Dresden is the capital of the German federal-state of Saxony (Freistaat Sachsen). It's often called Elbflorenz, or "Florence on the Elbe", reflecting its riverine location and its role as a centre for arts and beautiful architecture - much like Florence in Italy. While Florence flourished during the early renaissance, the Golden Age of Dresden was in the 18th century when, under August the Strong and his son, Friedrich August II, Saxony was a rich and important state and the rulers invested in lush architectural projects in their capital and supported artists of worldwide fame.
Although Dresden suffered catastrophic damage from allied bombing in 1945 and then lost much of its remaining architectural heritage at the hands of the socialist city planners of the DDR era, the city managed to resurrect its charm by rebuilding the most important landmarks, culminating with the renovation of the famous Frauenkirche just in time for the city's 800th birthday in 2006.
Today, Dresden remains a charming, relaxed and in many ways beautiful city and has become a very popular tourist destination, in addition to being a regional economic, political and academic centre. Dresden gets about ten million tourists a year, most from Germany.
Dresden is over 800 years old, having become a city as long ago as 1206. Many Saxon princes and kings called Dresden home, the most famous of them being August der Starke (Augustus the Strong), who was also the King of Poland. The many buildings that date from their reign, especially the rich art collections, are testimony to their extreme wealth. The "Madonna Sixtina" was bought by the son of August the Strong. The last Saxon king abdicated in 1918, famously saying "macht doch euern Dregg aleene" (roughly translated as "do your stuff yourselves") when he did so.
Three quarters of the historical center of Dresden was destroyed by Allied bombing towards the end of the Second World War on February 13, 1945. More than 20,000 people died in the fire-storms - the exact number is unknown. These traumatic events are still remembered each year in processions and ceremonies, but has also been used by Neo-Nazis for demonstrations, which in turn attracted anti-fascist counter-demonstrations. Suffice to say, that the date is important to Dresdners even 70 years after the events. For many years the ruins - and now the newly rebuilt Frauenkirche with its gold cupola donated by the former British enemies - acted as a call for peace among the different nations of the world. The historical center is nowadays largely restored to its former glory but some parts are still under reconstruction.
The Zwinger was rebuilt in 1964, the Semper Opera house in 1985, and the now most famous landmark of Dresden, the Frauenkirche, in 2005. When asked what they like most about their city, Dresden citizens will reply: the Old Town (which is quite compact, even though it has a lot of well-known attractions and museums of worldwide meaning), Dresden-Neustadt (an alternative central quarter) and the environs like the wine town Radebeul (birthplace of Karl May, a famous German author of wild-west-novels), the climbing area of Saxon Switzerland, lots of castles, and much of the city landscape of about 80 quarters. Architecturally, Blasewitz is the most interesting living quarter, despite it being a hilly landscape.
Many historic sandstone buildings are black. But it's not necessarily because of burnings or pollution - the local sandstone naturally blackens after a while. You can see this natural phenomenon in the nearby Saxon Switzerland and on paintings of Dresden from the 18th century, where the sandstone buildings are black as well.
Dresden was an important city in the former German Democratic Republic and the GDR-Architecture is still very visible in the city. In the city center The "Prager Straße" and the "Kulturpalast" are examples for classical GDR architecture. If you leave the center you will find a lot of apartment blocks, called "Plattenbau" as they are typical in eastern Europe and Russia. Especially the quarters Gorbitz and Prohlis were (re-)built in the 1970s and 1980s in the then "modern" Plattenbau style, and are now faced with similar problems as those kinds of neighborhoods have in most of Germany. Very few traces of World War II are still visible in the city.
The time since the end of the GDR hasn't left too many architectural marks on the city yet, but some such as the controversial "Waldschlößchenbrücke" that cost Dresden its designation as a world heritage site are very visible even to the casual observer.
Dresden is very much oriented around the Elbe river, which meanders through the city, but not as much as e.g. the Seine in Paris. Therefore, it is always easy to distinguish between the left, southwestern bank and the right one, which includes the city's northeast. In general, the left bank is relatively flat and more densely built, while the right bank is hilly and to a large extent covered with the Dresdner Heide forest.
Dresden has, over the years, expanded broadly and swallowed surrounding hamlets, villages, towns and municipalities, so that now the city is larger by area than Munich despite having only roughly a third of its inhabitants. Much of the area of Dresden, however, is of little interest to most tourists. In general, the interesting districts are Altstadt ("old town", on the left bank) and Neustadt ("new town", on the right bank immediately opposite). Their historic cores are the Innere Altstadt an Innere Neustadt, respectively. Äußere Neustadt is a district with a lot of bars and restaurants and generally known for being inhabited by "alternative" people, students, artists and hipsters. Other districts of interest are Loschwitz in the eastern part of the right bank, which includes the namesake hill and the Pillnitz royal residence, and Klotzsche, because the Dresden airport is in that district.
Dresden-Klotzsche Airport is located north of Dresden. Travel to the city by bus (lines 77 and 97) and then change for tram line 7 at station Infineon Nord. Even faster is the connection with local train lines (S-Bahn, line S2) which takes 21 minutes to reach the main station.
The majority of flights operating to and from Dresden are charter flights to popular holiday destinations. That said, there are also regular scheduled flights to Barcelona, Basel, London, Vienna and Moscow. Dresden Airport also has direct connections, operated by Lufthansa, Germanwings and Air Berlin to all of the major German airports, where you can connect to other international or intercontinental flights.
The other airport in Saxony, Leipzig/Halle Airport, is the dominant one in the region and offers a wider range of international connections, and a direct railway connection to Dresden thanks to its terminal-integrated high-speed railway station. Intercity and ICE trains take less than 90 minutes to get from Leipzig Airport to Dresden Hauptbahnhof, with one-way full-fare tickets at around €30. Slightly slower but cheaper is regional train service. take the S-Bahn to Leipzig main station and than the hourly (roughly two hours travel time) "Saxonia express" RE to Dresden. the cheapest price for that connection is the "Sachsen-Ticket" which costs €22 + (€4 for any additional member of your group of up to five) and is valid in all regional-trains (i.e. all trains except ICE, IC and EC) and most trams and buses throughout Saxony, Thüringen and Saxony-Anhalt, not Dresden though.
From Frankfurt Airport there are various Intercity and ICE connections either direct (from Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof) or via Frankfurt or Leipzig main station.
Dresden is served by two big train stations, one on the southern side of the Elbe, Dresden Hauptbahnhof, or main train station, and one on the northern side of the Elbe, Dresden Neustadt. Be sure to check if your train is departing from/arriving to Dresden Hauptbahnhof or Dresden Neustadt. If you come from Saxony-Anhalt or Thüringen it might be the best option to take a "Länder-Ticket" as the ticket of all three "Länder" are valid in all three of them (i.e. the Thüringen-Ticket is valid in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt as well and vice versa), therefore your trip using regional trains will only cost you €22 and even less per person if you manage to get a small group together. For more on the price system of German trains see the Wikivoyage page on rail travel in Germany or the website of the state-owned railway company
Dresden Hauptbahnhof. Situated at the southern end of Dresden's main shopping street, Prager Straße, and in short walking distance from most central attractions in Old Town. It is very well connected with the local bus and tram network and can be reached very quickly from nearly everywhere, also at night time. Trains to nearby towns, such as Meissen and Pirna run till around midnight. Regular trains leave the main train station for the rest of Germany (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich) and to Prague, Vienna, Zürich, Bratislava and Budapest. Recently the station was redesigned and now boasts several stores including one regular super-market, most of which also open on Sundays
The other big train station called Dresden-Neustadt is located just north of the New Town and also offers very good train connections, as most trains run through there, too. Some trains even terminate there and not at the main train station. Dresden-Neustadt is also easily accessible by tram or car.
Dresden is one of the cities served by the international CityNightLine night train network of Deutsche Bahn. Trains stopping in Dresden can take you to Amsterdam, Budapest Vienna or Zürich overnight. They also stop at other major stations within Germany and the target countries on their way, but all stops but the final destinations may fall at inconvenient hours in the middle of the night. Check with their website for details. CityNightLine trains stop at both Dresden Hauptbahnhof and Neustadt.
