Dresden is an enchanting German city on the banks of the River Elbe. Soak up its rich history, vibrant culture and picturesque scenery.
You'll be struck by the blend of past and present as you wander the charming streets of the Old Town (Altstadt) and New Town (Neustadt).
Dresden has a wealth of historical sites to explore, such as the majestic Zwinger palace, the iconic Semperoper, and the breathtaking Frauenkirche.
With world-class museums and galleries just a stone's throw away from lush green meadows, this city promises an unforgettable experience for every traveller.
So, pack your bags and embark on a journey through time, as Dresden captures your heart with its beauty, charm, and undeniable sense of wonder.
Dresden lies on the banks of the River Elbe in eastern Germany.
It is the capital of the state of Saxony, itself once an independent kingdom. Before German reunification, it was part of East Germany.
Dresden is also only a stone's throw away from the Czech Republic border, making it an excellent destination for exploring both countries.
The most convenient airport for the city is Dresden International Airport. It is located nine kilometres to the north of the city centre.
The small airport does offer a limited range of flights to European destinations, as well as holiday charter flights.
The S2 train line runs from the airport to Dresden's central train station.
Other airports with a larger choice of destinations and airlines are discussed on our Dresden Travel page.
Dresden Hauptbahnhof serves as the city's central train station. The station is located on Wiener Platz near one of the biggest shopping districts in the city.
When visiting Dresden, choosing the right area to stay in can significantly enhance your experience.
Dresden Altstadt is an excellent choice for first-time visitors. It's the historic centre of the city. You'll find yourself surrounded by beautiful architecture and popular tourist attractions.
Staying in Altstadt means you're within walking distance of key attractions, such as the Dresden Frauenkirche and Zwinger Palace. However, be aware that accommodation costs in this district tend to be higher.
Dresden Neustadt, on the north bank of the river Elbe, is the place for those in search of a lively atmosphere and local culture.
This hip neighbourhood is a haven for foodies and shoppers alike. Neustadt is an exciting place to be with its bustling nightlife, trendy bars and eclectic mix of shops.
Accommodation options range from budget hostels to boutique hotels, and public transport is easily accessible for exploring the rest of the city.
If you're interested in historic sites and walking access to attractions, Dresden Altstadt is the perfect base for you.
On the other hand, if you want to experience local culture, nightlife, and unique shopping opportunities, Dresden Neustadt is the ideal choice.
A more detailed overview of hotels and other accommodation in Dresden is available on our Dresden Hotels page. Alternatively, if you already know when you are travelling, you can check Dresden accommodation availability in the search box below:
Dresden became a centre of culture and art under the rule of Augustus II and Augustus III in the 18th century.
As you walk through the cobbled streets of this beautiful baroque city, you'll notice the influence these rulers had on shaping its artistic landscape.
The legacy of Augustus II, also known as August the Strong, is reflected in Dresden's architectural gems.
He laid the foundations for a glorious era of artistic development with a keen eye and ambition to make his city an architectural marvel.
During the reign of Augustus III, the enlargement and enrichment of Dresden's art collections played a significant role in enhancing the city's reputation.
Many of the masterpieces now in the museums and galleries found their way into the hands of the Saxon monarch during this period.
One prominent figure of this era was Gottfried Semper. The famous architect left an everlasting mark on Dresden.
Semper contributed extensively to the design of iconic city landmarks, such as the Semperoper – Dresden's exquisite opera house – and the Zwinger – a stunning baroque palace and museum complex.
Dresden's Frauenkirche is another outstanding example of 18th-century architecture.
Destroyed during wartime, the reconstruction of the church stands as a testament to Dresden's love of its cultural heritage.
Once known as the "Florence on the Elbe" for its striking baroque and rococo architecture, Dresden has gradually rebuilt itself since its devastation during World War II.
Now, the restored historical landmarks and breath-taking scenery give you a sense of the elegance and beauty that have been synonymous with this city for centuries.
Connecting Dresden to its neighbours, a well-developed transport network enables you to reach various cities and landmarks with ease. Don't be surprised if you're inspired to explore further afield; the spectacular rock formations of the nearby Saxon Switzerland National Park make for an exhilarating day trip.
In this section, we'll take a look at some of the must-see attractions and cover the Dresden Welcome Card programme that provides discounts and free or reduced access to various attractions.
Investing in a Dresden Welcome Card can enhance your visit to this beautiful city. These cards are available in three different types: Museums Card, City Card, and Regio Card. Each card provides unique benefits to make your tour more enjoyable and budget-friendly.
A visit to Dresden would be incomplete without exploring the magnificent Zwinger Palace and Dresden Castle (also known as the Royal Palace). These architectural marvels are home to several museums, including the Old Masters Picture Gallery and the renowned Green Vault (Grünes Gewölbe), where you can admire a vast collection of precious art and artefacts.
As you wander through the city, be sure to stop by the imposing Dresden Cathedral and marvel at its intricate detailing. Also, take a moment to appreciate the Semper Opera House, an architectural masterpiece that hosts outstanding performances throughout the year.
From Brühl's Terrace, you can enjoy breathtaking views across the Elbe River and the Old Town, while the Augustus Bridge offers a fantastic photographic vantage point. Nearby, you'll find the Japanese Palace, housing the exquisite Dresden Porcelain Collection, a testament to the city's artistic heritage.
Take a break from the hubbub of city life and spend some time in the tranquil Grand Garden. The palace park is the perfect setting for an unhurried stroll.
The Regio Card is a help for some of the local day trips near Dresden, but visitors who are planning to travel a little further afield might want to look at the Sachsen-Ticket from the German rail service (www.bahn.de). This offers a whole day's travel on regional rail services for up to five adults.
One of the top attractions near Dresden is the Saxon Switzerland National Park. This incredible park features unique rock formations, dense forests, and picturesque valleys. You can spend an entire day discovering the beauty of this national park, taking in its natural wonders.
Within the Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Bastei Bridge is a must-visit landmark. This impressive sandstone bridge connects two rocky cliffs and offers astonishing views of the surrounding landscapes. Be sure to have your camera ready, as you'll want to capture the magical scenery from this vantage point.
Downstream along the Elbe is the town of Meissen, world-famous for its porcelain. Visitors can also sample local wine from the vineyards along the river, while Meissen Cathedral and Albrechtsburg castle are impressive historic sights.
A little further away, visitors can take a trip to the Polish border and the historic town of Görlitz, featured in the Wes Anderson film 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'.
While visiting Dresden, you're in for a treat with its calendar of cultural events and festivals.
In spring, the International Dixieland Festival Dresden is a must-see, typically occurring between 14th and 21st of May. This jazz-centred event fills the city with vibrant tunes and performances, offering a unique experience for all ages.
Summer months bring the Film Nights on the banks of the Elbe, allowing you to catch exciting screenings under the open sky. Additionally, the Dresden Stadtfest city festival or “Canaletto” takes place on the third weekend of August, celebrating the city's foundation. Expect to see thousands of artists and attracting over half a million visitors with this lively event.
As the winter season approaches, you'll find the Dresden Striezel Market. Regarded by many as the oldest Christmas market in Germany, it dates back almost 600 years.
Beyond festivals, you'll want to pay a visit to a performance at the stunning Semper Opera House. As part of the Zwinger complex, this magnificent opera house offers a glimpse into Saxony's rich artistic heritage.
The Dresden Tourist Office is centrally located near the Frauenkirche in the old town. The office is open seven days a week, with slightly shorter opening times on Sundays.
There is also a tourist office branch in Dresden central train station.