Dresden is one of the oldest cities in Germany, where you can find both peace and as well as bustling of a modern city. However, Dresden is still a quite new tourist destination for many people, so the information about this tourist destination has not been updated much. So, in this article we will share with you the most complete Dresden travel information and guide and useful tips.
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So, is Dresden worth visiting, how to visit Dresden, what to do in Dresden and how to plan a budget trip to Dresden for the first-time perfectly? Let’s check out our Dresden travel blog (Dresden blog) with the fullest Dresden travel guide (guide to Dresden, Dresden tourist guide, Dresden city guide, Dresden guide) from how to get to Dresden, best places to visit, best time to come, what to eat as well as top things to do in Dresden to help you maximize your trip as follows!
Overview of Dresden (#dresden travel blog)
Dresden is an ancient and long-standing city with a history of hundreds of years of formation and development of Germany. This city is considered as the capital of the state of Saxony (German Sachsen) located in the eastern Germany. The city of Dresden was founded in 1206 and it was formerly the place where many Saxon kings lived and worked. Dresden is not only blessed with a beautiful, poetic and peaceful natural setting, but also possesses a rich history, culture and architecture of Germany.
The Dresden is part of the The Saxon Triangle – a polycentric metropolitan region. During the medieval period, the city of Dresden was the living and working place of the Kings of Saxony, so Dresden is a city with a rich history of culture, architecture and art in Germany.
Since Dresden was once the living and working place of the kings of Saxony, this is not only a city with poetic natural scenery, but also has a rich history of culture, architecture and painting. Dresden consists of two main areas, Altstadt (old town) and Neustadt (new town) divided by the gentle winding Elbe river. While Altstadt has an ancient look with many old architectural works, historical evidences through the kings while on the other side of the river, the Neustadt puts on a colorful and bustling appearance, symbolizing a modern, young and vibrant life.
Dresden is the second largest city by the Elbe after Hamburg. The majority of Dresden’s population lives in the Elbe Valley, a large area, although the eastern Elbe city’s sparseness lies in the West Lusatian hills and the Uplands (the westernmost part of the Sudetes) and thus in Lusatia, while many western counties of the Elbe lie in the land of the Ore Mountains as well as in the valleys of rivers flowing through Dresden, the longest ones are Weißeritz and Lockwitzbach.
Something interesting facts about Dresden
- King August der Starke (Augustus II), who left a legacy of the city of Dresden for our posterity today, was an all-rounder. As a lover of beauty, he patronized all the arts, from painting, to music, to sculpture… Thought such a person must be a white-faced scholar. But his nickname was der Starke (the Strong). Legend has it that with his bare hands, he was able to break a cast iron horseshoe. Currently in the museum Dresden also displays a collection of horseshoes that he broke.
- If you have the opportunity to celebrate the new year in Germany, you will have the chance to enjoy a wonderful light party. On the night of December 31, all residents are allowed to set off fireworks. The people of Dresden often flocked to the banks of the Elbe River to “shoot”. There will be no one with a beautiful place, no one with a bad place to stand and watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks, because the whole people and the whole city will light up fireworks and celebrate the coming New Year together. Right on New Year’s Eve, the city’s sky suddenly lit up, fireworks exploded everywhere, firecracker smoke created a mist over the Elbe River. There’s nothing more fun on New Year’s Day than the smell of firecracker smoke.
When to come?
The climate in Dresden is also divided into 4 seasons of the year: Spring – Summer – Autumn – Winter, with warm summers and cold winters. Winter in this city is quite cold, average temperatures about -6 to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Therefore, if you want to experience winter activities here such as: Ice skating, skiing… then maybe winter is the perfect time.
In addition, July is the peak tourism season of Dresden, because at this time the warm temperatures are around 17 to 20 degrees Celsius, very suitable for the journey to explore the city of Dresden.
How to get to Dresden? (#dresden travel guide)
By plane (#dresden travel blog)
To getting to Dresden, the plane is the most common means of transportation, because it is safe and fast to travel. However, there are currently no airlines that operate direct flights to Dresden from Vietnam, so you will have to transit at least one point. Airfares range from 500-700 USD/one-way.
To hunt for cheap flight tickets, we recommend that you choose to fly at low hours such as night, choose to fly on weekdays and buy tickets in advance 2 to 4 months to get the best price. Avoid traveling on holidays… the price will be greatly increased.
Dresden’s main airport is Dresden Airport (IATA code: DRS), located in the north of the city. To move to the city center, the simplest and most economical way is to take the S-Bahn train number S2. It takes 12 minutes from the airport to Dresden-Neustadt station and 20 minutes to Dresden Hauptbahnhof central station. One-way fare available for all Dresden public transport around €2.30. You can also use a €6 day pass to take the S2 train to get to the airport.
