Görlitz is Germany's easternmost town. It sits across the Neiße River from its Polish sister city of Zgorzelec. It is very well preserved, and survived the Second World War more or less intact. A lot of money was spent in the 1990s to restore the city's old town.
Görlitz is on the rail and autobahn routes from Dresden to Wrocław, Poland. The town has often been used as the setting for films (especially those set during and before World War II). Valkyrie and The Grand Budapest Hotel are two of the more well-known examples.
Görlitz is on the 15th meridian east, which defines Central European standard time runs through town, so large parts of Europe could be described as being on "Görlitz time".
The closest airport is in Dresden (DRS IATA) (25 minutes from Dresden main station by S-Bahn); however, the connections are limited. Other international airports are in Leipzig/Halle (LEJ IATA)(near the town of Schkeuditz, some 20 minutes by S-Bahn from Leipzig main station), Berlin and Wrocław (Poland). It takes 3-4 hours (with at least one change) to get from Berlin to Görlitz and 2-3 hours (direct trains available) to get from Wrocław to Görlitz.
The city of Dresden is a hub in train transport in eastern Saxony. Regional trains run frequently and take around one hour. The Sachsen Ticket costs around €24 (plus €3 per additional person in your group) and is valid on all regional trains and trams in Görlitz and Leipzig, but not Dresden.
You can get to Görlitz using regional trains from Cottbus, which has a connection to Berlin. There are several connections daily from Görlitz and more frequent connections from the Polish twin city Zgorzelec to Wrocław. Polish trains also now stop at Görlitz Hauptbahnhof. There is a regional line connecting Görlitz and Zittau at the Czech-Polish-German border, sometimes this train also connects to Liberec in the Czech Republic.
- 1 Görlitz railway station (Bahnhof Görlitz).
Görlitz is on the European Route E40, which in Germany is called motorway A4, coming from Cologne via Chemnitz and Dresden. This motorway connects to Wrocław and Katowice on the Polish side of the border.
From the north
Görlitz can be accessed via federal highway (Bundesstraße) B115 from Cottbus, which connects to Berlin. However, passing through many small villages you have to factor in a substantial amount of time.
You are most likely to stay in the old town and city centre for most of your stay. These areas are sufficiently confined and you should be fine walking.
Two tram lines connect the suburbs with the city centre. The outer regions of the suburbs are 5–6 km (3.1–3.7 mi) from the city centre. A tram ride there takes about 15 min. Single fare for adults is €1.40, a day ticket is €3 (2014). Validate your ticket as soon as you board the tram. The tram does not cross the Neiße.
Görlitz is part of ZVON, a regional transport network. All ZVON tickets from other cities and regional trains, which cover the fare zone of Görlitz are valid there too, as is the Sachsen-Ticket.
Suburbs that are not covered by trams can be reached on local buses. The tickets you buy for trams are also valid on buses. Validate your ticket as soon as you board the bus.
Görlitz, being one of the larger cities in Germany not damaged during the war, has a medieval, baroque and renaissance old town, surrounded by a belt of 19th-century tenements, villas and industrial areas, which stretches across the Neiße to what was East Görlitz, now Zgorzelec in Poland. Only the far outskirts have newer buildings. Görlitz has served as a backdrop for several movies (set in pre-1945 Germany) since 1990 where its historic buildings stand in for other (now destroyed and rebuilt) German cities. The film boom has earned the town the nickname of "Görliwood" in the press. If you are lucky you might happen upon a film being shot.
After German unification, most of the buildings were renovated. This makes Görlitz a unique heritage city with several thousands of listed buildings. Stroll around the town and enjoy the atmosphere.
- 1 St. Peter and Paul Church (Pfarrkirche St. Peter und Paul). A spectacular Gothic church from the end of 15th century.
- 2 Schönof. One example of this rich architectural heritage, the Schönof is one the oldest civic renaissance buildings in Germany.
- 3 The marker of the 15th meridian. defines the Central European time
- Visit the Silesia Museum - a museum dedicated to the history of Silesia.
- Walk along the Neisse (pol. Nysa) river bank and enjoy the view of the older buildings and the abundant nature.
- Tour the cathedral and the main street in the Old Town.
- Take a stroll across the Neisse River into Poland using the new pedestrian footbridge and get a different perspective of the old town from a distance.
- Walk up the Landeskrone Mountain. Landeskrone is roughly 200 m above city level, and the walk up is about one hour from the tram station in Biesnitz (tram-line #2 from city centre). Nice weather provided it makes for a good afternoon stroll.
- Visit Lake Berzdorf on the southern limits of town. This lake is the result of the filling of an open-pit coal mine that began in 2002 after the mine closed in the early 1990s.
- Souvenirs from various Silesian themed souvenir shops in the old town. You will frequently find porcelain with a distinctive pattern. This porcelain is known as "Bunzlauer Keramik" (ceramika bolesławiecka), named after the German name of the city Bolesławiec in Poland.
- Antiquarian booksellers in the Old Town always have nice bargains. There are few foreign-language books, though.
- Bring a bottle of the local beer. It is called Landskron, after the mountain close by. It is (by virtue of Görlitz being Germany's easternmost town) Germany's easternmost brewery.
There are some very nice restaurants in the Old Town. Compared to bigger cities like Dresden or Berlin, eating out in Görlitz is rather cheap. The cuisine served, is mostly the local Saxonian or Silesian cuisine, which traditionally involves meat, gravy and potatoes. Try a Silesian dish called 'Silesian Kingdom of Heaven' ('Schlesisches Himmelreich'), a dish of pork cooked in plum gravy.
Some nice restaurants in the Old Town:
- Vierradenmühle, Hotherstraße 20, ☏ .
- Zur Goldenen Sonne, Demianiplatz 54.
- Zum Nachtschmied, Obermarkt 18, ☏ .
- Zum Flyns, Langenstraße 1, ☏ .
Germany is known for its long tradition of brewing beer, and Görlitz and eastern Saxony is no exception. There is a brewery in Görlitz, called the Landskron Brauerei (ultimately owned by Carlsberg). Eibau is another local brewery, about 20 km away.
The main product of the Landskron Brewery is a pilsner. Pilsner can be compared to what is known as lager outside of Germany, however, this type is stronger and has a more distinctive hop taste.
The brewery also produces seasonal beers, for example "Maibock", a beer that is only sold in spring and is stronger than normal pilsners.
Other pilsners well known in the area are Radeberger or Freiberger, which are from breweries close to Dresden.
The Eibau brewery some 20 km from Görlitz is best known for its dark beer. Dark beers are different from pilsners: they use roasted malt which gives the beer a deep, dark colour and a distinctive taste.
Another dark beer well known in the area is from the Köstritzer brewery, which is located in Thuringia, some 400 km west of Görlitz.
- Backpackers hostel Eol777 Görlitz, Bahnhofstr 1a (5 min from the main train station and 5 min to the city centre and altstadt), ☏ , ✉ Goerlitzhostel@Yahoo.com. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: No checkout time. Only backpacker hostel in town: cheap, cozy, clean and friendly. €13.
- Parkhotel Görlitz Superior, Uferstr. 17f, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Romantik Hotel Tuchmacher, Peterstr. 8, 02826, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com.
- Bolesławiec in Poland
- Jelenia Góra in Poland
- Saxon Switzerland