I grew up only being able to visit West Germany. It is so sad that the country had to be split for all those years.

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