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The Wines and Wonders of Saxony
East Germany’s Saxon Wine Route runs just over 35 miles along the captivating valley of the Elbe. This is Germany's smallest and least-trafficked wine-growing region and is a must for anybody who calls themselves an oenophile. On this five-day journey, you’ll wander through the Mediterranean-like countryside and vineyards, taking in some of the most stunning Saxon towns along the way. You’ll visit the spectacular Meissen Porcelain Factory, Dresden’s lavish Zwinger palace, the hip eateries of Leipzig—and wineries, wineries, and more wineries.
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    Photo By Frederik Schrader
    Day 1
    Night Flight to Dresden
    Sit back and relax: you’re on your way to the stunning city of Dresden. This medieval gem sits on the Elbe River’s northern bank and is home to magnificent castles, spires, and domes belonging to centuries-old palaces, cathedrals, and opera houses. You’ll also want to explore the incredible restaurants and one of the liveliest nightlife scenes in east Germany. And then there’s the wine. Get ready for a tantalizing five-day journey.
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    Photo By Francesco Carovillano
    Day 2
    Dresden: A True Gem
    Dresden is home to many architectural stunners that were either partially preserved or meticulously restored following the destruction of the World War II bombings; cathedrals, museums, and palaces here are testaments to Dresden’s resilience and history.

    Check in at the elegantly restored Taschenbergpalais Kempinski and wander over to Dresden’s lavish Zwinger—once a 16th-century party palace it now houses three museums, including the Old Masters Gallery. Also visit the nearby Semper Opera and Hofkirche (Palace Church). Dresden's Renaissance City Palace, which shelters the breathtaking Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) is a must; and don’t miss Dresden’s most beloved symbol of peace, the domed Frauenkirche.

    Dresden is also the perfect launch pad to the Saxon Wine Route. You can see the vines growing along the Elbe, and boating the short distance to Pillnitz and to Weingut Klaus Zimmerling winery is a wonderful way to pass a few wine-soaked hours. Or, just let the sommelier at Michelin-starred restaurant Caroussel Bülow Palais give you a taste of the grape delights to come.
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    Photo By MEISSEN®
    Day 3
    Meissen Finery
    Outside Dresden and just south of Meissen in the towns of Radebeul and Coswig, stop off at the 850-year-old Sächsisches Staatsweingut GmbH winery for a sparkling wine tour and delish Saxon delights at the restaurant. Other wineries that should be on your tasting list are Weingut Walter Schuh Sörnewitz, Rothes Gut Meissen, Weingut Mariaberg, and Weingut Matyas.

    Next, it’s a short drive to Meissen for the night. This 1,000-year-old city is famous for the Albrechtsburg, an enormous Gothic castle with tapestries, a theater, and paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder; the Meissen Porcelain Factory—the first porcelain manufacturer in Europe, dating back to 1710—is a must-visit for anyone interested in design, art, and architecture. Get here early enough for a tour and be sure to check out the rotating lineup of exhibits. The Café & Restaurant Meissen on the ground floor has a menu of Mediterranean and local fare that rotates monthly; you can’t go wrong by ordering the Saxon potato soup, served on iconic Meissen porcelain. It also offers a great portfolio of local wines just waiting to be tasted.

    A good choice for a classic Saxon dinner is the 16th-century restaurant Vincenz Richter. Ask for a glass of crisp white from the Richters’ own wine estate.
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    Photo By Roetting+Pollex
    Day 4
    Edgy Leipzig
    Heading west on day four of your journey, the sun-drenched vineyards of the Saxon Wine Route will soon come to an end at what’s arguably the coolest city in Saxony: Leipzig. Check in at Steigenberger Hotel and set out to explore the city’s hip culture and musical roots—the choirmaster at St. Thomas’s Church was none other than Johann Sebastian Bach.

    Start at the St. Nicholas Church, famous for its role in the peaceful revolution that led to the downfall of the East German government. The nearby modernist glass cube is the Museum of Fine Arts, definitely worth a visit. A five-minute walk from Augustusplatz, the Museen im Grassi harbors three museums, including the Museum of Musical Instruments. Speaking of music, St. Thomas Church with Bach’s tomb should be on your list.

    Leipzig’s culinary scene is as vibrant as its culture. Polish off your journey with the innovative French fare at Restaurant Villers, or, if you’d like to keep the wine tour going, Auerbachs Keller Leipzig is the second oldest restaurant in the city and one of its most important wine bars.
  • Day 5
    Head Home with A Fresh Perspective
    On this tantalizing, five-day journey along the Saxon Wine Route, you’ve explored the striking spires and domes of Dresden, ventured along sun-drenched vineyards, and tasted grassy whites and sparkling wines fit for a queen. You’ve eaten off royal porcelain, experienced Leipzig’s cultural legacy, and savored some of Saxon’s most exquisite delights all along the way. As you head to the airport in Leipzig today, with Bauernfrühstück (eggs and potatoes) in your stomach and wine bottles in your suitcase—your cup truly overfloweth.