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Vacation - recreation, strengthening, me-time and we-time. Finally! Most of us long for rest and deceleration during the free weeks of the year. No idea yet? We do: Get out of the city, let's go to Saxony! Here, idyllic nature and dreamlike villages await you, where you can experience ancient crafts, traditions and customs. While cycling, hiking and enjoying, you will forget the stress of the city in no time. Twelve villages are presented to you by the experts of the region.














Guttau/Wartha: Maik Rogel and his dream of a thousand and one ponds

What awaits you in Guttau/Wartha?

Guttau/Wartha is located in the Upper Lusatian heath and pond landscape - accordingly, you can expect a lot of nature, a lot of fishing and a unique ecosystem with a long history. Here you can get in touch with nature, relax and learn a lot at the same time.

What does Maik Rogel like about the area?

Maik Rogel is a ranger in the biosphere reserve. Admittedly, there's not quite a thousand and one ponds here, but there are still many. He knows the more than 350 ponds in the area very well - as well as the many biking and hiking trails that lead through the landscape. There's plenty of room to breathe, relax and learn new things about nature. A visit to the information and visitor center "House of a Thousand Ponds" in the UNESCO biosphere reserve is also interesting.

What else is there to explore?

Since the 18th century, an efficient pond economy developed in Guttau/Wartha, which is still operated today. In autumn, a festive atmosphere comes to the otherwise quiet Guttau/Wartha: During the "Lusatian Fish Weeks" the region celebrates fishing, where visitors can learn about the customs of the area - and taste delicious fish specialties. www.malschwitz.de


Obercunnersdorf: Kathrin Tröger and the village of half-timbered houses

What awaits you in Obercunnersdorf?

Obercunnersdorf is one of the most traditional and beautiful villages in Upper Lusatia. Here you can explore the history of the region. The long history can be experienced from the appearance alone. More than 250 Umgebindehäuser characterize the picturesque townscape and tell of a building tradition that is still one of the most important folk architecture.

What does Kathrin Tröger like about the area?

Kathrin Tröger preserves a long tradition of the village: She is a linen weaver in the "Haus Spinnwebe" and allows interested people to look over her shoulder at her craft. Thus, the history of the Upper Lusatian textile industry lives on here.

What else is there to explore?

Spending your vacation in a Saxon village also means getting in touch with local people. In Obercunnersdorf, this is not a problem, as the residents are very sociable. In the "House of the Senses" you can taste delicious chocolate specialties or enjoy a coffee. A tip for nature lovers: several hiking trails lead to the 583-meter-high Kottmar, from which there are charming views all the way to the Jizera Mountains, Zittau Mountains and into the Lusatian Mountains. www.gemeinde-kottmar.de


Oybin: Rainer Danzig and his secret tip for romantics

What awaits you in Oybin?

At Zittau Mountains, surrounded by massive sandstone cliffs and high volcanic residual mountains, lies the romantic village of Oybin. The wonderful natural scenery radiates a tranquility that is difficult to escape.

What does Rainer Danzig like about the area?

A beehive-like mountain, Oybin, watches over the village. On it are the ruins of the castle and monastery of the same name, which bear witness to the history of the village - particularly exciting for the local chronicler Rainer Danzig. The history of their homeland is important to the people of Oybin, so they take those interested in this place back to the Middle Ages and the Romantic era with themed tours.

What else is there to explore?

Active vacationers get their money's worth in Oybin. A network of over 300 kilometers of widely ramified and well-marked hiking trails runs through the area. There are more than 80 climbing peaks of various levels of difficulty waiting to be climbed. More leisurely, but no less beautiful, is a ride on the Zittau narrow-gauge railroad. With steam locomotives, it runs daily between Oybin and Zittau and offers fantastic views of the landscape. www.oybin.com


Hinterhermsdorf: Frank Strohbach and the hiking idyll in the national park

What awaits you in Hinterhermsdorf?

A picturesque little village with about 80 lovingly restored half-timbered houses that stand romantically on the slopes of the village. On a local history tour of the village, visitors learn many exciting facts about the history of the place. Thanks to great family offers, even the little ones get their money's worth here.

What does Frank Strohbach like about the area?

The endless joy of hiking in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains! Hinterhermsdorf is the first national park community in the Saxon Switzerland National Park and the ideal starting point for exploring the rock and mountain paradise. If you want to gather a first impression of the surroundings, climb the nearby Weifbergturm. From up here you have a fantastic panoramic view of the bizarre rock formations of the mountains.

What else is there to explore?

The Upper Lock, a popular destination in the region in summer. In the warm months, the course of the Kirnitzsch River is dammed here and visitors glide wildly romantic on boats through the gorge. A beautiful adventure! www.hinterhermsdorf.de


Saupsdorf: Janet Hoffmann and the power of nature

What awaits you in Saupsdorf?