Dresden is located between the railway line from Berlin to Prague. The city is about two hours from both capitals by train. Trains usually return to the central station Dresden Hauptbahnhof. Train tickets can be found for around €35 to Berlin and €20 to Prague.
By bus (#dresden travel blog)
It’s probably the most economical way to get to Dresden. From Prague or Berlin by Flixbus (www.flixbus.com) to Dresden takes more than two hours, and the fare ranges from €10-15/one way. The bus will park at Dresden-Neustadt station or Dresden Hauptbahnhof station.
How to get around in Dresden? (#dresden guide)
The public transport system in Dresden includes trains to neighboring cities (Schnellbahn, or S-Bahn), trams (Straßenbahn), buses, boats crossing the Elbe river… Most trams run through night. For tourists who want to visit the central area, if you go to Hauptbahnhof Dresden station, you can walk to Bahnhof Nord metro station at the north exit of the station, then take one of the number 8, 9 trams to get to Theather Platz station. This is the station right next to the Semperoper theater, then walk to visit the surrounding spots. Regarding transportation tickets, they can be divided into the following main categories, you can refer to here.
In European cities in general or Dresden in particular, the public transport system is very developed, so traveling is extremely convenient and economical. Here are the popular public transport you can refer to to get around the city:
People in Dresden mainly use trams because there are many lines, so you can go to every neighborhood. Tram operating time starts from 6 am to 8 pm, there will be 1 trip every 10 minutes. After 8pm the waiting time will be a little longer and from 11pm you will only take the night routes with a “GuteNachtLinie” sign at each stop. A trip of four stops or less costs €1.70, a 24-hour ticket is €4.50.
Buses in the city have the same schedule as trams, in addition, there are also dedicated buses to take visitors to attractions such as hop-on-hop-off buses. Bus fares are also quite cheap, averaging about 0.5 Euro. Each route has different prices and payment methods. So you can pay by card or bring cash for easy payment!
When coming to Dresden you should try the experience of cycling to feel the atmosphere and slowly admire the city scenery. Bicycle rental prices usually range from 10 to 13 Euro/day.
In addition to the means listed above, if you have a good travel budget, you can choose to travel by taxi because the cost will be much higher. On average, visitors need to pay 8.45 to 49 Euros/person/day when taking a taxi in Dresden.
Where to go and what to do in Dresden? (#dresden blog)
Furstenzug (#dresden blog)
Address: Augustusstraße 1, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Hours: Open 24 hours
King August der Starke can be said to be an extremely artistic lover. He not only loves painting, music, sculpture but also many other subjects. During his reign, he built the Furstenzug wall. This is the largest porcelain mural in the world. If you have the opportunity to travel to Dresden, you must not miss the opportunity to see this wall. It will surely be a memorable experience.
Coming here, you will be able to see with your own eyes a huge painting made from 25,000 porcelain pieces, perfected by the hands of many artisans. This is a work of both artistic value and historical value, because it was completed in 1907 with an age of more than 100 years. This artistic painting is the image of the lords and kings of Saxony during the nearly 800 years they ruled this land.
Address: Sophienstraße, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Hours: 6 AM–8 PM/Thursday: 6 AM–10 PM
Setting foot in Dresden without exploring the Zwinger palace is a big omission. This complex is located right next to the Semperoper theater, so you can completely combine it with visiting the theater and the palace. With a unique design, bold Baroque and Rococo styles, along with sophisticated design, bring the most spectacular beauty to Zwinger Palace. It is known that the palace was formerly the living and working place of King August der Starke and until now, it is used as a great work, a museum where many precious and valuable works of art are displayed.
This palace was formerly where King August der Starke lived and worked. Up to the present time, Zwinger Palace is considered as a great work, a museum displaying countless rare works of art.
Address: Theaterplatz 2, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Located right next to Zwinger Palace is also an extremely famous architecture in Dresden that is the Semperoper opera house. This theater is considered one the most famous opera houses in the world, built in 1878. Many famous operas are composed by legendary composers such as Richard Wagne or Richard Strauss were performed here for the first time. Inside, most of the decorations are gilded very delicately. In particular, this place had to be rebuilt for the third time after being destroyed twice due to war.
Coming here, you not only have the opportunity to discover the unique design and splendor of the theater, but also watch with your own eyes many art shows, wonderful opera performances from many high-profiles artists here.
The Cathedral Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche)
Address: Frauenplatz 12, 80331 München, Germany
There is one place to visit that any visitor to Dresden cannot ignore is the cathedral of Frauenkirche. This church is considered a symbol of the city of Dresden. In 1945, after a fierce bombing, the church was completely destroyed. However, in 2006, the city government restored this church on the occasion of the 800th anniversary of the founding of Dresden. Standing on the top of the cathedral, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the beautiful city of Dresden from above. However, to get to this highest point, visitors will have to buy tickets at the price of 8 Euros/ticket.