Dresden can be reached without problems by car from the rest of Germany. It is well connected with the German highway system and a new Autobahn to Prague has been finished recently. German Autobahns can get congested during holiday season and the A 9 (Berlin-Nuremberg-Munich) is especially prone to this especially in the summer. Try avoiding the Friday and Saturday at the beginning of the school holidays in the corresponding federal state (Bavaria being last at around August 1st)
For general information on the new phenomenon of domestic buses in Germany see long distance bus travel in Germany.
BerlinLinienBus operates six buses from Berlin to Dresden on a daily basis. The central bus station is at Hauptbahnhof station and some of the buses stop at Schlesischer Platz in front of the Neustadt station. Both Meinfernbus and Flixbus as well as ADACPostbus also operate from a stop close to the main station as well as a stop close to Bahnhof Neustadt. As the the bus stop near the main station is at capacity there might be a change in its location in the near future.
In the centre, especially in the historic part of the Old Town (Altstadt), everything is easily accessible on foot. (The city centre is not the geographical midpoint of the city). If you want to go to the outer districts (unlikely for most travelers) you will probably have to take a bike or public transport (most tram lines go well into the suburbs).
By public transport
Dresden has an extensive reliable and high quality (even for German standards) public transport system consisting of regional railways (called Schnellbahn, or S-Bahn), trams (called Straßenbahn) and buses. Three ferries cross the Elbe and two cable car systems go up the Loschwitz hill. The Straßenbahn and S-Bahn are two entirely separate networks, although there are tram stops at many of the S-Bahn stations. There is a common fare system operated by Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe (DVB), which is part of the larger Oberelbe Transport Network (VVO), which covers 27 municipalities of central Saxony, including Dresden. VVO-Tickets are valid on all buses, trams, regional trains and some ferries within the chosen zone of the network area.
The system works very well and connects all points of interest, but can be a little busy at peak times. Most lines run at night but with less frequency (and also slightly different routes, called "Gutenacht Linien") allowing you to go out to most places or restaurants without the necessity to use a car, including to far flung places like Pillnitz, Radebeul or even Meissen (with the S-Bahn). During the night almost all trams and some regional buses meet at the Postplatz (called "Postplatztreffen") and wait for each other to ensure connections. Those trams that don't pass through Postplatz usually wait for connections at some other point. These stops are announced in both German and English. As the rerouting of the lines can be a tad confusing and the night-line plan is printed on a black background that is hard to read at night, you might wish to ask the driver or other passengers where the tram is going. Failing that the DVB has an app and offers the possibility to search for your tram in real time online. For the night time lines see here
By tram (Straßenbahn)
Two tram lines are of particular interest to those visiting Dresden:
- Line 4, billed as Kultourlinie as one that takes you on a tour of cultural (and other) highlights of Dresden
- Line 9, is the Einkaufslinie or "shopping line", shuttling between the many shopping centres and streets in various areas of Dresden.
A unique feature of the tram system in Dresden which cannot be used by passengers but will interest many is the CarGoTram, which delivers parts for assembling Volkswagen's luxury saloon, the Phaeton at the Transparent Factory (Gläserne Manufaktur). It runs right through the city centre every hour to save city centre truck journeys.
Other modes of transport
There are three ferry crossings of the Elbe within Dresden, all operated by the DVB:
- between Johannstadt and Neustadt
- between Niederpoyritz and Laubegast
- between Kleinzschachwitz and Pillnitz
There are also two separate cable car systems that go up the Loschwitz hill from the environs of Körnerplatz:
- a regular funicular goes towards the district of Weißer Hirsch
- a suspension railway (Schwebebahn) will take you to Oberloschwitz
Both systems were built at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century as a means of the inhabitants of the (then) expensive communities up the hill to get downtown and they still serve the residents of the area as such. However, they are marketed as a tourist attraction as well and a ride on them is not included on a normal day ticket for public transport (you, get a discount, though). Holders of week tickets can ride for free. As the system is quite old it is shut down for maintenance and inspection once a year, usually in early spring, so look at the website if you want to avoid going there just to see them not going.
Best is to get yourself an all day ticket for €6 or, for families, a Family day ticket for €8.50). It allows you to ride on all trams, buses, most ferries and trains (except InterCitys and ICEs) and is relatively cheap and valid until the next day at 04:00. You can also get a ticket limited to an hour (€2.20) and some others, but all day tickets are good if you are travelling around and not sure where you will be going and what you will be doing.
You can get your ticket at the yellow ticket vending machines in the tram or bus, but it's usually much better to get it on a platform as they offer a wider selection of tickets. Note that the ticket machines inside trams only accept coins and "Geldkarte" (i.e. a precharged ATM card), whereas the vending machines on the platforms accept Euro-bills as well. Don't forget to stamp your ticket as you enter the vehicle (day ticket just need to be stamped the first time you use them). Tickets (excluding the night ticket) sold by the vending machines inside the trams are already stamped.
As with most places in Germany, public transport operates on the honour system: you are assumed to have a ticket, but there are a few inspectors out spot checking. (If you lost your ticket you have to pay a minimum of €40 to the inspectors if they catch you.) The exception is on the buses after 20:00, when the drivers are required to see all tickets.
A new offer in cooperation with nextbike (see below) is the Bike&Ride ticket which allows you to use all public transport and all sz-bike bicycles during one day for 10€. You save 5€ compared to buying both tickets separately.
The street network is very good and many roads have been refurbished recently, especially in the city centre. As in all bigger towns it can be a bit crowded during rush hours. During the Striezelmarkt (end of November till 24.12.) traffic gets heavier, which is especially true on weekends. There are many parking lots in downtown Dresden and it should not be a problem to find a place to park, except on Saturdays when everyone goes to town for shopping. the new city council announced in late 2014 that they want to raise parking fees, so consider parking on one of the various park&ride spots outside of town if you arrive by car or leaving your (rental) car altogether, as the public transport network is excellent even by the high German standards. A number of automatic signs have been created, showing you the available number of free parking spaces, before entering parking lots. Shops are open c. 10:00-20:00 (with the last ones closing 22:00) and you will see a lot of visitors and locals going shopping. The Neustadt neighborhood is particularly unfriendly to cars as most of its residential buildings (and thus the street grid) were built in the 19th century and have survived both world wars and over zealous urban planners. People in this neighborhood also have a certain reputation of burning cars they consider to be too luxurious or "extravagant" although this is not near as common as in Berlin and it has significantly decreased in recent years.
Bikes are the fastest thing in rush hour traffic if going a short to medium distance and if you're in good condition and not afraid of traffic. Bikes are also good for longer distances as they can be carried (with a separate ticket 2€ per day as of late 2014) in trams. There are many designated cycle paths (marked red on pavements, or with a white bike symbol on a blue background) and most times it's very easy to find a place to park your bike. But, as anywhere else, always use a good lock!
Many of the older streets of Dresden (particularly in the northern, Neustadt area) still have cobbles: not the most comfortable riding surface! Also, cobbles are relatively slippery compared to asphalt or concrete: care should be taken when riding in wet conditions.
Nextbike is also present in Dresden under the name of SZ-bike. They offer flexible bike rental that can be returned at any station in Dresden the price is €1 per half hour or €9 per day. For more information on discounts and the technical details see their website
Dresden has a lot of bike taxis, mostly operating around the Old Town. They offer a typical (short distance) taxi service as well as guided city tours. Since 2007 there are also horse-drawn carriages that offer sightseeing.
You can also make use of the many bus tour operators. Tickets for these tours can be bought around the Old Town at various points.
Dresden is a very beautiful, light-spirited city, especially in summer, when you can appreciate the serene setting of the historic centre. Although Dresden is larger than Munich when measured by area, the historic centre is quite compact and walkable.
