Over 25 Reasons to Follow the Saxon Wine Trail


Hiking the Saxon Wine Trail is divided into 6 daily stages averaging 8 miles, or 5 to 6 hours of walking per day. 2022 is 30th Anniversary.

The Saxon Wine Trail, a 50 mile walk and wine tasting experience through more than 850 years of wine making, is easily divided into six stages with an average of eight miles or five to six hours of walking a day. This region of German, nicknamed the Saxon Rivera, follows parts of the Elbe River as it winds its way through countryside near such historic Saxon towns as Pirna, Meissen and Dresden, all renowned for their porcelain, art, architecture, history and castles. With temperatures averaging about 75 degrees during summer and orchards and vineyards brimming with fruit, the trail is also lovely in autumn when the leaves are ablaze of colors. For those who’d rather drive, it’s 34 miles by car.

Either way, according to Victoria Larson, USA Press Representative, State Tourist Board, visitors can sample over 60 grape varieties – including Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, but also Traminer, Scheurebe and the Goldriesling, which is only grown on the Elbe.

“You will pass beautiful villas and magnificent castles,” says Larson. “A detour into the old town of Dresden leads to the Zwinger, Semper Opera and Frauenkirche. In Radebeul, you can take time to visit the Saxon Wine Museum Hoflößnitz and the beautiful 850-year old winery in Europe at Wackerbarth Castle where you can treat yourselves to fabulous tours, meals and a great gift shop. The journey continues to Meissen: the imposing castle hill with the cathedral and Albrechtsburg Castle can be seen from afar. The WineExperienceWorld of the Saxon Winegrowers’ Cooperative Meissen offers information and insights into the history and current practices of winegrowing in the area.”

In the last 40 years, Saxony has experienced a true renaissance of wine growing with young and experimental vintners leading the way. Although Saxony is still Germany’s smallest and northernmost wine region, currently there are not only many professional growers but also about 1000 hobby winemakers. Typically grapes are grown on hillside terraces requiring that most tending and harvesting be done by hand.

The northern starting point of the Saxon Wine Route is the charming village of Diesbar-Seusslitz with its beautiful baroque castle surrounded by formal gardens.

The most prominent winery of the route is Schloss Proschwitz housed in a baroque-style castle built by one of Saxony’s oldest families who lost their home after WWII but bought it back after reunification. With dedication, labor and love, they recreated one of Saxony’s leading and largest privately owned wineries. Their wine production includes a range of wines from Pinot Gris and Pint Blanc to Müller-Thurgau and Goldriesling, a Saxony speciality. The castle and vineyard are year-round destinations for events and weddings as well as the concerts that are part of Dresden’s famous music festivals.  

Not far away, Meissen, once the seat of the Saxon electors which gives it a special prominence in this historic land, also has extensive vineyards.

“Two trademarks of this 1000-year-old city on the Elbe are the Albrechtsburg, an enormous Gothic cathedral, and the well-known Meissen porcelain manufactory, MEISSEN, a must-visit destination for anyone interested in design and craft, jewelry, art and architecture,” says Larson.

The capital city of Dresden with its magnificent skyline is notable for the dome of the Protestant Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche), the smaller dome of the Catholic Palace Church (Hofkirche), the roof line of the Semper Opera and the ornate gates to the museums in the Zwinger Palace.

Just down the river, the next highlight is Castle Pillnitz, the summer palace of the Wettin kings and Saxon electors. The baroque palace is home to the Arts and Crafts Museum of the Dresden State Art Collection as well as a castle museum and has an extensive formal garden and park. The most spectacular way to get to the palace is by paddle boat from Dresden as the riverbank is lined with beautiful villas and castles built by noble families who wanted to be near the king.

A magnificent winery in Pillnitz with views over the Elbe River Valley is Weingut Klaus Zimmerling, where visitors can stay for a wine tasting and view the fields and the outstanding sculptures by Malgorzata Chodakowska.

The last stop on Saxony’s Wine Trail is the medieval town of Pirna, the gateway to Saxon Switzerland. Pirna is famed beyond the borders of Saxony due to the paintings by Venetian artist Bernardo Bellotto, the nephew of the famous Italian painter, Canaletto, who often took his uncle’s name to further his own reputation. The medieval town is much as it has always been and features winding streets, leading visitors in between town houses, charming courtyards and numerous fountains, and taking you on a journey through the past.

Every autumn, towns like Pirna and Radebeul host wine festivals where visitors get to taste the local wines and meet regional growers. Saxony and Dresden is an easy car or train ride from Berlin or Frankurt both of which have many direct flights from the U.S. and Canada.

In 2022, the Cultural City of Dresden Hosts Special Exhibitions in Saxony’s State of the Arts

Celebrate arts and culture in Dresden in 2022.

Special exhibitions include Gerhard Richter at 90 with selections by the artist and Bernardo Bellotto, at 300, with his extraordinary cityscapes. Dresden also celebrates the father of its classical music lineage: Heinrich Schütz.  

Baroque Spendor

Restored now to its original baroque splendor, Dresden’s gleaming buildings, including the Royal Palace, the cathedral, the opera, the Brühlsche Terrasse among others, along the banks of the Elbe are a sight to behold. And, inside these buildings are arguably some of the world’s finest treasures. There are many exhibitions in 2022 and Dresden artists, Gerhard Richter and Bernardo Bellotto, lead the way. 

