Dan Flying Solo ...
... on stunning pictures, Saxony's great variety and experiencing authentic Christmas traditions. Watch the video on his personal top 5 or read the interview with even more tips.
Dan, how often have you been to Saxony?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit Saxony twice, once in the summer, and again over the festive period in December. I knew the Christmas markets in Saxony were going to be fantastic, but it was a fantastic experience to discover all of the other Christmas traditions there. From the miners in the Ore Mountains, to the traditional Moravian Stars and the Stollen. It was great to see both sides of Saxony, the more famous cities in the summer months, but also some of the lesser explored parts of the region.
Where is your main focus: on photos, videos, blog, vlog...?
On my blog I try to offer a mix of photos, videos and words, to help those planning a trip discover a destination as best they can. Photography is my main passion, and my initial focus before I started blogging properly, although these days, I do a lot more video work, as this is generally what people want: to immerse themselves into a place before visiting.
What surprised you most when visiting Saxony for the first time?
The nature and the small, but perfect, wineries along the Elbe River. I really enjoyed visiting the Zimmerling Winery, and seeing the vast collection of sculptures there by the very talented Mrs. Chodakowska. I was also really lucky during my time in Dresden to be a part of the Schlössernacht at Albrechtsberg Castle, a fantastic event with fireworks, and classic and contemporary music combined. The arts are huge in Saxony, and it was great to be in a destination that had so much classical music, while also a vastly contemporary scene.
What would you recommend your friends for a Saxony visit – what are your top 5?
It would depend on the time of year they are visiting, but I would try and suggest they opted for late November, and December to experience all the traditional Christmas events:
1. Dresden - What a stunning city! It’s a dream to walk around, both by day and night, and although the seven Christmas Markets here are certainly a winter draw, it’s an amazing city-break all year round! The architecture, much rebuilt following the war, is a pleasure to admire, and across the river Elbe from the old town, you’ll find a more creative and modern side to the city.
2. Ore Mountains - Take yourself into Christmas, quite literally, with a trip into the Ore Mountains! Here you’ll find an abundance of Christmas traditions. Seiffen is home to plenty of traditional Christmas toy and decoration shops. If the dates align, try and witness one of the old mining Christmas services "Mettenschicht", which take place underground, deep in the old mines...
3. Meißen Christmas Market - A beautiful destination all year round, and home to a fantastic castle that towers over the city. Be sure to check that out, but also in the winter months the adorable Christmas market here is worth a visit, you can also pick up some of the famous porcelain from here to take away.
4. Bautzen - I really loved Bautzen, and although it’s quite a small city, the castle, unique church (split between two religions) and blend of Gothic and Baroque make it a beauty. Bautzen and Lusatia is also the homeland of the Sorbs, a West Slavic ethnic group who also reside in Poland and the Czech Republic. Here you’ll have the chance to learn about their history and traditions, try local dishes, and you might even hear the language being spoken.
5. Semper Opera - Back in Dresden, and if the chance presents, be sure to visit the Semper Opera, not only is the architecture incredible, but with so much talent and classical music in Saxony, it would be a shame to miss out on seeing at least one performance.
What have you not been able to visit yet and definitely want to see once you return?
There are still a few things I would love to see on my next visit to Saxony. The region has plenty of cute, little spots to discover, and that would certainly be the theme of my next visit. Torgau, and Görlitz especially, look like beautiful small towns, especially with the range of architecture in Görlitz to admire. I’d also love to make it back to Albrechtsburg Castle in Meißen, as on my last visit I didn’t have the chance to go inside. And of course, Dresden, it’s such an incredibly beautiful city with a wonderful atmosphere, it’s a must no matter how many times you visit Saxony!
Thank you very much for sharing your impressions with us, Dan! We hope to see you in Saxony very soon!
You can follow Dan Flying Solo exploring the world on his Instagram @danflyingsolo or read about his travels in Saxony here:
Classic, Contemporary and Culinary Creativity: A long weekend in Dresden, Leipzig and Saxony
A photo tour through the Cultural Heart of Germany: Thuringia and Saxony
Discovering the Dresden Christmas markets and Saxony festivities
Traditions, toys and all the trimmings: Christmas in Seiffen and the Ore Mountains