In the far southeast corner of Saxony, cradled by Poland and the Czech Republic, Zittau makes for an easy day-trip from Dresden or Görlitz. Its largely baroque Altstadt came through WWII mostly intact, though Cold War–era neglect is still evident in places. The town is a major stop for religious pilgrims thanks to two precious late-medieval Lenten veils, which are ultra-rare and stunning pieces of artistry. By contrast, the newest attraction is the bright and whimsical Pop Art Quarter, one of the largest of its kind in Germany.
South of Zittau, the Zittauer Gebirge is the smallest low-mountain range in Europe. With its idyllic gorges, thick forests and whimsical rock formations, it’s great for hiking and clearing your head. You can drive or take the bus, but getting there is much more fun aboard the narrow-gauge Zittauer Schmalspurbahn, which has been steaming through the trees since 1890.