- Frauenkirche. The original Church of Our Lady was completely destroyed during WWII; however, it has been reconstructed. The City of Coventry, which was raided by the Luftwaffe in WWII, donated the golden cross for the dome of the church. Check out some ruins in the basement. Do not miss the tower visit and bring good shoes to climb in (otherwise you will not be admitted!).
- Zwinger Palace (tram 4, 8 and 9 Theaterplatz and tram 11 am Zwingerteich), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The baroque palace features a nympheum, many sculptures of Permoser, a bell pavilion and famous art collections. Do not miss the "Alte Meister" - you'll find the famous Madonna Sistina of Rafael there including the well known angels. There is also a very nice museum on the arms of Saxon kings, the "Rüstkammer". Entry is free to the palace but to see expositions you need a €10 ticket (€7.50 discount).
- Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Old Masters Picture Gallery) – Masterpieces in a newly arranged order
- Porzellansammlung (Porcelain Collection)
- Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon (Royal Cabinet of Mathematical and Physical Instruments)
- Residenzschloss (Royal Palace Dresden), Schloßstraße at the corner of Taschenberg, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com.
- The Grünes Gewölbe (Green Vault) is Europe's most splendid treasure chamber museum. You can see the biggest green diamond and the court of Aurengzeb and its precious crown jewels. This is actually two museums, each requiring a separate ticket: Historic Green Vault (Historisches Grünes Gewölbe) is famous for the splendours of the historic treasure chamber as it existed in 1733, while the New Green Vault (Neues Grünes Gewölbe) focuses attention on each individual object in neutral rooms.
- Rüstkammer im Residenzschloss (Armoury in the Royal Palace Dresden) with Türckische Cammer (Turkish Chamber) and Riesensaal (New Giants’ Hall).
- Kupferstich-Kabinett (Collection of Prints, Drawings and Photographs)
- Münzkabinett (Coin Cabinet)
- Neues Grünes Gewölbe (New Green Vault), Rüstkammer, Kupferstich-Kabinett and Münzkabinett: W-M 10:00-18:00, closed Tuesdays. Admission Residenzschloss: €12.00, concessions: €9.00, children <16: free.
- Historisches Grünes Gewölbe (Historic Green Vault): W-M 10:00-19:00, closed Tuesdays. Ticket Historic Green Vault: €12.00, including Audioguide, children <16: free. Tickets for the Historisches Grünes Gewölbe have a clearly defined time limit.
- Combi-ticket, adult: €21.00.
- Semperoper (Saxon State Opera and concert hall) (tram 4, 8 and 9 Theaterplatz). Guided tours in English daily 15:00; Adults: €10, concessions: €6, families: €20, photo fee per person: €3 (but they don't check if you have it). Tours in German throughout the day.. One of the most beautiful opera houses in the world. The acoustics and the Staatskapelle orchestra, are marvellous. Its history saw many operas of Wagner and Strauss having their first nights there. Make sure to book tickets in advance. Some last-minute tickets are available from the box office shortly before the performance starts. Seats which do not have a good view are very cheap, and you can sit on benches behind the seats, right at the top of the auditorium, for free. varies for each performance.
- Fürstenzug. This biggest porcelain painting of the world shows (almost) all Saxon princes, electors and kings on their horses and splendid parade uniforms. (There is only one female person at the painting, find it.) It leads to the "Stallhof" - the last preserved tournament place contained in a European castle. In Winter, the Stallhof is the location of a medieval style Christmas market with a big fireplace.
- Neue Synagogue, Hasenberg 2 (Tram 3 and 7, Synagoge). The New Synagogue stands on the site of the former Semper Synagogue. It was designed by Gottfried Semper, famous for many other important buildings in Dresden. Erected in 1840, it was destroyed in 1938 during the Kristallnacht. Unlike the buildings in the Altstadt destroyed during the war, it has not been rebuilt, but replaced by a starkly modern construction in 2001. The cubic warship hall is accompanied by a lower service building across a stone plaza. The design in striking in an austere way both on the outside and the inside. There are 60 minute guided tours from Sunday to Thursday (except on Jewish religious holidays), at times listed here. Guided tour per person - €4, reduced - €2.50.
- Kulturpalast, Schloßstraße 2. The Kulturpalast, or Palace of Culture, is socialist era building finished in 1969, standing right in the middle of the gradually reconstructed Altstadt, in stark contrast to the historic buildings surrounding it and supplanting some of the old buildings that closed the Altmarkt from the north before the Second World War. It was originally planned to be a super-tall, ornate structure in the mould of the Palace of Culture in Warsaw, but ended up being a large concert hall with height on par with surrounding buildings, in an austere Bauhaus-inspired style. It is now a protected architectural monument, along with a giant socialist-realism themed mosaic on its western wall, facing the Schloßstraße. From 2012 until 2017 the Kulturpalast is completely closed down for an extensive, and controversial among Dresden residents, interior reconstruction.
- Brühl's Terrace (Brühlsche Terrasse) (tram 4 8 and 9 Theaterplatz). The "Balcony of Europe" stretches for 500 metres along the River Elbe, some 10 metres over the water table, and being up to 20 metres wide. Freely open to the public since 1814, it provides space shielded from the danger of flooding, as well as from motorized traffic (which runs directly below over the Terassenufer) for walking, relaxing and enjoying a meal or a drink to locals and visitors, with views of the picturesque Elbe and an impressive backdrop of historic buildings at its back.
Very nice, lively neighbourhood. Part alternative, part "pseudo-exclusive" and expensive. Check out the Bunte Republik Neustadt festival in June. But you shouldn't leave your bicycle unattended without a good lock, as there can be a serious risk of damage to your bicycle as well as your car, especially on weekend nights.
- Dresden Baroque Quarter. Real baroque houses. The quarter reaches from the "Heinrichstrasse" up to the "Albert Platz". On the Heinrichstr and in the surroundings you will find a lot of antique stores. It is the quarter where you will find different nice and small shops where the owner will serve you. It is the quarter of individuality.
- Kunsthofpassage. It is a passage in the middle of Neustadt where you may find two different buildings, many small stores and some bars. A nice complex of inner courtyards artistically decorated. The complex offers art galleries as well as coffee shops
- Pfunds Molkerei, Bautzner Straße 79. A milk store which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most beautiful dairy in the world. Decorated with 247 m² of handmade tiles.
- Großer Garten (Big Garden). Recommended for relaxing and sports (rollerblades are very common). It's Dresden's "green lung" and can be reached easily by tram. You can also go on a ride on a miniature train through the park.
- Dresden Zoo, Tiergartenstraße 1. One of Germany's oldest zoos.
- Gläserne Manufaktur, Lennestr. 1 (at tram stop Straßburger Platz), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 08:00-20:00. The "Transparent Factory" is the site where Volkswagen assembles its upmarket, luxurious Phaeton saloon, the Touareg SUV and the Volkswagen CC sports sedan. Designed to be "transparent", so that visitors can view the production, it only does the final stages of assembly, including the "marriage" of the body and the undercarriage, with both parts arriving pre-made from other VW plants by truck, and other minor parts delivered by the CarGoTram six times a day through the streets of Dresden from a railway junction.
There are German and English language tours available hourly, except on certain days and during the holiday breaks, when there are no tours, but visitors can still use the interactive terminals in the visitor centre free of charge. An on-site restaurant is operated by Dresden's Hotel Kempinski and offers both lush dinners in the evening and reasonably-priced lunches 12:00-15:00. Customers purchasing any of the models assembled at this facility can arrange with their dealers for a factory pick-up. Tour: €7.
- Yenidze ("Tabakmoschee", the tobacco mosque) (tram 6 and 11 Kongresszentrum/Haus der Presse). An absolutely unique building of the former cigarette factory with heavily Ottoman-inspired architecture, including a mosque-like dome and a chimney shaped like a minaret. Nowadays an office building with event space. There is a restaurant in the upper floor.
- Schwebebahn Dresden (BUS 61 Körnerplatz). A historic suspension railway link between the low-lying Loschwitz district and the hill of Oberloschwitz.
