Post Updated: March 1, 2022
Görlitz is one of the most underrated towns in all of Germany. With its picturesque buildings and charming streets, Görlitz is one of the rare well-preserved towns in Eastern Germany.
We stayed in Görlitz for 2 nights on our trip through Saxony and fell in love. I had never heard of it before but stumbled across a photo and decided that we had to add it to our itinerary – I am so glad we did!
It quickly became one of our favorite stops in Germany.
With one day in Görlitz, you will have plenty of time to see all of the main sites, including walking across the bridge into Poland, exploring the old town, and going on a film locations tour. Yep, that’s right – Görlitz is a popular setting for many mainstream films, and you might recognize a few buildings from a movie or two you have seen.
Here are the best things to do in Görlitz.
One Day in Görlitz
Görlitz (a.k.a. Görliwood) has been a popular film location for many mainstream movies in recent years. Films such as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Inglorious Bastards, Monuments Men, Around The World in 80 Days, and The Book Thief were all filmed in charming streets of Görlitz. Because the city was spared from the destruction of WW2, it serves as a perfect filming location for many films that try to capture the setting of the war.
I geeked out a bit when I found out that The Grand Budapest Hotel was filmed in Görlitz – it’s one of my favorite movies! We walked into the department store in Görlitz without realizing that it was the setting of the lobby of the hotel in the movie. What a fun surprise!
To see all of the different film locations, you can go on a self-guided tour around Görlitz and visit some of the different buildings and areas they used as movie sets. Pick up a brochure with all the information from the tourist center (located at Obermarkt 32) or print one out online here.
St. Peter and Paul’s Church
Overlooking the Lusatian Neisse River is St. Peter and Paul’s church. This church is famous for the incredible “Sun Organ” built by Eugenio Casparini back in the early 1700s. The organ is truly a piece of art and is worthy of a visit.
If you’re lucky, you can even catch an organ concert in the historic church. Organ concerts take place on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays at 12 PM every week between April – October. Otherwise, it is every Sunday at 12 PM.
Cross the Old Town Bridge into Poland
Zgorzelec, Poland sits on the other side of the Lusatian Neisse river across from Görlitz. To get to Poland from Görlitz, all you have to do is cross the Old Town Bridge and you’re there!
It’s not every day you get to walk across international borders and experience a different culture. One of the many charms of Europe is that so many countries with unique histories, cultures, and traditions are packed into a relatively small area.
In Görlitz, you get to experience that in a way you’ve probably never have before. As soon as you walk across the bridge, you realize that you are indeed in a completely different country. The signs are in Polish, the buildings look different, people are speaking a different language, the grocery stores sell different foods, and more!
It’s definitely a unique experience to have two cities from two countries so close, yet have completely different everything. I loved it.
There is an excellent view of Görlitz from the Polish side where you can walk along the river and enjoy the view.
Obermarket (upper market) is a large square surrounded by pastel-colored homes and shops in the Historic Old Town. You will find the Reichenbach tower on one end and the Holy Trinity Church on the other end.
Definitely take the time to get lost walking through the streets and enjoying the incredible architecture of this quaint German town, where you can pop into local shops, restaurants, and churches along the way.
The tourist office is also located here for those of you wanting to pick up the film locations tour brochure.
Holy Trinity Church
The Dreifaltigkeitskirche – or Holy Trinity Church in English, Is my favorite church in Görlitz. In fact, this was one of my favorite churches in all of Germany. An unassuming exterior, the Holy Trinity Church will not disappoint any art lover on the inside.
The church was completed in 1245 and is the oldest structure in the Obermarkt having survived the fires that devastated the city throughout the ages. Inside, you’ll find the walls are covered in centuries-old art that has been painted and re-painted throughout the years.
As you explore the inside, you’ll find a baroque altar, painted ceilings, and more.
You can pay a small fee to take photos inside of the church – or you can take simply walk the pews, take a seat, and appreciate the hundreds-of-years-old design and artwork.
Climb the Reichenbach Tower for views over Görlitz and the Obermarkt. There is a small fee to climb the tower.
Snap a post-card-worthy photo from atop the tower and see the city from a new perspective – admiring the architecture, steeples, and pastel buildings from above.
Untermarkt (lower market) was one of my favorite places we visited in Görlitz. It is surrounded by cafes and beautiful historical buildings.
Untermarkt is the perfect place to stop for a bite to eat since there are plenty of cafes in the area. We stopped here for some cake and tea before continuing our tour.
I would recommend Ratscafe for its decor – the cafe sits inside of a beautiful Renaissance-style building and serves a variety of dishes that are sure to impress. There is also Cafe Herzstück – a vegan/vegetarian restaurant that is known for its delicious cakes.
If you’re lucky, you’ll chance upon a market, or if you visit during December, you can stroll and shop the handmade gifts at the Christmas market!
Görlitzer Rathaus (Town Hall)
The town hall sits in the Untermarkt and dates make to the mid-14th century.
There is an option to take a tour of the Rathaus tower that offers views of Görlitz and over the Untermarkt.