Starting off the year with a contemporary flare, is the Gerhard Richter exhibition celebrating the 90th birthday of this special Dresden citizen. Not only was Richter born in Dresden but he also has a special professional connection to the city as his archive is housed at the Dresden State Art Collections. The exhibition, “GERHARD RICHTER. Portraits. Glass. Abstractions” will run from February 5 to May 1 in three rooms of the upper floor of the Albertinum, also a part of the Dresden State Art Collections. Richter picked the pieces for the exhibition from his private collection as well as from the archive while additional of his works are lent by other international institutions.

Bernardo Bellotto’s 300th Birthday

Next up is the exhibition on Bernardo Bellotto, the nephew of the Canaletto, and often referred to as Canaletto the Younger or also just Canaletto. His 300th birthday is an enormous cause célèbre in the Elbe city as he painted extraordinary landscapes that depicted Dresden as it was in its golden age in the mid1700s.

From May 21 to August 28, the Dresden State Art Collections will be showing the exhibition “Enchantingly Real: Bernardo Bellotto at the Court of Saxony” where there will be paintings from the Dresden State Art Collections as well as from other institutions. Bellotto became famous as the court painter for the elector of Saxony, Frederick Augustus II. His famous works are breath- taking depictions of the city and its environs, most measuring over eight feet in width. Dresden and the nearby Pirna will be celebrating the anniversary especially during the Dresden City Festival from August 19 to 21. 

Dresden: Musical City

Dresden is also a musical city and one of the most important musicians in setting this foundation is Heinrich Schütz, the royal organist and music director of the Royal Palace in the mid1600s. His work will be celebrated and played at the ‘Barock.Musik.Fest’ from May 2 to May 8 in the Royal Palace as well as from October 7 to 17 during the eponymous festival dedicated to the musician. Schütz is known for writing vocal solos, duets and choir works with and without instruments. He was strongly influenced by Italian composers of the time and yet created a strong German choral tradition that is still lively in the city today.

German Hygiene Museum Dresden

 A daring exhibition will take place at the German Hygiene Museum Dresden from April 2, 2022 to January 2, 2023: ‘Artful Intelligence. Machine Learning Human Dreams’ highlights the extent that artificial intelligence can be used in our lives even in such intimate topics about how to realize whether a person is lying, even to him or herself, and what criteria AI is using to make decisions.

Pillnitz Castle

“Plant Fever” is a multifaceted exhibition that will be displayed in Pillnitz Castle, the erstwhile summer palace of Augustus the Strong. Pillnitz is only 20 minutes from Dresden by a very pleasant river boat ride that will take you past beautiful villas and palaces from the 1700s. Designers, scientists, technology experts and plant enthusiasts will be interested in this project that will showcase 50 international projects from April 29 to November 6.

Meissen Porcelain

Blick auf die Albrechtsburg / Dom zu Meißen. Foto Tommy Halfter (DML-BY) // View of Albrechtsburg Castle / Meissen Cathedral! Photo: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

Close by will be the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory and showroom with some of the most beautiful porcelain pieces in the world. A special exhibition, called “Johann,” after Johann Boettger, the alchemist who was after gold but ended up with porcelain, or white gold, will be located in the Albrechtsburg (fortress close to the manufactory) for people interested in international and contemporary porcelain. It will run from April 16 to July 2022.

Celebrate the Outdoors

If you are planning a trip to Dresden for spring and summer especially, Dresden has many outdoor cultural events, including film nights on the banks of the Elbe, daily classes at the Japanese Palace, walking and bicycle tours throughout the city and the region. One special way to enjoy and experience the Elbe region is to ride along the Elbe Wine Road from Pirna to Dirnbar-Seusslitz. August 27 and 28 and September 23 and 25 are the local wine festivals in Radebeul and Meissen respectively. Although it is technically Germany’s smallest and most northern wine region, the wines are popular while the landscape and wineries are beautiful places to visit and enjoy a meal. 

Dramatic History Comes Alive

Foto: Michael R. Hennig (DML-BY)

In the past year, two excellent permanent exhibitions, the “Zwinger Xperience,” and the “Festung Xperience,” were created to make Dresden’s dramatic history come alive. These 3-D presentations show battles, art, and the people of Dresden’s past. You stand inside Dresden’s fortress underground and in the Zwinger Museum while images and films are projected against the walls and tell deeds of conquests, battles and romance.

State Arts Collection Dresden

Die Prager Straße Dresden. Foto: Tommy Halfter (DML-BY)

There are a number of other exhibitions at the State Art Collections Dresden as well as in the region that are worth visiting throughout the year. Dresden is a cultural jewel on the Elbe so make sure when you come to arrange for walking tours to see the architectures and the landscapes as well as to secure tickets for the museums and the collections. You will be overjoyed at the cultural wealth at every corner at all times of the day.

Foto: Michael R. Hennig

For further information, please contact Victoria Larson, USA Press Representative, State Tourist Board of Saxony at Victoria@vklarsoncommunications.com