Saupsdorf is a cozy village in the heart of the National Parks Saxon Switzerland, a stone's throw from the Czech border. The village is characterized by the typical regional Umgebinde and farmhouses, lush flowering gardens and the magnificent church in neo-Romantic style. What is special about this place is the tranquility and the wide view that opens up to Saupsdorf from the surrounding mountains and hills - an invitation to dream. If you can't get enough of such views, get into your hiking boots and explore the Flößersteig, the panoramic hiking trail through the surrounding villages or the Malerweg.

What does Janet Hoffmann like about the area?

Janet Hoffmann is the owner of the restaurant "Kräuterbaude" - and fascinated by the nature that surrounds her. She explores the surroundings with passion, always on the lookout for wild herbs for her recipes.

What else is there to explore?

In Saupsdorf you can get to know various traditional crafts and professions. The Ringel tannery, for example, still produces leather by hand and according to old tradition. www.saupsdorf.de


Zabeltitz: Dr. Jürgen Schreiber and the baroque wedding village

What awaits you in Zabeltitz?

An exciting mix of culture and nature. In Zabeltitz, not far from the porcelain city of Meissen, magnificent castles meet unique flora and fauna - there is much to discover.

What does Dr. Jürgen Schreiber like about the area?

With full passion, Dr. Jürgen Schreiber regularly takes guests back in time to the Baroque and Renaissance periods. His highlight are the castles that bear witness to the long history of the place. On the one hand, the baroque-style princely palace with its breathtaking gardens, which were laid out in the 18th century according to the French model and are still maintained today. And on the other hand, the neighboring Renaissance castle, which was once a popular hunting destination for princes and counts. Along with the late Gothic St. George's Church, it is one of the oldest buildings in the village. Those interested can gain insights into the history of farming culture in the centrally located Farmers' Museum.

What else is there to explore?

Zabeltitz is surrounded by the picturesque floodplain landscape, which invites you to take a walk, take a deep breath and go downhill. With a little luck, you may even encounter kingfishers, gray herons, beavers or otters on your hikes. www.grossenhain.de


Pobershau: Siegfried Martin and the beloved mountain village in the Ore Mountains

What awaits you in Pobershau?

A state-recognized resort in the beautiful Ore Mountains. The former mining scattered settlement is picturesquely situated to the right and left along the valley of the Red Pockau. Rare, but absolutely worth seeing: Every five years, Pobershau shines in the glow of lights of a unique illumination for the "Pobershauser Bergfest".

What does Siegfried Martin like about the area?

Siegfried Martin is honorary chairman of the mountain brotherhood Pobershau - and so he loves the surroundings, the mountains and the diverse hiking possibilities. Active vacationers can enjoy themselves here: hiking, skiing, walking, climbing - all of this gives great pleasure. One of the favorite routes leads through the nature reserve in the wild and romantic Schwarzwassertal. In addition, Pobershau is connected to the national hiking network via the long-distance hiking trails Eisenach-Budapest, E3 and Kammweg Erzgebirge-Vogtland.

What else is there to explore?

Pobershau has a long mining history. A visit to the exhibition mine "Molchner Stolln" makes it possible to experience the work of that time on site. But also the "Böttcherfabrik" and the gallery "Die Hütte" are exciting cultural destinations. www.marienberg.de


Seiffen: Michael Harzer and the toy village

What awaits you in Seiffen?

Clear mountain air, a stay on the crest of the Ore Mountains and centuries-old craftsmanship. Started with mining and tin extraction, later flourished glass blowing. But finally it was the incomparable Erzgebirge wood art that made Seiffen a special place. The village is known for its wood turnery, which is unique in the world and is used to create, among other things, incense burners, pyramids and candle arches. Anyone who is curious here should plan a trip to the Seiffen open-air museum, where the craftsmanship lives on and, in addition, visitors can still learn a lot about the Erzgebirge toy and Christmas tradition, including the technique of tire turning, which is still practiced only here.

What does Michael Harzer like about the area?

Michael Harzer is a pastor in Seiffen. His favorite place is the mountain church, which has made it to worldwide fame. How? That's because of the industrious local toy manufacturers who recreated the church with wood and sold it. As a result, it has now landed on almost every continent. On the other hand, of course, it's also the surroundings that make the mountain church special. It is the perfect starting point for an exploration tour of the area - by bike or on foot.

What else is there to discover?

From Seiffen, several themed trails lead through nature. In addition, the Saxon village is close to the Czech Republic, which is why cross-border routes also promise special experiences. www.seiffen.de


Höfgen: Heike Raubold and the village of the senses

What awaits you in Höfgen?