- Elbe Valley. This used to be on the UNESCO World Heritage List, until the government decided to build the four-lane highway Waldschlösschen Bridge through the heart of it! So now it has joined Oman´s Arabian Oryx Sanctuary as "one of only two un-UNESCO'd sites in the world" and is still a tourist attraction.
- Elbwiesen (River Banks). Go to the (mostly) green river banks, especially in hot summer evenings/nights for a very nice view of the old parts and lot of people playing sports, having barbecues and parties. There are often big concerts and a huge movie screen offers "outdoor cinema."
- Pillnitz, August-Böckstiegel-Straße 2 (Bus line 63 stops directly at the castle. Tram line 2 and bus line 88 stop on the southern side of the river and you will need to take the ferry. Paddle-steamers operate on a regular base to Pillnitz (single from Dresden €13,50, return €17.50).), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Park from 06:00 till dusk.
Pillnitz is the old garden residence of the Saxon kings, built at the end of the 18th century in a Japanese but also English style outside of what was then-Dresden, as the closest out-of-town residence of the kings. Pillnitz was the summer residence of the Saxon kings till 1918, today it hosts concerts and cultural events.
The site consist of the English garden, a Chinese garden and Chinese pavilion (with Chinese style buildings) and the Orangerie. During summer you will also see all kinds of tropical plants in pots standing in the gardens, but in winter they are all transferred into the Orangerie. There are however, many other indigenous and foreign plants to be discovered. A big attraction is the camellia. Imported at the end of the 18th century from Japan is it now the oldest in Europe. It flowers beautifully in spring. It stands in the open during summer, but is put in a mobile glass house for winter.
The castle became known worldwide for the Declaration of Pillnitz by Emperor Leopold II and Frederick William II of Prussia. Calling on European powers to intervene, this declaration was intended to serve as a warning to the French revolutionaries not to infringe further on the rights of Louis XVI, and to allow his restoration to power. It helped begin the French Revolutionary Wars. There are no entry fees at the moment, although there still is a debate about a small fee..
Museums and Galleries
- Albertinum Museum. The "New Masters" collections feature a wonderful range from romantic painters like Caspar David Friedrich to Rotloff and Van Gogh.
- Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau, Between Frauenkirche and Brühlsche Terrasse. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. Impressive building for the arts constructed in the 19th century. Combination ticket Albertinum and Kunsthalle im Lipsiusbau Admission fee: €12.50.
- Japanisches Palais (on the north bank of the Elbe between Augusbrücke and Marienbrücke). The palace was bombed out and in its partially restored state holds several small museums, including the museum of natural history of the region, museum of prehistory and a display of assorted exotic garments (ethnological collection).
- Museum Der Stadt Dresden (Dresden City Museum), Wilsdruffer Straße 2.
- Kasematten (under the Brühlsche Terrasse (the terrace at the Elbe river)). Apr-Oct M-Su 10:00-18:00; Nov-Mar 10:00-17:00. The remains of the old fort. Gives you a glimpse of what a fort in a medieval European town was like. Tour: €4, €2 concessions.
- Dresden Transport Museum (Verkehrsmuseum), Augustusstraße 1 at Neumarkt, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Su 10:00-18:00. The museum is housed in the Johanneum at the Neumarkt, near Frauenkirche. €7, concessions: €3, Family Card: €12.
- Senckenberg Museum of Mineralogy (tram 7).
- Erich-Kästner-Museum. Dedicated to author, poet, screenwriter and satirist Emil Erich Kästner, known primarily for his humorous, socially astute poetry and children's literature such as Emil and the Detectives who was born and grew up in Dresden.
- Military History Museum (Tram lines 7 and 8 or bus line 91 to stop Stauffenbergallee). Tu, Th-Su 10:00-18:00, Mo 10:00-21:00. Has many items and machines regarding the military history of Germany - and the country's complicated relationship with its armed forces and warfare. 20,000 m² of indoor and outdoor exhibition space and a stock of 1.2 million exhibits. €5; Mo 18:00-21:00 free.
- Carl Maria von Weber Museum, Dresdner Straße 44. W-Su 13:00-18:00. Dedicated to Dresden's most famous composer.
- German Hygiene Museum, Lingnerplatz 1 (Near the Big Garden.). A comprehensive museum dedicated to hygiene in various times and cultures.
- Kunsthaus Dresden, Rähnitzgasse 8. An exhibition hall for contemporary art.
- Leonhardi Museum, Grundstraße 26. A private art collection of art from the former DDR (East Germany) including works by the collector himself.
- City Gallery of Dresden, Wilsdruffer Straße 2. Art from the 16th Century to the present day.
- Kunsthof Dresden, Görlitzer Straße 23. Assortment of public artworks, galleries, shops selling art.
- Rollerblading or Rowing in small boats on the Carolasee in the Großer Garten.
- Paddle-Steamer Tour. Best start your tour from the main pier at the castle and go down to Meissen or up to Pillnitz or the Saxon Switzerland.
- Semper Opera. Be sure to book in advance.
- Math Adventure Land. An entertaining hands-on exhibition on mathematics. Suitable for all ages, multilingual. Open Tuesdays to Sundays. Located in the Technology Museum, Junghansstr. 1-3.
- Dresden Monarchs (American Football - German Football League) (tram 7 Kongresszentrum/ Haus der Presse). Founded in 1992 they are the only "true eastern" (i.e.: apart from Berlin) American Football team to play in the first division. A first division team since 2002 they have made the playoffs every year since 2003 with exceptions of 2007 and 2011. They lost the final of 2013 by one point. The season starts around May and the playoffs are in September. They play most of their home games in Heinz Steyer Stadion right across the street from Yendize. The stadium is currently (2015) being renovated, but still in use for the duration of the works.
- Dynamo Dresden (Soccer). One of the best teams of the old GDR they have been struggling on and off the field recently. Now a third division team they are still fervently loved by their fans who have a sort of rowdy reputation in other parts of Germany. Play their home-games at Rudolf Harbig Stadion, now renamed "Stadion Dresden" (after the previous name sponsorship contract ran out)
- Dresdner Eislöwen (Ice Hockey - Second National League)
- Dresdner SC (Volleyball women - First National League).
- Blade Night, Lingnerallee (Start opposite townhall at the big halfpipe). F 21:00-23:00. Blade Night starts at 21:00 every Friday in the warm half of the year (Apr-Sep), roughly 20 km through the city on blocked roads. Great fun and participation is free - you can rent rollerblades for €5. Free.
Festivals & Events
Dresden is host to a number of world famous events, often unique or the biggest of their kind:
- Bunte Republik Neustadt (BRN) ('Colourful Republic Neustadt') - a massive yearly street festival that consumes the Neustadt part of Dresden in June. The festival consists of many stages featuring local musicians of different styles. The festivities run very late into the night with plenty of booths offering a wide variety of food and drink. If you plan to overnight, then it is advisable to book accommodation outside of the Neustadt area during BRN.
- Dixieland Festival. Europe's biggest Jazz Festival. It normally takes place in the second week of May and attracts bands and visitors from all over Europe, America and the rest of the world. A great deal of the music is played on the top decks of paddleboats in front of the Old Town.
- Filmnächte (June to August) - on the banks of the Elbe, just across the castle on the other side of the river. A huge movie screen offers cinema in a beautiful setting and there are also many concerts with popular stars. Again, it is the biggest event of its kind in Europe!
- Striezelmarkt - one of Germany's oldest Christmas Markets. It takes place from the last days of November until Christmas. Actually located at the Altmarkt, all kinds of shops and Glühwein Buden (mobile cafes selling mulled wine - delicious!) now stretches through the whole city centre during this period. Expect crowded streets and traffic jams. Avoid driving in the inner city around that time if you can to preserve your sanity.
- Kurzfilm-Festival (short movies). A number of short movies are shown throughout the cinemas of Dresden with entrants from a variety of countries, most of them with German or English subtitles. In 2015 a limited assortment was shown for free "open air" in front of the Frauenkirche.
