Baroque has gone exotic at Schloss Pillnitz, a delightful pleasure palace, festooned with fanciful Chinese flourishes. This is where the Saxon rulers once lived it up during long hot Dresden summers. Explore the wonderful gardens, then study the history of the palace and life at court in the Schlossmuseum. Two other buildings, the Wasserpalais and the Bergpalais, house the Kunstgewerbemuseum, which is filled with fancy furniture and knick-knacks from the Saxon court, including Augustus the Strong’s throne.
Tickets are also good for the two greenhouses (February to April only). Pillnitz is dreamily wedged between vineyards and the Elbe, some 14km upriver from central Dresden. Drivers should take the B6 (Bautzner Landstrasse) to Pillnitzer Landstrasse. Otherwise, take tram 6 from Dresden-Neustadt, then catch bus 63 at Schillerplatz to Pillnitzer Platz. The loveliest approach is by steamer operated by Sächsische Dampfschiffahrt, which makes the trip from Dresden's Terrassenufer in 90 minutes.