Dresden’s a real jewel of a city – one of those places that I think everybody should go to now that it’s easily accessible. Formerly a part of East Germany, Dresden is a couple of hours south of Berlin and close to the border with the Czech Republic– I visited it on a trip including Berlin and Prague, as it makes a very worthwhile stopover in between these two cities. Here are my travel tips for what to do in Dresden.
Frauenkirche (Church of Our Lady)
The Frauenkirche is the symbol of Dresden, for me. A church building in various incarnations had been on the site since the eleventh century until it was destroyed during Dresden firebombing of World War Two in 1945. It was eventually rebuilt (after German reunification) and the current reconstruction was completed in 2005, and it’s a magnificent place both inside and out.
Frauenkirche by loop_oh
The Semperoper or Semper Opera building is one you can’t miss in Dresden. When I visited it jumped right out at me as it had been featured in the advertising of a German beer. It also suffered from the bombing of Dresden but was rebuilt a little sooner, and now features an excellent programme of opera and ballet.
Semperoper by az1172
Balcony of Europe
I love the nickname for the BrÃ¼hlsche Terrasse, a promenade walkway between the Elbe River and Old Town of Dresden – the Balcony of Europe. It certainly seemed like a popular gathering point when I visited and the views across the river were lovely.
Balcony of Europe by Marco_Broscheit
Paddle Steamer on the Elbe
The Elbe River is a great place for a cruise and the most historic way to do it is aboard a paddle steamer – the local paddle steamer fleet is one of the oldest in the world.
Paddle steamer in Dresden byÂ rs-foto
Zwinger Palace was built in the early 1700s and is a late Baroque style – it’s very photogenic, as are the gardens surrounding it. These days the palace buildings house a number of museums including the Old Masters Gallery which is well worth a look.
Zwinger Palace by The Last Moorish King
The Dresden Zoo, one of the oldest in Germany, is found within the Great Gardens (Grosser Garten). It houses some 4,000 animals divided into 300 species and is a popular day out in Dresden.
Dresden Zoo elephants by e3000
The Dresden Castle (or Dresdner Residenzschloss) has been home to numerous Saxon leaders and kings since the 1500s but is now a museum complex, including the Coin Cabinet and the Green Vault, full of treasures!
Residenzschloss by Richard Bao
For car lovers or even just slightly interested passers by, the Transparent Factory is a fascinating place to visit. It’s actually a Volkswagen factory but specially designed with glass walls to allow people to see the final stages of car manufacturing – great idea, hey?
Transparent Factory by Jim D. Woodward
The Pillnitz Castle near Dresden is the former summer residence of the Saxon royal family, located in a lovely spot on the banks of the Elbe River. There are three distinct (and interesting) buildings and today several museums are housed there.
Schloss Pillnitz by basterus
Dresden State Art Collection
With Dresden being a focal point for culture and the arts, it’s no surprise that the Staatliche Kunstsammlung (state art collection) is an impressive one. With an administrative centre in the Residenzschloss (Dresden Castle), the collections are spread across the city and feature art of all kinds including porcelain, sculpture and folk art.
Old Masters Picture Gallery by Allie_Caulfield
Have you got another suggestion for what to do in Dresden? Let us know in the comments below.