As noted above, the Wettin kings were originally Protestant. In 1697, King August der Starke, in addition to the king of Saxony, was elected as a king of Poland. Catholicism is the national religion of Poland. The condition for August der Starke to receive the Polish crown was that he had to convert. The kings who succeeded him built the Katholische Hofkirche church to follow the Christianity they had just converted. The church is located right next to the royal palace of Residenzschloss, there is a bridge from the castle to the church dedicated to the king every time he goes to pray.
Address: Hauptallee 10, 01219 Dresden, Germany
Hours: Open 24 hours
Currently, Grosser Garten (The Grand Garden of Dresden) is the largest park in Dresden. It was built in the French Baroque style in 1676 and has been open to the public since 1814. In addition, the park also houses a Zoo and Botanical Garden with more than 10,000 species arranged geographically to explore the world of plant life.
Is a park designed in the baroque style in the center of Dresden, with an area of about 1.8 km². This place used to be a summer vacation destination, hosting banquets for royals and dukes in the past.
The Dresden Zoo
It is located to the south of the Großer Garten, opened in 1861 and is the fourth oldest zoo in Germany. About 3,000 animals of nearly 400 species from all over the world are raised and cared for here. Through the large glass panels, visitors can observe swimming Humboldt penguins, ring-tailed lemurs as well as Tundra birds. When you get to see animals in person that were previously only seen on TV, this will definitely be a great experience for those who love animals or families with children.
Dresden Castle (Dresdner Schloss)
Address: Taschenberg 2, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Hours: 10 AM–6 PM/Tuesday: Closed
Next to the Hofkirche church is the Residenzschloss (Dresdner Schloss), the residence of the King and the royal family. From a distance, visitors can immediately identify this building with a clock on the wall in blue and red. Since 1918, when the king was no longer living in it, this building has been used as a museum. Dresdner Schloss was heavily destroyed during World War II and still has areas under repair. There are currently five museums in the castle: Historisches Grünes Gewölbe, Neues Grünes Gewölbe, Münzkabinett, Kupferstich-Kabinett and Türckische Cammer.
Grünes Gewölbe Museum
The truly impressive among the museums in Dresden Caslte is probably the Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault), roughly translated as treasure museum. It displays the treasures of the Wettin family. This treasure has both custom-made items, some items are gifts and tributes from other countries. But to sum up in one sentence is both epic and sophisticated.
The museum holds more than 4,000 precious artifacts, making it one of the largest treasure museums in Europe. In particular, the most prominent is the work “Golden Coffee Set” made by the famous royal jeweler of that time – Johann Melchior Dinglinger.
Address: Weißeritzstr. 3, 01067 Dresden, Germany
Hours: 12–11 PM
If you like the weird, Yenidze is an old cigarette factory but has the same architecture as a mosque. It takes 10 minutes to walk from the center of Altstadt to here.
Brühlsche Terrasse and on the banks of the River Elbe
Goodbye Dresdener Schloss we have to navigate from the pier again. Head to the riverside, past the Hofkirche church, up the steps and admire the romantic Elbe bank or look back at the places you have passed. Looking back at the square in front of the Semperoper, this terraced position also gives very good photos. The whole square that stretches for about 500 meters by the river is called Brühlsche Terrasse. If you stand on this balcony, you will see right next to it are 2 bridges spanning the Elbe River. The bridge closest to the Semperoper is Ausgustusbrücke, and the other bridge to the right is Carolabrücke. Standing from the two bridges looking back, visitors can see the whole view of this beautiful city next to this river. There are no words to describe its poetic beauty, even the best photograph!
This is one of the famous sights of the city of Dresden. In the summer, this place organizes movie screenings, outdoor activities for the people, and concerts.
Visiting Dresden’s legendary historic river is an experience that any foreign tourist must try when coming here. Currently, Dresden still has 9 of the oldest and largest steamboats in the world operating to bring visitors to enjoy the city scenery.
Saxon Switzerland National Park
Located just 40 minutes from Dresden by train, Saxon Switzerland National Park is extremely large with a total area of about 36,000 hectares. There are forests and strangely shaped sandstone blocks, which have existed since the Cretaceous period. Besides, the Bastei stone bridge and Königstein fortress are also tourist attractions when visiting this large area.
Address: Schloßallee, 01468 Moritzburg, Germany
Hours: 10 AM–5:30 PM/Monday: Closed
Located about 15 km northwest of Dresden, the castle is symmetrically designed, surrounded by an artificial lake. With stunning views in all four seasons from spring to winter, this castle was once chosen as the setting for the movie “Three Nuts for Cinderella”.
