This twee and touristy town is a nice place to take your parent(s) on a daytrip from Leipzig. There’s an old porcelain factory and plenty of expensive porcelain shops, a small but very lovely gothic cathedral, and the Albrechtsburg castle and museum.
Meissen (Meißen) sits on both sides of the river Elbe but it’s the old town on the west bank that attracts visitors. The old town with its cobblestone streets has cute shops and courtyards galore, and there’s heaps of old buildings to gawk at.
The languid river Elbe contributes to the overall very pleasant and historical vibe. It’s lovely, though in fairness if you’re a party animal or adrenaline junky looking for excitement you’ll be disappointed.
Lovers of hearty Saxon cuisine will have found heaven. There’s plenty of options to enjoy goulash, pork chops, dumplings and sauerkraut, and maybe spargel (white asparagus) in the early Spring, as well as the very excellent local white wine. Yes wine. Meissen is right in the middle of the Saxony wine district and is quite famous for the Weinfest held every September.
To atone for the pork chops and dumplings try hiking up the stone steps to the Albrechtsburg. The views over the old town and river are well worth it.
Accommodation is pricey in Meissen and there’s nothing we’d describe as “budget” – nearby Dresden is where to find cheap and cheerful budget accommodation. We enjoyed eating at the Schloss Taverne and noted they had discounted weekend packages offering full-board at their guest apartments. We can however recommend Schwerter Schankhaus. This is another hotel-cum-restaurant in the old town and is (relatively) good value.
There’s no public bus service to Meissen from Leipzig. The car trip on highway B6 is well, frankly, a bit dull with lots of small depopulating towns along the way. Take the faster A14 motorway. When you arrive parking isn’t a problem as there’s plenty of pay and display parking right by the old town.
We drove but did compare the train options and there are frequent Regional (RE) train services with one-way journey times of between 1hr 30mins and 2hrs. Book online or use one the Deutsche Bahn machines at Leipzig’s Hauptbahnhof. Also consider the good value 24-hr Saschen-Ticket. The train from Leipzig stops at the very convenient Meissen Altstadt station, which as the name suggests is right in the old town.
[page content last updated September 2014]