Two days in Dresden, Germany is enough time to scratch the surface of this beautiful city but it’s not nearly enough time to see all the sights. Dresden, a city of about half a million inhabitants, is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe I have ever had the pleasure to visit. The city was known as the jewel box for its cultural splendour. But towards the end of WWII the city center was bombed and basically destroyed. You wouldn’t know it to see it now. It’s a Baroque beauty.
Dresden is beautifully situated on the River Elbe, less than an hour away from the Czech border. It’s located in eastern Germany, 190 kilometers due south of Berlin.
Getting to Dresden
I arrived in Dresden via a 90 minute train ride from Leipzig. Trains run frequently and in fact on the way home I took the trail DIRECTLY from Dresden to the Frankfurt Airport – without having to change trains. Brilliant is how I would describe Germany’s train system. (It’s easy to book a train in Germany too.)
Once off the train, my companions and I including Creative Elena who speaks something like five languages including German and Backpacker Becki, headed for the ubiquitous information booth that you seem to find in every train terminal in Germany. Within minutes, we had maps, tickets for the tram and our train tickets for our next destination.
I’m not going to lie to you and tell you it would be as easy for you as it was for me to get to our hotel in Dresden’s inner city. Elena smoothed the way on numerous occasions. But still, I found people very helpful and it seems that most Germans have a smattering of English. The tram system is wonderful – cheap and fast. Validate your ticket ON the tram. Look for signage once you’re on the tram telling you what the next destination is; for us it was Tram 7 from the train station to the Synagoge stop. From there it was a five minute walk to the very well situated – and very lovely QF Hotel.
The following are some of the places I’d recommend you see if you have two days in Dresden.
Walk the Bruhlsche Terrace Area
Within a five minute walk of the hotel you’ll find the Bruhlsche Terrace, nicknamed the Balcony of Europe. It’s a great place for people watching though it’s also home to the Albertinum – a museum displaying art from the Romantic period through to present day. Don’t miss a chance to wander through the Brüshlsche Gardens either.
I mentioned Zwinger in a post last week about biking in Dresden. It’s a palace built in the Rococo style by architect Matthäus Daniel Pöppelmann. In the past it’s served as festival arena of the Dresden Court, but today it serves as a museum complex. You could easily spend a day here checking out the Old Master Picture Gallery, the Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon and the Dresden Porcelain Collection. You can wander the beautiful grounds at no charge.
Located right outside my hotel door, Neumarkt is Dresden’s inner city that has been rebuilt over time. Extremely popular, it’s pedestrian friendly and boasts lots of cafes, shops and restaurants. The standout building is the Frauenkirche, rebuilt after German reunification with some of the original bricks. I had the immense pleasure of listening to St. John’s Passion in this church – and would highly recommend attending any sort of service where you can hear some choral music. The acoustics are phenomenal.
Just off Gorlitzerstrasse in Neustadt, the Kunsthofpassage is a series of linked courtyards off the main street. It’s colourful and arty. Located within the courtyards you’ll find art galleries, cafes and restaurants. Don’t miss a stop here.
The Neustadt area is one that is best explored on foot. It’s easy to get to with lots of trams going right by Albertplatz, the intersection of the main roads and a starting place for your exploration. The area is grungy and edgy but very cool. I loved walking the streets – where graffiti is everywhere. It’s loaded with restaurants, off beat shops and lots of bars. It’s also home to several museums including The State Museum of Ethnology, the Dresden Soccer Museum and the Japanese Palace.
As you can see, there’s a lot of ground to cover in Dresden if you only have two days – and not once did we have time to even enter a museum.
We did check out a few of the local cafes when we got hungry and on the first night we dined at a very interesting restaurant – Pulverturm, located in the old Gunpowder Tower – which was built in 1565. There are parts of the tower that have been incorporated into the restaurant.
Expect to be waited on by maidens and grenadiers dressed in traditional costume. Wandering accordion players will serenade you too. The food is traditionally German; we all ordered Saxon Saurbraten with red cabbage and potato dumpling along with a bottle of Saxon white wine and then to wash it all down – some green liquor.
I could go on and on about Dresden – but I hope you can tell from the photos alone that it’s a city very much worth visiting. It’s been called the most beautiful in all of Germany and from what I’ve seen I’d agree.
If you’ve been to Dresden, what were the highlights for you?
A huge thanks to Dresden Marketing for underwriting my trip though all thoughts as always are my own.