The main shopping district in Dresden extends along the pedestrianized Prager Strasse, which runs from the Wiener Strasse at the feet of the Hauptbahnhof to Dr.-Külz-Ring, and its extension Seestrasse, which culminates in the Altmarkt, where the historic core of the city starts. Those streets are mostly filled with modern shopping centres, department stores and street-level retail, as well as a range of standardized gastronomy. There is nothing unique or exciting on offer, but the area is rather pleasant.
- Altmarkt-Galerie, Webergasse 1, ☎ . The huge complex practically fills the western side of Seestrasse and has an appearance of being many separate buildings, but they are in fact all interconnected. You can find everything from premium boutiques to very affordable shops there, as well as a fitness centre and even an ibis budget hotel (see "Sleep" section of this guide).
- Karstadt. The quintessential German department store, covering everything from apparel and footwear through groceries, delicatessen, appliances and even books.
- Centrum-Galerie. along Prager Straße. Originating in GDR times as "Centrum Warenhaus" it has had various changes of interior design and owner since the Altmarkt-Galerie opened close by. Now hosts East-Germany's first Primark, that seems to be a huge draw for shoppers. In the summertime there is an (artificial) beach on the roof where soccer matches and "Tatort" are shown. They don't take a cover charge but expect to be searched for outside beverages as they sell drinks to recoup costs
- Prager Zeile.
- Prager Spitze.
In the Äußere Neustadt area (north/east of Albertplatz), many small shops provide books, vinyl records and clothing. The Innere Neustadt (between Albertplatz and Elbe, mainly Haupstraße and Königstraße) is rather on a medium-to-fancy level. You can find supermarkets and certain other stores (major chains) at marktjagd.de.
The most typical fast (and inexpensive) food in Germany those days is the Döner Kebap, typically served as a kind of sandwich in pita (flat bread) with salad and sauce. A typical kebab including a large drink should be around €5-6. The next step above doner kebab is Italian food. There are a certain number of ethnic restaurants scattered through the city, and if you go out to the eastern part of town, you will find lots of charming cafés and Volkshäuser that serve good food. As Dresden has a lower number of recent immigrants in general and Turkish descendant people in particular, the ethnic food is more of the Vietnamese or "Asian" variety, as those are the primary immigrant groups in Dresden.
Within the historic center and especially around the Frauenkirche are a number of restaurants, serving many different tastes. Be aware that, as this is a tourist hotspot, there are many tourist traps here which you may find overpriced while the quality low.
You may want to choose one of the various restaurants on the Brühlsche Terrasse adjacent to the river Elbe - especially in summer time this a wonderful place to be. The view and the drinks are very pleasant. Alternatively, you may choose to go to Münzgasse, lying directly beside the Frauenkirche. The little street is full of restaurants, from glamorous and expensive to the cheaper ones.
- Afro-Hütte , Lausitzer 35, Phone +49 35126212, Deutsches Essen, €5-10/ person,
- aha, Kreuzstrasse 7, am Altmarkt, Phone +49 351 496-0673, hearty vegetarian and vegan food in a family-friendly and comfortable environment, also serves a wide variety of free trade teas and coffees, €10-15/ person, Open 10:00-12:00 daily.
- Anita , Mühlenstrasse 67, Phone +49 351 24493, Italian food, €10-15/ person,
- Antica , Hohenzollerndamm 64, Phone 351 / 9652, Deutsches Essen, Less than €30, Open M-Sa 10:00-23:00,
- Athen, Schönhauser 94, Phone +49 351 1635, Greek cuisine, more than €5 for a snack
- Augustiner an der Frauenkirche, An der Frauenkirche 16/17, Phone 351 / 482897, German (Bavarian and Saxonian), €10-15/person, the beer is brewed on their own and is especially good.
- Britzer , Fasanenstrasse 17, Phone +49 351 20680, Deutsches Essen, voted best deli in town Open M-Sa 19:00-23:59
- BoboQ Dresden , Prager Str. 2a, The fun drink from the Far East, BoBoQ Bubble Tea.
- Durum Kebap Haus, Prager-Straße 32 (Prager Zeile). Reputed as one of the best kebab joints in town.
- Grand Café & Restaurant Coselpalais, An der Frauenkirche 12, ☎ . Open daily 10AM till midnight. An expensive café and restaurant on the backside of the Frauenkirche.
- Engelbrecht , Damaschkestraße 87, Phone +49 351 5211, Deutsches Essen, more than €5 for a snack.
- Golden Tweenis, Alter Markt 85, Phone +49 351 27228, Deutsches Essen, more than €20
- Havana, Alexanderplatz 109, Phone +49 351 20535, Serves international food, for €5-10/ person, Open M-Su 12:00-23:00
- India King, Sophienstrasse 45, ☎ . Expensive Indian restaurant.
- Italienisches Dörfchen, One of the most stylish places in town - the baroque pavilion features various restaurants decorated with old paintings and furniture. The prices are higher than elsewhere, but still affordable. Go for the cakes!.
- Little Africa, Mehringdamm 93, ☎ . Open Mon-Sun from 5PM - 11 PM. Serves international food and gets a relatively young crowd.
- Maredo , Fasanenstrasse 17, Phone 351 / 7922, Serves international food, light fare for €10/person,
- Merz , Kochstrasse 85, Phone 351 / 908, Deutsches Essen, light fare for €10-15/ person, Open Mon-Sun from 10AM - 12 AM,
- Mona , Blissestrasse 25, Phone 351 / 6914, Deutsches Essen, Where the locals go. Open Mon-Sat from 10AM - 11 PM
- Petit , Rheinstrasse 59, Phone 351 / 9010, French cuisine, More than €5 for a snack. Open Mon-Sun from 5PM - 11 PM
- Roter Ochs, Lindenweg 15, ☎ . Open Mon-Sun from 10AM - 12 AM. Deutsches Essen, Large meals for €15.
- Saigon, Grossgörschenstrasse 103, ☎ . Open Mo-Su 16:00-23:00. Thai food, weekdays lunch time is half price.
- Schützenhaus. This little farmhouse-restaurant is not so easy to find. It lies behind the "Herzogin Garten" (which is a ruin) and behind the opera-house. The large Biergarden is a very relaxing place, has good food and good prices and is very pleasant. If you are vegetarian try the adjacent "Brennessel".
The Neustadt accounts for most of the trendy pubs, bars and clubs, and the majority of the restaurants in the city. You will generally have better luck finding decent food for a reasonable price north of Albertplatz in Neustadt.
- Amarena Capanna, Louisenstrasse 30 (At the southwest corner of intersection with Alaunstraße), ☎ . An Italian restaurant with a fake tropical hut and palm trees inside. €8-20
- Babos, Katharinenstraße 20, 01099 Dresden, ☎ . 9AM-4AM (until 5AM Saturday and Sunday mornings). A kebab place enjoying good reputation
- Brauhaus am Waldschlößchen, Am Brauhaus 8b. Traditional German cuisine with a taste of beer brewed on place. Located on a hill with a splendid view over Elbe riverside from the outside garden. The food is recommended for those wishing to experience what the German cuisine should taste like.
- Dürüm Kebap Haus, ☎ . The original site of the reputed Dürum Kebap Haus, now also found in Prager Straße in the Altstadt.
- Curry & Co., Louißenstraße 64. Serves currywurst, a Berlin invention, with several flavors of sauce. Best fries in the city. Also has vegan wursts and ice cream. There is also one in Schillerplatz.
- Devil's Kitchen, Alaunstraße 39. Nice selection on burgers and other fast food with vegan and vegetarian options.
- Raskolnikoff, Böhmische Straße 34 (Close to the Lutherkirche.). The formerly very alternative restaurant now features sand on the floors, a red lamp in front of the door and a very nice garden with a fountain. Again - in summer it is difficult to get in. Food and prices are good.
