The top four most visited cities in Germany as of 2017 are Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, and Hamburg. Don’t make the same mistake other travelers do – even if you’re flying into one of the main airports at Frankfurt or Munich, take a trip to Dresden to see one of Germany’s most beautiful cities. Its proximity to the Czech Republic also makes it an excellent stop via bus or train on a European road trip, in the summer or winter. Planning a trip to Germany and Berlin’s on the list? Dresden is only approximately 2 hours from this German travel hotspot!
How to get there
The fastest way to get to Dresden would be to fly there domestically (flights are usually 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on where you are you flying in from in Germany). The most economical way to get there would be to take the Deustche Bahn (book from the main site, third party sites tend to sell tickets at higher prices). Dresden is around 2 hours by train from Berlin, and 4.5 hours from Munich and Frankfurt. You can also take the bus in from Prague: Flixbus offers cheap rates for budget travel.
Have a chance to rent a car in Germany? Enjoy the autobahn but obey the rules! Remember that the fastest lane is on the far left, and the slowest lane is on the far right. There are speed limits within city limits.
Where to stay
If you have rented a car to explore Germany, we can strongly recommend Kim Hotel Im Park for your stay in Dresden. Located 10 minutes from the city center, this hotel offers very comfortable lodgings in a quiet, beautiful estate with beautiful lookouts over Dresden. The restaurant serves a delicious breakfast as well as lunch and dinner, popular among locals. Reservations for dinner are recommended.
What to see
The Dresden Frauenkirche (“woman church”) is an iconic central location to begin your tour of the city. Built at a time when women and men were not allowed to worship within the same premises, the Frauenkirche is a stunning architectural piece, inside and out. You can climb the church tower for views over the city. This church was renovated as late as 2005, after extensive damage during World War II.
There are a myriad restaurants and cafes in the square surrounding the Frauenkirche. Take a look around if you’re hungry and need a bite to eat! We recommend checking out the restaurants in the streets leading away from the main square if you’re looking for good eats at a cheaper price.
A short walk from the Frauenkirche, the Furstenzug, or Procession of Princes, is a large mural of the rulers of Saxony. It was painted between 1871-1876 to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the Wittin Dynasty, Saxony’s ruling family at the time. Fun fact: The inscription below the mural is written in old German – even Christian and our other German friend whom we were traveling with had trouble deciphering it!
The Dresden Castle (Dresdner Residenzschloss/Dresdner Schloss), Grünes Gewölbe
No visit to Dresden is complete without a visit to the Dresden Castle. Originally built by Augustus the Strong, the castle houses a myriad of exhibits in its many wings, including the Turkish Chamber (Türkische Cammer). We strongly suggest you start at the Historic Green Vault, or Grünes Gewölbe. There is a ticket you can purchase to view all the exhibits, but if you’re low on time, you can get the ticket that allows you into the Grünes Gewölbe only (€12 as of October 2017). Don’t underestimate how much time you can spend at each stop: we spent approximately 2 hours exploring the 3000 masterpieces in the Ivory Room, Green Room, Silver Gilt Room, Amber Cabinet, etc. The chamber is aesthetically stunning.
There are also usually artists selling hand-crafted paintings by the entrance to the Dresden Castle, if you’re interested in an authentic souvenir.
Even if you’re not in town to see a show, take a walk to the Semperoper, an opera house and concert hall home to the Semperoper Ballett. Enjoy the beauty of the square (Theaterplatz) that the opera house is located on: there are usually even musicians and piano players by the entrance to the Zwinger nearby.
Zwinger, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister
This is a beautiful place to sit and enjoy the myriad fountains, carillons, and Baroque-style architecture that is emblematic of Dresden. Have a beer in the sun in the summer, or see the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery: an exhibit of around 750 pieces of 15th to 18th century European art) in the winter.
Since a majority of Germany is (on paper) Protestant, most of the Catholic churches can be found in the southern areas such as Dresden (which lies on the border of what is known as southern Germany!) Also known as the Dresden Cathedral or the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, this is a beautiful cathedral located by the nearby Elbe.
Nicknamed “The Balcony of Europe,” this terrace is a great place to have a coffee and people watch in true European style.
Augustus the II’s obsession with Rome and its décor will be made clear to you as you explore the Historic Green Vault in the Dresden Castle. This is a statue of the King dressed as a Roman Caesar as you cross over the Elbe towards the arts district of the city.
Top tip: German weather is fickle. Carry an umbrella and a sweater with you, even in the summer.
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