See sites of royal splendour in Germany
In the Saxony village of Pillnitz, today a district of Dresden, Pillnitz Palace & Park are situated on the banks of the Elbe. At the end of the 17th century, Elector Johann Georg IV was given the estate in exchange for Lichtenwalde Palace. Following the Elector's unexpected death, Pillnitz passed to his brother Friedrich August, who presented the estate to his mistress, Anna Constantina von Cosel, in 1706. After Anna fell out of favour in 1716, she was banished and the Elector once again took possession of Pillnitz. The Upper Palace is set on the upper side of the park like a reflection of the impressive Riverside Palace. Both buildings offer a blend of late baroque and Chinoiserie styles. The two Asian-style palaces stand either side of the New Palace, which was built by architect Christian Friedrich Schuricht. But the most beautiful aspect of Pillnitz is its wonderful park. Despite being continually altered down the years, the 28-hectare grounds have lost nothing of their former splendour. Visitors to the park can marvel at a number of rare trees, particularly in the Dutch Garden and Conifer Garden. The Weinbergkirche (Vineyard Church), which was also designed by Pöppelmann, is a charming building with a high hip roof that rises impressively out of the vines. Pillnitz is an ideal base for excursions in the wider region, including to Saxon Switzerland, whose rugged sandstone cliffs, forested mountains and ravines make it ideal for scenic walks and cycling tours. Eight distinct landscapes in Upper Lusatia offer more than 300km of trails for hiking. Back in Dresden, Brühl Terrace – the 'balcony of Europe' – grants sensational views of the cathedral and Semper Opera House.