- Rosengarten, Carusufer 12 (on the north bank of the Elbe at the edge of the park just east of Albertbrücke.). A café bordering one of the public rose gardens of Dresden's riverside park, with plenty of outside seating in nice weather. The food is acceptable, but nothing special. The view is gorgeous. Worth a stop for a hot chocolate or an ice cream.
- Die Scheune, Alaunstraße 36/40. "The barn" is a restaurant with a large Biergarden in an alternative style - do not be shocked by the punks in front - they are decor. In warm summer nights you will have trouble to find a free place. Good prices. Serves Indian food. Lots of concerts and events.
- Vecchia Napoli, Alaunstraße 33, ☎ . A good Italian restaurant, with a wood fired pizza oven. You can get a pizza or pasta, or a full multicourse meal. Generally very busy, and the food is excellent. €15-40.
- Watzke Brauereiausschank am Goldenen Reiter, Hauptstraße 1, ☎ . One of their 3 locations in Dresden and is a great place to go to taste Saxonian cuisine. Their self-brewed beer is fantastic. €10-15/person,.
The eastern part of the city, toward the Blaues Wunder, has a lower density of restaurants than Neustadt, and they tend to also serve as cafés, and the food is generally tasteful and cheap.
- Alimentari, Knaackstrasse 85, ☎ . Open M-Sa 11:00-23:00.
- Blaues Wunder, Gustav-Adolf-Strasse 11, ☎ . Open M-Su 18:00-23:59. More than €5 for a snack.
- Cafe Toscana, Schillerplatz 7 (in the Blasewitz quarter, right by the Blaues Wunder bridge.), ☎ . This is a very pleasant café that includes a pastry shop (Konditorei) and a restaurant. The cakes are gorgeous and will make you understand why the café is famous. The décor is fairly new, given the very long history of the place (it was called after Louise von Toscana, the run-away princess that divorced the King of Saxony). The terrace is very beautiful and overlooks the river and the famous "Blaue Wunder" bridge, real name Loschwitzer Brücke or König-Albert-Brücke. Generally it's full of locals, on Saturday afternoons, who come and chat. €8-20.
- Historisches Fischhaus, Fischhausstraße 14 (on the road into the Albertpark to the northeast of the city and 800 m from the B6), ☎ . M-F 11:30-24.00, Sa 11:00-24:00, Su 11:00-23:00. As one of the oldest inns in Dresden, its history can be traced back to 1573 - long enough for the road to be named after it.
- Kanzlei, Pohlandstr. 18, ☎ . Kind of gourmet restaurant, basically German food. Ambience is classical but purely and simple, food is exceptional good, personnel is very friendly. Located in a good residential area (Striesen) it is worth walking there. Starter, main, dessert and wine €30-50 per person. M-Su 17:00-23:59
- Fischer's, Görlitzer 81, ☎ . Mo-Su 10:00-23:00. deutsches Essen €20-40-person, without wine.
- Hellas7, Stollbergstrasse 95, ☎ . M-Su 10:00-23:59. Greek cuisine More than €10-person.
- Pow, Exerzierstrasse 7, ☎ . M-Sa 19:00-23:59. Serves international food More than €50-person.
- Schillerplatz, Schillerplatz 9, ☎ . Reservations recommended. Yes, all the tour buses pull up here, but that doesn't stop the locals from heading to Schillerplatz either. A good selection of German cuisines, including an excellent schnitzel. In the summer, there is a huge biergarten along the Elbe and nice views of the Blaues Wunder.
- Villa Marie, Fährgässchen 1 (just below the Blaues Wunder on the west side), ☎ . Excellent food, excellent ambiance. Italian food done really well. Reservations strongly recommended. Try to get it on the first floor with its views of the Elbe and the Blaues Wunder, or out on their garden
- Volkshaus Laubegast, Laubegaster Ufer 22, ☎ . A simple local eatery and café right on the river. The food tends to be stereotypically German (schnitzel, sausages, and the like) and is generally good. Their fried potatoes are excellent, though their green vegetables are overcooked. Has a nice view of the Elbe and outside seating. €10-20
- Wiener Cafe Haus Richards, Schandauer Straße 94, ☎ . An inward looking café with small, curtained windows, heavy wooden tables, and upholstered armchairs for seating. They have pictures of Mozart on the walls and his music playing in the background. A charming spot to stop for a snack. €5-15
The area around the Frauenkirche and Dresden Castle is very popular with tourists. Some fine restaurants are located there. The Weiße Gasse is just around the corner of the Altmarkt near the shopping center and the historical town. Good alternative, if you do not want to go to the Neustadt.
- Bar Peanuts Brühlsche Terrasse, 351-864-2838, small, cozy bar is located at the corner of the Hilton overlooking the Elbe. Peanut shells are scattered on the floor and as the name suggests, peanuts are the central theme. Cocktails and beer are the main draws here, along with the spectacular view.
- Bärenzwinger, ☎ . Brühlscher Garten, This popular student club is a good choice for its full schedule of nightly activities, including readings, live music, and discussions.
- Paulaner's Am Taschenberg 3, 351-491-2893, popular beer hall sells a selection of well-brewed local and regional favorites. A full menu is offered, and outside seating is available.
- Riesa efau, ☎ , fax: 351-866-0211. Adlergasse 14, The pub is managed by a local events group and features a wide selection of drinks along with a regular slate of activities and entertainment. Good menu of regional beers and mixed drinks, as well as non-alcoholic drinks and coffees. Live music is frequently featured.
The Neustadt is a very popular destination, especially for younger people. It has a high number of bars and clubs, with many different styles. Especially the area around Albertplatz is filled with places to go.
- Blue Note, ☎ . Görlitzer Straße 2, This is the Dresden Jazz point. In the web page you may find the schedule of concerts. There is always very good music. This is a place to sit and enjoy good music. The scotch bar has very good drinks to enjoy during the concert.
- Blumenau. Louisenstrasse 67, 351-31-51, This popular nightspot is considered one of the best in the city for its ambience, friendly service, and broad drink selection.
- Café 100, ☎ . Alaunstrasse 100, This full-service nightspot features a café, wine bar, and pub.
- Café Europa, ☎ . Königsbrücker Strasse 68, This pleasant café and bar is a great choice for a pre-dinner cocktail or late-night snack. The café closes only one hour a day, so stop by any time. In addition to great drinks, the menu also features a full breakfast menu, which young locals and visitors appreciate after a late night on the town.
- Café Hieronymous Louisenstrasse 10, 351-801-1739, This bar is a great place to relax with a nice local beer or a glass of wine. Live music is featured frequently. The crowd here is young, and the service is friendly.
- Downtown. Katharinenstrasse 11-13, The most popular club in the Neustadt. They play mostly mainstream/top 40/80s music. If this place isn't your scene, you can always go upstairs to Groove Station.
- Groove Station. Katharinenstrasse 11-13, Sits on top of Downtown and has more alternative music. They often have live bands.
- Hebeda's. Rothenburger Str. 30, This pub is quite popular for the locals, especially on Friday and Saturday nights. The old East German furniture gives it a cozy and retro feel. Beer is cheap and there's a small dance floor for those who feel like dancing.
- Katy's Garage. Alaunstrasse. 48, If you're walking around Neustadt, you can't miss the beer garden at Katy's Garage. It's a great place to have a drink when it's warm outside. When the beer garden closes at around 10PM, you can make your way into their night club, which consists mostly of rock music.
- Lebowski-Bar. Görlitzer Str. 5, A tiny bar themed after the movie The Big Lebowski. Several TVs show it on a constant loop (with subtitles and muted sound)
- Louisengarten, Louisenstrasse 43, Located a few meters from Katy's Garage, this beer garden is only open when it's warm outside. You can come here and relax with a Lenin's Hanf, a delicious beer brewed in the Neustadt.
- Mona Lisa Louisenstrasse 77, 351-803-3151, This city center nightspot features a Mexican theme and a full menu, along with plenty of beers and well-mixed drinks.
