Last week I highlighted my trip to Poland, today is the final installment of that fantastically fun girls trip. On our 3rd day we hit the road early to be in Seiffen by 10am when all the stores opened. Seiffen sits on the eastern border next to the Czech Republic in the Erzgebirge--or Ore Mountains. It is a delightful German town that prepares for Christmas 365 days a year--artisans work from January to September filling their shelves with every kind of of wooden ornament, then from October to December they sell, sell, sell and when it's gone, it's gone. My friend went back last week and she said some of the items we bough a month ago were already sold out, so it pays to hit Seiffen before the Christmas rush, which begins in November.
Even if you don't buy anything (which you'd be crazy not to because prices are up to 30% less than what you'll find in Munich), Seiffen is a charming town to walk through with all of it's larger than life outdoor Christmas displays. I was particularly fond of the mechanical kissing figurines who come together for a loud smack.
Another draw to Seiffen is the factory tour at the Richard Glässer workshop. Watch as artisans carve trees, paint Nutcrackers and assemble spinning pyramids. The self guided tour only takes about 30 minutes and costs about €2. Children will be fascinated and everyone will love how close they are to the production process. Check website for times.
1. There is a large parking lot as you enter the city from the north. Park here and walk down the hill into the main part of town.
2. The farther from the city center, the better the prices. We found the store right across from the parking lot had prices that were often €5-10 less than the stores in town. We started and ended our day there.
3. Ask about shipping--not everyone is set up to do so. One that does is the Seiffener Pyramidenhaus. They were fantastic to work with and shipped the 4 large pyramids I purchased to my home in Munich for only €15.
4. Not every store keeper speaks English. I was surprised that we did not run into any other American or English speaking tourists, so don't automatically expect English.
The Bergkirche (church) with it's choir features in many of the Christmas ornaments sold in town. If you've ever purchased a wooden music box, pyramid or light arc with a church on it, chances are it is the Seiffener Kirche. As a matter of fact, last week when I was unpacking all my Christmas decorations I noticed the music box I bought 3 years ago at the Munich Christmas market has the Seiffener Kirche in the middle surrounded by little singers. Now, I know the rest of the story--The Lutheran church was built in 1779. The children's choir is quite famous and performs every Sunday. During the season of Advent a special concert is held Sunday's at 2:30pm.
Address: Hauptstr. 71 09548
It was more expensive than what I normally go for, but it was highly recommended and did not disappoint. I had cream of garlic soup that could have kept vampires away for months, but boy was it good. The other ladies raved about their dishes, but the Quark Knödel dessert with apricot and pear compote was the reason we chose this restaurant.
I don't remember ever having such a fun girl's trip! These two destinations, Boleslawiec and Seiffen make the perfect weekend holiday for families or girl friends. Drive time from Munich to Poland is about 6 hours.