OT Travel Itinerary: 3-Day Guide To Upper Lusatia, Germany

Located barely an hour from the Saxony capital of Dresden, here is a three-day itinerary that takes you into the heart of the Upper Lusatia Region as you visit the three towns of Bautzen, Gorlitz, and Kamenz
Places to visit in Saxony
The cityscape of GörlitzShutterstock.com

The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm may be dark and twisted, but in the enchanting towns of the Upper Lusatia Region in Saxony in East Germany, these stories are captivating. Historic and cultural, Upper Lusatia is a blend of medieval architecture, forgotten traditions, and artisanal crafts surrounded by rolling hills and river valleys dotted with pretty hamlets and fairy tale castles. Located barely an hour from the Saxony capital of Dresden, here is a three-day itinerary that takes you into the heart of the Upper Lusatia Region as you visit the three towns of Bautzen, Gorlitz, and Kamenz. 

Day 1-Bautzen

Start your journey with Bautzen, the medieval town with a 1000-year-old history dotted with 14 ancient towers and church spires. Nestled atop a rocky hill overlooking the Spree River, Bautzen's picturesque skyline is straight out of a picture postcard.

Morning: Walking tour of the Town of Towers 

Places to visit in Bautzen
Leaning tower of BautzenShutterstock.com

Explore the Town of Towers with a guided walk of the Old Town that starts at Market Square. Visit the Bautzener Rathaus or the Town Hall, the Reichenturm called the Leaning Tower of Bautzen. Scale the Matthiasturm and lose yourself in the scenic view of the Old Town. Don't miss the Ortenburg Castle, Nicolai Tower, and ruins, the Alte Wasserkunst (old waterworks), and Hammermuhle, one of the last water mills in Bautzen. Head to St Peter's Cathedral, one of the oldest churches that has been rebuilt after the fire, where you will find both the Catholic and Protestant altars. 

Afternoon: Bautzen Museum and Lunch at the Mustard Restaurant

Visit the Bautzen Mustard Museum to learn about the town's 150-year tradition of mustard-making, offering a true taste of Bautzen's gastronomic heritage. Then head to the Mustard Parlour of the exclusive Bautzener Senfstube Restaurant and enjoy a sumptuous meal. From mustard soup, mustard bread, and mustard potato mash to even mustard mango ice cream, the dishes are rich in flavours, but there are several German specialities as well. 

Evening: Sorbian Folk Museum and Dinner at Sorbisches Restaurant

Museums in Germany
Sorbian Folk MuseumShutterstock.com

Potter through Bautzen's narrow, cobblestone streets, where every turn reveals a storybook scene of colourful facades and centuries-old architecture. Bautzen is the living cultural centre of the Sorbian community, a Slavic ethnic group, and the Sorbisches Museum is a vibrant folk museum and a treasure trove. Dine at the Sorbisches Restaurant, Wjekbik, which is housed in an atmospheric 600-year-old stone vault and is a time capsule by itself. Savour the culinary traditions of the Sorbian community, starting with a delicious wedding soup. Post dinner, stroll around the Old Town, which comes alive with twinkling lights, and take in the magical view from Friedensbrücke bridge.

Places to visit in Görlitz
Panoramic aerial view of old townShutterstock.com

Day 2-Görlitz

If beauty has an address, then it has to be Görlitz, which is nicknamed  Görliwood for several Hollywood films that have been shot here. Take a train from Bautzen to explore this mesmerising city, which has over 4000 monuments and looks straight out of a film set.  

Morning: Go on a Görliwood Trail 

Places to visit in Görlitz
The scenic town has inspired many well-known moviesShutterstock.com

Get a flavour of Hollywood by exploring the "Walk of Görliwood" and stepping into the world of fantasy and drama. Görlitz has been the backdrop for several films like The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Book Thief, Inglorious Bastards, The Monuments Men, Goethe, Around the World in 80 Days, and Reader, among others, and this guided walk takes you into the fascinating locations where there were shot. The tour, which can also be self-guided, starts at the Görlitz-Information and ends near the railway station. Stop by locations like Untermarkt and Brauner Hirsch Obermarkt, Trinity Church, the Old Town Bridge, the Art Nouveau Department Store, and the event hall Stadthalle, which have been caught on celluloid. As you listen to the stories and the secrets, you are lost in a world of glitz and glamour. 

Afternoon: Architectural tour of Görlitz 

If the film tour is not stunning enough, then walk along the pretty streets of Gorlitz and admire the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, and Art Nouveau mansions with fascinating facades and details. Gaze upon the picturesque views of the city from the Town Hall Tower on Untermakt Square while the Schönhof is one of the oldest Renaissance buildings in Germany, which houses the Silesian Museum. If you love books, you must visit the historical library hall at the Upper Lusatian Library of Science, while the Museum of History and Culture has both permanent and special exhibitions in the Baroque House Neissstraße, the Kaisertrutz fortification, and the Reichenbach Tower. 

Places to visit in Saxony
The old city of Kamenz, GermanyShutterstock.com

Day 3-Kamenz

Our next town in the Upper Lusatia Trail takes us to Kamenz, a town with 800 years of history known for its ancient churches, sacred relics, treasures, and fascinating museums. It is also the home of the German writer, Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. We then head to Rammenau Castle, one of the best preserved Baroque country castles in Saxony before heading back to Bautzen. 

Morning: St Anne's Monastery Church 

Start your Kamenz experience at the St Anne's Monastery Church, where sacral religious treasures, intricately carved Gothic altars, and other relics are preserved. Head to St Mary's Church and Church of St. Just to see more treasures. Climb the Red Tower opposite St Mary's Church and feast on the city views. 

Places to visit in Kamenz
Malzhaus in Kamenz, GermanyShutterstock.com

Afternoon: Museum Trail  

Walk around the Old Town and take in the sights and sounds of the charming city. Deep dive into Kamenz's history at Malzhaus, the oldest secular building in the town and visit Lessing Museum to learn more about the legendary poet Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Have a quick lunch and don't leave without tasting Lessing tartlets - the local specialty in this town.

Places to visit in Saxony
The Rammenau Castle was built in the 18th-centuryShutterstock.com

Evening: Rammenau Castle

Tour the magnificent Rammenau Castle, built in the 18th century, and lose yourself in a fairy tale world. It is one of the best preserved Baroque country castles, and every room is fascinating, be it a Bird's room, a Peacock's Room, a Pompeii's room, or a Chinese Room. The castle complex also includes the manor house and garden, besides cavalier rooms and a court of honour, and it is a treasure house of stories. 

Getting there 

Bautzen is the very nucleus of the Upper Lusatia Region, and it is well connected to the Saxony capital, Dresden, by train. You can also stay in Gorlitz and explore the region as well. Dresden is connected by air and train from Munich, Frankfurt and by train from Berlin.

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