What to eat?
Dresdner Christstollen Potato Soup (Potato soup-Saxon)
Among the delicious dishes in Dresden, potato soup Dresdner Christstollen is the most popular. With a simple recipe, using main ingredients from: Potatoes, onions, green vegetables… and some typical spices of the city, it creates an irresistible delicious taste. In addition, many places also change the dish to refresh the taste, so they often add: smoked meat, sausage… or even plums, pomegranate seeds…
Dresdner Sauerbraten mit Rotkraut
Continuing another famous dish in Dresden that is beef dish Dresdner Sauerbraten mit Rotkraut – the pride in German cuisine. To prepare this dish, people use fresh beef, soaked in herbs and malt liquor, bay leaves, with spices,… for a few days. Then take out the meat and fry it lightly with butter and put it in the oven to cook. This beef dish will be more attractive when served with dumplings and red radish.
If you want to experience typical Dresden cuisine, you can’t miss Holunderbeerensuppe. To prepare this dish, German people often use the juice of elderberries, combined with lemon juice and spices. After being processed, people often eat Holunderbeerensuppe with bread and ice cream to increase the delicious.
Bread is the most popular and loved food in Germany. Therefore, dishes with bread, especially Fettbemme are always the first choice when discovering cuisine in Dresden. The Fettbemme is quite simple, just slices of rye bread, served with pork or beef, along with cucumbers. It all comes together with a great taste.
Besides the dishes listed above, you can enjoy some other equally delectable dishes such as: Quarkkeulchen, Eierschecke cake, Dresdner Christstollen cake…
Where to eat?
The most famous beer bar in Dresden, if you want to make sure you have a seat, you should book in advance. The beer is very good because the restaurant is home-made, but the most outstanding is probably the restaurant’s crispy baked pork leg. The outer skin is thin and crispy, the inside is still sweet and tender. Order this dish with beer and you will find it is perfectly match. The shop has three locations in Dresden.
- Watzke Ball & Brauhaus Kötschenbroder Straße 1, 01139 Dresden 0351 85 29 20
- Watzke am Ring Dr.-Külz-Ring 9, 01067 Dresden 0351 20 52 43 81
- Watzke am Goldenen Reiter Hauptstraße 1, 01067 Dresden 0351 81 06 820
If you want to eat fast and cheap in the downtown area, you can find a restaurant in the commercial area of Altmarkt Galerie. The Turkish community in Germany is relatively large, I always have the feeling that eating Turkish Doner Kebab in Germany is better, has a clearer, richer flavor than other places in Europe. I rate the Oliveria bread shop in the Altmarkt shopping center very well.
Where to stay?
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Super 8 by Wyndham Dresden (Agoda, Booking)
- Hyperion Hotel Dresden am Schloss (Agoda, Booking)
- Star G Hotel Premium Dresden Altmarkt (Agoda, Booking)
- NH Collection Dresden Altmarkt (Agoda, Booking)
- ibis budget Dresden City (Agoda, Booking)
- Gewandhaus Dresden, Autograph Collection (Agoda, Booking)
- Hotel Suitess (Agoda, Booking)
- Bilderberg Bellevue Hotel Dresden (Agoda, Booking)
- Leonardo Hotel Dresden Altstadt (Agoda, Booking)
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Dresden you can refer to
- Dresden River Sightseeing Cruise
- Dresden Old Town Walking Tour
- Dresden Day Tour from Prague
- Bohemian and Saxon Switzerland National Park Day Tour from Dresden
- Dresden Semperoper Tour with Admission Ticket
- Dresden River Sightseeing Cruise
- Dresden Semperoper Guided Tour and Royal Palace Admission Ticket
- Dresden: River Sightseeing Boat Cruise (Line 72)
- Dresden: The Original Night Watchman Tour in Lantern Light
- Dresden: Semperoper Tickets and Guided Tour
- Bohemia and Saxon Switzerland Day Trip From Dresden
- Dresden: City & Semperoper Guided Walking Tour
- Dresden: Gala Concert in the Dresden Zwinger
- Dresden: Guided Tour of the Church of Our Lady
- Dresden: Elbe River Cruise to Pillnitz Castle (Line 61)
- Dresden: Semperoper and Old Town Tour
- Dresden: 1-Day Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour
- Dresden: Night Watchman Tour Through The Old Town
- Tickets to the Meissen Porcelain Factory
After the trip, Dresden from a strange place immediately became one of the most impressive cities I have ever had the opportunity to explore. There are few cities in Germany that bring a harmonious combination of contemplation (Altstadt) with excitement (Neustadt), between vast nature and sophisticated and civilized man-made structures like Dresden!