Not far from the City LeipzigIn the middle of the Saxon Burgenland and surrounded by the impressive river landscape of the Mulde, you will find the picturesque village of Höfgen. Here you will find a quaint little village, which is protected as a historic monument and which developed 730 years ago from seven farmsteads.

What does Heike Raubold like about the area?

Heike Raubold loves to parade through the streets as the "Semmelweib" and invites visitors on a sensual journey. The tour guide knows and appreciates her "village of the senses" and shows what makes Höfgen unique for her. On the one hand, it is the scenic charm of the region, but on the other hand, it is also the cultural experiences. During a walk through the streets, the Romanesque village church stands out, and special attention is paid to one of the last ship mills in Europe, which can be found here. An almost forgotten technique that once ensured the supply of flour. The museum informs about the cultural history.

What else is there to discover?

Lots of fantastic nature that surrounds Höfgen. The river landscape around the Mulde invites you to linger - and a well-developed path along the water invites you to take beautiful bike tours. In the Auenland, the view stretches far and wide, over green fields and colorful orchards - pure romance and idyll. www.grimma.de


Kössern: Rudolf Brendel and the village of master builders

What awaits you in Kössern?

Splendor and splendor in the midst of a fertile landscape. Also hospitality. And much more!

What does Rudolf Brendel like about the area?

The tour guide Rudolf Brendel has a lot to show. Kössern is a prime example of the Baroque country village and is located in the center of the area richest in castles in Germany. Important builders such as the architect of the Dresden Zwinger, Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann, and the noble family of Erdmannsdorff created outstanding monuments, including the Baroque hunting lodge and the manor house. It was the passion for hunting of the Saxon high nobility that brought the splendor here. This resulted in magnificent buildings in perfect harmony, 45 uniform craftsmen's houses, as well as gardens and forests. August the Strong hosted colorful festivals here. And his legacy can still be felt today.

What else is there to explore?

If you are looking for something to do after all that culture, you will definitely find it in Kössern and the surrounding area. The nature here is fantastic, cyclists enjoy tours along the Mulder cycle path, refreshment is promised by various bathing lakes in the region and on the "path of stones" hikers make acquaintance with the Geopark Porphyrland. www.jagdhaus-koessern.de


Leubnitz: Ralf Schiller and the mill village

What awaits you in Leubnitz?

Many mills, a long tradition of milling and a beautiful castle in the village. In addition, around it the beautiful Vogtland with rivers, lakes and nature reserves, where it is easy to recharge your batteries.

What does Ralf Schiller like about the area?

As a tour guide, Ralf Schiller likes to pretend that he is a miller's boy who follows the long tradition of the village. Around the villages of Leubnitz and Syrau, Pausa, Mühltroff as well as Mehltheuer there were once numerous water and wind mills, which made the miller's trade an important guild in the region. Today, some mills are still preserved. Most of them are used for gastronomy. Nevertheless, it is possible to follow the traces of the craft: True to the motto "hiking is the miller's delight," the Müllerburschenweg (miller boy's trail) guides those interested on a 53-kilometer round trip to the relics of the once bustling trade.

What else is there to explore?

In the village itself, the castle is an impressive place for excursions. The magnificent building was erected in 1794 and is surrounded by a large landscape park. Inside, various exhibitions delight visitors, including the exhibition on the life's work of the artist, scientist and Leibniz Medal winner Walther Löbering. www.muehlenviertel-vogtland.de


Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz: Dirk Schönfelder and the space village

What awaits you in Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz?

In Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz, innovation meets tradition. Modern space travel and the ancient craft of bell casting stand face to face here. The birthplace of the first German cosmonaut, Dr. Sigmund Jähn, is home to an exhibition on space travel that is unique in Germany. Opposite this is a traditional craft, the casting of bells. Here, Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz took on a special position: unlike in other regions, the bells here were cast from iron instead of bronze. Over 10,000 church bells left the historic blast furnace, which can still be visited today.

What does Dirk Schönfelder like about the area?

Dirk Schönfelder is a district forester responsible for the region around Morgenröthe-Rautenkranz. His heart beats faster in the forest and in nature - and there is plenty of it here. Several hiking trails crisscross the mountain landscape, through dense forests, along streams, up onto graceful cliffs.

What else is there to explore?

A fabulous view of Rautenkranz all the way to the ridges of the Ore Mountains is offered by the Cottafelsen. Here is a memorial plaque in honor of Heinrich Cotta - the founder of modern, sustainable forestry. In addition, the Cottafels is the starting point of a beautiful circular hiking trail around the village. www.gemeinde-muldenhammer.de

Cover photo: Relaxed gardening among the traditional Upper Cunnersdorf half-timbered houses © TMGS/Dittrich

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