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Two Days in Dresden, Germany

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.

"Dresden is a fabulous city for walking"

Dresden is a fabulous city for walking

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.

"My room in the QF Hotel complete with opening windows and a huge marble bathroom"

My room in the QF Hotel complete with opening windows and a huge marble bathroom

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.

"The Bruhlscher Garden in Dresden"

The Bruhlscher Gardens

"The Bruhlscher Gardens draw loads of walkers"

The Bruhlscher Gardens draw loads of walkers

"There's so much green space in the city of Dresden"

There’s so much green space in the city of Dresden

"Statue of Ludwig Richter - a German painter and etcher"

Statue of Ludwig Richter – a German painter and etcher

"People watching on the Balcony of Europe"

People watching on the Balcony of Europe


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.

"The Zwinger is a popular spot"

The Zwinger is a popular spot


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.

"The Frauenkirche"

The Frauenkirche

"Inside the Frauenkirche"

Inside the Frauenkirche


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.

"Colourful buildings in the Kunsthofpassage"

Colourful buildings in the Kunsthofpassage

"Unfortunately it was raining when we visited but still colour was the overriding theme"

Unfortunately it was raining when we visited but still colour was the overriding theme

"Lots of whimsy in the Kunsthofpassage"

Lots of whimsy in the Kunsthofpassage


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.

"One of the best doors I saw covered in graffiti"

One of the best doors I saw covered in graffiti

"Backpacker Becki talked us into getting our photo done in an old style photo booth"

Backpacker Becki talked us into getting our photo done in an old style photo booth

"More wildly colourful buildings in the Neustadt area"

More wildly colourful buildings in the Neustadt area

"Stumbling blocks - a poignant way to commemorate victims of the Nazi regime. They are located "

Stumbling blocks – a poignant way to commemorate victims of the Nazi regime. Blocks are located outside the homes people were snatched from and can be seen in a few places in Neustadt.

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.

:Serenaded while dining at Pulverturm in Dresden"

Serenaded while dining at Pulverturm

"Green liquor you're supposed to chug"

Green liquor you’re supposed to chug; it’s in a funnel

"Elena "volunteers" to go first"

Elena “volunteers” to go first

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? 

48 Hours in Dresden, Germany

A huge thanks to Dresden Marketing for underwriting my trip though all thoughts as always are my own.

Leigh McAdam


Author Leigh

Avid world traveler. Craves adventure - & the odd wildly epic day. Gardener. Reader. Wine lover. Next big project - a book on 100 Canadian outdoor adventures.

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Join the discussion 34 Comments

  • How fun was that old style photo booth?! I’ve got fond memories of those. Couldn’t agree more with the German railway system – it’s awesome. I haven’t been to Dresden yet, but thought about taking the train from Prague for a day trip in December. We just ran out of time. Wonderful photos of the city.

    • @Cathy I hadn’t been in one of those photo booths for a very long time. That’s the beauty of traveling with a couple of thirty something’s. They give you a whole new perspective on life.

      I can’t say enough great things about the German rail system and the prices are very reasonable especially if you buy in advance.

  • Dresden looks beautiful. It is amazing how they can restore a city to its former brilliance. Warsaw was pretty much destroyed in the war, but you would not know that now as it is beautiful and has retained and old charm despite being pretty much recently rebuilt.

  • Dresden looks like such a beautiful city – and not at all what I expected! All I really know about the city is that it was heavily bombed during WWII so I wasn’t expecting a place so colourful and lively and with so many gorgeous buildings. It looks like the sort of city that we would have a great time exploring!

  • Love Dresden; made the daytrip from Berlin! I see you also found the “Stolpersteine”; I hope they become visible in all of the major cities, if not every city, in the country. I still think it’s a shame the place is no longer on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Thanks for writing about this beautiful city!

    • @Henry I hadn’t appreciated what the German word for Stolpersteine meant. They make you think. I know I stopped and looked up at each apartment and wondered what terror the people must have felt. Dresden was a surprise to me and a total delight.

  • Andrew says:

    Wonderful scenes in your photo series here, Leigh. And to answer the questions, I haven’t been, but would like to now!

  • Satu VW / Destination Unknown says:

    Looks beautiful! I have to admit, we often just pass by Germany and make a quick stop in the south in Bavaria, but clearly there’d be so much more to explore…

    • @Satu I had not appreciated how lovely eastern Germany was- especially with old images in my mind of what life looked like behind the Iron Curtain. Dresden and Leipzig were both fantastic cities to explore.

  • NullNFull says:

    I love the picture of tulips! You were so lucky to be there at the right time of the year! I remember my stay in Dresden as enjoyable, even though it was -25C, the snow was up to my knees and there were no tulips at all ;-)

  • So loved the street art and colorful neighborhoods in Dresden. Had no idea. Now it’s on my list of cities to visit once I finally make it back to Europe.

  • The Brüshlsche Gardens look lovely – I’m a sucker for gardens! I haven’t ridden a train in Germany yet but will be there twice next year so will do so. I’ve been mulling going to Dresden and you convinced me so I’ll bookmark this post! Thanks.

    • @Kay I am also a sucker for gardens – and a very keen gardener. I went to a conference and was quite disappointed not to have been invited to Berlin. In hindsight, I think I got very lucky with my trip to Dresden. I would really like to go back in late spring and bike to Prague.

  • Dresden is, indeed, a beautiful city! For some reason, I thought that Dresden had been totally destroyed by the firebombing at the end of WWII and pictured all the rebuilding in the utilitarian and drab “Soviet” style. Thanks for correcting this impression and giving me a lovely tour of this charming city.

  • I would love to visit Dresden, particularly the Neustadt area. The colors and decorative architectural details are just wonderful. And totally agree on train travel in Germany. It can’t be beat!

  • It’s pretty amazing how Germany managed to restore its old cities after World War II. The fire bombing of Dresden was essentially as destructive as the atomic bombs. The Brüshlsche Gardens do look really lovely. My husband and I don’t speak a word of German (other than danke), but we managed to figure out and use the public transportation system in Munich. It really helps that the ticket selling machines for the S-Bahn and U-Bahn let you pick instructions in English.

    • @Suzanne I have the same level of German fluency but also did well getting around (and I was by myself for much of the trip). Thankfully there is a lot of English spoken and they are very smart in the way they design systems.

  • Johanna says:

    Not having explored much of Germany I’m always fascinated to see how gorgeous it really is, and how much I’d like to visit. The old style photo booth did look fun, and those blocks on the outside of the houses sent shivers down my spine.

    • @Johanna Those blocks are a very poignant reminder of just how nasty WWII was – and a very visual way of driving the point home. Germany was a great destination in late April with temperatures warming up nicely.

  • Karen Warren says:

    I haven’t been to Dresden but I love German cities (and the food and drink!). It’s good to see that Dresden has been rebuilt so well.

  • Nancie says:

    Hi Leigh. Looks like a great city to spend a few days. Your hotel room looks lovely. I’d be hooked with the marble bathroom! Nice to have someone help you navigate a city, when they can speak 5 languages!

  • I visited Dresden a few years back and also enjoyed it very much.

  • What a wonderful overview of a city that looks very worthwhile to visit. Love your photography!

  • A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    What a beautiful city! I can’t believe we passed it by when we were in Germany :(

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