This article originally appeared in the September 2017 issue of So Scottsdale!
October is a popular time to visit Germany. The summer vacation season is over, and the hillsides are awash in brilliant shades of color. The fall harvest in this country, famous for its wine and beer, is underway. Though Oktoberfest celebrations are often a draw, avoid the raucous crowds and party atmosphere in the beer halls and take to what was once the playgrounds of royalty in the state of Saxony.
Saxony, once one of Germany's richest areas, was home to such historical figures as Johann Sebastian Bach, Felix Mendelssohn and Martin Luther. It was here, 500 years ago, that the Reformation and Protestantism were born. But after World War II, Saxony fell under Soviet control and became part of the German Democratic Republic. Closed off from the West for 50 years, its largest cities were in ruins and its historical shrines destroyed. Without any controls, pollution dirtied its rivers and skies.
Today, as part of a reunified Germany, Saxony is once again flourishing. At its heart, the city of Leipzig—dubbed “The New Berlin” by many—is one of Germany's most popular tourist destinations, restoring the grandeur and magic that was always part of this area.
Saxony, located in the far eastern part of Germany, sits near the Polish and Czech borders. From the U.S., the best way to get to Saxony is to fly into Berlin and take the fast—and easily accessible—train into Leipzig.
A quick 15-minute taxi ride from the airport puts you at the front steps of the train station, where everything is clearly marked in both German and English. In about two hours, you'll arrive in the city of Leipzig. Another 10-minute taxi ride will get you into the city center.
The best way to experience Leipzig is to book a room in the walkable downtown. INNSIDE Leipzig is an ideal hotel while exploring the art, culture and food of this great city. Despite the building's neoclassical facade, the hotel is cutting-edge on the interior with top-of-the-line amenities. Rooms and suites are modern, and common areas are chic, with room to work and relax. Room rates include full breakfasts daily.
Just a block away from the hotel is the old town, filled with elegant arcades and courtyards that have defined the architecture and style of Leipzig for more than 500 years.