- Ost-Pol. Königsbrücker Straße 47, Ost-Pol (translation: East-Pole) is a fairly new bar with a retro East German feel to it. They often have live bands, but is still good to go for a beer when there's no live music. The beer is pretty cheap, and is one of the few places with Pilsner Urquell on tap.
- Pinta Bar. Louisenstrasse 49, Pinta specializes in cocktails. It is very popular on Friday and Saturday nights. When the place is busy, the service is slow.
- Planwirtschaft, ☎ . Louisenstrasse 20, This quaint bar and restaurant is in a refurbished wine cellar. The drinks menu is extensive and served by an energetic staff.
- Studiobar Görlitzer Str. 1, The best cocktails in town are available here. Located on the 2nd floor, it is a little bit hard to find. From the entrance, go into the main floor bar and straight to the back. There is a staircase that leads up to the second floor. Smoking is allowed here.
- Sidedoor Böhmische Str. between Rothenberger and Martin Luther Platz. Good selection of beers and the tastiest Long Islands you've had since college.
Since Dresden regained its status as a popular tourist destination, it also developed a large accommodation base for every taste and budget. There are many new and refurbished properties, and competition is fierce due to slight overcapacity resulting from overly optimistic development. Therefore, it pays off to research well for good offers even at normally expensive hotels, especially off-season.
While selecting your accommodation, bear in mind that Dresden is actually a very large city by area, while most attractions are all within a very small distance in the city centre on both banks of the Elbe River. If you choose to base yourself outside of the centre, you may find yourself in a very remote location a big distance from the points of interest and with very little to do in the area.
- ibis Budget Dresden City (formerly ETAP hotel), Wilsdruffer Straße 25, 01067 Dresden, ☎ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. This ibis Budget is located in the Altmarkt-Gallerie shopping centre. It is appointed according to the brand's newest standards, with rooms featuring an extra third bunk bed available. Rooms are very basic, with the shower accessible directly from the room and the sink / vanity right in the room. €43.
- AZIMUT Hotel Dresden, Huelssestrasse 1, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Situated in a remote southern district of Reick, this inexpensive hotel from the Russian chain expanding rapidly in Germany is hard to miss thanks to its bright red façade. €41.
Youth Hostels - IYHF
- Jugendgästehaus Dresden, Maternistr. 22 (next to "World Trade Center" - train-stop "Freiberger Straße), ☎ . Located a few minutes by foot from the historic city centre, opposite the World Trade Center. Starts at €19.
- Rudi Arndt, ☎ . Hübnerstr. 11. Only 900 meters form the Hauptbahnhof in the quiet Swiss Quarter. Includes two dining rooms, two seminar rooms, a club room, terrace and cellar bar. Prices starts at €15.
- cityherberge, Lingnerallee 3., ☎ . The only hostel in Dresden's old town. Also has regular hotel rooms with private bath, breakfast included. Clean and good for families or couples young or old.
- A&O Hostel, ☎ . Strehlener Str. 10. Near the main train station, so it is very easy to get there and the prices are usually attractive. The rooms aren't equipped that well. No kitchen. Free and easy internet access. €14-25 (for 1 place in a 6-bunk room).
- Lollis Homestay, Görlitzer Str. 34, Tel. +49-351-8108458. Member of the I-hostels network. This homey hostel offers a well equipped kitchen, nice rooms, and free (old) bike rental! The bikes come in handy because it's in the north area of the Neustadt.
- Mondpalast, ☎ . Louisenstraße 77. Very clean and bright rooms starting at cheep 10 bed dorm rooms up to ensuite doubles with balcony and TV. Offers a lounge and bar, as well as a self service kitchen.
- Historic Waterworks Trachau, ☎ . Aachener Straße 31. The apartment is suitable for up to three adults or a family with two children. Distance to the historical centre: 20 minutes with public transport. Bus station right in front of the house. Safe parking possible. Nice apartment with lovely garden.
- Hotel Am Terrassenufer Dresden, Terrassenufer 12. Near the Elbe and historic centre with outstanding view.
- Art'otel Dresden by Park Plaza, Ostra-Allee 33. Contemporary art gallery hotel with restaurant and bar as well as a healthclub and free Wi-Fi access. €63.
- Dorint Hotel Dresden, Grunaer Strasse 14. €67.
- Holiday Inn Express, Dr-Kuelz Ring 15a. €62.
- Ibis Bastei, Königstein, Lilienstein, Prager Straße, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Three sister ibis hotels in a row on Prager Straße, near the Hauptbahnhof. In addition to the standard rooms, they offer studios for up to three persons and apartments for up to four persons. €59.
- InterCityHotel, Wiener Platz 8. True to its name, the new InterCityHotel basically faces the Hauptbahnhof €120.
- Maritim Hotel & International Congress Center Dresden, Devrienstrasse 10-12. €85.
- Motel One Dresden an Zwinger, Postplatz 5, ☎ . The more expensive Motel One in Dresden is on the edge of Innere Altstadt, and indeed reasonably close to the Zwinger, even if you won't see it from most rooms. Like every other Motel One, it features modern design and a very predictable, standardized experience. €69 per night/room, breakfast buffet €7.50.
Neustadt and other districts
- Holiday Inn, Stauffenbergallee 25a, ☎ . Halfway between the airport and the old town, this hotel is a considerable distance from most points of interest.
- Mercure Hotel Dresden Elbpromenade, Hamburger Strasse 64/68, ☎ , fax: (+49)351/4252420. The Mercure Hotel Dresden Elbpromenade is on the outskirts of Dresden, right on the river Elbe. It has 103 rooms with Wi-Fi access, which is also available in the public areas.
- Motel One Dresden Palaisplatz, Palaisplatz 1. The other Motel One is in the Neustadt, on the Palaisplatz right beside the Japanese Palace the hotel's name refers to. For 10 euros less, you get pretty much the same experience, a longer walk or a tram ride to the Altstadt, but a more convenient location in terms of rail travel, as the Neustadt station is only a short walk away. €69 per night/room, breakfast buffet €7.50..
- NH Dresden, Hansastrasse 43. The other NH in Dresden (not to be mistaken with the newer one in Altstadt) is a modern business hotel, situated in Neustadt at the Hansastrasse, a thoroughfare connecting the city with the A4 motorway. 269 recently renovated rooms are available. €50.
- Park Inn by Radisson Dresden, Melanchtonstrasse 2. In a business district of Neustadt, shares the office block with some institutions and company offices. €39.
- Ramada Hotel Dresden, Wilhelm-Franke-Strasse 90. On the southeastern outskirts of Dresden. Do not mistake it with the "Ramada Resident", which is in a similar direction, but quite a distance away from this hotel. €55.
- Ramada Resident Hotel Dresden, Brünner Strasse 11. In the southeastern suburban district of Laubegast, halfway between Loschwitz and Pillnitz but on the eastern bank of the river. Do not mistake it with the other Ramada, which is also outside of the city centre, but not really near this hotel.
- Tryp by Wyndham Dresden Neustadt, Fritz-Reuter-Strasse 21. €37.
The most luxurious accommodation in Dresden is mostly within the Innere Altstadt area, offering views over and close to the famous historic landmarks. A wide choice between modern design or faux historic charm awaits, but make no mistake in believing you need to pay top dollar for being right at the doorstep of the old town - check out the above sections for selected hotels in lower price brackets that are not that much farther away.
- Hilton Dresden (formerly Interhotel Dresdner Hof), An der Frauenkirche 5, ☎ , fax: +49 351 8642725. Next to the Frauenkirche. Try to get a room with a view to the Elbe river. €98.
- INNSIDE by Melia Dresden, Salzgasse 4. The newest upmarket hotel in Dresden, all about modern design, with views onto the surrounding historic buildings. €90.
- Luxushotel Suitess, An der Frauenkirche, ☎ , fax: +49-351-41727-160. A member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Experience the gourmet terrace with its view of the dome of Frauenkirche.
