MEISSEN’s fate is to be synonymous with porcelain. All its coach-tour day-trippers make a beeline for the prestigious china factory founded by Augustus the Strong in 1710. Even if you don’t visit that outlet, it’s hard to escape porcelain in the town that pioneered its large-scale production outside of East Asia. Yet Meissen, 25km northwest of Dresden, is better visited for a picture-postcard medieval Altstadt, complete with charming cobbled streets and the Albrechtsburg castle and a cathedral standing proud above the River Elbe on a rocky outcrop. Though hailed as the birthplace of Saxony because it has the earliest castle in the state, Meissen never developed into a major city. The famous porcelain factory is a twenty-minute walk southwest of the Altstadt. That you can reach the town by steam river-cruiser as well as S-Bahn only adds to its appeal as a day-trip from Dresden.