The River Elbe snakes through the forests of central Europe, like a large watery vein across a vast, mysterious and beautiful landscape. Within each lies legendary and historical treasures, awakening in those that journey Elbe’s route a curiosity to greet new cultures and connect with the past.
On a river cruise along the Elbe, Prague is a good place to start. As the capital city of the Czech Republic there is an abundance of attractions, as you can probably imagine. Some highlights include the iconic Charles Bridge that crosses the Vitava River and the Old Town Square, where you will find architectural wonders in the form of the baroque St. Nicholas Church and incredible Prague astronomical clock, to name but a few.
Following on from such cultural bustle, Litomerice makes the perfect pit stop along the river, with just as many fascinations but a more laid back ambience. A picturesque environment of almost cartoon like greenery and views that drift foggily into an enchanting haze in the distance make Litomerice seem both strange and charming. Exploring the Market Square will certainly have you feeling as though you’ve travelled back in time as you take in the renaissance buildings and ponder sites such as the Cathedral of St. Stephen with belfry.
Next up there is Dresden, formerly the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. This is a truly enchanting place that has a fairy tale type illusory feel, with a skyline of Baroque buildings that illuminate mystically at night as their reflections blur like water colours in the river.
Meissen cannot be missed on this route either, with scenery so charismatic it almost does not look real. The Albrechtsburg Castle and Meissen Cathedral in particular are highlights of the area, with grandiose gothic appearances that reach domineeringly towards the clouds. It is easy to picture dragons flying overhead and unicorns grazing amongst the greenery, yet although mystical appearing, Meissen’s beauty is very real, and this allows for visitors to lose themselves for a while amongst its environment.
Wittenberg is a small German city well known for being linked with Martin Luther and the protestant reformation. For this reason many of the sites to see here are associated with this, including a museum within the Augustinian Monastery along with intriguing places like the Lutherhaus and St Mary’s Church that have been given the prestigious title of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
St Mary’s Church
Many of the destinations that reside along the Elbe are so unlike anywhere else through the way in which they’ve preserved their history. This gives them extra impact, as the sites exist so closely to how they would have done years ago. Burg bei Magdeburg is another good example of this. While only a very tiny town in the northeast of Germany, this makes its medieval churches and towered buildings all the more impressionable.
Lastly, Potsdam must be mentioned. Not only is it a UNESCO World Heritage Listed City, but also the capital of the federal state of Brandenburg. It has got quite a reputation, and doesn’t disappoint. The narrative of its past exists everywhere, through the majestic Sanssouci Palace and Roman Baths that give a taste of what it might have been like to be Prussian royalty and then the more down to earth old town market square, where those spirits of the past can mingle with those of the present.