- NH Dresden Altmarkt, An der Kreuzkirche 2, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. The new NH opened in 2010, completing the southern façade of the Altmarkt. Specifically designed rooms feature large windows with views of the Altmarkt and Kulturpalast, while others face the Kreuzkirche across a narrow street. Some of the rooms in the top floor feature sloping roofs and small dormer windows, so make sure you know what type of room you are booking. €75.
- Taschenbergpalais Kempinski, Taschenberg 3, ☎ , fax: +49 351 491-2812. The baroque Tachsenberg palace from the early 18th century was reconstructed as a luxury hotel of the Kempinski chain in 1995 after being almost completely destroyed in 1945. At its launch, it was the first five-star hotel in Saxony. €119.
- Pullman Dresden Newa (formerly Mercure Dresden Newa, Interhotel Newa), Prager Strasse 2c, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The former Mercure was upgraded to a Pullman in name mostly, as there's not much of a difference (you don't even get coffee/tea facilities in rooms). That said, the property itself is in a prime location right at the Prager Strasse and 300 m from the railway station and rooms offer floor-to-ceiling windows with views of either (depending on side), as well as reasonably modern and upmarket fixtures and furniture. The hotel often undercuts its upmarket competition in the Altstadt in room rates, but makes up for it by charging €12.50 a day for Wi-Fi. Bikes for rent at €10 a day, an electric Renault Twizzy starting at €20 per hour. Room rates start at €75.
- Radisson BLU Gewandhaus, Ringstrasse 1, ☎ . The baroque 18th century Gewandhaus (cloth hall) was rebuilt in late 1960s as a hotel, and since 1997 has operated as a Radisson. The interior design, fixtures and furniture echo the building's history. Do note that there is also a different Radisson in Radebeul by Dresden, so make sure you do not confuse those two. €84.
- Steigenberger Hotel de Saxe, Neumarkt 9. This hotel of the German luxury chain is located in a reconstructed historic building and appointed inside in various shades of beige and brown. Unusually for Dresden, it is the most expensive rooms that are located on the floors within the sloping roof, so the gain in surface they offer does not translate into usable space. €87.
- Swissotel Dresden Am Schloss, Schlossstrasse 16, ☎ . The Swissotel is indeed "am Schloss", facing the Residenzschloss on the one side and the Kulturpalast (or rather the empty plot of land in front of it) on the other. Inside, you will find a mixture of modern design, historic references and folk motifs, all in a white/beige/red/green theme. The cheapest "Advantage" rooms are in the top floors, with sloping roofs and dormer windows. €108.
- The Westin Bellevue Dresden, Grosse Meissner Strasse 15. The only luxury hotel in Dresden on the "other" side of the river (in Neustadt), right at the riverbank, next to the Japanisches Palais. Originally built in the 1980s as a part of the state-owned DDR chain Interhotel, it was taken over by Starwood in the 1990s. While the hotel uses photos of the reconstructed baroque building in its marketing, most of the rooms are in the much less impressive expansive wings. The "belle vue" the hotel name alludes to is the view of the Innere Altstadt, that some rooms providing sweeping vistas of, while the others offer views the much less picturesque Hotel Maritim on the other side of the river and the rooms with "Neustadt view" face communist-era blocks across the busy Grosse Meissner Strasse. €89.
Dresden is a safe place to be, just as the rest of Germany. There is no need to worry even in dark alleys and all parts of the city are considered safe by locals (the cautious and scared Germans) at all times of the day.
Media reports will point out that extreme right and extreme left parties are relatively popular, however these are very small groups (a few hundred people) and it has little to no effect on everyday life for most people. Although it is difficult to pinpoint the exact places where the right wing extremists of Dresden live the relatively poor high-rise ("Plattenbau") neighborhoods of Gorbitz and Prohlis have a reputation of being inhabited by more Nazis than other parts of town. Soccer matches of the local club Dynamo Dresden take place about every second weekend, but not during summer holidays. The supporters of Dynamo Dresden soccer club have a particularly bad reputation, but clashes with the police or other rival supporters are mainly a thing of the past. 99% of the fans are peaceful, sports-loving people. However don't be surprised to see large police force in anti-riot equipment (think robocop) around the main station and the stadium during so called "Risiko-Spiele" (roughly: high risk games). The (all standing) "K-Block" of Dynamo's stadium has a reputation for having the most hard core fans and unfortunately racial slurs and homophobic utterances are heard here from time to time, even though most Dynamo fans don't subscribe to either xenophobia or homophobia. If you are (visibly) part of an ethnic or sexual minority and especially if you don't wear Dynamo fan-gear try going to another block rather than this one.
Neo-Nazis are known to congregate in Dresden once or twice a year, most prominently on or around 13 February, when demonstrations are staged by right-wing extremists to recall the bombings of Dresden during the Second World War. The few hundred Neo-Nazis are usually condemned by thousands of peaceful anti-war demonstrators and there is a huge police attendance. There have been instances of violent acts during those demonstrations and all sides (police, right wing demonstrators and left wing "Antifa") have been variously blamed. While most demonstrators are peaceful and the police has an indeed very hard job to do, the security as well as the transport situation during large Nazi-demonstrations is far from normal. The whole issue is very controversial in Dresden as well as on a federal level in Germany and the fine points are best not discussed further here.
Furthermore starting around November 2014 a group calling themselves "Pegida" (patriotic Europeans against the islamization of the occident) have held regular protests on Mondays. As there are also two groups staging counter-demonstrations expect a big police presence as well as disturbances of traffic and public transit throughout the city on Monday evenings for the time being as of January 2015. There have also been reports of foreign looking people being targeted violently by "Pegida"-members or sympathizers around the Centrum-Gallerie after a Pegida rally on December 22nd 2014.
The Elbe river has flooded the city to varying extents twice within this millennium (2002 and 2013) submerging some parts of the Elbwiesen and really endangering the city. Statistically these events occur once or twice in a century and last for a couple of days. Due to protection schemes set up after the big flooding in 2002, the city itself is now protected and no significant dangers exist to visitors. Should another flooding event occur, the city will - as it has in the past - provide resources online as well as a hotline to answer any questions regarding safety transportation and possibilities to help with anti flood efforts.
Local telephone code is 0351. There are some internet cafés in the city centre. One is at the Altmarkt, next to Subway and another is at the back of the "Altmarktgallerie" shopping centre at the Altmarkt.
If you need medical attention, go to the Universitätsklinikum, Fetscherstraße 74; ☎ +49 351 458-2036. It's inexpensive (compared to others in the city), easy to get to (Augsburger Str. stop from the 12 or 6 tram line) and the doctors are well-trained and speak English well.
Karstadt offers two hours free high-quality wifi internet a day.
- Saxon Switzerland (Sächsische Schweiz) upstream along the river Elbe is a national park for hiking and (rock-climbing
- Königstein - has one of the largest and best preserved late medieval fortresses in Europe. The Königstein fortress is situated about 30 km from Dresden and can be reached by almost all means of transport. A trip on the river Elbe in one of the historic paddle-steamers of the "Sächsische Dampfschifffahrt" is also highly recommended
- Saxon Ore Mountains (Erzgebirge) - hiking and crafts (toymaking, especially Christmas toys)
- Bautzen - a beautiful old city in the east (c. 45min with car by Autobahn and 1h by train)
- Glashutte is the centre of east German watch manufacturing, with various watch factories and a nice watch museum. It's about 1h from Dresden by train, and part of the journey is beautiful, following a river through the mountains
- Leipzig - little more than one hour away by ICE train
- Meissen - medieval cathedral and castle and home to the first European porcelain factory. Residence of the Saxon dukes and electors before they moved to Dresden.
- Moritzburg - beautiful castle that was once used when the kings went hunting. Reachable by a charming historic narrow gauge railway.
- Prague is about two hours away
- Radebeul - City west of Dresden with the world famous Karl May Museum (dedicated to the famous writer) and the four floor GDR museum
- Radeberg - a small town a short S-Bahn ride away from Dresden. The Radeberger Brewery offers tours throughout the day for €9, including tasting at the end. Phone +49 352 845-4880.