Climb the 191 steps to the top of the tower and learn about the history of the grand building from the pillory to the moon phase clock.
From March to December, tours are available Wednesday to Sunday from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM. You can expect the tour to be one hour long.
The Barockhaus is a palace that currently houses part of the Cultural History Museum and the Upper Lusatian Library.
You’ll find a permanent exhibition with a variety of collections of objects from the region at the Cultural History Museum.
The Upper Lusatian Library of Sciences holds more than 150,000 different books and has the largest collection of work by the famous theologian and mystic Jacob Böhme. You will definitely want to stop here just to see the historical book room!
The cost to visit each building is €5. From November – March, the Barockhaus is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 AM – 4 PM. From April to October, it is open Tuesday to Thursday 10 AM to 5 PM and Friday – Sunday from 10 AM to 6 PM.
You can visit the official site for more information on your visit.
The Silesian Museum
Located inside a beautiful Renaissance-style building is The Silesian Museum. Here you will find several collections of historical artifacts – from ceramics and glass to modern and ancient art.
If you don’t have time to visit the museum during your day in Görlitz, then make sure to stop and admire the exterior of the building.
The cost to visit the museum is between €7 – €11 depending on the exhibitions you visit.
It is open Tuesday – Thursday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Between April and December, it is also open between Friday and Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
You can visit the official website for more information on your visit.
Wander Around The Streets
The streets of Görlitz are idyllic and charming. The city is small and walkable making it easy to explore it all by foot.
Take your time to wander around the main squares and some of the less-crowded streets. The entire city center is scenic and you almost feel like you’ve stepped into a real-life fairytale town.
This was, by far, my favorite activity to do during our one day in Görlitz. The charm and uniqueness of every building is an architecture-lovers dream. While the city center has the most idyllic buildings, the entire town is full of buildings and designs that will make you ooh and aah.
Make sure to notice the doors along the way – Görlitz is filled with many one-of-a-kind doors that match perfectly with the building design!
One of the best parts about visiting Görlitz Is the lack of tourists. Most of the shops around town are built for the people who live there, not for tourists, so you get an authentic taste of German life in this picturesque city.
How to Get to Görlitz
Located in the Saxony region of Germany, Görlitz sits on the Polish border just separated by a small bridge leading across the Lusatian Neisse river.
Görlitz is sort of in the middle of nowhere, but it is easy to access by train or car from Dresden and Berlin. It is also within 2 hours of Wroclaw, Poland, and Prague, Czech Republic.
From Dresden, Germany:
Dresden is located ~110 km (68 miles) West of Görlitz and can be easily accessed by train or car. You can purchase your tickets on Deutsch Bahn’s official site in advance or at the train station. Make sure to get your tickets to Görlitz Hauptbahnhof.
Dresden -> Görlitz:
Train: 1 hour 30 minutes
Car: 1 hour 14 minutes
From Berlin, Germany:
Berlin is located ~216 km (134 miles) Northwest of Görlitz and can be easily accessed by train or car. You can purchase your tickets on Deutsch Bahn’s official site in advance or at the train station. Make sure to get your tickets to Görlitz Hauptbahnhof.
Berlin -> Görlitz
Train: 2 hours 30 minutes
Car: 2 hours 45 minutes
From Wroclaw, Poland:
Wroclaw is located ~173 km (107 miles) East of Görlitz and can be accessed by car. I believe it can be accessed by train as well, but I can’t find a lot of information about the best route. If any of you have any info on train rides from Wroclaw to Görlitz, then please add it to the comments.
If you are in Wroclaw and want to take the train, then the best thing to do would be to go to the train station and ask about the schedule to either Görlitz, Germany or Zgorzelec, Poland.
Wroclaw -> Görlitz
Car: 1 hour 50 minutes
From Prague, Czech Republic
Prague is located ~168 km (104 miles) South of Görlitz and can be accessed by car and train. The train routes that I found take around 4 hours due to a stopover in Dresden, so I would definitely recommend driving.
Prague -> Görlitz
Train: 4 hours (with a change in Dresden)
Car: 2 hours 10 minutes
If you plan on taking the train, then you want to plan on spending the night in Görlitz or nearby. You can find tickets on Rail Europe.
How Much Time in Görlitz
One day in Görlitz is plenty of time to see all of the sites – it’s a pretty small town. I would recommend planning to spend at least half a day in Görlitz to have enough time to see a few of the main sites and wander around the town.
We spent 2 nights in Görlitz but did day trips to a few cities in the area. It’s a great place to spend a couple of nights and explore the region – including a day trip into Poland, too!
Best Time to Visit Görlitz
The best time to visit Görlitz is between May – September. The weather is nice and the days are longer.
If you want to visit during the winter, then plan your trip in December in order to visit the Christmas Market in Görlitz! The town transforms the Untermarkt into a Christmas wonderland with different stalls selling food and Christmas paraphernalia.
The market usually starts at the beginning of December and runs through mid-December. You can find more info about the dates of the Christmas market in Görlitz here.